Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for May, 2008

Italian craft beer via Russian River on tap at the Toronado on Wednesday

Italian craft beer’s a hot item among beer geeks these days. I’ve always been a fan of La Rossa, from Moretti. It’s an Italian version of a German double bock. But I’ve never had a chance to try any of the new Italian craft brews.

Thanks to Vinnie Cilurzo, of Russian River, there is a chance. He worked with Italian craft brewer Agostino Arioli from Como, Italy at the new Russian River plant in Santa Rosa recently to make: Fleurett. It’s fermented with black pepper, honey, violets and roses and it will be on tap Wednesday night, June 4, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Toronado, 547 Haight St., San Francisco.

Proprietor David Keene will also have several Belgian-style Russian River beers on tap, including Temptation, Beatification. Supplication, and Damnation, plus Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig IPA.

There’s no charge. Pay for your beer.

For more on the Italian scene I refer you to the imitable Charlie Papazian, the home brew author and founder of the Brewrs Association.

Posted on Saturday, May 31st, 2008
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Rogue holds a fest in memory of a great dog…

Basically, I hate beer threads that start like this…There are five beers in the U.S. or the world or South Africa or Belgium or where ever with dogs on the label…blah …blah blather and blah. However, a beer festival held last weekend at Rogue in Newport, OR, is worth a mention. According to Real Beer, they held the fest in memory of a dog… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Saturday, May 31st, 2008
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Three videos from Troegs Brewing, Harrisburg, PA

Occasionally, I cruise YouTube looking for funny beer commercials. Found these three – they’re mildly funny – from Troegs Brewing Co., a small Harrisburg, Pa., craft brewery …

The not-so-perfect beer pour …

The crooked label …

Wet the hottie …

Posted on Saturday, May 31st, 2008
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Craft beer sales up 12 percent in 2007; Brewers Association lists top breweries

Just got my May-June issue of New Brewer. It’s got the Brewers’ Association annual sales figures for craft brewers for 2007. Sam Adams (Boston Beer) is  the fifth largest brewer in the U.S., behind 1. Anhueser-Busch, 105,150,000 barrels; 2. Miller, 40,150,000, 3. C00rs, 24,300,000,  4. Pabst, 6,100,000.

Here are the top 20. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, May 30th, 2008
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Lips of Faith plan bringing rare New Belgium beers to Bay Area

Attended a New Belgium beer dinner last night (Thursday, May 29) at Spenger’s in Berkeley. More on that later. But the news is that the brewery has arranged to ship a succession of its more exotic beers, including the fabled La Folie, a Belgian-style sour ale, to a select list of pubs in the East Bay and San Francisco. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, May 30th, 2008
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Another beer auction: Vintage Thomas Hardy’s, Bigfoot

Bigfoot bottle caps Matt Maples, who runs Liquid Solutions, a Tigard, OR. retail beer store with a large mail order via the Web presence, is trying another rare beer auction. This one starts next Friday June 6 at noon, PDT.

The items: one bottle of vintage 1994 Thomas Hardy’s Ale. Starting bid: $13.95 and six bottles of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barley Wine-style Ale, one each from 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. Starting bid: $19.95.

This is fascinating and unlike Ebay, Maples isn’t selling beer of questionable origin. He has a real, if small store, and an actual physical address and (gasp) phone number. These two don’t interest me terriblly, but I’m gonna follow it and see how the bidding goes.

Also, Liquid Solutions has a large stock of hard-to-find beer from across the U.S and Eur0pe (and Canada). Mail order isn’t cheap, beer is heavy, but for a bottle or two, it can be worth it.

Posted on Friday, May 30th, 2008
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Fire at historic FX Matt brewery in Utica, NY

Toxic flames engulf F.X. Matt Brewery
Photos

Those of you who follow craft beer or who lived on the East Coast at one point no doubt recognize FX Matt, a regional New York brewery with a long history and a record for producing straightforward, OK beer. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 29th, 2008
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A green publicity stunt from New Belgium: Trade your car in for a bike

Fat Tire neon sign This is true. P.T. Barnum would be proud of this Front Range company. The headline is accurate.

Let me explain, each summer, New Belgium has a kind of roving chautauqua. They land in a city, and have an afternoon of live, free music beer and bicycle-related games. They call it “Tour De Fat” . Well, hell they do make Fat Tire, don’t they.

Their San Francisco Bay Area visit is July 19. I believe it will be in Golden Gate Park again. This year, the bike giveaway is the new wrinkle. In each city the tour visits, they’ll select one person, who agrees to hand over the pink slip to his or her car and agree to live car-free for one year. In exchange, the lucky person will receive a custom New Belgium commuter bike.

They’re gonna select the winner (or should I say loser) in each city on the basis of a video or essay submitted to New Belgium explaining why they want to live without a car.

To submit a video or essay for consideration as a Car-for-Bike volunteer, log on to http://www.followyourfolly.com/pdf/biketrade.pdf.

There you have it. Not too shabby. Move over Ringling Bros.

Posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
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Update: Our first live chat, read the transcript here

Hi all… the live chat went very well. I got non-stop questions. I really didn’t know how it worked until we did it. But all people had to do was go this blog and post a question, the questions and my (very very hasty and poorly typed) answers scrolled down the screen.

Here’s a link to the chat archive on the San Jose Mercury News site:

What’s on Tap live chat with William Brand

Posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
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Gary Vaynerchuk at SF Borders tonight!

New Jersey’s answer to a millennial Robert Parker will be making an appearance in San Francisco tonight, May 28, to sign copies of his new book, “Gary Vaynerchuk’s 101 Wines Guaranteed to Inspire, Delight, and Bring Thunder to Your World.”

I haven’t read the book yet. I’m too busy soaking up Alice Feiring’s “The Book of Wine and  Love, Or How I Saved the World from Parkerization.” (It’s fabulous). But if you’ve seen any of Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library TV video blogs or caught him on YouTube or Conan O’Brien you know the boy can taste. And spit. Into a New England Patriots plastic bucket, no less.

He’ll be signing copies at 7 p.m. at the Borders on Post Street in San Francisco.


 

Posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
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