Keller, arguably the number one chef in America, is fond of Vinnie Cilurzo’s brews. So fond, in fact, that he hired the brewmaster and co-owner of Santa Rosa’s Russian River Brewing Company, to brew a pilsner called the White Apron exclusively for his restaurant group.
Keller began serving White Apron at his Bouchon restaurants in Yountville and Beverly Hills, respectively. The beer may also be served at Bouchon in Las Vegas and Ad Hoc in Yountville before long.
The brewmaster said he doesn’t usually make custom brews but decided this was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. “Chef Keller has garnered so much respect in the restaurant world and it’s projects like this we want to be working on, ones that enhance our business and allow us to be creative.”
The White Apron Pilsner is made in a very dry style to play up its food-pairing charisma, Cilurzo said. “From my standpoint, looking across the table at the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, we wanted to make sure we delivered a beer that was really food-friendly … Most pilsners are not nearly as hoppy as the White Apron but it’s my signature style. I add a lot of hops to give it bright hop flavors and yeast notes.”
Hops — the flowers of the female hop plant – are added as a spice and their flavors have an impressive range, from rose to citrus, from apricot to pineapple.
Chilurzo said, as he understands it, Keller was “looking for a beer that a line cook could drink a couple of after an eight hour shift on the line.”