Desert Island Beers – Tomme Arthur, U.S.A.
This weeks Desert Island Beers is a real coup for us as it features none other than Sir (well he would be if he was a UK citizen) Tomme Arthur, the co-founder and director of brewery operations for Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey.
A professional brewer for more than 15 years, he is widely regarded as one of the leaders of the American Craft brewing renaissance. Tomme lives in San Diego County with his wife and two daughters. A native San Diegan, Tomme returned home to San Diego in 1995 after earning his Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Arizona University where he cultivated his passion for brewing.
In 1996, he began his professional brewing career at the now defunct Cervecerias La Cruda (The Hangover Brewery) in downtown San Diego. After La Cruda closed its doors in March 1997, Tomme went to work for White Labs in San Diego where he spent his days selling yeast and developing product as he waited patiently for the right brewing job to become available. In 1997 he was hired by Pizza Port in Solana Beach where he remained Head Brewer until June 2005 when he was named Director of Brewery Operations.
In addition to promoting San Diego as a great beer city, Tomme is known for his bold experimentation and willingness to blur the boundaries between beer, wine and spirits; with his flavor-forward brews having inspired a new generation of brewers and consumers to re-think their notions of what a beer could and should be.
During the 8 or so years that Tomme was Head Brewer at Pizza Port the brewery won 13 Great American Beer Festival Medals, numerous medals at the Chicago Real Ale Festival as well as other regional and national competitions. And after joining Port Brewing in 2006, Tomme kept up his winning ways as in 2007 Port Brewing was named Great American Beer Festival, Small Brewery of the Year, and Tomme Small Brewer of the Year.
To cap it all in 2008 he and Port Brewing were then named World Champion Small Brewer and Brewery at the International World Beer Cup. Since then he’s taken home a raft of further medals and been consistently noted as one of the world’s top brewers.
So Tomme which 5 beers would you want to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island, and why?
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company - Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – (California, U.S.A. 5.6%)
“There are beers that I never tire of drinking and then there are beers that taste good no matter what mood I am in. This is one of the few beers out there which I could drink on any occasion.”
Alpine Beer Company- Nelson IPA – (California, U.S.A. – 7.0%)
” While Pat, Val and Sean make a host of amazing IPA styled offerings my favorite is the Nelson. Assuming that I can’t have any Sauvignon Blanc on this Desert Isle, I would most assuredly want to have access to some of those same flavors. Nelson packs a whole bunch of New Zealand love in every bottle.”
Brasserie d’Orval – Orval – (Florenville, Belgium – 6.2%)
“Notice the trend here? Hoppy and dry beers are the norm. The cool thing about Orval is that with a Brettanomyces component, the beer has great evolution in the bottle. Not all beers can say that but certainly this one can.”
Victory Brewing Company- Victory Prima Pils – (Downingtown, Pennsylvania U.SA. – 5.3%)
“Prima Pils would have to make the list. I would want something very easy to drink for when other castaways came to visit my island. Over the years, I have found all sorts of great beers to put on my list but I would never have a list that didn’t include at least one Pils styled beer.”
Cantillon – Cantillon Saint Lamvinus – (Brussels, Belgium – 5.0%)
“This would be the bridge beer between wine and beer world. I imagine how exceptional it would taste on a hot day and even a cold night. As sour beers go, this one has it all.”
“For everything the beer stands for and what the company has achieved in being a founding member of the Craft Beer Movement in the United States, my vote has to go to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.”
You can also take one meal to go with your beers, what would it be and why? Is it a ‘last supper’ or a perfect pairing for one of the beers?
“Give me an In and Out Double Double with a side of Animal Fries and I think I’d be just fine. Pretty much all of the beers on my list would be just as easily consumed with this burger so not a perfect paring but pretty much a great way to be stranded.”
You have a CD/MP3/long player but you can only take one album. Choose wisely!
“Ah Via Musicom by Eric Johnson- There are three instrumental tracks on the album that continue to amaze me every time I hear them. While I can’t play the guitar myself, I can appreciate his music and it’s always with me.”
The Beer Book
You might be waiting a long time on your lonesome on the desert island, so we will automatically allow you a few books to keep your mind busy. You can pick between two beer books and two tomes:
• ‘The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food’ by Garrett Oliver, or;
• Beer by Michael Jackson; plus;
• The Bible, or;
• another appropriate religious or philosophical work
“Beer & The Bible.”
The non-beery, non-philosophical book, you can also take a something a little less taxing on the brain, what would that be?
“I’d probably opt for The Entire Works of William Shakespeare. This way I’d get sonnets as well as plays. If I got bored, I could read the plays aloud and if I went bonkers on the Island I could channel my inner King Lear.”
The Luxury Item
What luxury item would help make your stay on the island bearable?
“My 9”6 Long Board. There would be hope that the waters around this island might provide surf from time to time and as such it would be a perfect luxury item.”
Have you tried Tomme’s favourite beers? Let us know and many thanks to him for taking part and being our castaway for the week.
This article was simultaneously posted at Real Ale Reviews on 27h April 2012 as part of a collaboration on ‘Desert Island Beers’.
Tags: Alpine Beer Company- Nelson IPA, Brasserie d'Orval - Orval, Cantillon - Cantillon Saint Lamvinus, Desert Island Beers, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company - Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Tomme Arthur, Victory Brewing Company- Victory Prima Pils