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By Charles Lam
There's a beer for every moment in the day, and Kyle Crabb—bar manager at Seal Beach's Abbey, where beer is a four-letter word for art—knows them all. The usual summer staples are covered by the pisswater breweries—beers for sitting and looking at a screen, or maybe yelling at a screen—but a more unique situation demands a more unique species of alcohol to bring it to its true potential. And Kyle has it dialed: no matter what happens to you this summer, he'll be able to point to the bottle that goes with it.
OC Weekly: Let's say you've just spent a long day out in the sun and you want to get something nice and cold and refreshing. What do you recommend?
Kyle Crabb: A nice Hefe-weisse. That's a German wheat beer, so it's unfiltered—really nice and citrusy, like an orangey flavor to it. Kind of on the lighter side, and a little bit lighter on the alcohol, too. About 5, 5 and a half percent. Usually served with a lemon. Just a really nice beer after a day in the sun—really refreshing.
Let's say you spent that long day in the sun drinking some really crummy beer like Natural Ice or something, and you'd like to show your body a little mercy.
After Natural Ice, I think I'd go with a Belgian triple ale—a Chimay Triple Ale. Or maybe an O'Doul's! But any Belgian triple would be good in that situation. They have really high alcohol contents, but they're not too heavy. Maybe like a burgundy ale—a light body, really heavy alcohol, but really clean. I'd go with a Chimay or a Duvel or maybe a Piraat.
Let's say you spent that long day in the sun drinking crummy beer with a really classy girl who is just about fed up with you, and you need to get her something to make it up to her.
Go with a Belgian lambic, like a Framboise—a Belgian raspberry beer, fermented with fresh raspberries. Really floral, really sweet—the women love it.
Let's say after that long day drinking crummy beer with the girl, it's time to go out with her and her even classier parents.
Going up the ladder, yeah . . . I'd go with one of the higher alcohol Belgian beers. I really like Belgian beers. Oh, they make great beer. There's a bunch of obscure ones like Gouden-Carolus, and they have several styles, but the triple is really good—about 10 percent alcohol. Or if you want to go with a local California style, like a nice pale ale—like if you want to switch from the Belgian side, and if you like a lot of hops, Stone Brewery down in San Diego makes a lot of good hoppy beers.
Let's say her parents are prepared to offer you a multimillion-dollar corporate position in Europe if you make a good impression.
You know, then I might switch to a nice champagne—that calls for a nice bottle of Dom Perignon!
Let's say you already have that multimillion-dollar corporate position and you're ordering drinks on the company expense account, and price is no object.
Price is no object? There's a brewery called Scaldis that makes a beer called Noel, a seasonal beer that they make in wintertime that's about 12 percent alcohol. Really nice. The best beer in the world.
Let's say you got fired because you abused your expense account and you're down to the last few dollars in your pocket—what's the best beer you can get for barely any money?
I'd go with a Canadian brewery called Unibroue—they brew a really good Belgian-style beer, but they brew in Canada, so they can export for cheap. One is called La Fin du Monde—'The End of the World.' Appropriate, huh? Those are really good values for beer.
And what's your own personal favorite?
I usually drink Maredsous—an 8 percent double ale. Really good. Belgian. Nice burgundy taste, really sweet, healthy finish and of course high alcohol content. That's what I go for.
The Abbey, 306 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 799-4246.