Sea Urchin Ale: Balanced with Tomato Water and Spiced with Smoked Sea Salt
|Sea Urchin – Photo from Monterey Bay Aquarium|
You may be wondering why there is a photo of a porcupine’s ass on the bottom of the sea in the photo above. It’s actually a sea urchin and it is the latest and what may be the most unusual ingredient in a Jason McAdam beer yet. Based on a hundreds-year-old recipe unearthed recently during an excavation of a deep sea shipwreck…no, I just made that Sam Calagione-sounding bullshit up, this is totally new. When Riffle NW, a new but already already acclaimed and very popular fresh catch-inspired Portland seafood restaurant, approached Burnside Brewing Co. Brewmaster Jason McAdam with brewing a seafood-inspired beer, he jumped at the chance. Known for his unusual ingredients and experimental nature, Mr. McAdam recently won a GABF gold medal for his Sweet Heat, a popular staple in Burnside Brewing’s lineup.
The new beer, named “Riffle Urchin Ale,” will see its release at Burnside Brewing and Riffle in mid-December. The inspiration for the ale came from a popular Riffle item on the Raw Bar menu: a Quail egg and Urchin shot that is a favorite of Jason’s. To complete the beer and round out the flavors, the brewery has also employed tomato water and smoked Jacobsen sea salt.
|photo from haute apple pie|
And if you’re wondering what tomato water is, it is literally just the water in the tomato, basically the juice but not pureed tomato; it’s the excess that escapes an overripe or sliced tomato. For that reason, it is hard to obtain a lot of tomato water, though it has at times been a prized cooking ingredient and pops up in cocktail recipes from time to time.
|extracting Tomato Water – Credit: Melanie Acevedo
Rifflle Chef/Owner Mr. Norris is changing the way seafood is practiced and eaten in Portland. He wanted to do something out-of-the-box that was delicious but also highlighted something from the sea in the beer. No matter how the beer turns out, I find it refreshing that a high-end hip restaurant owner such as Mr. Norris is giving beer its due attention as a key menu pairing option.