Monterey restaurant and brewery Alvarado Street, one of the region’s most respected brewers of pale ales and IPAs, has expanded to a new location — and style of beer — in nearby Carmel. Yeast of Eden, a spinoff project focused on beers made with wild and naturally occurring yeasts, is now open in Carmel Plaza, Suite 112, in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
The new 120-seat restaurant and 40-seat patio, decked out with wood tabletops and a bar salvaged from fallen Cyprus trees, is centered on views of the brewery’s coolship. That’s an open fermentation tank where Yeast of Eden’s “mixed fermentation” beer cools and interacts with naturally occurring yeasts.
“We want our beers to have a sense of place — flavors and nuances that are endemic to the Salinas Valley,” says Yeast of Eden and Alvarado Street co-owner J.C. Hill. Led by head brewer Andrew Rose, Yeast of Eden began as a side project in 2015. Now, Hill wants it to stand on its on.
So far, Roses’ experimental beers have included “Lost and profound,” a 14 percent barleywine wild ale aged in Cabernet barrels for a “crazy dark fruit and date character.” That took four years to produce — longer than what will be Yeast of Eden’s average. Still, the brewery’s mixed-fermentation process, by and large, demands much more time than hoppy ales, like Alvarado Street’s popular Mai Tai IPA, which take just weeks to produce and are drunk fresh, not aged.
The new Carmel space has a five-barrel brewing capacity that will start producing beer later this month. Meanwhile, Alvarado Street’s larger brewing system will also produce Yeast of Eden beer. The new restaurant has 26 beers on tap (a list is below) from Yeast of Eden, Alvarado Street, and some other great breweries.
To go with mixed-fermentation beers, many of which are dry and light on the palate, chef Stephen Paulson (Seattle’s Ba Bar and Elysian Fields), has a menu of food with Southeast Asian and Latin American influences. There are wings in a spicy fish caramel sauce, a variety of tacos, red curry duck, and a kobe beef burger on a potato bun. Aside from beer, there’s wine, and a full bar led by Future Bars alum Adam Ono, with drinks like an egg white cocktail with rye, Campari, and fernet called “Thou Mayest.”
That’s another reference to John Steinbeck: Yeast of Eden’s name, a literary pun for the ages, is particularly appropriate given the author’s close association with the region. The writer’s childhood home in Salinas has been preserved as a nonprofit, and the National Steinbeck Center is located nearby.
Like Steinbeck who imagined the landscape of the Salinas Valley as the “valley of the world” in his fiction, Yeast of Eden seeks to celebrate a sense of its place — on tap and by the bottle. And those won’t just be available at Yeast of Eden’s restaurant. For San Francisco Beer Week, they’re pouring at the Rare Barrel in Berkeley and the Monk’s Kettle on February 2, and Jupiter in Berkeley on February 3.
As the market for IPAs like many of Alvarado Street’s offerings remains red-hot, could the next wave of demand be for mixed fermentation beers like Yeast of Eden’s? “I hope so,” says Hill. “But it doesn’t matter... We’re just jazzed about the project of mixed fermentation beer.”
Yeast of Eden is open now from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. (kitchen until 9 p.m.). After a grand opening on January 17, hours will be 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Wednesday, and until midnight Thursday to Saturday (with the kitchen closing at 10 p.m.).
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