World’s Youngest Beer Expert Hosts Beer Matinée at the Merc

Posted on Jan 31 by SEASONS Magazine

You’ve heard of wine sommeliers and pairing a sharp cheddar with a glass of Cabernet, but what about artistic beer pairings?

Meet Zach Rosen, the world’s youngest certified beer expert. He’s made a career out of his beer know-how, focusing on creative pairings, art events and lectures on everything from the history to the science behind beer.

This Saturday, February 2, Rosen is teaming up with the Mercury Lounge in Goleta to host what he calls a Beer Matinée. The lounge will screen The Big Lebowski, and throughout the movie, guests will be served different beers that Rosen thoughtfully paired with certain points in the film.

Zach Rosen doing a Tasting at the Mercury Lounge, courtesy of

Zach Rosen doing a Tasting at the Mercury Lounge, courtesy of

“We’ll bring around the beer to everybody’s table during the movie. It’s just hanging out, having a beer and watching a great movie. And of course there will be popcorn!” Rosen says.

Rosen, a resident of Santa Barbara for the past eight years, received Cicerone certification after an afternoon daydream during a class at UCSB inspired him to explore artistic beer pairings. Now, he’s known for charting relatively unknown territory.

When it comes to pairing beer with a movie like The Big Lebowski, Rosen focuses on the moment and the feeling of the film to find a perfectly brewed companion. “Remember the rug? The rug in Big Lebowski was the toughest pairing,” Rosen says. “It’s an inanimate object, so how do I pair that? And I thought: what does it smell like? I was thinking of the texture, the feel. It probably has ash fallen on it! So it gets a dark, smoked beer.”

Over the years, Rosen has hosted many pairing events, matching beer not only with food, but with music and art.

“I call it ‘abstract beer pairings’,” Rosen says. “You do have to think largely out of the box! There’s no textbook for this kind of thing. With music, each pairing is looking at the concept behind it. If you’re pairing with the Beatles, you have to be nonsensical. If you’re pairing to Mozart, the flavor is reflected in the movement of the story.”

That’s how Rosen frames these matinées at the Merc: with a dedication to more than just good flavors and a favorite movie.

“I’m so interested in these pairings because they’re so subjective,” Rosen says. “With beer and food, they are directly related on the palate. Whereas in music and art and movies, they only combine in the mind.”

Can’t make it to the Merc this Saturday? The good news is that Rosen hopes to continue these matinées for as long as he’s in Santa Barbara, with films such as Princess Bride as potential future screenings.

Make sure to reserve a spot at the Beer Matinée ahead of time. Tickets cost $25 and will not be sold at the door. Find the Mercury Lounge at 5871 Hollister Ave. in Goleta. For more information, call 805/967-0907. Don’t worry if you miss this weekend; check back at the end of February for future events.

So, maybe you aren’t a fan of beer, but in the words of “the Dude” Lebowski, “That’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

-Chelsea Joy


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