A little weary of the mixed nut and pretzel offerings that you so often find at bars? If you’re in want of a unique chewy snack to accompany your beer next, look no further than the bottom of your glass when you order Pine & Crane’s special summer shandy: Taiwanese lager, Passionfruit Green Tea, and—drumroll please—boba pearls! The drink first appeared three weeks ago as an off-menu item that owner Vivian Ku offered to regulars. While it’s not an entirely new concept, options are limited to only a few places like Boba 7 in Downtown and Boba 8 in San Gabriel, which serves green tea Heineken and the Bobagasm, a mixture of Bailey’s, Kahlua, and honey boba.
At Pine & Crane, the drink is equal parts beer and tea. Ku thought it would be appropriate to use canned Gold Medal Taiwan Beer as her base. “In Taiwan, they’re not big on craft beer yet,” says Ku, who likens it to a common, everyday sort of lager. “The same company offers mango beer, but in the U.S. you can only get the regular kind. And for some reason it’s not offered on tap here either.”
The beer is light and heavily carbonated—with some faint notes of caramel and malt too—which makes it an ideal pairing with the fragrant passionfruit. While Gold Medal may not be a stellar standalone beer, something with too strong a flavor or too many hops might take away from the beverage’s easy-going crispness. Along with the extra chewy boba, you’ll also come across some occasional passion fruit seeds and pulp at the bottom of your pint glass. Empty mug of beer? Big deal; there’s boba to be had!
Pine & Crane, 1521 Griffith Park Blvd., Silver Lake, 323-668-1128