Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Oddbits…Beer, chocolate at EJ Phair, Christmas specials at The Trappist, Oakland, Brewpub founder to become U.S. Senator? Favorite holiday beers

By William Brand
Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 at 3:07 pm in Uncategorized.

There is no reason to post this photo, except it’s so absolutely stupid that I thought, why not? Can you imagine the work this took? Find more here.

Events: It’s not too late to reserve a seat Wednesday night at EJ Phair’s Alehouse, Todos Santos Square, Concord (CA.) for a beer and chocolate pairing:

  • Sweet and Savory Beer and Chocolate Tasting – 7 p.m. We will be pairing four tasty winter brews with four different chocolate creations.  Our Chef Brian Hampton and JJ Phair will be hosting this event  $25.  $20, Mug Club Members. Reservations: 925-691-4253

Beer here…The Trappist, 460 9th St. in downtown Oakland is offering a number of holiday beers for sale. They also have De Struise Tsjeeses on tap, $10 a glass. They apologize, but the beer is incredibly expensive.

Beer for sale that can’t be found most places includes,  Fantôme d’Hiver 8% ABV $24, De Proef Kerstmutske Christmas Nightcap 7.4% ABV 33cl $8., Struise Tsjeeses 10% ABV 33cl $10, Bink Winter King 8.3% ABV 33cl $10

  1. Exclusive Draft: We have one keg of: Strubbe Keyte Oosténdse Dobbel-Tripel 9.2% ABV 25cl $6. We don’t think anyone else has this awesome beer. Special Thanks to Dave Manzo at Manzo Beer & Ale for getting this to us. It has been described as ” a poor mans westy 12″ and “like an angel pissing on your tounge” (not my quotes)

Stumbling onward…A poster to this blog asks – if Jolly Pumpkin / Nøgne-Ø / Stone Special Holiday Ale,  is available in the Bay Area yet? The beer’s a collaboration between Jolly Pumpkin and Stone. Stone’s Dave Hopwood says: “The short answer is…not yet.”

  • I’ve been told there will be 60 cases of it for my distributor that handles the East Bay (Contra Costa and Alameda Counties) and another 60 cases for my distributor that handles the other side (San Francisco, Marin, Napa and Sonoma Counties).  The problem is they have both recently received huge loads of beer so they may not have a truck again for a few weeks.  Once they put in new orders and those trucks ship, the Jolly Pumpkin / Nøgne-Ø / Stone Special Holiday Ale will be on them.

Jack Curtin, the Philadelphia beer blogger has lots of news today. For instance, he notes that Wynkoop Brewing founder and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, may be in line to become a United States Senator succeeding Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, whom Barack Obama has named as his Secretary of the Interior…

  • The excellent political site looks at five prospects this morning and has this to say about one who will be familiar to most of you: Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. Extremely popular in Denver. Has an interesting and salable background, with credentials ranging from geology to business development. Generally seems to be liberal, particularly on environmental issues, although he bought himself some credibility with moderates by opposing Denver’s marijuana decriminalization initiative (which passed anyway). Arguably the most upside of anyone on this list; however, there isn’t that much history of mayors of large cities transitioning into the Senate, as the two positions require fairly different skill set.

Jack also notes that InBev has been shot down by the European Community courts in its effort to market Budweiser in Europe as “Bud”. (They should try Budsucks.)

And finally, a commenter to the blog asks which are my favorite Christmas beers so far….Hmmm.

1. Brrr, Widmer Brothers: spicy, well-balanced.
2. Samichlaus Helles, giant sweetness.
3. Doggie Claws, Hair of the Dog, ditto.
4. Petrus Winter Ale,  Brewery Bavik, Belgium, (barrel aged and mildy sour)
5. Gouden Carolus Noel,  Brewery Het Anker, Belgium, big, malty, spicy, strong.
6. Malheur 12,  Brewery Maheur, Belgium. intoxicating nose, sweet with great complexity, licorce, chocolate, raisins.

So what’s your fave? Let’s build a list (and go shopping).

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  • http:/// Mario (Brewed For Thought)

    Widmer’s Brr was a HUGE surprise to me. Fantastic beer, one I probably wouldn’t have given much thought to in a normal year.

    Anchor Special, Jubelale, Celebration and Solstice are always favorites. The bottle of Solstice I had last night was amazing. St Bernardus Noel is a very very nice beer which I found on tap in Sand City of all places.

    My favorite of the year has been Brown Shugga. How come it tastes so good? Sweet, complex and a huge bright hoppiness. Will be on Cask at the Toad in the Hole in Santa Rosa on the 23rd along with carollers.

  • William Brand

    It’s the many pounds of brown sugar that makes Brown Shugga rock Great beer.

  • jeff

    Favorite christmas/seasonal ales:

    1)Anchor old special ale: Have vintages dating back to 2000. Cracked the 2000 this past weekend and it was excellent for an eight year old beer. A little thin and the spices were muted but the beer definitely held up.

    2)Sierra Nevada Celebration: i can drink this year round. I will load up the garage with cases of this stuff.

    3)Deschuttes the Abyss: have multiple bottles of 2007 and 2008. Gonna crack one this weekend

    4)Port Brewing’s Santa’s Little Helper imperial stout: awesome stuff, got a couple bottles and consumed one.

    5)Firestone 10-12: excellent blended beer. Over the top and unique.

    6)Alaskan Winter ale: top notch product

    7)Alesmith Yulesmith: just tried this one for first time. Wonderful imperial red ale from the folks down south. Highly recommend if you can track down a bottle

    8)Great Divide Hibernation Ale: excellent beer out of Denver

    9)Troegs Mad Elf: very hard to get in California but if you can track down a bottle it is excellent

    10)Great Lakes Christmas: also hard to find in California

    11) Port Brewing’s Angel’s Share: should be coming out shortly in January.

    Dont get me started on the imported Christmas/seasonal ales one of which was already mentioned.

  • William Brand

    Great list Jeff. You have some real champs.Port’s Santa is great; love Great Divide,but it never makes it here,. You can find Angel’s Share here in the Bay Area now. It’s probably from last year, but still great, It;s far from light lager.

  • jeff


    You and I shop at Monument Liquors from what i can tell from earlier posts. The beer buyer told me he should be getting in some Angels Share in January so be on the look out as he tells me it sells out quickly. He also had a couple of bottles of older viscosity that i picked up recently. Cheers.

  • William Brand

    You are right Jeff, I’m a rgular there and at Ledger’s Liquors in Berkeley. Two of the best beer stores in the Bay Area, if not the best.

  • craig

    1- anchor christmas…taste’s even better in it’s commerative gold rimmed!

    2-“silver peak brewing” (it’s in reno)camelmealle pale spelling is bad you usually find the herb in tea…but was a quite festive addtion to the beer…it reminded me of the holidays but with out the cinnamon/nutmeg taste…wish i had a growler right now

    3-celebration…is always quafffable

  • William Brand

    Silver Peak, is that the one in a downtown casino or the one out on Virginia?

  • craig

    it is on sierra and first street… block over from virgina street….and one block from the “seirra nevada tap house”…the actual brewery is an old converted house on the other side of is nice pub too… but too far of a drive…i think their beer is better than “brews brothers”and ‘silver peaks’…not all of them.. but there is usually at least one or more stand outs…i like the food..but my girlfriend says it is to foo-foo…i mean an “ahi club sanwich”..anyways when in reno it is a must..

  • craig

    i meant “brews bro’s” & “great basin brewery”..which is in sparks

  • William Brand

    I’ll have to check it out; I have family in Reno, so I’ll put it on my next visit. I really like Great Basin, by the way. And have you visited Buckbean? I haven’t, but I’ve had some of their beer (in cans). Unfortunately, I wasn’t blown away. But they’re new and need time I think.

  • craig

    visit during the “blues & brews” is usually the weekend before july 4th…it is one of the best(and biggest) fest’s…this year i did the pub crawl in the el dorado the nite before..for 20$ you got 2 of three micro’s at each of the 4 casino was a great way to meet fellow fester’s..and you were given a raffle gift after completing your crawl…both events are fun and well worth the trip..

  • craig

    i still like “great basin”..but ‘silver peak’ usually has a beer that wows me…and i had ‘buckbean’ at a sacto beerfest..they only do cans….the beer was well-done..i just don’t care for that style of beer

  • William Brand

    I’ll have to try Silver Peak on my next trip to Reno.