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Nico Freccia of the 21st Amendment Brewery talks beer at Left Bank in Menlo Park

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on February 12, 2014

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A theater major at Northwestern who came west to pursue an acting career, Nico Freccia got his first taste of the hospitality industry like many out of work actors, waiting tables. Along the way he became a home brewer. His ability to hold a crowd and talk beer was on display last weekend at a Brew Masters Dinner at Left Bank in Menlo Park, which coincided with SF Beer Week.

Nico FrecciaHe was on hand to showcase beers from the 21st Amendment Brewery, which he co-founded in 2000 with Shaun O’Sullivan. The brew pub is on 2nd St in San Francisco. “We got lucky with location as we were there before the Giants ball park was built,” he recalled.

While most people think of pairing wine with food, distinctive tasting beer works well, too. The food was prepared by Chef de Cuisine Brendy Monsada, back at Left Bank after a stint at LB Steak down the street. The Brewery’s Lower De Boom, a barley-style ale, was offered in cans to diners upon arrival.

“We usually serve it in a brandy snifter it’s such an strong, intense beer,” said Nico, adding that the 21st Amendment was at the forefront of the canned craft beer movement.

One of the standout dishes prepared by Chef Brendy was the Black IPA Braised Volcanic Kurobuta Pork Shank paired with Back in Black IPA. From this diner’s perspective, it would be hit if offered on the regular Left Bank menu.

Left Bank holds monthly La Fête de la Bière events. The next, featuring Calicraft Brewing Co., will be held on March 8th-9th. Another Brew Masters Dinner will be held in June showcasing Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company.

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