Any Germans would be scandalized.
Why? Because tonight was the night of 961’s launch of the first edition of the Brewmaster’s Select, the Lebanese Pale Ale. And it had local Lebanese herbs and spices in it. Oh no!
It was actually pretty good, too. The Lebanese spices gave it a nice flavor that did actually make it taste distinctively Lebanese, compared to other beers that just taste like, well, beer.
The launch was held at Tawlet Souk al Tayeb, a really funky and cool space that regularly hosts different Lebanese chefs to create unique and delicious dinners. For the launch they had all kinds of hors d’oeuvres, from the only falafel I’ve had in Lebanon, kibbe, and even custom-made ice cream made using one of the 961 beers. Surprisingly enough, it was actually pretty delicious. Tables were lined with free samples of all 961’s beer except for the new LPA, which was saved for the gift bags for people to try at home. The founder of 961 came up and gave a speech and a toast about how the company got to where they are now near the end. Overall it was a pretty cool event, I’m glad I got the invite through work since it was so close to my apartment.
I’ll definitely be on the hunt to find some 961 in bars or stores near me. There really isn’t enough good beer in Beirut (Almaza sucks and it’s not even Lebanese, it’s owned by Heineken!) except for 961, and the only ones I’ve ever seen are the Lager and Red Ale, despite having six brews in total now. And maybe try to find some more of that beer ice cream too…