Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

A party at City Beer in San Francisco

By William Brand
Monday, July 28th, 2008 at 1:41 pm in Uncategorized. held a sort-of private party Sunday night at City Beer Store after closing and the 25 people attending were asked by founder Joe Tucker to bring a “special beer.”

Talk about pressure. Ratebeer is one of the gigantic beer Web sites, the one where posters rated Westvleteren Triple the best beer in the world in 2005, causing a media frenzy and causing the Trappist brewery to clamp down on sales.

So what beer to bring? No way was I gonna bring one of my aging, bottle-conditioned barleywines or my 1987 bottle of Thomas Hardy’s Ale. I decided to bring a brand new 750 ml bottle of Ommegeddon II, the new, second edition of this 8 percent beer from Brewery Ommegang, bottle conditioned with brettanomyces, wild yeast.

Nice contribution, but other guests brought wilder stuff. Those invited were mostly regular beer raters for the site. For example, one guy, Chad, who lives in San Francisco, brought two Japanese craft beers: Hakusekikan Dual Porter and Hakusekikan Super Vintage 2000, a Japanese, aged, barely wine and oh yes, a 12 oz. bouttle of St. Arnold’s Christmas Ale.

One of the most unusual beers came frm Steve Cummins, who brought a specially bottled version of one of the most excellent sour beers, made with brettanyomyces and who knows what else from. Valley Brewing (Stockton)

Another, rater, Jason, who also lives in SF brought Alpine Shame On You and Alesmith Decadence.

But what about Joe Tucker? Well, he brought a six-pack: is basically a two-man operation, Joe, who lives in the Bay Area, and Josh Oakes, who now lives in Miami. About the only change they’ve done in recent years is move the site to a larger server farm in Virginia to provide better service to the East Coast and Europe, Tucker says

They also put out a book in 2006, The Beer Guide, by Josh Oakes, which listed Ratebeer ratings on literally thousands of beers. They’ve also added a “shelf-talker” service. Retailers can download the talkers, which have details about a specific beer, post them next to the beer to boost sales, Tucker says.

How busy is “We’re averaging 5 million page views a month,” Tucker says.

Sometimes, their ratings can drive me crazy, but then, they’re hard to dispute. Right now their best beers in the world by popular choice are: Westvleteren Tripel and Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout from Three Floyds in Munster, IN. Agree? Post a comment, let’s talk.

Then there’s their Best Brewer in the World:

De Struise Brouwers and head brewer Urbain Coutteau. Huh? Sez whom?

PHOTOS; TOP: The crowd at City Beer just before the party began.

Below: Joe Tucker of with his sixer.

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  • Scott

    I think in that last line you mean Joe Tucker of!

  • Tim Clifford

    I don’t think Westvleteren makes a Triple, but all three of the 6, 8, and 12 are fantastic. As far as “best brewer/brewery in the world” goes, I’m dubious too, but De Struise’s Pannepot, Black Albert, and Struissellensis are out of this world amazing.

  • William Brand

    You’re right, of course, Tim. it’s the Wesvleteren 12 that I meant. Just copying the regular press.

    Oh, I believe I;ve tried Pannepot. But I can’t remember where. Are they imported?

  • Mario (Brewed For Thought)

    William, don’t worry about getting upstaged.

    RateBeer invitee: I brought a better beer than you.
    William Brand: I get paid to drink and write about beer.
    RBI: Touche.

    Let’s face it, we’re all jealous.

  • Drew

    Bells’s Batch 8000 is delicious!

  • Drew

    Bell’s Batch 8000 is delicious!

  • William Brand

    Yean, Im going to have to look for Bell’s at the GABF this year . I’ve tried their regular beers, but nothing really impressed me; well, excellent beer b nopt memorable. Obviously A brewer that makes 19 different stouts is worth a look.

  • William Brand

    Oops changing the reference right now.

  • Dave

    I didn’t even see you there. Sorry if I didn’t speak to you, you know I would have!

  • William Brand

    No problem Dave. Another time for sure.