Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for June, 2008

Tracking the InBev – Anheuser-Busch takeover battle…

I’m no longer a business reporter, so no way am I going to follow InBev’s attempt to take over Anheuser-Busch. But here’s a hint to what may happen: The topic of the day on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Web site, besides the Mississippi flooding, is “what’s a good name for the new company?

Foreshadowing? Don’t know, but interesting. Follow the link, there’s a sidebar listing the many, many stories and columns and editorials and reader comments on the takeover.

Posted on Friday, June 20th, 2008
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Don’t count on touring the new Russian River brewery soon

Just got forwarded an e-mail from Paul, another Paul, also a homebrewer. Who says: (Vinnie is Vinnie Cilurzo, co-founder and head brewer at Russian River in Santa Rosa)

I did hear back from Vinnie this morning. It does not look like the New Brewery will be open for Tours or Tastings until much later this year…actually it is more likely to happen next spring. The tours and tastings have to take a back seat to the new brewery going full board.

I told Vinnie that I was sure that many of the home brew clubs would be very interested in setting up a tour. Once they get going, he told me that they would very much like to see that happen.

I cannot wait to tour the new brewery, and yes…sample their beers in their tasting room…Paul

Posted on Thursday, June 19th, 2008
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Take a video tour of the new Russian River brewery in Santa Rosa, CA.

The new Russian River brewery in Santa Rosa is making a big splash in Sonoma County. Paul Marshall, who is a homebrewer and beer judge and festival organizer, was up there this week. No tour. But he did send us the link to an article and video shot by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Check it out.

Posted on Thursday, June 19th, 2008
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Judging the Sam Adams Longshot homebrew contest finals in Boston

Finalist judgers for the 2008 Sam Adams Longshoe homebrewing compeition in the Boston Beer Col tasting room in Boston, Jim Kock, left, Marty Nachel, front, Tony Fordor, right, William Brand, rear, right. Photo by William Brand

I helped pick the winner of the 2008 Sam Adams Longshot Homebrew Competition Wednesday in a blind tasting at the Boston Beer Co. brewery in Boston. No, I can’t tall you who won – the judges are sworn to secrecy, but I can tell you about the four beers that made the finals… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, June 19th, 2008
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Any suggestions for a good 1997 red?

A friend of mine is looking for a relatively affordable red wine from the 1997 vintage. It’s a gift for someone.

It was a good year for Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon and Central Coast Pinot Noir. I’m not crazy about Paso Robles when it comes to more than five years of age, but I know she could get a reasonable price on a bottle of Justin Cab. Anyone got other ideas? Post them here. Thanks a lot!

Posted on Thursday, June 19th, 2008
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CALENDAR: Big Oakland A’s beer fest is Saturday at the Coliseum

The beer scene in the Bay Area is vast and becoming bigger still. These days “beer fests” can escape the notice of most of us. One of these is the Oakand A’s beerfest, which takes place this Saturday, June 21, 4:05 p.m – 6:05 p.m. at the Coliseum, featuring the usual corporate brewers, plus many, many others; Bear Republic, Lagunitas, Firestone-Walker, Deschutes, Gordon Biersch, Mount St. Helana…

What? You ask. Yes, it’s become an annual event and it always occurs with no publicity in the beer world. Oh, I haven’t looked, but there may be an ad in the Celebrator Beer News, buried in the back pages.

Details: Saturday, June 21, 4:05 – 6:05 p.m. (Sounds like a schedule from my old high school principal) East Side Club, McAfee Coliseum. Admission free with a game ticket, additional tastings can be purchased. Info: 510-638-4900, ext. 4040 or buy a game ticket on line here.

While we’re on the subject of beer fests, check my post earlier on the Scotish Games in Campbell in the South Bay, also this Saturday afternoon.

Posted on Thursday, June 19th, 2008
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Oddbits – Democratic National Convention cars powered by Coors, details on Drake’s blended beers, Dale’s Pale Ale in cans for Southern California

Odd bits…This is truly odd…according to the New York Times…all official vehicles at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August will be pwoered by ethanol made from beer by (gasp) Coors using discarded beer. Proves, I guess, that it’s corn not rice that makes Coors sweet and watery. I always thought Bud and Coors were rice beers and Miller’s wss corn.

Or can you make ethanol from rice as well as corn? Comments anyone. By all means read the whole post

Caught Rodger Davis, the former Drake’s brewer, who now handles Drake’s sales while he gathers his energies and cash investors for his own brewery. Here’s the skinny on the Drake’s beers being tapped tonight beginning at 6 p.m. at the Toronado in San Francisco: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
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Five wine labels return home

Finally, a flip in the winery ownership trend. Last week, five California wine brands were returned to a local company after being orphaned and snatched up by huge beverage companies over the years.

The brands are: Geyser Peak, Atlas Peak, Buena Vista Carneros, Gary Farrell and XYZin. You can read about it in detail here. But the most important thing to take from this news is that the company, Ascentia, will be a stone’s throw from the vineyards that produce the wines. This is the way it should be, but rare. They bought the wineries from Constellation Brands (based in New York) as part of a $209 million deal that includes Washington wineries Columbia and Cove Run and Idaho’s Ste. Chapelle.

Some of these wineries have really suffered as a result of all this back and forth, but I’m confident that under local ownership — Ascentia is based in Healdsburg — they can get back to making the best wine possible.

Posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
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Joys of capitalism, Buffett may cleanup on Anheuser-Busch takeover

And you didn’t buy Bud stock because you didn’t like the beer…From Brew Blog today…

Buffett Could Make $600 Million on InBev-Bud
Buffett became “significant shareholder” in April 2005.

Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway is Anheuser-Busch’s second-biggest shareholder, so far has been silent on InBev’s bid for A-B.

But a Bloomberg story suggests that Buffett might have 600 million reasons for supporting it.

Posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
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The post on great Santa Cruz pubs is coming later (Honest)

A note to readers of my San Jose Mercury News column. I promised in my column today that I’d write about the best places to drink beer in Santa Cruz.  Just haven’t had time yet today. Still coming. I expect to post it around 4 p.m. PDT.

Right now, I’m in Boston, helping judge the national Sam Adams Longshot homebrewing competition. I’ll finish the post at Logan waiting for my plane home to Oakland.  (Ahh, this hectic modern world — so little time, so much beer and so many damn planes.)

More later. william brand

Posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
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