Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for December, 2005

Bay Area Cops On DUI Patrol — Big Time

OK, thinking about chugging a few this weekend and then trying to drive home undetected. These are press releases from the Bay Area law enforcement team to the media about checkpoint plans for the weekend. Note: There are very few specific checkpoints this year. Read on…

First Presbyterian Church, Castro Valley
2490 Grove Way
Briefing for major 70-officer DUI Strike Team from Avoid the 21 in Alameda County. Top DUI officers from many jurisdictions and police brass will be there. Officers will be trained on drug recognition and will fan out over the county to arrest DUI suspects all night long. Roving patrols, not a checkpoint.

LATER FRIDAY NIGHT: 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.
University Ave. at Seneca St.

The intense enforcement campaign continues until New Year’s Day. Both Alameda and Santa Clara County are seeing significant reductions in DUI arrests. Avoid campaigns involve 125 police departments from all nine Bay Area counties. More than 2600 DUI suspects were arrested during last year’s campaign.

# # #

For immediate release:

Motorcycle Lt. Al Casciato hopes for a repeat of last year’s near-miracle at San Francisco General Hospital, when no car crash victims showed up at the trauma center on New Year’s Eve.

Countywide police crackdowns from Sonoma County to Monterey County will send out swarms of officers from city, county, state and federal agencies to arrest DUI suspects over the final weekend of the 17-day Avoid campaigns, but hope that designated sober drivers will reduce the DUI arrest and crash total.

“We’ll be concentrating on looking for any justification to stop a vehicle, whether it’s burned out headlights or taillights, cracked or tinted windshields or expired registration along with the regular speeding and weaving,” the San Francisco Police Dept.’s Casciato said.

DUI enforcement details include sobriety checkpoints in Union City, Petaluma, San Francisco and Saratoga on Friday night, Dec. 30. The Avoid campaigns end at midnight in New Year’s Day. Officers will concentrate on street patrol for the remainder of the weekend.

Local CHP area commands will send out 80 percent of their available officers starting on Friday and ending on New Year’s Day, said Capt. Jim Leonard of the Oakland CHP.

Police in the nine Bay Area counties plus Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties have made an even 1800 DUI arrests since the campaigns began Dec. 16, down three percent overall compared to the same period last year.

Alcohol-related injury crashes stand at 48, down off by a third from last year’s total. Two have died in DUI crashes.

“Impaired drivers endanger the lives of everyone we protect and serve. No one who pins on a badge has any intention of putting up with the problem,” said Chief Scott Vermeer of the Mountain View Police Dept.
In Santa Cruz County, Capitola Police Chief Rick Ehle issues a challenge. “This is your last weekend to frustrate police officers by driving stone-cold sober and making it impossible for us to find anyone to arrest.”

Jail drunk tanks are ready for people who try to create holiday cheer with alcohol and then get behind the wheel over the long New Year’s weekend.

“There is one toilet and one bench in our drunk tank,” said Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Mallamo.

“Although our jail is new, conditions are still unpleasant,” said Capt. Chuck Monarque of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office. “There are other drunks in there along with transients and people who are vomiting. It’s not an environment in which you’d like to spend any length of time.”

The California Office of Traffic Safety funds all 21 countywide Avoid campaigns.

Posted on Wednesday, December 28th, 2005
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The Alcohol Impairment Charts

New Year’s Eve 2006 is approaching and it’s time to party. As everybody in California knows – there’s a major law enforcement effort underway to arrest drunk drivers. The CHP and cops in every town are running checkpoints.

In a way it’s a loaded gun. Outside of maybe some parts of San Francisco, it’s almost impossible to get to the local of your choice without driving. That’s America in the 21st Century. In many ways it’s a crappy,m isolated way to live, each of us in our own little castle, maybe an apartment, maybe a condo or a house but connected to retail establishments only by roads and freeways.

To get almost anywhere, you’ve got to drive. It’s a fact of our lives. So, with that in mind, consider the alcohol impairment charts below. By the way, I dunno why there are charts for men and women. We’re all humans. Does alcohol really affect people of different SEXES differently? Hmmmm.

Posted on Wednesday, December 28th, 2005
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Barrel Aged Beer Fest

I’ve spent far too many hours in the last month on a project at work (Oakland, CA Tribune) not related to beer. I’ve managed to do my column every other week in our Bay Area newspapers, but my blog’s suffered. Well – It’s a new day.

Catching up: Here’s a trend that’s going to be big in the craft beer world. On Nov. 12, 2005 in Chicago, Goose Island’s Wrigleyville brewpub hosted the second annual Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer Festival. It drew 70 beers from 31 states, alaska to Illinois to Louisiana.

Festival organizer Jeff Sparrow, in an e-mail announcing the results, said beer is aged with the intention of imparting the particularly unique character of wood and/or what has previously been in a barrel. “Ultimately, a balance of flavor, aroma and mouthfeel are sought with the marriage of beer, wood and/or barrel characteristics,” he said.

“The U. S. craft brewer has returned to one of the roots of brewing [wood] while still demonstrating creativity unmatched anywhere in the world,” Sparrow said.

A panel of brewers, writers and other brewing industry professionals judged the beers in eight categories:

A recycled, white oak,
55 gallon, Jack Daniels
whiskey barrel. For sale
at Rain Barrels And More

Champion Barrel-aged Beer

Goose Island, Imperial Brown Goose. Goose Island was among the first breweries to age a beer – Bourbon County Imperial Stout, fermented in a freshly used Bourbon barrel a decade ago.over 10 years ago.
Runner-up: New Holland Brewing, New Holland, MI – Barrel-aged Mad Hatter

Classic Porter/Stout

Gold: Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Warrenville, IL – Argus Brown,
Silver: Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery, IL – Hi Beam Stout
Bronze: Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Chicago, IL – Fourth Quarter Porter

Strong Porter/Stout

Gold: Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Chicago, IL – Redline Imperial Bourbon Stout
Silver: Ram Restaurant & Bighorn Brewing, Wheeling, IL – Ice Breaker Imperial Stout
Bronze: America’s Brewing Company, IL – Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout


Gold: Onion Pub & Brewery, IL – Bourbon Big Game Barleywine
Silver: Big Sky Brewing, MT – Bourbon Barleywine
Bronze: Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Cleveland, OH – Gukel’s Little Helper

Classic Styles

Gold: New Holland Brewing, MI – Barrel-aged Mad Hatter
Silver: Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Chicago, IL – Bourbon Brown Beer
Bronze: Harpoon Brewery, MA – Harpoon Munich Dark

Strong/Double/Imperial Pale Beer

Gold: New Holland Brewing, MI – Barrel-aged Dole
Silver: Jolly Pumpkin Ales, MI – La Roja
Bronze: Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery – Ol’ Woody

Strong/Double/Imperial Dark Beer

Gold: Goose Island Beer Company, IL – Imperial Brown Goose
Silver: Glacier Brewhouse, AK – Beam Bock
Bronze: Goose Island Beer Company, IL – Goose Island Christmas

Experimental Beer

Gold: Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery, IL – Angry Mike’s Stoudt Kriek
Silver: Boston Beer Company, MA – Samuel Adams Utopias
Bronze: Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Chicago, IL – Imperial Coffee Surprise

Wild Beer

Gold: Pizza Port, CA: Cuvee De Tomme
Silver: New Belgium Brewing, CO – La Terroir
Bronze: Bristol Brewing, CO – Skull & Bones Cuvee Speciale’

The Festival of Wood and Barrel-aged Beer is presented by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild and sponsored by Brewers Supply Group and the Goose Island Beer Company with additional support from Briess Malt, Cargill Malt, Hopunion, Siebel Institute Of Technology, White Labs and the Chicago Beer Society. Information: Jeff Sparrow,

Posted on Tuesday, December 13th, 2005
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New Ale From Anheuser-Busch

Haven’t tried it yet, but Anheuser-Busch says the second of a line of new seasonal beers is headed to a tavern near all of soon. It’s called Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale. A-B says thje 6 percenter will be on tap around the country from December through February, when a spring seasonal will be introduced. It won’t be bottled, just sold on tap.

This one appears to be a lower alcohol ale version of their 10 percent Celebrate, which was released at Thanksgiving in 24 oz. bottles and later in 12 ouncers.

Publicity info sounds the same: Aged on crushed up, bourbon barrels, placed in the fermenter size: 1,000 barrels); rare imported hops: Celebrate used French Strisselspalt hops from the Alsace region of France. One difference, Celebrate was a lager, made with A-Bs regular lager yeast – pushed to the max.

Bourbon Cask Ale is ale, so a different yeast was used, obviously.

One problem with this: The Campaign for Real Ale (UK) sets an official standard for cask ale.

Does the new beer meet that standard? Is it pastuerized or non-pastuerized? Is there a final fermentation in the cask? Will it be served on a hand pump or on gas?

If it’s pastuerized or mico-filtered so there’s no final fermentation and the beer is pushed to the tap with gas — it’s keg, not cask.

That doesn’t make it a bad beer. Guinness is keg beer; I personally love Guinness. It’s just not a cask ale. Of course, I’m sure there’s no law in America on the subject.

I asked A-B these questions via e-mail a couple of hours ago. Waiting to hear. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, the company’s publicity release contained this interesting graf:

Based in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch Inc. is the leading American brewer holding 50 percent of the U.S. beer market.The company is American-owned and brews the world’s largest-selling beers, Budweiser and Bud Light. Anheuser-Busch also holds a 50 percent share in Grupo Modelo, Mexico’s leading brewer, and a 27 percent share in Tsingtao, the No. 1 brewer in China.

Now that’s big.

Posted on Tuesday, December 13th, 2005
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