Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Letters: Booze to Go in NOLA, Port Old Viscoscity

By William Brand
Thursday, November 8th, 2007 at 8:22 pm in Uncategorized.


Bill – My favorite New Orleans story is once I was there (before Katrina) and walked into a brewpub down the street from where I was staying. I ordered a beer at the bar and the bartender asked me, “Will that be for here or to go?” I blinked at him for a moment and said, “Why, that will be to go, thank you!” — Stuart

Ha-ha Stuart. hah. hah. They even have drive-throughs…you can get your beer in a “dixie” cup, handed to you in the car.


Port Brewing Old ViscosityBill – Grabbed some stuff from Jackson’s in Lafayette last weekend. Last night I tried Port Brewing’s Old Viscosity. It was okay, but not great. I had hopes that it might be close to AleSmith’s Speedway Stout or a similar brew that defunct Wizard Brew in San Leandro made a decade ago. It seemed too carbonated and bitter and wasn’t as smooth and malty sweet as I expected. But it did look like used motor oil.

Will try to crack open the Hebrew Jewbelation 11 in the next few days.

I’ll bet that you be at The Bistro on Saturday, right? MC

You’ve got that right MC. Be there or miss a whole lot of barrel-aged beer. The Bistro’s at 1001 B St. in Hayward, CA. Old Viscoscity, hmmm. It’s the one beer I’ve actually liked so far from Port.

Yeah, I wish Wizard was still around too. Fridays were a gas in San Leandro. We’d hit Wizard, then boogie over to Drake’s and finish with dinner and just maybe a wee heavy at the Englander, 101 Parrott St. in downtown San Leandro. (510) 357-3571. Well, there’s still Drake’s and the Englander.

Ken Lindstrom, a homebrewer from Fremont, opened Wizard in an industrial space in 1995. He made it for five years. His only problem was he was years ahead of the curve. Now we call beers like Ken made “extreme” and we love ’em. Back then, there simply was no mass market for his beer. Damn shame.

Here, from a column I wrote in 1996 in the Oakland Tribune’s a description of some his beers:

“This Friday, Ken says he’ll be pouring Jester’s Java Cream Stout. This is a truly dark stout with a malty nose and yes _ a definite coffee nose. It comes from the Peet’s coffee beans used in the beer recipe.

Also on tap should be Invade, Pillage and Acquire, Wizard’s hugely hopped India Pale Ale. This baby weighs in at 70 International Bitterness Units. By comparison, Budweiser is rated at 10 IBU. Rating: 92. Three stars.

Also, Druid’s Draft, a very full bodied English-style extra special bitter: malty nose, complex, interesting taste. Lots of body. Rating: 90. Three stars. Ken says our favorite, Amber Dragon Ale, is still conditioning and he’s uncertain if it will be ready. If it is, try it. This is a deliciously creamy amber with a hoppy kick. Rating 93. Three stars.”

Pumpkin Ale’s Big: Elsewhere

Bill – I can vouch for pumpkin being the “flavor du jour” in beer right now. I just came back from a week long east coast/midwest “pub crawl” through Boston, NYC, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Milwaukee and every brewpub, microbrewery, and tap room had at least one pumpkin ale or equivalent. They ranged from dry to sweet, and 4% to 9 % abv, but they were all unquestionably pumpkin.

Believe it or not, I witnessed the conversion of a “I only drink Miller Lite” guy to the pumpkin ale (quite dry, about 5%abv) at Water Street Brewery in Milwaukee; by the time I left, he was working on his third imperial pint! Jon.

Ah Jon, that’s the answer for an attack on Bud-Miller-Coors drinkers: Let ’em drink pumpkins.

Dishing on Buffalo Bill’s

Bill – After all that fuss about Buffalo Bill’s; we were very disappointed with our lunch last Thursday. The beers were over priced at $5.50 per pint for thin bodied fizz. In addition, the food was overpriced for a chicken sandwich – $9.50 with dried corn chips. We finished our afternoon down the street at The Bistro. Better beer at less price. I’m sorry you gave Buffalo Bill’s that free publicity. They don’t deserve it.

As far as I’m concerned, this buffalo should become extinct! This Wednesday, we are heading to Moylan’s in Novato. Quality beer at $2.50 all-day Wednesday special, and much better food. Richard.

Don’t agree with you Rich. Every time I go to Buffalo Bill’s, the place is packed; I usually order a pint of Tasmanian Devil, 6.5 percent, very malty, made with Pride of Ringwood hops from Tasmania and Cascades. Delicious. Truth is, I always order a BLT. It’s nearly $10, but very large. They could do away with those corn chips though.

Moylan’s one of my favorite brewpubs. Every time we go to Sebastopol to visit our daughter, I leave time for a stop off at Moylans. They’ve got a great brewer in Denise Jones, who used to be at Third Street Aleworks in Santa Rosa and won two gold medals this year at the GABF for beer she made at Moylan’s.

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