Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Time Again For Letters

By William Brand
Thursday, March 24th, 2005 at 6:10 pm in Uncategorized.

I’m an unreliable blogger. Each morning I get up vowing to update the blog and somehow, the day passes and no blog.Nevermore.

We’ll start this new day with letters:

The Search for St. Peter’s Stout

Hi Bill,

I have been trying to find my favorite stout, but no one seems to carry it anymore . The name of it is St. Peters Cream Stout, it is one of the best I’ve ever tried, and I was wondering if you have ever tried it, and if you have, what do you think of it ? and also if you can find out where I can find it.

The web site for the stout is www.stpetersbrewery.co.uk, the importer was Eurobubblies Inc. and Beverages and More carried it for a time. but I ran into a wall trying to get any more info.

STEVEN

Hi Steven…Talked to Eurobubblies, the importer, (310) 319-1102. They said all the St. Peter’s beers should be available in Beverages N’More stores, and in Whole Foods stores in the Bay Area. They also import the Wychwood and Black Sheep beers from the UK.

Let me know if you find it. If you don’t, I’ll call the distributor, Wine Warehouse.

Yes, I do like their stout. According to the brewer’s website, the stout uses four kinds of barley malt, plus Challenger and Fuggles hops. Both are traditional for English porters. All the St. Peter’s bottled beers come in unusual oval shaped, clear glass bottles, which means: be sure to get the freshest beer you can.
If it’s sitting on a a dusty shelf exposed to bright light, be careful.

The small, 20 barrel brewery was founded in 1996 in a barn, built in 1280, but rehabbed in 1539, talk about tradition. Whew.

St. Peter’s makes several real ales and wins approval from the UK’s Campaign for Real Ale. The brewery also makes a series of acclaimed organic ales, Organic Ale and Organic Best Bitter. I’ve never seen them in the U.S., would love to try them. Has anyone? Let me know.
– William Brand

For more info: St. Peter’s Brewery Co. Ltd St. Peter’s Hall, St. Peter South Elmham, Bungay, Suffolk, England NR35 1NQ +44 (0) 1986 782322 beers@stpetersbrewery.co.uk

Looking for Good Beer in Philadelphia

Hey Bill,

I enjoy reading your column in the Daily Review and have tried several of your suggestions/beer tastings. Next week my brother and I are traveling to Philadelphia, PA to research family geneology and would like to try some local/micro beer.

Do you know of any places or suggestions? Also, you mentioned in the latest St. Patty’s column that O’Hara’s Irish Stout is sold exclusively on the East Coast-will we find it in Philly?-

Brad

Hi Brad…. Yes, O’Hara’s apparently’s available in Philly.

Here’s a list of good places from Lew Bryson, an author and beer journalist who lives in philadelphia. A friend of mine in Washington forwarded his suggestions to me;


You know…there’s a number of different questions here! I’ll talk about the best. You can easily get addresses and phones from Pubcrawler or BeerAdvocate.

First, walking distance from City Hall is easy. There are two brewpubs in walking distance: Nodding Head and Independence. Nodding Head is great, award-winning beers, relaxed atmosphere. Not handicapped-accessible, if that’s an issue. Independence is often dissed by geeks, unfairly, IMO. The oatmeal stout, porter, koelsch, and brown ale were all excellent over the past month in my sampling. The place itself is LARGE, and idiots crowd in to drink Miller Lite and Guinness, but you can overcome that. It’s also across from the Terminal Market, which is one of Philly’s main attractions, a large number of eating places, market stands, and the like: tres cool and authentic.

Philly’s oldest bar is not far from there: McGillin’s Old Ale House, quite atmospheric, and sporting good beers, too, along with a large array of good ‘n’ greasy bar food.

Right down a footway alley is Ludwig’s Garten, a great German place that has, IMO, slipped a bit lately on their German tap offerings: it’s only excellent now, not tremendous (though they did have the very nice Jever Dark last weekend, along with Samichlaus, Aventinus, 3 Leikeim beers…the usual suspects).

Let’ s see… Fergie’s pub is there, sporting the usual Irish stuff plus local beers and a handpump that usually pours Yards ESA.

Monk’s is within walking distance, and it’s simply extra-terrestrial…and so it does fill up rather early; VERY popular spot, but the Belgian beer selection is deep and wide.

You’re also not TOO far from the latest spot, Tria, where they focus on “the three fermentables:” wine, beer, and cheese. Beer actually gets equally billing. I haven’t had a chance to get here, but the reviews are almost all good…the negatives find that it’s quite pricey, a bit hoity-toity (an impression that some geeks get from places that have tablecloths…), and — for all the fuss — not really that impressive a beer selection. Can’t steer you completely on this one, sorry.

Copa, Too! has gone downhill quite a bit, but McGlinchey’s, next door, is still a dumpy dive with good beer that has time for anyone who comes in the door. Not to be overlooked.

That’s about it for good places in easy walking distance…unless you really want to go to Irish bars. If you do, you’re on your own.

Lew

And from me, a furthermore…here are some details and other suggestions: –

Independence Brew Pub 1150 Filbert Street Philadelphia, PA , (215) 922-4292. Reviewers always like the beer, but lots of complaints about service. Who knows.

– Another place I would visit is not in Philly, but fairly close. That would be Victory Brewing, in Downingtown, PA. It’s one of the best craft breweries in the U.S..They make Hop Devil and other fairly wild brews. It’s about 40 miles from Philadelphia, so maybe a bit out of the way for you.

Victory Brewing, 420 Acorn Lane, Downingtown, PA 19335, Phone: 610 873-0881 RESTAURANT: 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. Friday & Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sundays.

Bill,

Thanks for the wonderful info. My brother and I will try to get to some of these fine suggestions. While researching I found an interesting article you might like to see about The City Tavern-an old restuarant (although the place look pricey) that pairs craft beer with menu items including George Washington’s own brew http://www.beercook.com/prochefs/walterstaib.html Thanks, Brad

posted by whatsontap @ 5:43 PM

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Measuring Beer by the Foot
OK, I know it’s impossible to measure beer by the foot. True, a Belgian beer, Pauwel Kwak, was served to coachmen in the 18th century in what was called a stirrup cup, approximately a yard of beer.

But no – in this case I’m talking about refrigerated shelves filled with beer for sale in large supermarkets. From time-to-time I measure the yardage – American craft beer and imports against shelf yardage of American lagers like Bud and company.

It used to be that even a huge super in the Bay Area would have 10 or 15 feet of cases containing Bud et. al.

It’s changing.

At one big Safeway in Walnut Creek, in suburban Conta Costa County recently, imports and craft beer occupied about 15 feet of shelf space compared to 12 for the American blahs.

Not bad.

But earlier today, I paced off the beer coolers at Andronico’s on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. Here’s what I found:

Bud etc. had five feet of shelf space; imports about 10 feet and craft beer had 15 feet – cases lining both sides of an aisle.

Marketers take note: This Andronico’s is in a neighborhood a few blocks from the University of California, Berkeley, and the area is heavily populated with undergraduate and graduate students and their families.

One thing’s certain. They’re not drinking much Bud.
Wonder what this means for the future of Bud as we know it?

– William Brand

posted by whatsontap @ 11:19 PM

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Craft Beer’s Alive and Well: Sales Up 7 Percent
The statistics are in from the Brewers Association and it’s good news indeed: Sales of craft beer rose a solid 7 percent in 2004, beating import growth and far exceeding (percentage-wise) growth in the mass market – “yellow beer” segment.

The association reports craft brewers sold 7.02 million barrels of beer, up 460,190 barrels from the 6.56 million barrels sold in 2003. A barrel of beer contains 31 gallons of beer and the total equals 6.34 million cases of beer.

By comparison, imports rose 1.4 percent or 4.6 million cases and industrial American beer rose just a half percent. Of course, that segment is 85 percent of the American beer market.

Craft beer market share now stands at 3.2 percent; imports have 11 percent.

Still it’s good news, isn’t it.

I love the public relations quote from Charlie Papazian, founder of the predecessor to the Brewers Association: “Americans increasingly prefer the flavor and diversity of fresh, locally-made beers…Now those flavorful brews have become a regular part of their lifestyle.”

Well- 3.2 percent of us, anyway.

Oh yes, the association says wine sales were up 2.7 percent; hard liquor sales rose 3.1 percent.

But what’s a craft beer? My definition: Any well-made beer with a taste profile at leat 10 points above zero, figuring standard American lager at zero.

The Brewers Association describes the craft beer segment as “the more than 1,400 breweries that produce primarily all-malt beers, including brewpubs, brewery-restaurants, microbreweries (makingless than 15,000 barrels per year) and speciality brewers.

No, I don’t know what a speciality brewer is either – unless they mean virtual brewers, brands that are made by another company. For instance He’Brew , one of my favorite San Francisco Bay Area brews is made by Anderson Valley Brewing, Boonville, CA. for Jeremy Cowan, of San Francisco.

Never tried He’Brew. look for it on Bay Area beer shelves. I give it thee stars-plus.

posted by whatsontap @ 6:07 PM

Thursday, February 24, 2005

How to Order Anchor’s 2005 Calendar
Yes, it’s February, but it’s not too late to order Anchor Brewing’s calendar. Each year, Anchor has produced a calendar – each with a high resolution copy of a painting showing early San Francisco. Each calendar also has calendar notes about San Francisco brewing on the appropriate anniversary date.

Here’s Anchor’s explanation of this year’s calendar:

“This charming untitled painting depicts Gold Rush San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Cove — site of today’s Financial District — and Telegraph Hill. It is reproduced here courtesy of the Reid W. Dennis Collection. The earliest known reference to this unsigned work is in an auction catalog from New York’s American Art Association, dated May 3-4, 1916: `Original Oil Painting on Whatman paper [there are no watermarks to confirm this], by Fred Tobin, 1850. Height, 13 ½ inches; width, 19 ¼ inches.

“View of San Francisco taken from the Southern Extremity of the town, called Rincont Point [Rincon Point was near Harrison and Front streets], looking towards the town, with Telegraph Hill in Centre background, showing idle shipping in harbor [mud flats kept ships far offshore; many were abandoned by their fortune-seeking crews].

“The following statement was penciled on the back of one of the old frames from which this and the following four paintings were taken [a total of seven are known today], ‘Painted by Fred Tobin, 1850, who had recently been Secretary to the Society of Foreign Artists.”

“Regrettably, little else is known about this enigmatic artist. As Oscar Wilde writes of another painter in The Picture of Dorian Gray, “It is an odd thing, but every one who disappears is said to be seen at San Francisco.”

To order the full color calendar go to Anchor’s web site: http://www.anchorbrewing.com/steam_gear/ . It costs $14.95 plus tax and shipping.

– William Brand

Art on Anchor Brewing 2005 Calendar is a reproduction of an 1850 painting
showing early San Francisco.

posted by whatsontap @ 10:58 AM

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A New Belgian Cafe With Lots of Beer
Think your local has a great beer selection. Check out the new Delirium Cafe in central Brussels.

The place, which people say is fairly pricey, boasts a beer list topping 2,000. The list below is just the additions in this month. I report about beer and cider, but the list includes a number of gins and whiskeys, so I’m adding those as well.

By the way, 33 cl, means 33 centiliters, about 11.1 oz., 75 cl is about 25.3 oz. Hint: If you’re sampling strong, Belgian beer, go for 33 cl. if you want to be able to walk away from the place in good form.

A final note: I haven’t visited Delirium, but the best beer bar in Brussels, in my humble opinion, is still Le Bier Circus.(89 Onderrichtstraat / rue de l’Enseignement 89, Tel: 32-2-218.00.34, biercircus@tiscali.be, www.biercircus.com, Open : 12.00-14.30 / 18.00-24.00, Closed : Saturday / Sunday).

It may not have as many beers, although the beer list runs to many pages. What they have, the have in depth. For example, Trappist ales that are five or 10 years old or older. The staff knows everything about beer.

About Delirium: Check out the `WATER BAR’ listing. Girli water? Hmm. A Belgian comment, I guess.

DELIRIUM CAFE
Address : Impasse de la Fidelité 4A, 1000 BRUXELLES, BE
Tel. : 02/514 44 34, e-mail: infor@deliriumcafe.be

Brewery of the month: NEUZELLER KLOSTERBRAUEREI/ GERMANY:
Black Abbot, Golden Abbot, Monkpils, Blackbeer Extra,Winzerbier, Bock, Maltbeer, Anti-Aging Beer, Marathon Beer, Bathbeer and the unique CHERRY BEER

New Beers:

BELGIUM:

ABBAYE DU PARK BLONDE 33 cl,

ABBAYE DU PARK BRUNE 33 cl,

ALVINNE BLOND EXTRA 33 cl,

BALTHAZAR 33 cl,

BAZELSEN BRUYNEN 33 cl,

BOERKE AMBER (Ã partir du 15/02/05) 75 cl

BOERKE BRUIN (Ã partir du 15/02/05) 75 cl
CELTIC-ANGEL 33 cl

CUVEE SAINT ANTOINE 75 cl

DE CAM OUDE LAMBIEK 37,5 cl

DRUIVENBIER 75 cl

DUCASSIS 33 cl

EZEL BRUIN 25 cl

EZEL WIT 25 cl

FFFADO 33 cl

FOUDROYANTE FRAISE 33 cl

GROENEN 33 cl

KLOEKE BLOND 50 cl

KRIEKEDEBIE 33 cl

LA BLONDE D’ESTINNE 75 cl

LA GATTE D’OR 25 cl

LAMPIONNEKE 33 cl

MON VILLAGE 25 cl

ONDINEKE 75 cl

PANNEPOT 33 cl

PRINSESKEN (Fraises) 33 cl

SAINT JOSEPH BLONDE 33 cl

SAINT JOSEPH BRUNE 33 cl

SAISON D’ERPE-MERE 75 cl

SPECIALE QUAKERS 75 cl

URTHEL BOCK 75 cl

ZWIJNTJESBIER 33 cl

CAMEROON:

33 EXPORT 65 cl, BEAUFORT 65 cl, CASTEL 65 cl

FRANCE

VIVAT BLONDE 75 cl,

GEORGIA

KAZBEGI LAGER

LEBANON

ALMAZA PILSENER BEER

MAURITIUS ISLAND

GUINNESS FOREIGN EXTRA

RUSSIA

BALTIKA 3%, BALTIKA 8%

COLLECTION BEERS:

CHIMAY BLEUE 2002 33 cl

WETS GUEUZE 75 cl (more than 15 year old)

WETS KRIEK 75 cl (more than 15 year old)

CORSENDONK AGNUS DEI 2001 33cl

CORSENDONK PATER NOSTER 2001 33 Cl

GENEVER

Belgium

COULIER, APPEL, CITROEN, SERAFIJN, CASSIS 21%, CITRUS 25%, CREME 21%, POMME 21%, NELISSEN, GENIEVRE HASSELT 30%, WAREGEMSE CITROEN 24,5%

Netherlands:

DUYS & CO, OUWE DUYS
FLORYN, OUDE GENEVER

VODKA

POLAND

WYBOROWA APPLE 40%

RUSSIA

PUSCHKIN BLACK 17,5%, PUSCHKIN RED 17,5%, PUSCHKIN TIME WART 17,7%, PUSCHKIN WHITE 37,5%, STOLICHNAYA 37,5%, STOLICHNAYA 37,5%

TEQUILLA

SIERRA GOLD, SIERRA SYLVER

WATER BAR

GIRLI COLA (Belgium), GIRLI GROENE (Belgium), GIRLI ORANGE (Belgium), GIRLI WITTE (Belgium)

VULKANIA (Germany), ZILLE’S ROTE FASSBRAUSE (Germany)

WHISKY

BRUICHLADDICH FLIRTATION 20 YEAR-OLD, BRUICHLADDICH 10 YEAR-OLD, BRUICHLADDICH “AGUSTA” 14 YEAR-OLD, BRUICHLADDICH 15 YEAR-OLD, BRUICHLADDICH 17 YEAR-OLD, BRUICHLADDICH FULL STRENGHT 1989, DALLAS DHU 1974 29 YEAR-OLD, EDDU SILVER, ELIJAH CRAIG 12 YEAR-OLD, EVAN WILLIAMS SINGLE BARREL, GLENFIDDICH 12 YEAR-OL, GLENLIVET 12 YEAR-OLD

GLENROC, GRAIGELLACHIE 1970 33 YEAR-OLD, LOCKES MAL, CROCKS IRISH WHISKEY, LONGROW 1994 10 YEAR-OLD, LONGROW 14 YEAR-OLD, McCLELLAND’S LOWLAND MALT,

McCLELLAND’S SINGLE HIGHLAND MALT, McCLELLAND’S SINGLE ISLAY MALT, McCLELLAND’S SINGLE SPEYSIDE MALT, MILLARS, IRISH WISKEY SPECIAL RESERVE, POIT DHUB 8 YEAR-OLD, POIT, DHUB 12 YEAR-OLD, POIT DHUB 21 YEAR-OLD, TAMNAVULIN 12 YEAR-OLD, TULLIBARDINE VINTAGE 1993

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