Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Meanwhile, Back at the Blog

By William Brand
Monday, March 27th, 2006 at 11:56 am in Uncategorized.


When I started this blog two years ago, I had BIG PLANS: daily postings covering the world of beer. It hasn’t happened. First, there’s NO TIME. Second, I try to check out each item, which takes time and there’s no time. Anyway, here’s a string of items that have been stacking up on my desk.

Beer from Pizza Port.

In the last 10 years, this small California chain of Pizzerias in Solana Beach, Carlsbad and San Clemente in San Diego County has made big news in the beer world. Head brewer Tommee Arthur is considered by nearly everyone in the beer world to be one of the most creative American craft brewers making Beglian-style beer today.

Problem is: these really are pizzerias, so most of Tommee’s beers are not bottled and even those that are tend to stay in San Diego. The company

Occasionally, a savvy dealer from elsewhere will stop in and scoop up a number of brews, bring them back home and sell em. They sell out quickly.

Pizza Port has moved into a brewing facility vacated by Stone Brewing in San Marcos (which moved to a brand new brewery) and, according to Pizza Port, plans are to crank up production considerably.

However, for now, Tomme Arthur’s beers are hard to find. This brings us to Michael Jackson’s Rare Beer Club. Based in Seattle, the company offers rare beers, mostly one-offs by famous brewers. This month’s beer is Synergy, brewed by Tommee Arthur and Vinnie Cilurzo (another famous craft brewing name) at Vinnie’s Russian River Brewing in Santa Rose, CA.

It’s a 6.7 percent, Belgian-style golden ale, bottle conditioned with brettanomyces, a wild yeast culture. Most brewers avoid brett like a plague, because it is wild and does unplanned, unusual things to beer: like a distinct sourness and unusual, and to some unpleasant, aromas. Unpredictability is something one should avoid if the goal is to produce an identical product.

Both Tommee and Vinnie are famous for eschewing the ordinary. Both make a lot of beer with interesting twists. Synergy is one of them.

OK, here’s the bottom line: These are pricey beers, ordered this way. However, it’s the only way. I’m about to order the minimum, three 750 ml bottles for $37 plus tax and shipping and expect to pay about $50. This is crazy right?

Right. But what an addition to my beer cellar. The bottle conditioning insures the beer will age and continue to change for at least a year.
Look at it this way: It’s about the cost of three bottles of a decent, young California wine.

OUT OF TIME. OUT OF TIME. More items later. Saludos.

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