Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for November, 2007

At last: A hotel chain with a chief beer officer

Ever been stuck somewhere in one of those corporate hotel, on a business trip or while traveling. It’s evening, you finally have an hour free. The hotel’s by a freeway or an airport. There’s no place to even walk to — but the hotel has a bar.

So you wander in, hoping for perhaps a great local beer, even if this is hell-and-gone. What do you get: BudMillerCoors, served in a frozen glass.

Well, here’s a breath of fresh air: 4 Points at Sheraton, the nationwide mid-priced hotel chain has hired a “Chief Beer Officer.” Honest, this is true. He’s Scott Kerkmans, a former brewer at Alaskan and at Kelly’s. a brewpub in Albuquerque.

Scott Kerkmans, 4 Points Sheraton Chief Beer OfficerHis role: Travel the nation, making sure that east 4 Points hotel has a decent beer selection. His rule: Each hotel bar must have four draft selections and 12 bottled beer selections. Half of the six bottles must be regional beers, brewed in the area where the hotel is, the other half can be beers from other places, but they have to choose from Kerkmans’ approved list.

The list, he said, includes Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Chimay, Duvel, among others. “We’re not going to be the best beer bar in any given town, per se,” Kerkmans says. “But we will give our guess the opportunity to enjoy a good beer. Why should our guests have to drive around a town to find a decent beer?”

Whew. This is corporate America. Things have loosened up. Indeed, Scott says. 4 Points created his position because people – 4 Points guests – have been clamoring for it; they’re interested in good beer but don’t know much about it.

His job is to educate the wait staff and make sure there’s good beer on hand. He also does beer dinners and makes recommendations about pairing beer with food.

Scott says the big hotel chain – there are 74 Four Points in the U.S., 20 in Canada and many more around the world – placed an ad for a Chief Beer

Scott Kerkmans….he’s not drinking Budweiser.

Officer in the Wall Street Journal. “A buddy called me and said, ‘You’ve got to apply.’

Each applicant had to prepare a five minute video, Scott says. There wre over 7,800 applicants from 31 countries and he was one of the final four. Know how he aced it?

He took a bottle of 2005 Alaskan Smoked Porter with him to the interview in New York. “My favorite was the 1996,” he said. “But I helped brew the 2005.”

Meet the new Chief Beer Officer. He’s 28, a native of Albuquerque, lives in Denver and travels the 4 Points world. He got into beer though his brother, who brought home a homebrew kit on his 21st birthday. It didn’t work out for his brother, but Scott says he loved brewing, did research and got involved in commercial brewing. “My parents never would have imagined this,” he says.

He’s just completed an online beer school and all bartenders at 4 Points bars have to take the course. The course covers many aspects of the beer world and gives the men and women serving the beer the background and education to talk intelligently about beer and recommend the right beer.

Iced glasses? Oh sure for BudMillerCoors and their tasteless, light companions.

Sheraton Chief Beer Officer opens the NYSE

Scott and friendsring the closing bell at the NYSE.

To publicize their new hire, Scott got to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange, among other things; he got a lot of applause. But there was no beer, he said. Everybody got beer openers.

So how’s he doing? I went to the closed 4 Points by Sheraton, the Four Points Sheraton San Francisco Bay Bridge in Emeryville. It was 3 o’clock on Friday afternoon and the bar was closed. It opens at 5, I was told. I called tonight at 5 and got somebody at the desk, who WAS NOT INTERESTED. He said there was nobody at the bar, but he read off the list of beers on tap: Sierra Nevada.Pale Ale, Sam Adams Boston Lager, Big Daddy IPA from Speakeasy, San Francisco, and Pyramid Hefeweizen.

Not too shabby. He wouldn’t read off the bottled beer list and referred me to the food and beverage manager, who wasn’t in. Ah hell, it’s only beer, huh.

Later, I got a much more courteous guy at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel & Suites San Francisco Airport, South San Francisco. They had Bass, Stella Artois, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale on tap.

Hats off to 4 Points by Sheraton. It’s a big step in the right direction, but there’s a long road ahead for Scott Kerkmans. I wish him god-speed. Also, Scott’s started a blog. Check it out here.

Posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2007
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Breaking news: Another five bite the dust

This just in from the Chronicle. Constellation Brands has agreed to buy several more major labels, including Clos du Bois.

The New York-based company will pay $885 million for the U.S. wine business of Fortune Brands, which also includes the Geyser Peak, Wild Horse (my first Merlot!), Buena Vista Carneros and Gary Farrell labels.

As part of the deal, Constellation will get about 1,500 acres of vineyards in Sonoma and
Napa. The deal will be final by year’s end and builds on its position as the world’s biggest winemaker.

They bought Mondavi in 2004, probably the biggest and most well-known family-owned winery in the country. And the trend continues. Follow the link to read the whole story.

Posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2007
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Lost Canyon Pinot release party this Saturday

In the spirit of supporting local (and might I add world-class) wineries, check out Lost Canyon’s Pinot Noir release party from 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 17 in Oakland (2102 Dennison St., Suite A). The small, artisan winery will be featuring a first-ever vineyard designate Pinot from the Widdoes Vineyard in Russian River Valley.

I chatted with Martha Rueca, Lost Canyon’s harvest intern and a budding winemaker in her own right, about the wine and hope to sample some and report back to you before the party.

For now: It’s a rare lot, and the harvest was quite low, about a third of what they expected. Martha called it the Goldilocks Pinot, meaning it’s juuuust right — not too much acid, not too fruity or musty. Balanced.

The wine retails for $42 and they only made 200 cases of the stuff. You can only get it at the release party. So check it out. Ten bucks gets you in and gets you charcuterie and cheese.

As an aside, the winery will have a holiday open house from 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2. Four new vintages will be poured for a total of seven wines. The cost of this bash is $25, $20 online (Dec. 1 morning is the cut off for that deal) and $10. Cheese and charcuterie galore. Serious Pinot lovers bow at the foot of Lost Canyon. Find out why.

Posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2007
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Blind tasting for the birds?

I thoroughly enjoyed Mike Steinberger’s piece on the downsides of blind tasting on Slate.com today.

He talks about how labels hold so much truth for us (or at least we think they do) not to mention that when you taste blind, you’re not going in with any knowledge of how the wine was prepared, or sometimes even where or when.

Steinberger is being modest though. He has a super palate and can taste a wine and determine not only its age but its Social Security Number.

I taste blind with my a group of friends once a month, but those experiments aren’t too scientific. My greatest experience of tasting blind was last year during the re-enactment of the Judgment of Paris, when I had the honor of sampling the younger vintages of the Cabernets and Chardonnays being pitted against their French counterparts.

All were liquid gold and garnet, there’s not much to say there.

But the Vintners Club Petit Sirah and high-end Cabernet tastings I attended this year were good examples of what Steinberger writes about. Many of us in this venerable group felt that some of the wines in both tastings were flawed. It wouldn’t have mattered too much, except some of the winemakers are members of the club, and were in the mix, blindly tasting and ranking their own wines.

As much as critics say they can do a blind tasting of 200 wines a day and still be astute, sometimes I think the whole set-up is just a way to pucker out your palate. And labels aside, what if you’re simply in a bad mood that day?

Posted on Monday, November 12th, 2007
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UPDATE: Winners of the Bistro’s Barrel Aged Beer Fest

Bistro Taps at Barell Aged Beer Fest.HAYWARD – They’re still rockin’ in the rain here at the Bistro in downtown Hayward and I’ve had far too many samples of high octane beer to drive, so I’m hiding out at Buffalo Bill’s at the end of the block from the Bistro. It’s jammed too. Good beer is big in Hayward – for those of you who got this post on a search from afar, Hayward’s a suburb, 25 miles south of Berkekey, 40 miles from San Francisco.

Here are the winners:

People’s Choice
, Parabola Imperial Oatmeal Stout, Firestone Walker, Paso Robles, CA. This was dynamite: wild nose, vanilla, oak, alcohol. Taste was slightly sweet with a dry fining, notes of oak, vanilla, alcohold. It was one of the beers used in the blend for “11″, a beer being released to mark the brewery’s 11th anniversary.

Aged in Oak

1. Gold: Old Woody, Schooner’s, Antioch, CA.,11 percent, aged 12 months.
2. Silver: Odyssey, Triple Rock, Berkeley, 13 percent, aged 8 months.

Sour Barrel Aged Beer

Most of these are made with wild yeast, which creates the sour notes. In the regular beer world brewers hate wild yeast – bretanyomyces. There are many, they float through the air and they can do unpredictable things with beer. As far as I know most of the wild yeast used by American brewers comes from a yeast bank like White Labs, so it’s not quite so unknown.

1. Gold: La Folie, New Belgium, Ft. Collins, CO., 6 percent, aged two-four years.

2. Silver: Supplication, Russian River, Santa Rosa, CA., 7 percent, aged 12 months in pinot noir barrels with sour cherries. Besides brettanomyces, two strains of bacteria help sour the beer.

3. Bronze: Yellow Bus, Port Brewing, San Marcos, CA, 7.5 percent, aged with peaches. Aged in port, brandy barrels.

Note: Both La Folie and Supplication are available in bottles. Can’t find ‘em? If you live in the Bay Area, e-mail me for my 2007 Retail Beer Store List: whatsontap@sbcglobal.net.

Aged in Port/Brandy Barrels

1. Gold: The Angel’s Share 2006, Port Brewing, 11.5 percent, aged six months or more.

2. Silver: The Angel’s Share 2007, 11.5 percent.

3. Bronze: Decadence 12, Cuvee Speciale, Valley Brewing, Stockton, 12.5 percent, fermented in a brandy barrel for seven months, using seven yeast strains.

Aged in Bourbon Barrels

1. Gold: Older Viscosity, Port Brewing, 11.5 percent, dark strong ale.

2. Silver: Imperial Russian Stout, Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA., 10 percent, aged 12 months.

3. Bronze: Ryan Sullivan’s Russian Imperial Stout, 10 percent, aged three months.

As fests go at the Bistro, this was a small one _ gate was 450. But what fun. Every beer was totally different; it was an educational experience and easily my favorite of the year.

Paul Marshall, who “marshalled” the two panels, 16 judges in all, said the toughest chore was placing the beers in a category. Vic Kralj, proprietor of the Bistro, agreed. “It was so tough, I don’t think we’ll have judging next year, just a people’s choice, Vic said.

I can see that. They were all over the map – and it was more like a map of middle earth than a map of the modern ales/lagers/ world. Gee. Wonder what a barrel aged Bud would taste like?

Posted on Saturday, November 10th, 2007
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Letters: Booze to Go in NOLA, Port Old Viscoscity

Letters:

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.

OLD VISCOSCITY – NOT THE RIGHT CUP O’TEA

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.

Posted on Thursday, November 8th, 2007
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Great wine pairing web site

spicy cashews

shepards pie

The Oakland-based www.matchmywine.com is worth a visit. It’s a new database all about the ins and outs of pairing food with wine. Spend some time with it. It has some minor kinks, but it’s great fun.

The basics section will tell you what wines go with various ethnic foods (Middle Eastern with New World Pinot Noir). There’s a section on recipes and wine pairings, and another on pairing articles written by wine writers (you’ll find yesterday’s Comfort Wines in the mix).

You can also read reviews of restaurants that have pairing programs. Seasonal pairings get good play on the site, so if you’re struggling with what to serve on Thanksgiving, check it out. Quirky pairings are also available. I love the one for spicy cashews and sparkling.

The coolest feature, Find My Match, lets you plug in the main ingredient of the food you’re cooking to find out what kind of wine will go with it. But there are some glitches, or perhaps construction isn’t complete.

When I plugged in ‘poultry,’ I had an option to specify what type, from chicken to duck. But when I plugged in ‘dessert,’ it didn’t allow me to narrow my search. Same with appetizer. The only option was cheese.

Check it out and let me know what you think, not to mention your favorite wine and food pairings.

Posted on Thursday, November 8th, 2007
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A column about New Orleans and Dixie Beer

Just got back from New Orleans. I was blown away by the devastation still very visible – in the physical buildings and in the faces and I guess the souls of the many folks from New Orleans I met.

Must have been like that here at the 1906 earthquake. Anyway, I devoted my weekly column to New Orleans and the 100th anniversary of Dixie Beer (which is why I made the trip). Here it is:

Dixie beers

WILLIAM BRAND: WHAT’S ON TAP

Even Katrina can’t wash away Dixie spirit

Want to help New Orleans rebuild? One tiny way might be to hoist a glass of Dixie beer tonight or sometime soon and toast the Big Easy.

Let me explain: In 2005, as everyone knows, Hurricane Katrina, the flooding and the rampant looting that followed brought this historic, raucous city to its knees. There were many losses: Nearly 2,000 people died; whole sections of the city were leveled; businesses destroyed. One of the casualties was Dixie Brewing.

Full disclosure here: I got a free trip to New Orleans last week along with a number of other journalists to take part in the 100th anniversary of Dixie Brewing on Halloween. It was a party marked by irony. Colored lights and bunting and outrageous costumes masked the rubble and destruction underfoot.

There hasn’t been a Dixie beer made here since the day before the hurricane. After two years of trauma, the owners cut a deal with Minhas Craft Brewery, the former Joseph Huber Brewing, Monroe, Wis., to make Dixie under contract, while plans are made to rebuild in New Orleans. The first new Dixie beers are just arriving in New Orleans and at key places around the Untied States, including the Bay Area.

Another positive sign: Distinguished Brands International, the importer of Fuller’s from England, has signed on to market Dixie outside New Orleans.

But the rebuilding in New Orleans, at this point, looks iffy indeed.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Dixie Brewing roofThe story of Dixie Brewing’s a sweet saga — a kind of New Orleans, “in-your-face, brudda” tale in a city that’s seen its share of heartache from the Civil War onward. Dixie, founded in 1907, was famous for its picture-book solid-copper brew kettle and an unusual, impressive row of fermenters made from solid cypress, harvested from the swamps and bayous outside New Orleans. But Dixie, faced with ferocious competition, was stumbling into un-gentle decline and the future looked grim.

Then, in 1985, Joe Bruno, a Brooklyn-born hotel developer, and his New Orleans-born wife, Kendra, bought the brewery with its landmark grain silos painted like Dixie Beer cans on the top of the five-story brewery. They set out to save it.

Caption: Kendra Bruno and Kevin Stuart on the roof of Dixie Brewing last week.

The Brunos struggled and invested and refurbished. They brought in a talented brewer, Kevin Stuart, a graduate of the UC Davis brewery science program. Even Jazz (**), the light beer they introduced, had a tiny bit of malty kick, thanks to the unusual addition of caramel barley malt.

And their new beer, Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager (***), was an honest, tasty, all barley malt, American version of a beer in the Marzen-Oktoberfest style. There was also Voodoo Crimson Ale (**), actually a dark lager, brewed at a warm temperature like an ale. They also made a bock fermented in those old cypress tanks. It was, well, it was interesting, Dixie fans said.

When Katrina struck, the Brunos evacuated and Stuart raced to his gulfside home in nearby Mississippi, where he found his house devastated by a wall of water.

Hurricanes happen on the gulf, and usually New Orleans doesn’t even blink. As we all know, this time was different.

Kendra Bruno said she had no idea what had happened to the brewery until her granddaughter called her into the living room. Look, she said, the brewery’s on TV. “We saw a boat floating down Tulane Avenue in front of the brewery,” Kendra, a diminutive, lively lady, said.

“There was 8 to 10 feet of water in the building,” Joe said. When they finally made it to the brewery a few days later, the first floor was filled with brackish, stinking water. Above the waterline, everything was intact, but covered with green slime. And the flooding was the good news.

As most of us watched on CNN, New Orleans, the majority of its police force gone, descended into chaos. Looters descended on Dixie Brewing. The Brunos and Stuart gave us a tour on Halloween. It looks like one of those World War II photos of bombed-out buildings. The entire building, floor after floor, was gutted.

Kendra showed us how looters cut that big copper brew kettle — the one that was so beautiful that Disney copiedDixie Brewing window it for its brewpub at Disney World — into foot-square pieces and tossed them through smashed-out windows to looter salvagers waiting below.

Copper pipes, electrical conduits, brewery equipment, was chopped up, taken out and sold somewhere for scrap. The operation was so organized, Kevin said, that they used graffiti-like symbols scrawled on the walls to direct looters onward to more treasure.

Now, there’s nothing left; the building’s a hollow, rubble-strewn hell. We had to wear hard hats and coveralls to crawl through the ruins.

The last to go were those tall cypress fermenters. Antique, aged cypress is extremely valuable for everything from furniture to wall facing. Joe said he got to the brewery in time to save two; he has them hidden away. They found another at a salvage yard. But looters came back the next day and stole it again.

After the tour, the Brunos faced us and said with great determination that they will brew Dixie again in New Orleans. Joe estimated the cost at as much as $12 million.

His vision is a much smaller, compact, modern brewery on the first floor, with the rest of the very large building converted to condos and offices. He said he’s been approached by developers. Tulane Avenue looks bleak these days, but Banks Street at the rear of the brewery looks like a pleasant residential neighborhood well on its way to recovery from the flood.

The nearby Falstaff brewery, closed in the 1970s, is on its way to condo development. The old Jax brewery is now condos.

The rub for the Brunos is the brewery; prospective developers don’t want it, Joe Bruno said. But they’re determined to bring a brewery back, he said.

Still, things are shaky and nervous in this city known for its cheeky aplomb. People are still in shock, fighting off depression. Kendra Bruno, after cutting a large birthday cake baked to look like Dixie Brewing in its prime, shook her head in consternation. “I know I forgot to invite a lot of people,” she said. “We had been planning this party for a long time; but everything was here at the brewery. We lost the invitations. There’s no memorabilia, no history. All gone.”

Stuart’s working part time, supervising brewing in Monroe, Wis., and working at a craft brewery in Mississippi. He said he’s been here 20 years and he’s not leaving.Dixie Brewing 100th anniversary cake

But many guests, die-hard Dixie fans all, were uncertain about the brewery’s future. Typical were Louis Temento of New Orleans and his friend, Leslie Couvillion of Baton Rouge, each holding a bottle of Dixie and posing under a big Dixie beer sign pasted on a peeling brick wall, a wash of pink and violet theater lighting hiding the ruins.

Temento said he was a big Dixie fan. But asked to access the chances of a new brewery here, he was blunt: “I don’t think they have a prayer,” he said.

But the band played on, and Kendra Bruno, who said she was drawn to the brewery for its now-vanished signature copper kettle and those vanished Dixie Beer silos on the roof, offered a toast and an invitation. “Cheers,” she said. “And you’re all invited to the 200th birthday party.”

Was it a promise from the deck of the Titanic? Or will it happen? Only the future knows. In the meantime, let’s toast this tough, gallant city; hoist a Dixie, fingers crossed.

Reach William Brand at whatsontap@sbcglobal.net or call 510-915-1180 and ask for his 2007 Retail Beer Store List or Good Pub List. Read more by Brand at http://www.beernewsletterRatings
***** World classic.
**** A real star; don’t miss it.
*** Very good; worth a try.
** Good beer; no defects.
* Don’t toss it; demand a refund.

Posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2007
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A New Michael Jackson Book: Maybe the Last

I’m a regular 40-hour-a-week reporter for the Oakland Tribune/Bay Area News Group/MediaNews Group and I do these two blogs, this one and The California Beer Newsletter (a mirror site with better graphics) and a weekly column and a monthly column on the side, so sometimes I lag behind on things.

With that caveat, have you heard about beer writer, beer expert and guru Michael Jackson’s last book. It’s apparently in print in England.

Here’s what I got from an interesting e-mail list I’m on: BeerBooks.com.

Beer: Eyewitness CompanionsMichael Jackson Eyewitness Companions
Here is Michael Jackson’s final beer book, completed just prior to his passing on August 30, 2007. For this new volume, Michael defined his role not simply as author, but as “Editor-In-Chief,” acknowledging the book’s major contributions from his handpicked team of “beer correspondents” around the globe.

“Today’s astonishing diversity of beers deserves a broader range of eyewitnesses,” wrote Michael. “In my hands alone, this book’s world view might have frightened the dray-horses.” Indeed, Beer: Eyewitness Companions is a global tour of beer and brewing in very much the same vein as Michael’s earlier books, though fully up-to-date with insights on beer styles and trends from every significant brewing region (and many less well-known areas) around the world.

Anyway, it’s paper and may be something recycled and planned that way long ago. Michael Jackson was a prolific guy and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another book or two come through in the next year or two. Am I dreaming? Don’t know. We’ll have to see.

Posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2007
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Reminder: Big Barrel-Aged Beer Fest is Saturday at the Bistro.

If you’re interested in barrel-aged beers, the place to be this Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007, is the Bistro, 1001 B St. in Hayward for the West Coast Barrel-Aged Beer Fest/Street Party.
A block of Main Street in Hayward will be closed for the event.

More than 50 barrel-aged beers on tap. Live music, BBQ, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. The fest will be professionally judged with awards,so you’ll be able to compare what you like with what the judges preferred: $25/6 tastings. Info: www.the-bistro.com, (510) 886-8525.

Posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2007
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