Revolution and Beer…of the week: 5 Lizard Latin-style Witbier and bragging rights

5LizardSin__48219_1358033837_1280_1280So here’s the deal. Normally we like to take the reader on a bit of a journey, paint a picture, if you will, around the beautifully crafted beers Brian and I feature each week. Fear not. There will be a journey, of the most delicious sort, as Revolution and Beer has partnered with a brilliant young Chicago chef that you will hear much more from in the future. His name: AJ Francisco. And since we are not in the future yet, Revolution and Beer is celebrating right here and now that AJ is now part of our team.

As I am writing this, I’ve cracked the lid off a bottle of 5 Lizard, the Latin-style Witbier from our friends at 5 rabbit Cerveceria, made locally here in Chicago. Witbier, or White beer drives its name from the cloudiness of the beer from suspended yeast. Latin American and Latin-style beers are perhaps among the most underrated beers on the market. Beers like Victoria, Bohemia and Negro Modelo remain consistently good quality beers, but 5 Rabbit has set a new threshold with their well-crafted, complex brews. Nothing sets the stage to highlight their beers quite like great Latin cuisine, or vice versa.

Brian and I met AJ at a party he was catering some weeks ago. We drink beer. We eat meat, but that night AJ through together a spectacular Latin-Asian inspired Vegan faire, for the hardcore vegans at the party. The food was nothing short of amazing. Managing to corner AJ for a moment, I asked if he’d be interested in working with us. Brian and I were putting together a television show. It seemed a fateful meeting, and the perfect way to showcase AJ’s creations through pairings with great beer. AJ agreed instantly.

Revolution and Beer chef, AJ Francisco preparing a dish

Revolution and Beer chef, AJ Francisco preparing a dish

The beer poured into a weiss bier glass a cloudy golden color, that same rich color of the morning sky just as the sun cracks the horizon above Lake Michigan. It’s a rich, full, glowing color imbued with promise. The beer was crowned by an inch thick snow-white head that faded rather quickly, but without sacrificing the champagne-like carbonation. I tipped up the glass and took the first much anticipated taste.

5 Lizard, according to Aztec mythology is one of the five gods of excess. It is also the deity of dance and sexual desire. I’m not sure what that says about the beer, but I imagine this particular god kept pretty busy. I’ll admit to being a bit perplexed about the name, until AJ revealed his pairing for 5 Lizard, as well as their spicy dark ale-5 vulture. That menu screamed indulgence, and I’ll come to that shortly.

And if this feels like a bit of a tease, it absolutely is! You see, we’re damned proud of partnering with a chef like AJ Francisco. Lot’s of beer pages do pairings, often recopied from the brewer, bar food, or the ubiquitous, and dare I say, boringly obligatory sausage and cheese suggestions. This year women are helping to drive a strengthening artisan beer market, and that means food pairings. Guys will try a beer for the beer’s sake, but women are generally looking for that fuller meal experience. That’s where AJ shines!

At 4.3% ABV, it is not an overwhelmingly heavy beer, but rather is quite comfortable with a complex meal. Made with coriander, lime peel and passion fruit, is bolder and very different from other witbiers on the market. No fruit needed for 5 Lizard, but I did serve this cold, perhaps just a bit colder than the brewers recommended 39-45 degree range. The colder temp subdued the lime and passion fruit a bit and caused the coriander to pop nicely on the tongue. Which is all well and good, but how does it go with food, you might ask? AJ was worked off the coriander in the beer, and here is what evolved.

5 Lizard Latin-style Witbier was paired with a crisp Three Citrus Ceviche and fresh Sweet Scallops. AJ used the Zest and juice of fresh Lemon, Lime, & Honey Tangerines, joined by fresh Pico de Gallo. The citrus paired with 5-Lizards coriander essence marvelously and weds nicely with its tease of Passion Fruit. To round out the experience, we through another 5 Rabbit offering into the mix. 5 Vultures, Rabbit’s Dark Ale, made with a hint of chili pepper, paired perfectly with a golden brown Empanada, made with fresh Chorizo, sweet potato, raisin, & Chipotle chilies with a Roasted Poblano salsa for a hint of smokiness. This bold beer stands up to big flavors. If that ain’t worth bragging about, I don’t know what is!

Next week’s Beer of the Week gets even more interesting, as AJ flexes his culinary muscles over Asian cuisine. Stay tuned.

Check out more of AJ’s great dishes at Patron’s Hacienda http://www.patronschicago.com/. For more on 5 Rabbit Brewery checkout the link…http://www.5rabbitbrewery.com/

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town with Mike Sanders, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Our Town is sponsored by HORA USA, at http://www.HORAusa.com. HORA is an evolutionary meditative practice for the whole body and mind. Take the next step in your personal evolution at http://www.HORAusa.com.

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. And check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

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About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

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