Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Toronado’s Dogfish Night: The Wrap

By William Brand
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 at 10:22 pm in Uncategorized.

Dogfish night at the ToronadoDavid Keene with Dogfish 90 Minute IPADogfish night at the Toronado was a rousing success. By 7 p.m. when I left, the place was jumping. Toronado had (and most likely still has) six Dogfish Head beers on tap.

Three are being distributed in bottles/4 packs in the Bay Area (but not in the East Bay or in San Mateo County). Problem is supply. Dogfish has alloted the distributor here, DBI one container load a month. Period.

The three, as I said earlier are 90 Minute IPA, Midas Touch and Palo Santo Marron.

Besides those, the Toronado also has 2006 Chateau Jiahu, 2007 Immort Ale and 2007 Olde School Barley Wine.

Toronado proprietor David Keene with a glass of Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Curious about this unusual trio. Here’s some info from the Dogfish Web site:

Chateau Jiahu: Let’s travel back in time again (Midas Touch was our first foray), this time 9000 years! Preserved pottery jars found in the Neolithic villiage of Jiahu, in Henan province, Northern China, has revealed that a mixed fermented beverage of rice, honey and fruit was being produced that long ago – right around the same time that barley beer and grape wine were beinginning to be made in the Middle East!
Fast forward to 2005…. Molecular Archeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern of the University of PA calls on Dogfish Head to re-create their second ancient beverage and Chateau Jiahu is born.
In keeping with historic evidence, Dogfish brewers used pre-gelatinized rice flakes, Wildflower honey, Muscat grapes, barley malt, hawthorn fruit, and Chrysanthemum flowers. The rice and barley malt were added together to make the mash for starch conversion and degredation. The resulting sweet wort was then run into the kettle. The honey, grapes, Hawthorn fruit, and Chrysanthemum flowers were then added. The entire mixture was boiled for 45 minutes, then cooled. The resulting sweet liquid was pitched with a fresh culture of Sake yeast and allowed to ferment a month before the transfer into a chilled secondary tank.
8% abv
Truly, a unique beer.Immort Ale: Vast in character, luscious & complex. Brewed with peat-smoked barley, this strong ale is brewed with organic juniper berries, vanilla & maple syrup. It’s aged on oak and fermented with a blend of English & Belgian yeasts.
11% abv
40 ibu

Olde School Barley Wine: Bold, yet smooth! Fermented with dates and figs, this bone-crusher has a completely unique flavor.
15% abv

Dogfish cheese pairingsDogfish head cheese plates at the ToronadoBut wait, there was more. With the help of a Dogfish staffer, the Toronado assembled three cheeses to pair with the beers, which were served in mercifully small white wine glasses. First plates and the beer went to employees of the two distributors DBI and Mesa in the Toronado’s back room. Then Sam Calagione and Toronado Proprietor David Keene poured out the first official glasses from the bar and it quickly became a wild, wild night.

Hint: Next time you’re in this amazing establishment, tip the bartenders well. They work their asses off. You’d have a bit of attitude to if you worked as hard as they do.

Everyone was glowing Monday night, including David Keene. Dogfish Head’s beers create some real excitement; people are interested and we’re glad to have them here, he said.

It’s passover and I didn’t taste the beers; friends said the 90-Minute IPA was dynamite, just about right for a strong IPA. Olde School was obviously big, but seductive with lots of sweetness that hid the alcohol. Immort Ale was very drinkable and Chateau Jiahu was wildly different, no one was sure what to think.

I remember tasting it last year at the Great American Beer Festival. Here’s what I wrote then: Hazy gold color, chrysanthemum nose, malty taste, wild, spicy follow. Besides, Greg Wiggins, of Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, says, “It goes well with Chinese food. I know; I tried it,” he said.

Sam Calagione, the founder of Dogfish Head, says it will be bottled this month and some of it, no doubt’s headed to the Bay Area. Well, this will be one to bring to a party, huh.

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  • A. Ass

    Interesting about the Chateau Jiahtu. I seem to recall that Anchor once attempted to recreate an ancient Sumerian recipe found on a clay tablet.

  • William Brand

    Yes, Anchor tried it twice, beginning in 1988. They finally got the job done, with the help of a Summerian scholar iin 1990. Briefly, it was based on a Summerian prayer to their Goddess Ninkasi in 1800 BC, found on a clay tablet. It was a recipe for beer,

    Anchor had to commission a farmer in northeast California to grow a kind of ancient barley for the beer. We tried it. Tasted kind of like honey beer and without hops it was barely p[altable. Follow this link for the whole story:

    Now the American Homebrewers Association has named their homebrewer of the year award after Ninkasi.

  • SF Beer

    I have a comment on your statement:

    “Hint: Next time you’re in this amazing establishment, tip the bartenders well. They work their asses off. You’d have a bit of attitude to if you worked as hard as they do.”

    I have been going to major beer events at Toronado for years, and although I love David and his bar, I get extremely frustrated at the shortage of bartenders at these events. The bar was packed for Dogfish, yet once again there were only 2 guys working the bar. I waited 25 minutes to get served, and a guy next to me waited even longer. The bartenders definitely work hard, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why David does not bring at least one more in for big events. The person would more than pay for him/her self with quicker service. David’s a smart guy, so there must be some practical/logistical reason for using only 2 bartenders. Anybody know?

  • autumnmike

    ughhh….that looks like it was a good time. mesa still hasn’t picked up dogfish in the northbay yet. erggg!!!!! i’ve been calling every thursday for the past month to see if it has come in. what i do know is that bottle barn will be carring it in santa rosa. and bev mo will also be supplying the tasty beverage. on a side note, i was at bev mo the other day and i see they don’t carry schlitz 12 packs anymore. i’m talking about the normal schiltz, non of this High Gravity schlitz bull.

    And why can’t i find blatz in cali?

  • William Brand

    About Dogfish. It’s a matter of supply. The whole Bay Area is getting one container load month. There was just enought this month for DBI. Mesa gets theirs next month, apparently quite soon.

    Blatz? I thought that went the way of Hamms and Storz and Falstaff and…

    About Schlitz. Hasn’t been made for a while. Pabst now has the rights and is reintroducing the original sometime soon. Guess it will be brewed in Texas.

    The distributor is MORRIS DISTRIBUTING CO. PETALUMA 94952 (707) 769-7294