Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for July, 2007

Calendar: Beer Fests, Dinners, Coming Up



July 14, noon to 6 p.m. It’s not too late to get tickets for the Second annual Washoes Tournament, Hosted by Drakes Brewing Co., 1933 Davis St., San Leandro. 510-562-0866. There will be at least 21 breweries supplying beer, each brewed with a hop called Bravo, from the S.S. Steiner Co. It’s noted for its high bitterness. What’s washoes? It’s a game played like horseshoes, only players toss heavy metal washers instead of horseshoes toward a peg. The tossing distance is shorter, about 10 feet.

Oregon Brewers Festival, Portland, 20007

• July 27 – July 29. 20th annual Oregon Brewers Festival, Tom McCall Waterfront Park, downtown Portland, OR. Thursday – Saturday, Noon – 9 p.m. Sunday, Noon – 7 p.m.
If you never go to another beer festival in your lifetime, this is the one to attend. It features selections from all the brewers in Oregon, plus a number of invited guest brews from craft breweries across the country.
This year, fest supporters won a protracted battle against the bluenoses (of which Oregon’s well-stocked) and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and children can, as always, attend accompanied by parents or guardians. They wanted to ban kids.

I believe this is the largest beer festival in America. Last year, sponsors said, attendance hit 55,000.
The great thing is, the fest is over four days and it’s spread out for nearly a mile along the Willamette River. Downtown Portland’s just across the street.
There’s lots of music and many of Portland’s best restaurants serve food in tents with outdoor seating. This is one not to miss.


Wednesday, Aug 1, Meet Me at the Arch – Celebrating the 75th birthday of the Pleasanton Arch in downtown Pleasanton, CA. 6-9 p.m. Besides some home-grown stuff like a Pooch Parade, there will be a beer and wine garden on Main Street, featuring wines from the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association and beer from a number of local breweries, Main Street, Trumer and Anheuser-Busch. (Well, they are local…)
Main Street will be closed from St. John Street to Old Pernal Avenue from 5-10 p.m. Info:
What is the arch? Here’s a quote from the Pleasanton Downtown Association.
“The story behind the sign’s origin is one of shear determination on the part of a group of civic-minded women during one of the darkest eras of the twentieth century.
“Our town is sadly in need of some sort of sign and club members should consider something really worthwhile” so read the minutes of the Pleasanton Women’s Improvement Club. The date was April 11, 1930, approximately one year after the largest stock market crash in our nation’s history. Even the seriousness of the depression couldn’t dampen the community spirit that begged for some recognition for its city. This recognition was to eventually manifest itself in a neon proclamation spanning Main Street that spells out quite simply “Pleasanton”. “The thousand or so residents of the tiny agricultural hamlet were beginning to put the pieces of their lives back together.”

Friday, Aug. 10, 6 p.m. Dinner With the Brewmaster, featuring the beers of 21st Amendment Brewery-Restaurant, San Francisco, with food prepared by beer chef Bruce Paton and his crew at the the Cathedral Hill Hotel, Details, menu coming soon. If you’ve never tried the beers of 21st Amendment’s Shaun O’Sullivan or Cathedral Hill executive chef Bruce Paton’s food, put this dinner in your calendar, 415-776-8200 x 7785,

Bistro HaywardSaturday, Aug. 11, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Bistro 10th Annual IPA Festival, Bistro, 1001 B. St., Hayward, CA. Beers from more than 50 breweries, live music, barbecue. Professional judging, People’s Choice Award. Cost to be announced. INFO:, 510-886-8525. If you live for India Pale Ale, this is one festival you shouldn’t miss. Great beer, lots of fun. B Street will be closed for the festival.

Saturday, Sept. 8, Sunday, Sept. 9. noon – 4:30 p.m., San Francisco Brewers Guild Festival. A benefit for the World War II Liberty Ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien. All seven San Francisco craft breweries – San Francisco Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant, ThirstyBear Brewing Company,Jeremiah O’Brien 21st Amendment, Magnolia Pub & Brewery, Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant and Speakeasy – will be pouring beer at the fest, which is held aboard the Jeremiah O’Brien at Pier 45, near Fisherman’s Wharf. Live music, food from ThirstyBear.
Tickets $30 in advance, $40 at the festival. Admission free for kids under 12; $8 for 13-20-year-olds.
Info: Linda Liguori, 415.939.1943 or

SS Jeremiah O’Brien underway in San Francisco Bay in 1994.

Posted on Sunday, July 8th, 2007
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Bong Su offers complimentary tastings

If you like Vietnamese food and want to learn more about the wines that marry well with it, definitely hit up Bong Su in San Francisco. They’ve opened up Wine Director John McDaniel’s time to the public, at no charge, as long as you have a dinner reservation. He consulted at my birthday dinner in February, helping me settle on a Gruner Veltliner that was a hit with the shaking beef, aromatic curries and shrimp cupcakes the 10 of us ordered.

Basically, guests are invited to arrange a tasting with McDaniel in Bong Su’s glass-enclosed tasting room — stocked with boutique selections from around the world — prior to their meal. 5:30 is a good time, and you can bring up to eight people, I’m told. The tasting typically lasts around half an hour, and you will sample anywhere from thee to 10 wines.

While you nibble on small bites from Chef Tammy Huynh, McDaniel guides the group through
a tasting of wines open for the evening, hoping to tease your palate into ordering some with the upcoming meal, and turning you on to new wines and novel pairings. You may know what you like with crab and noodles (Taltarni Brut Rose, please!) but what about pho?

Check it out.

Posted on Thursday, July 5th, 2007
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Inside the American Homebrewers Association

Do homebrewers have more fun? Absolutely. Check out our photographer Gregory Daurer’s photos taken last month at the American Homebrewers Association 29th Annual National Homebrew Competition held in Denver . For a report on the results, check out my posting of a couple of days ago.

Diablo Order of Beer Enthusiasts

Gregory Daurer/Special to What’s On Tap/Oakland Tribune

Diablo Order of Zymiracle Enthusiasts. From Right to Left: Jason Petros, pouring his bottle of homebrew (oatmeal stout soaked in Wild Turkey oak cubes) (Concord, CA), Scott Lothamer (Moraga, CA), Randy Griggs (Concord, CA), Melissa Fine (Alameda, CA), Kirk Anderson (Alameda, CA)

East Sacramento Brewers Annie Johnson

Annie Johnson, Sacramento, brewer, Silver Medal winner in the Light Lager category. Standing next to keg and holding urn containing “Mandrake”: beer containing ground mandrake and licorice roots, pale malt, Sucanaut organic brown sugar, yeast. Brewer’s notes: “Ancient Egyptian recipe from Alexandria.”

East Sacramento Brewers

Gregory Daurer/Special to What’s On Tap/Oakland Tribune

East Sacramento Brewers and Hangtown Association of Zymurgy Enthusiasts (H.A.Z.E.), left – right, Annie Johnson, Kevin Pratt, Carol Runge, Beth Zangari.

Maltose Falcons 2

Gregory Daurer/Special to What’s On Tap, Oakland Tribune

The beer that was….Maltose Falcons member James Pappas pouring a “Gonzo Hemp Poppy Spirit Wine” made by brewer Drew Beechum in honor of the late Hunter S. Thompson. Hoppy, American Style barleywine. Contains: hemp seeds, poppy seeds, tequila, bourbon, shitake mushrooms, acidulated malt, and a shot of Coca-Cola.

Posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007
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Zymurgy Readers List Favorite Beers

Zymurgy Readers List Favorite Beers

(Editor’s Note: This site is still not right. For graphics, links go to my other blog:

Each summer, Zymurgy, the journal of the American Homebrewers Association, asks readers to name their favorite commercial beers and favorite breweries.
The list is out in the current issue of Zymurgy, which is not sold on newstands. You have to join the AHA to get a copy. But they do send out a clipping to the press, so I have the article. For an e-mail copy, e-mail me at

Here are the top 10 beers, chosen by readers:

Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA1. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
2 -tie Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stone Arrogant Bastard.
4 – tie (They didn’t choose a third place winner)
4- Alaskan Smoked Porter,
4 – Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA,
4 – Guinness Draught,
4 – North Coast Old Rasputin,
4 – Schneider Aventinus,
4 – Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale.
(The list skips to a 10th place tie.
10 – tie New Glarus Belgian Red
10 – tie Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA. They call it an Imperial IPA. 9 percent ABV, 90 IBUs. Bud as 13 IBU. Guinness, 60).

(Next a 4-way tie for 12th)
12 – Anchor Steam
12 – Bell’s Expedition Stout
12 – Stone IPA
12 – Victory Prima Pills
(Next an 11-way tie for 16th).
16 – Bell’s Two-Hearted ale
16 – New Belgium 1554 Black Ale
16 – Ommegang Hennepin
16 – Orval
16 – Paulaner Salvator
16 – Pilsner Urquell
16 – Russian River Pliney the Elder
16 – Victory Hop Devil

The list goes on and on. I’m stopping here, my fingers are growing weary.
For Northern Californians, there are some more notables, Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye in 27th, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, also in 27th. Anchor Porter in 45th. Russian River Pliny the Younger, also in 45th.

At any rate, not a shabby beer in the bunch. About Dogfish, proprietor Sam Calagione, says he hopes to find a distributor for Northern California late this year or early next year.

Dogfish Head’s in Milton, DE. Salud for now.

Posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007
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Proposed Danville wine store

I’m considering a story on the lack of real wine bars in the suburbs when along comes my colleague’s piece in today’s County section. The owners of Bridges restaurant in Danville won’t confirm this yet, but there’s talk of a wine store plus sipping room opening up in the park-like area next to the restaurant, across the street from Corks, another wine retail shop. The planning commission will review the project purely in terms of a retail space on July 10. Until then, nothing is for sure.

Is it me, or wouldn’t it be cool to just get the full liquor license and open up a wine bar, so the people my age lucky enough to afford a home in Danville or San Ramon actually have a place to hang out? You know, since they’ve been to the sports bar and the British pub enough for one lifetime.

Nothing fancy. I mean, don’t get all crazy and open up a sophisticated wine and tapas bar, like Cav, or a themed one like Parea (Greek) or Amelie (French), both in San Francisco. Just a basic spot like Artisan in Walnut Creek, with a few barrel-based tables, 30 or so boutique wines on (Enomatic) tap. You can even serve coffee and dessert if you’re afraid the oenophilia will turn people away. You know how those wine types can be. :)

Ironically, people seem a bit more concerned about what another retail space would do to parking on Hartz Avenue than losing the only open space on the block. Here’s my opinion: If it’s just another merchant selling overpriced bottles of Cabernet and an occasional sip of the sauce, keep the park.

Posted on Monday, July 2nd, 2007
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