Festina Peche at Anchor & Hope: summer in the city

San Francisco never experiences warm summers like other parts of the country—or even other parts of the Bay Area. But we still enjoy summer beers. Darker beers, like porters and stouts, might be cozy and warm for long winter nights, but the lazy summer days cry out for effervescent, citrusy Belgian- and German-style wheat beers, and lagers. Hefeweizens like Sierra Nevada’s seasonal Kellerweis are refreshing whether you’re trying to beat the heat in Gilroy or bundled in a sweater on the foggy coastside.
Weissbiers with a hint of fruit seem to be on the upswing during the summer, and 21st Amendment sells a lot of cans of its signature Watermelon Wheat. A number of American brewers are also making Kolsch, a German ale once only made in Köln. It’s pale gold, crisp, faintly fruity, delicate and refreshing, with a little pucker at the finish.
American brewers have also picked up on Berliner Weiss, a German wheat beer style that has fallen out of favor from the days when it was the most popular alcoholic beverage in Berlin. Today, only a couple of German breweries still make this refreshing style, which gets its tartness from lactobacillus yeast. German beer purity laws forbid adding flavorings to beer during the brewing process, so Germans are fond of adding a shot of fruit syrup or woodruff. It’s also common for Germans to sip their Berliner Weiss from a straw. Neither the straw nor the syrup are necessary and only add some unnecessary sweetness to the otherwise grapefruity beer.
Delaware-based Dogfish Head makes a unique version of Berliner Weiss called Festina Peche. Unlike in Germany, Festina Peche is brewed with peaches but it isn’t a sweet, fruity beer. The peach comes across mostly in the aroma, while the flavor is tart and refreshing. It’s also a well-balanced beer that’s very good with lighter summer dishes that might benefit from a little blast of citrusy acidity. When they reviewed Festina Peche last year on Beer Advocate, the Alstrom brothers wrote, “This beer is a call to the entire brewing industry not to jump on every bandwagon that comes through town. Do something different.”
Anchor & Hope on Minna recently featured Festina Peche on draft, and I decided to pair it with the restaurant’s delicious fish tacos: two soft little corn tortillas topped with crispy lightly fried fish and a spicy salsa. Anchor & Hope served the Festina Peche in a wine glass, but I think Dogfish Head’s effervescent Berliner Weiss is a better match with the tacos than a still white wine or even champagne. The tart Festina Peche resonated with the salsa and was like an extra squeeze of lemon on the delicate fish.

Anchor & Hope, which opened in 2008, is the third restaurant by brothers Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal and their partner, Doug Washington, following Town Hall (2003) and Salt House (2006). Anchor & Hope has become a popular destination for downtown office workers during lunch and dinner, and for its excellent happy hour specials, like a chef’s selection of oysters for $1 each, fish tacos and shrimp fritters, as well as beer and wine specials.
Despite the stainless steel that gives the restaurant an urban ambience, the bright room has a lot of warmth, which was enhanced by Tom McDermott playing New Orleans style on the piano that Anchor & Hope brought in for the occasion. McDermott was recently featured on HBO’s post-Katrina series Treme.
Enjoying the fish tacos with the fresh Festina Peche while listening to McDermott play Professor Longhair on the piano was like taking a mini vacation from bustling downtown San Francisco. I for one hope the piano, and music in general, becomes a regular fixture at this downtown oasis.

Anchor & Hope
83 Minna St
(between 2nd St & Shaw Aly)
San Francisco, CA 94105
Neighborhood: SOMA
(415) 501-9100

No comments:

Post a Comment