Photo: Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune / MCT
But lately, Adrià has undertaken his most challenging project to date: creating a Spanish beer that actually tastes good.
While Spain may excel at soccer, it lags behind in brewing: The lion's share of Spanish beers are light, easy-drinking lagers, the sort of hot-day brews that we buy in a 30-pack and bring to a backyard BBQ. Thirst-quenching quantity, not quality. In other words, beers that didn't do justice to Adrià's jaw-dropping foods.
To rectify the situation, Adrià and El Bulli sommeliers, along with Spanish brewers Damm, devised Inedit as an ideal dinner-table drink. Brewed with a blend of malt and wheat, Inedit is flavored with licorice, orange peel and coriander, which is the normal ingredient bill for a Belgian witbier. Furthermore, Inedit's profile -- faint fruit flavor, yeasty bouquet, subtle sweetness -- is surprisingly standard fare. Is it as paradigm-shifting as Adrià's eats? Not even close. It's drinkable, sure, but not worth a double-digit price tag -- or a seat at dinner.
Frankly, Adrià, after creating frozen chocolate air, I expect a bit more innovation. For that, I guess I must rely on American brewers like Dogfish Head.