Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for April, 2007

Portuguese wines you’ll want to look for

So I’m working on getting samples of the Jacuzzi wines made by the family my colleague Marton Dunai wrote about on A-1 yesterday. I know they make Primitivo, Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo, and Valeriano, a Super Tuscan. It’s nice to see a number of Italian varietals under one roof. So far, that, the fact that they’re organic, affordable ($14-$38) and Cline Cellars’ stellar reputation, is working for them. I’ll keep you posted on the wines.

On to Portugal. I attended the ViniPortugal event on Thursday in San Francisco and tried to taste as many of the 400 wines showcased by the 48 producers present. My overall impression of these wines is solid. Most are light to medium bodied in style, yet structured, with some interesting finishes. I’d never heard of many of the varietals, but admit they were easier to pronounce than Greek ones.

Below are some standouts. I’m hesitant to write about them in too much detail because of the 400 wines there, only some 20 to 30 percent are readily available for purchase in the Bay Area. The salesmen and buyers I talked to assured me that this is changing as we speak. For the time being, I suggest hitting Spanish Table in Berkeley or looking for these wine online. Here goes:

Famega Vihno Verde. From the Amarante region, this pear-tinged white is not green as the name suggests. Rather, it stuck out because it has a natural fizz. It’s not a sparkling though. It’s a light white with only 9.5 percent alcohol and less calories than other wines. It also costs less around $7.

Azamor Petite Verdot. From the Alentejo region, this inky dark purple red has a lot of tannin and was satisfying enough to drink alone or with a steak. It’s also valuable, at around $15. An importer told me it’s literally on the docks and just a matter of weeks (close to a month) until we can buy it in San Francisco.

Esquila Wines Nomisma 2002. Also in the Alentejo, this gorgeous, opulent, dark red is a blend of Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s Cali-style at 14.5 percent alcohol but so earthy with firm tannins and a lot of herb. Maybe that why Jenny and I loved it so much.

Esquila Wines Dignitas Reserva 2003. Saved the best for last. Wow. This is the same blend as the Nomisma minus the Cab. I think it lets the Mediterranean soil and the Portuguese varietals really stand out. This is what the region is capable of: Deep red color, slightly less alcohol (14 percent) with tobacco, coffee and oak. What a beautiful wine.

Posted on Tuesday, April 17th, 2007
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No tax at Wine Thieves on April 16

In honor (or make that mourning) of Tax Day, the nice, nice boys at Wine Thieves in Lafayette and Clayton are waiving the sales tax on their already affordable bottles all day long. I for one plan to stock up. Call it the East Bay Wine Party (as opposed to the Boston Tea Party). But I won’t allow you to dump any wine into the Bay, even that flaming hot Wente Syrah I had the other night. Word has it there’ll be drinking too a la their Friday tastings. See you there!

Posted on Thursday, April 12th, 2007
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“Educating Peter” by Lettie Teague

I went to a book launch party for Lettie Teague last night at One Market Restaurant in San Francisco. Teague is an executive editor at Food & Wine magazine. You might know her column, Wine Matters. Her new book, “Educating Peter,” is about her one-year experience of teaching her friend of a decade, Peter Travers, the film critic for “Rolling Stone,” about wine.

Peter himself couldn’t be there (kidney stone, we were told) but to an intimate group of well-wishers (I’d say 50 peeps, tops), Teague read an excerpt from the book. I’m pretty excited to read it. The jist I got is that she uses Peter’s personality — rather quirky, with a penchant for name dropping Martin (as in Scorcese) and George (as in Clooney) — to tell the tale of how an albeit smart dude who doesn’t know the difference between Merlot and Cabernet can in fact learn. And, when you’re drinking every weekend and sometimes during the week, rather quickly at that.

Peter is a critic, after all, and we learn that his “a cinematic flop, lacking plot” can easily morph into “flabby, without character or structure.” I haven’t even read it yet but I can tell you that the film metaphor is a powerful one, and may help Hitchcockians find their bottle. Bottlenotes.com has a wine club for movie buffs. Indeed, it’s a winning combo.

These get-togethers are always fun, and the book launch was no exception. I ran into Alder Yarrow of Vinography.com, Terry Hall from Napa Valley Vintners and Mike Kohne of Rosenblum. Naturally, I also tasted some wine. I’ll tell you about the good ones tomorrow (gotta go cause I’m on deadline) but the worst wine I tasted was a fireball, a Wente Syrah made from small lots no less. Maybe it wasn’t decanted, I don’t know. I couldn’t find the small lot version on the site but the current vintage is 13.5% alcohol. This one might’ve been pushing 16. As Robert Smith says, “Hot hot hot!!” It almost singed by nose hairs.

Posted on Wednesday, April 11th, 2007
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Salad wine time!

I’ve been living on salads lately. It’s Passover, after all, so the ubiquitous sandwich lunch or light dinner has been replaced with mixed greens, Persian cucumbers (or lemon cucumbers, if you can find them at farmer’s markets), hearts of palm, feta and other goodies doused in my lemon and honey vinaigrette.

Some people feel that if they’re having a salad, it’s not “heavy” enough or substantial enough to merit a glass of wine. I beg — plead — to differ. It’s a perfect opportunity for a crisp white, from Gruner Vetliner to Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. Heck, if you’ve got some butter-sauteed shrimp tossed into those greens, might as well bust out for your favorite Chardonnay.

Here’s my current salad wine obsession:

- 2005 Sauvignon Republic Cellars Russian River Valley. Citrus and tropical fruits with a lot of lemon-lime peel on the surprisingly long finish. A classic pale straw color. Get your hands on any of their expressions, from Stellenbosch to Marlborough (all $18 each).

Posted on Tuesday, April 10th, 2007
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Belgian Beer Month at the Toronado

PLEASE NOTE. STILL HAVING TROUBLE WITH GRAPHICS ON THIS SITE. HOPEFULLY, IT WILL BE FIXED SOON
PLEASE GO HERE: www.beernewsletter.com/blogL’Choffe to see the site as it’s supposed to be. Thanks for hanging in there. b

It’s Belgian Beer Month at the Toronado, 547 Haight St., San Francisco, (415) 863-2276. Proprietor David Keene has an amazing selection. Consider:
DRAFTS as of 4/03/07

1 Achouffe Houblon
2 Achouffe NiceL’Choffe
3 Affligem Blond
4 Bosteels Kwak
5 Cantillion Iris
6 Chimay Triple
7 De Dolle Stille Nacht
8 De Proef Saison Imperiale
9 De Reganboog ‘t Smisje Kerst
10 De Reganboog ‘t Smisje Double
11 De Reganboog ‘t Smisje Speciale
12 De Reganboog ‘t Smisje Vuuve
dekoninck.jpg 13 De Rocs Grand Cru
14 De Rocs Triple Imperial
15 de Silly Scotch Silly
16 DeKoninck Ale
17 DeRanke Pere Noel
18 Dupont Avec Le Bons Voeux
19 Grimbergen Double
20 Het Anker Triple
St. Bernardus Apt. 12 21 Het Anker Gouden Carolous Noel
22 Hoegaarden Wit
23 Huyghe Delirium Tremens
24 Huyghe Delirium Noel
25 La Rulles Voeux
26 Lindemans Pomme
27 Lindemans Raspberry
28 Petrus Bruin
29 St Bernardus Abt 12
30 St Bernardus Celis Grotten Brown
31 St Feullien Noel
32 Urthel Hop It
33 Urthel Samaranth
34 Van Steenberge Piraat
35 Van Steenberge Gulden Draak
36 Van Steenberge Boucanier Gold
37 Van Steenberge Boucanier Red
38 Van Steenberge Boucanier Dark
39 Von Honsbrouck Brigand

BOTTLES

Brewery Beer Name
AFFLIGEM NOËL
BOON FRAMBOISE
BOON KRIEK
BOON GUEUZE
BOON GUEUZE MARIAGE PARFAIT
BOTTLEWORKS TRIPLE KRULLEKOP
BOTTLEWORKS VAN DEN VERN
BRASSERIE DES ROCS GRAND CRU
CANTILLON LOU PEPE KRIEK 2004
CANTILLON LOU PEPE FRAMBOISE 2001
CANTILLON GRAND CRU
CANTILLON LOU PEPE GUEUZE 2003
Cantillon Glass CANTILLON SAINT LAMVINUS
CHIMAY ALE
CHIMAY ALE
CHIMAY GRAND RESERVE
CHIMAY GRAND RESERVE
D’ ECAUSSINNES ULTRABRUNE
D’ACHOUFFE N’ICE CHOUFFE 2003
D’ACHOUFFE N’ICE CHOUFFE 2006
DE ACHELSE TRAPPIST ACHEL 8
DE ACHELSE BRUIN
DE ACHELSE ACHEL EXTRA BRUIN
DE BLAUGIES SAISON D’ EPEAUTRE
DE DOLLE BROUWERS OERBIER SPECIAL RESERVA 2002
DE DOLLE BROUWERS STILLE NACHT 2004
DE DOLLE BROUWERS OERBIER SPECIAL RESERVA 2005
DE DOLLE BROUWERS EXTRA STOUT
DE GLAZEN TOREN CANASTER SCOTCH
DE GLAZEN TOREN JANLICH WIT
DE GLAZEN TOREN ONDINEKE TRIPEL
DE RANKE XX BITTER
DE REGENBOOG ‘T SMISJE DUBBEL
DE REGENBOOG BB BOURGONDIER
DE REGENBOOG ‘T SMISJE CALVA RESERVA
DRIE FONTEINEN OUDE GUEUZE 2004
DRIE FONTEINEN SCHAARBEEK KRIEK
DUBUISSON SCALDIS
DUBUISSON SCALDIS NOËL 2004
DUBUISSON SCALDIS NOËL 2005
DUBUISSON SCALDIS NOËL 2006
DUBUISSON SCALDIS NOËL 2006 PREMIUM
DUBUISSON SCALDIS PRESTIGE
Dupont Avec Les Bon Voeuex DUPONT AVEC LES BONS VOEUX 2004
DUPONT AVEC LES BONS VOEUX 2005
DUPONT AVEC LES BONS VOEUX 2006
FANTÔME BRISE-BONBONS
GIRARDIN GUEUZE
Brewery Beer Name
HANSSENS OUDE GUEUZE
HANSSENS MEADE THE GUEUZE
HANSSENS KRIEK
HET ANKER GOUDEN CAROLUS TRIPLE
HET ANKER CAROLUS NOËL 2004
HET ANKER CAROLUS NOËL 2005
HET ANKER CAROLUS NOËL 2006
KERKOM BINK BLOESEM
KERKOM BINK BROWN
KERKOM WINTERKONINKSKE
MOORTGAT DUVEL
orval-westmalle-glasses.jpg ORVAL ORVAL
OUD BEERSEL OUDE KRIEK
ROCHEFORT TRAPPIST 6
ROCHEFORT TRAPPIST 8
SINT PIETERS ZINNEBIR BLONDE
SINT PIETERS ZINNEBIR XMAS
SLAAPMUTSKE TRIPLE NIGHTCAP
ST. BERNARDUS ABT 12 SPECIAL EDITION
ST. FEUILLIEN TRIPLE
VAL DIEU WINTER ALE
VERHAEGHE ECHT KRIEK
WESTMALLE DOUBLE
WESTMALLE TRIPLE
WITKAP PATER
WITKAP TRIPLE

Posted on Sunday, April 8th, 2007
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Tom Hanks to Play Warren Winiarski

Holy grape stomping. It’s really happening! This just in from the publicists behind the hush-hush production of “The Judgment of Paris,” the true story of the now-famous wine tasting of
1976. Last year I covered its 30th anniversary. It will definitely be coming to the big screen. Here’s the press release I just received. In the shell of a nut, Tom Hanks and Hugh Grant will most likely star. The screenplay should be finished this month and production should begin in Napa this fall. Read on:

“Written by acclaimed screenwriter and Napa vintner Robert Mark Kamen, (TAPS, THE KARATE KID, A WALK IN THE CLOUDS, THE FIFTH ELEMENT) and produced by Elizabeth Fowler, Clark Peterson and Kamen, the feature film production has garnered the support of many of the participants in the historic event, including Europe-based organizers Steven Spurrier and Patrica Gastaud-Gallagher, and the two triumphant Californian winemakers Warren Winiarski and Mike Grgich.

At the blind tasting, presided over by a panel of entirely French judges, California Cabernets Sauvignons and Chardonnays were tasted against their French counterparts—red Bordeaux and white Burgundies. When the scores were tallied, Warren Winiarski’s Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon and Mike Grgich’s Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena took top honors.

“The entire history of American Wine,” says Kamen, “can be defined as ‘before the Paris tasting and after the Paris tasting”. Before the Paris tasting,” he continues, “any discussion of fine wine began and ended with France. After the tasting, the world woke up to the fact that fine wine could be grown in places other than the historic vineyards of Bordeaux and Burgundy.”

“The world of wine was never the same again, and better for it,” Kamen concludes. Kamen anticipates the screenplay will be finished in the next month. Tom Hanks has been discussed to play Warren Winiarski and Hugh Grant is the producers’ first choice for Steven Spurrier.

In 2006, George Taber, the only journalist to attend the tasting, published the book Judgment of
Paris, and critics and oenophiles alike quickly declared it the definitive source on the now-famous event. “The story of the Paris Tasting is a wonderful tale of ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” comments Taber. “I’m delighted that the story is going to be told like it really happened. And by bringing so many of the original players on board, I’m sure the tale will be told with all of the dramatic inspiration and nuance that truly unfolds in this story,” Taber adds.

One of those original characters, Warren Winiarski, remarks, “Many of the lives and events leading up to the Paris tasting seem unrelated and random when taken separately. But when looked at together, what happened at the tasting seems like destiny. George Taber captures that sense in his book, and with Robert’s skills in script writing, the same important and exciting story should come alive on the screen.”

Patricia Gastaud-Gallagher agrees, “Steven and I applaud the producers’ choice of George Taber’s book, The Judgment of Paris, and their “truth is greater than fiction” approach to the serendipitous tale of our “Bicentennial tasting.” The fact that one of the best writers in the business, Robert Kamen, also a winegrower, has signed on to tell our story of heady days in Paris, and the story of California’s fine wine pioneers, leads us to expect a blockbuster!”

Steven Spurrier is excited to be portrayed as one of the main characters in the film and enthuses, “I still find it extraordinary, over 30 years after the event, that Patricia Gallagher’s and my enthusiasm for a handful of California wines and our hopes to have their quality recognised by French experts ended with such a stunning result: a watershed for California and a wake-up call for France.”

Winning winemaker, Mike Grgich, is especially enthusiastic about this story being told to a broader audience and said, “The Paris Tasting was important not just for Warren Winiarski and myself but our victory pumped new energy into the California wine industry. By telling this fascinating true story, this movie will introduce a whole new audience to the quality of Napa Valley wines.”

I’ll be reporting on the production from the front lines people. After I go home and open up my best — OK, second best — Napa Cab. Let’s celebrate!

Posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2007
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Select Tasting with Dolores Cakebread

What luck did we have Saturday when we stumbled into Cakebread Cellars to find Dolores Cakebread signing copies of her new cookbook. It was both Ross’ and Lisa’s first time in the Valley, and I was glad they’d have a bit of a celebrity encounter. She talked to us about her days in Oakland, shopping at Berkeley Bowl. It was a wonderful hour.

Dolores Cakebread and her husband Jack were pioneers, arriving in the Valley after Schramsberg and before Mondavi, over 30 years ago. That said, I like how innovative they are and how they move forward. Particularly, they respond to consumers’ need to learn about food pairings. They offer them during lunchtime at the winery. They also print pairing recipes on the back of the tasting menu and for free on their Web site as well.

We took our seats outside for a premium private tasting in their garden courtyard. I’d forgotten how classic and sophisticated Cakebread wines can be. Standouts for me were the 2005 Sauvingnon Blanc ($21.75), with its citrusy aromas, apple flavor and mineral finish. This is a hearty salad wine, and as such, Dolores’ suggestion was asparagus with aioli and garden herb salad.

For the reds, I loved the 2004 Pinot Noir Carneros. It was pure silky sandalwood and dark dried cherries with a lot of tea flavors. The wine was mellow and tasted older than an 04. I was very impressed, as other young Carneros Pinots I’ve had tend to taste a bit tight taste.

Posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2007
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Three wines and two cocktails you must try now

What a winealicious weekend. I had friends visiting from San Diego who’d never been to the Valley. So as you can imagine, we had a lot of wining to do.

Started with dinner at Seasons, the restaurant at the Four Seasons in San Francisco. If you haven’t been, go. They have an amazing wine list. Standouts for me were the Gregory Graham 2002 Napa Viognier, which I had with the ahi tuna tartare. It was all pear and honeydew with a hint of honeysuckle in the nose. I can’t recall having a bad Viognier, except a young one made in Contra Costa County. Too hot here. For reds, I had the Blackbilly 2003 McLaren Vale Shiraz, all blackberry and tobacco, with the restaurant’s signature surf and turf. Another amazing wine.

On to Bourbon & Branch, which has an extensive list of Champagne cocktails. The two I had were made with Schramsberg sparkling wine. Order the Blackberry Champagne Cocktail as an amuse bouche. It also contains Creme de Mur blackberry liqueur and orange bitters. Not surprisingly, it’s the most requested cocktail there. Also, the Elderflower. In addition to Schramsberg, its got elderflower syrup, orange bitters and a lemon peel. Absolutely sinful.

The drinking continued in Napa the following day. I wanted to show my friends cult status tradition and emerging artisanal greatness, both in the realm of family winemaking. So we started at Judd’s Hill, located at the Napa tip of the Silverado Trail. In addition to microcrush, Judd’s known for his Cabs, which are all phenomenal (especially the 2001 Estate).

But I fell in love with Judd’s 2003 Magic. Can you say meat in a bottle? Jenny would love this wine. Aged in French oak for two years, its the Balance Bar of wine: 42% Syrah, 35% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s not a hanky soaked in rubbing alcohol (just right at 13.5%) but rather the perfect blend of dark fruits and grilled flank steak. Can’t wait to make some of those Indian-spiced burgers and go nuts on this bottle.

Tomorrow: Chilling with Dolores Cakebread.

Posted on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007
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My favorite box wine

How could you write a box wine story and not mention Three Thieves? I wrote about Charles Bieler and his fellow thieving vintners late last year in a story about young people who are making a difference in the wine industry. Bieler is a French-reared vintner who paired with buddies on this side of the Atlantic back in 2002 to box and jug premium Napa grapes and wine they got at ridiculously low prices. Perhaps you’ve seen the selection at BevMo! or Safeway?

Jug Circle K Ranch Pinot Noir has all the dried berries and complexity of a solid pinot noir, with lower alcohol than most of its bottle counterparts (13 percent) at only $10.99. Drink this with Trader Joe’s whole wheat roasted vegetable lasagna, and impress all your friends. The Bandit California Cabernet Sauvignon in the purple carton has all the dark fruit and medium tannins you expect from Cali cabs, for $9.99.

Contrary to what the article said, I know top wine critics who drink and write about this wine regularly. It’s good stuff. And it’s not only millennials and seniors who buy the stuff. On the flip side, it’s people like us who are looking for food-friendly stuff for a Wednesday night. Cheers.

Posted on Monday, April 2nd, 2007
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Letters: Brewpub on Kauai…

Also: Mateveza, New Belgium Springboard, Lost Abbey beers, Bards Tale Ale, Newcastle Brown

READERS PLEASE NOTE. THERE’S SOMETHING HINKY WITH THIS SITE
UNTIL OUR TECH WIZARDS CAN FIX IT, I’M UNABLE TO POST PHOTOS
OR OTHER ART MY ADVICE:
CHECK OUT MY OTHER BLOG: www.beernewsletter.com/blog . It mirrors this site _ with graphics. etc.

Hello, I wanted to request a copy of the 2007 Northern California Retail Beer Store List, please. I’m not sure if it’s a snail mail or email thing. I do prefer it the old fashion way if possible!

Also— I enjoyed your blog on the Maui Beer Trip. I wanted to ask you if you have any leads on Pubs/Breweries in Kauai? I’m going with there in about 2 weeks and thought you might have heard of a place through your Maui experience. Thanks very much!
Cheers, Cecily, Concord, CA.

PS- I really enjoy your column, I’m glad the CC Times decided to add it.

Hi Cecily. I’m mailing the beer store list to you today. About Kauai. There’s a craft brewer: Keoki. They make an excellent beer: Keoki Sunset. But it’s just a brewery in a warehouse. By all means order the beer.

kauai-waimea-brewing-co-2005.jpgThere’s one remaining brewpub: Waimea Brewing Co., 9400 Kaumualii Hwy., Waimea, Kauai, 808-338-9733. I met the brewer last year. It’s inside a decent restaurant on an old plantation on the edge of the ocean. It’s quite lovely. There are tables outside on a large porch. The beer is drinkable. I wouldn’t call it great, but we had an excellent lunch there.

Also, guidebooks often still list the “Whaler’s brewpub.” NOT. Here’s my blog item from August, 2005:

Waimea Brewing has an exotic, tropical entranceway.
Drinking Beer in Paradise

Monday, August 29th, 2005

LIHUE, KAUAI, HAWAII — As we walked toward the Whalers Brewpub entrance, I peered in a window of the brew plant and I realized there was trouble in paradise: The brew house was a shambles; insulation around pipes was crumbling; there was a pool of water on the far-from-spotless floor.

The copper brew kettle was tarnished and discolored. Well, maybe this is an Hawaiian lambic brewery, I thought.

Wrong. Jennifer DeLaRosa, the only staff person on the premises, late this Sunday afternoon, explained there hadn’t been a brewer at the Whaler’s in a year and a half. They did have Keoki Sunset***, Keoki Gold** and Kona Longboard Lager**, on tap, plus a half-dozen bottled beers. I’d already tried all three and really liked the Sunset, so I ordered it.

She brought me half a glass. “That’s all there is,” she said. Surprisingly, unlike the derelict brew plant, they must keep the beer lines clean; even this little dab was fine, not an off-note.

Whaler’s Pub, Lihue, Kuaui, HiwaiiOK, don’t get me wrong. Whaler’s may not be a brewpub these days; the beer list may be slim, but this place is indeed paradise. It’s located on a promontory, at the edge of Hanapepe Bay. From the long patio, beside the pub, you can see forever out into the Pacific. Look west and it’s all tropical lushness. Coconut palms; bougainvillea bushes, plumeria trees with their wild white flowers and incongruously, the carefully manicured Kaua’i Marriott Resort & Beach Club.

Whaler’s is incredibly hard to find. It took us two family fights and directions from a local resident to locate the place. It’s at the back the Kaua’i Marriott. Take the main Marriott entrance off Rice Street and thread your way back, about a half-mile of tourists, golfers and tropical lushness. But it’s worth the journey.
Sunsets here, I’m told, are the best on this side of the island. I believe it; gorgeous view and maybe they’ll have Keoki Sunset back on line.

Jennifer told us the place rocks, especially on holiday weekends and when a cruise ship calls at the harbor below. A three day blast is planned Labor Day Weekend. There’s a DJ from 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. on Mondays and Thursday.

Whaler’s, 3132 Ninini Point Road, Lihue, Kawai, Hawaii
(808) 245-2000, Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m. Closing times vary.

Springboard and Mateveza and Maui Brewing Coconut Porter

Bill: Now I will have to try the (New Belgium Brewing) Springboard. This creepy neighborhood dive always has a weird beer on tap for a really low price. I noticed that one is on tap, now.

I enjoy drinking yerba mate for the healthy stimulant effect. But a yerba mate beer? (Mateveza) I’ll reserve judgment. Yerba mate already tastes like hay. I’m interested, though, in how he blended that with other flavors.

Enjoyed the piece on Maui. (See this blog, March.) Those guys really impressed me when I interviewed them for my canned beer article that got nixed. The Coconut Porter was one of my favorites at the Fest last year; enjoyed their Abbey, as well. Were you a lucky dog and able to take some cans home?

I’ve been trying the sorghum beers out there. My stomach is getting older and crankier. I actually liked the Budweiser Redbridge better than Lakefront’s New Grist. Right now, I’m getting ready to drink chianti.

Best, Gregory, Denver, CO.

Greg: I bought a sixer of the Maii IPA, but drank it all there and never got back to buy more. sigh.

Have you tried Bard’s Tale Ale? It’s contract brewed by Gordon-Biersch in San Jose. Far better than Redbridge. More of a malty, sorghum feel and a lot more hops to balance it. Haven;t tried the Lakefront one. Don’t think it’s ever made it out here. b

Hi Bill, Great piece! I really enjoyed it. You effectively told the story and then nailed the flavor description. The pictures came out great as well. Can’t wait to try the Springboard! Sounded quite complex.

Anyway, thanks again for reviewing Mateveza. I really appreciate you taking a look at it. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on my progress.

Jim Woods, Mateveza, San Francisco, www.mateveza.com

The external search for Pizza Port’s Lost Abbey Angel’s Share

Hi, read your blog and am looking for a place to pick up Angel’s Share barleywine in the South Bay.Lost Abbey label.
Thanks,
–Dean

– I hate to say this Dean. I don’t know. The South Bay, as you no doubt know, is a craft beer wasteland. I’m going to call the brewery in the morning and ask. Two places that have the Lost Abbey Beers are The City Beer Store on Folsom Street in San Francisco and Ledger’s Liquors on University Avenue in Berkeley. Again, I don’t know if they have this one.
The Beverages and More stores have begun carrying Lost Abbey, but they don’t list this one on their website and according to their website, they’re all sold out. b. Well, I checked Ledger’s: Lost Abbey, yes. Angel’s Share, no.

Newcastle Brown: The Best-Selling Import in American Supermarkets

Hi William – I read with interest that Newcastle Brown Ale is the biggest selling import beer in supermarkets (bigger than Corona?) and the description of the beer. I was born and raised a few miles from the Newcastle and Newcastle Brown Ale bottle capbegan a lifelong love affair with beer dranking Newcastle Brown and Amber Ales at an age that would get landlords arrested in the USA.

The interesting thing to me is how the flavor profile has migrated south over the last several decades.

The original Newcastle Brown Ale was a big beer by English standards, but it was defintiely a North Country hop accented ale, quite unlike the brown ales from brewers in the English Midlands and the South. Seems like it has been dumbed down at some point. I will make a point of trying it next time I am in Newcastle to see if the original flavor lives on.

Sadly, it is no longer brewed in Newcastle – the real estate turned out to be worth more than the brewery.

Did I miss you at the 10th Anniversary. Best regards!
George Hancock. Pyramid Ales, Seattle, Berkeley

Hi George. Yeah the Newcastle Brown stat is shocking isn’t it. I think you’re right, the beer has been totally dumbed down for mass consumption. That factoid about Nookie Brown being the number one import in supermarket and mom & pop store sales is buried in the power point presentation from the Brewers Association.

Yes I came to your Berkeley 10th, met your PR lady. The place was jammed (good), had one of your porter’s and one ipa and a sandwich. Thanks for the invite. b.

LAST NOTE: The references to blog postings can be found by searching the blog. I also write a column that appears each Wednesday in the Food Sections of the Oakland (CA.) Tribune, the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, CA.) and other MediaNews Group papers. If you’re interested in a column, e-mail me: whatsontap@sbcglobal.net or post a comment on this blog item. b.

Posted on Sunday, April 1st, 2007
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