Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Oddbits: Fantome in the glass at the Trappist Saturday, a pizza parlo with Race 5 in Contra Costa, Firestone Walker’s Matt Brynildson to brew at Marton’s in the UK for a fest

By William Brand
Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 at 3:22 pm in Uncategorized.

Oddbits... Are you a fan of the unusual beers from Fantome, the tiny craft brewery in Soy, Belgium?  I am. Here’s a fun event at the Trappist Beer Cafe in downtown Oakland.

  • Saturday Sept. 27  (2008), 6 p.m. -10 p.m. Fantome Night. For the first time taste the world famous Saison by the Glass, If you are daring we will also be serving the Noel by the Glass. We have a newly acquired stock of Fantome Glasses (no one else has these) for your use. (No you can’t keep them) Also a tentative visit by Dan Shelton of Shelton Brothers Importing, If he shows up you can chat about the awesome selection of beer they import.

Here’s what the importer Dan Shelton has to say about Fantome Noel:

  • A very dark and entirely unique holiday seasonal beer, at a whopping 10% alc. by volume. Reportedly spiced with honey, caramel, coriander, black pepper, and other secret ingredients

And finally, my online Beer of the Week is Fantome Saison, which is posted here.

Photo: The Fantome glass. Photo by Chuck Stilphen, The Trappist.

Pizza notes…here are a couple of additions to our Pizza Restaurants With Good Beer List. If you’re in suburban Contra Costa and want to drink good beer along with your pizza, a poster to this blog says check out The Ascona Pizza Co. There are two:

  • 3414 Camino Tassajara Road, Danville, CA 94506, 925-736-4949
  • 1020 Bollinger Canyon Road ,Suite A, San Ramon, CA 94582 925-736-0606

I called the  Danville restaurant and learned there are 26 beers on tap. Highlights included Bear Republic Racer 5 and Red Rocket Ale, also Lagunitas IPA and Gordon Biersch Marzen, Alaskan Amber and Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale.

In an e-mail, a regular poster, Matt summed up Ascona this way:

Bottom line: if I run into someone in S.F. looking for pizza and beer, I wouldn’t recommend they drive all the way out to the San Ramon Valley for Ascona.  But if you’re close enough to the area, in my humble opinion, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Matt Brynildson, the brewing wizard behind the fine beers of Firestone Walker, Paso Robles, CA,  is going to brew  at Marston’s Brewery , the real ale brewer in the United Kingdom.  He’s taking part in an International Beer Festival sponsored by the JD Wetherspoon pub chain in the UK. Brewers from Japan, Australia and Denmark  and Matt, representing the U.S. ,will brew beers for the fest.

Matt plans to brew a California style pale ale. Guess that means hops and more hops, huh?  Firestone Walker’s Pale Ale, their Double  Barrel Ale and DBA are all prizewinners.

What’s interesting is Firestone Walker’s original brewing system was based on the Burton Union system used at Marston. Fermenting begins in open fermenters, then moves into a series of linked wooden barrels. As the fermenting  becomes active, the overflow is caught in troughs and recirculated back into the barrels. It’s an ancient system and the late English beer critic Michael Jackson has a good explanation.

All the beer  produced for the fest, including Matt’s, will be served on handpumps at  650 JD Wetherspoon pubs, Oct. 30 – Nov 16.

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