There was a battle in Agoura Hills on Tuesday night; a Battle of the Barrel, that is.
Agoura’s and Malibu’s Malibu Winery had a showdown on the Ladyface patio to decide once and for all: which is better – wine or beer? on the patio of Ladyface
It all began one night, over a few beers, when Derek Baugh, director of sales and marketing for Malibu Family Wines; , Ladyface's proprietor; and , Ladyface brewmaster, challenged each other to see who could produce a better concoction out of the same wine barrel, according to Nouzille.
"It was decided that Ladyface La Trappistine ale, a dark, rich, malty Belgian dubbel, would be aged in a Semler Syrah French oak barrel with fifty pounds of fresh Syrah grapes from the Semlers' Malibu Estate," said Griffiths.
According to Nouzille, the fine beer makers at Ladyface declared that the barrel-aged Trappistine would taste better than plain Syrah wine, while the fine winemakers at the Semler family-owned Malibu Winery firmly disagreed.
And so the friendly battle began.
Over the weekend customers flocked to both the winery and the brewery for $5 tastings of the baby Syrah and the Syrah fermented wine.
Thousand Oaks residents Michelle DiSimone and Lise Ashforth visited the winery for a tasting over the weekend and attended the Tuesday's finale with a group of friends to vote again and to view the results.
“We love the beer at Ladyface. This is a great event and such a beautiful evening, and we’ve even made some new friends who are sitting at our table tonight. I hope they do more events like this,” said DiSimone.
Malibu's vineyard manager, Tami Semler, good-naturedly explained that it wasn’t really a fair contest. “We usually bottle-age our wine for two years. This wine is very young and has only been bottle-aged for six months.," she said.
Marcus Griffiths, brother of brewmaster Dave Griffiths, agreed that the contest wasn’t exactly fair. “I love how they used the same barrel and used the Syrah grapes for the beer, but for a true contest they should each put up their best product – Ladyface’s best beer against Malibu Winery’s best wine.”
When Patch asked if he was loyal to his brother and voted for the beer, he said that he really did like the wine, despite its youth, and chose to take the fifth.
At 6 p.m., the votes had been tallied and the crowd waited anxiously to hear the results. The stakes of the contest were great: If Ladyface lost Cyrena Nouzille and Dave Griffiths would have to drink Bud Light Lime. If Malibu Winery lost Derek Baugh and Tami Semler would have to down Charles Shaw (otherwise known as two-buck-Chuck).
The final tally: 155 tasters preferred the beer; 135 tasters voted for wine. Cyrena Nouzille made the two-buck-Chuck more palatable by serving it over ice.
Ashforth and DiSiomone’s table started the chant, “Chug, Chug, Chug,” and chug they did!
“We will definitely be having more events together in the future,” said Nouzille.
“That is something we can definitely agree on,” said Baugh, as he raised his glass in a toast. “To good friends, good times, and to good wine and beer,” he said.