Actually, I can't say for certain that Ferran Adria of El Bulli in Spain is the world's most famous che, but he's certainly up there; and in terms of influence, he's definitely at the top of the heap. So it was a privilege to have him turn up at the F&W offices the other day to talk about his latest project, Inedit.
As Adria said, talking about the project, "At El Bulli I thought that the world of wine, even the world of water, was very well taken care of. But there was a hole in the world of beer." To fill that hole, he joined up with Estrella Damm, the Spanish mega-brewer to create Inedit, a blend of a Belgian witbier-style wheat ale with a traditional lager (about 30% witbier, 70% lager). Beer is typically either lager or ale, even in the crazier realms of craft brewing in the U.S., so Inedit is definitely a novelty in that regard.
One of Adria's sommeliers added that their hope was to blend the spiciness and creamy texture of the wheat beer with the dry, light, pleasant bitterness of a lager, ideally producing a beer that would be perfect with a wide range of foods—in essence, Inedit is a beer designed to go with food, rather than a beer designed to be simply a beer.
For that reason, when you taste Inedit, it's surprisingly unprepossessing. It doesn't bowl you over, the way, for instance, a West Coast double IPA might; i.e. by blasting your tongue with unprecedented amounts of hops; nor does it go the sturm und drang direction of something like Avery's The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest, which I love, but which weighs in at a whopping 9.37% alcohol. Instead, Inedit is a fairly subtle, softly effervescent beer that tastes like a traditional lager with a bit more texture and faint (less than most white ales) notes of orange peel, licorice and cinnamon.
Inedit won't be available in the U.S. at retail until September (when it will cost $11.99 for a 750ml bottle), but it's currently being poured at a number of terrific restaurants, including 11 Madison Park, Casa Mono and La Fonda del Sol in NYC, Amada and Vetri in Philadelphia, Tapas y Tintos in Miami, Hugo's in Portland ME, and the SLS Hotel (and Bazaar, one assumes) in LA...