Most regions have their own cult brewers -- idiosyncratic wizards whose unique beers always seem to turn out right. In the Bay Area, Moonlight Brewing's Brian Hunt fits the bill. In Southern California, the honor arguably goes to Mark Jilg of Craftsman Brewing.
The bad news is that Craftsman's beers aren't distributed to Northern California. Thankfully, Certified Cicerone Sayre Piotrkowski of St. Vincent has befriended the brewmaster on our behalf, and will co-host a dinner with Jilg on Monday. Oakland's Boot and Shoe Service will host the beer dinner, with food from Chris Kronner of Bar Tartine, Serpentine, and Slow Club fame. See the full menu and details for your rendezvous with an elusive brewing hero:
Craftsman Brewmaster's Dinner
Where: Boot and Shoe Service, 3308 Grand (at Elwood), Oakland, (510) 763-2668.
When: Monday, Aug. 13, with seatings at 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $65, including gratuity.
What: Four courses of food from a star chef and five beers from a hermit brewer:
Reception: "Heavenly Hefeweizen" Bavarian-style wheat beer (4.8 percent ABV).
First course: Crispy Bodega Bay Coonstripe shrimp with sweet corn and green tomato, paired with "1903″ Pre-Prohibition-style American lager, (5.8 percent ABV).
Second course: Squab sausage with yeasted potatoes, plum and mustard greens, paired with "Honesty Ale" sour ale with cherries (7.0 percent ABV) -- Brewed only once a year, and fermented in oak with brettanomyces and Oregon-grown Montgomery tart cherries.
Third course: Oven-roasted sweetbreads with shellbeans, sage, citrus and brown butter, paired with "Triple White Sage" Belgian-style tripel (9.0 percent ABV) -- brewed seasonally each summer, with hand-harvested aromatic white sage.
Cheese: Skyhill chèvre, paired with "Citrus Saison" Saison-style ale with fresh citrus (7.2 percent ABV) -- brewed only once a year using Meyer lemons and pink grapefruit, and fermented in oak.