William: I have been reading your column in the Oakland Tribune for several months now, and find it quite valuable. I am hoping that you can help me with a bit of information.
I live in Piedmont and I am trying to find a store that sells Fantome.
A friend tells me that there is a place in Santa Cruz, but I was hoping that you might know of something that is a bit closer. Actually, maybe a better question would be for your recommendation on the best stores to buy beer in the bay area. There are, after all, many beers to try.
Any info that you could provide would be most helpful. Thanks for your time.
— Dave S.
Dave — I tried Fantome in Belgium and loved it, especially the Noel. But I’ve never seen it here in the Bay Area. The Shelton Brothers, P.O. Box 486, Belchertown, MA 01007 ,http://www.sheltonbrothers.com import Fantome, so I’ll shoot them an e-mail tonight and ask them where you can get it.
Wait a minute… maybe the Toronado in San Francisco carries it _ that’s a great bar at 547 Haight St.
OK, I called the Toronado and here’s the news: They have three Fantomes in bottles: Fantome Noel 2001 and 2002 and Fantome, the Saison. Noel is 10 percent alcohol by volume and Fantome Saison is 8 percent.
I’ll still e-mail the Sheltons, but if you’ve never visited the Toronado _ a glass of Fantome is a great reason to do so.
The place looks like it belongs on the Lower East Side in New York City . It’s scruffy, but wonderful. William Brand
Got a question about beer? Or looking for our list of the best places to buy beer in the San Francisco Bay Area. E-mail William Brand at firstname.lastname@example.org.