Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for January, 2009

The audacity of statistics: Rate Beer names the best

Oh my gawd… has done it again. They have a new “best of” list for 2009. It’s based on ratings on the site.  Comments anyone? (I, personally, am speechless)

Best Brewery in the World: Three Floyds Brewing

Best Beer in the World: Närke Kaggen Stormaktsporter

(Best Beer in the USA): Three Floyds Dark Lord

Best Beer Bar in the World: Kulminator (Beligum)

(Best Beer Bar in the USA): Oldsmar Tap House (Oldsmar, FL)

Best Brewpub: Dieu du Ciel! (Canada)

(Best Brewpub in the USA): The Brew Kettle (Strongsville, OH)

Best Beer Retailer: Ølbutikken (Denmark)

(Best Beer Retailer in the USA): Vintage Estate Wine and Beer (Boardman, UT)

Best Beer Restaurant: Ebenezer Kezars Restaurant and Pub (Lovell, ME)

Best Brewery to Visit: Hair of the Dog Brewing Company

Posted on Saturday, January 31st, 2009
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Celebrate the anniversary of legal homebrewing at Triple Rock, Berkeley

Here’s an interesting factoid about beer in America. Did you know — brewing your own beer was illegal until 1979, when President Jimmy Carter signed into law a bill — sponsored by Sen. Alan Cranston, D- California, making it legal.

That one signature put the craft beer revolution into hyperdrive.  People who loved beer started homebrewing, jumped into professional brewing, started craft breweries and brewpubs and…on and on…

To mark the occasion,  Triple Rock, 1920 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley  is tapping a special keg of beer Sunday,  Feb. 1, 2009. Here’s Triple Rock head brewer Rodger Davis:

  • Homebrewer Chad Mosher (from the came in and brewed a Southern English Brown ale which we will be serving four ways on Sunday.  It is a nice dark malty beer, weighing in at 4.2%ABV. We’ll serve it on our nitro tap our regular tap and two different cask conditioned ones via our handpumps. One has been dry hopped with Styrian Goldings and the other with Ahtanum hops. Hope to see you there.

Ahh, a session beer for the Super Bowl. See you about noon Rodger.

Posted on Saturday, January 31st, 2009
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The Sierra Nevada Bigfoot video…

Forget Bud Light for the moment (if not forever).  It’s time for Sierra Nevada  Bigfoot Barley Wine-Style Ale. It’s just now reaching a store near you (and if your favorite store doesn’t have it, for gawd’s sake find the manager and complain.

This year, Sierra Nevada’s posted a time-lapse movie showing the process of fermenting Bigfoot. They use open fermenters in a sealed, sterile room, just like Anchor.


To watch the video, click on this link:

This year’s Bigfoot, SN says, is 9.8 percent (It’s been almost 11 percent at times). It’s 90 IBU. Bittering hops are Chinook, finishing (late addition) hops are Cascade and Centennial. Dry hopping — whole hops added in the fermenter — were Cascade, Centalennial and Chinook.
Malts were two row pale and English caramel.  That’s interesting. Bigfoot has evolved from inky brown to what appears to be a caramel color. Hmm.

Has anyone tried this year’s Bigfoot? Let us know what you think.

Posted on Friday, January 30th, 2009
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A new brewpub opens in San Diego: Blind Lady Ale House

Iblind-lady-ale-house-san-diego-brewpub-logo1f you live in or near San Diego — and for the rest of us who will visit some day — write this down: There’s a new brewpub in San Diego opening this afternoon at 5 p.m.  (Friday, Jan. 30, 2009).  It’s The Blind Lady, 3416 Adams Ave., San Diego.

The co-founder is Lee Chase, a UC Davis brewing science graduate, who was head brewer at Stone for nine years.  His first beer will be an organic Belgian-style single. You can read about the project here and thanks to for the heads-up.

Posted on Friday, January 30th, 2009
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A fruitless search for Super Bowl XLIII beer commercials

I’ve been looking around trying to find Super Bowl  XVIII beer commercials, but as usual,  none have surfaced. All the buzz this year comes from SABMiller and their plan for a one-second commercial.
My one second Miller commercial suggestion: Bu–rrrrrrp!  You can see Miller’s promos here.

While chasing Super Bowl Bud Light commercials, I found a batch on YouTube, apparently put up by Anheuser-Busch. Their claim: too risky, too offensive for TV.  Here’s one.

Final  comment. Either they colorize the beer or they use a beer that’s not Bud Light. The Bud Light from the bottle’s the color of straw, but in the commercial, it’s a lovely, almost amber color. What’s going on here.?

Posted on Friday, January 30th, 2009
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It’s a new day: Obama hosts cocktail party


Hot photo in today’s New York Post is this shot of President Obama hoisting a glass of beer.  Story line from The Associated Press: Obama to Host Cocktail Party for Lawmakers.

  • WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has invited Republican and Democratic lawmakers for drinks at the White House as they consider his economic recovery bill that still faces opposition…

Hot damn. The teetotaler president is done gone to Texas to clear brush.
Man is this ever refreshing, It’s been a long, long time….Love the comment by beer blogger Lew Bryson too…

Posted on Wednesday, January 28th, 2009
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Headed to Southern California? Check out the Beer Guppy’s Guide


While we’re focused on Southern California, I’d like to plug a most excellent guide to good pubs, and good beer in Southern California. It’s the Beer Guppy’s Guide to Southern California, by Jay Sheveck.  I find his advice invaluable, when I’m trying to penetrate the sprawling vastness of the LA Basin in search of a decent beer.  You can find it in most good beer stores or buy it here. $9.95, plus shipping. It was published in 2007 and Jay plans an update. But it remains an exccllent guide.

Posted on Wednesday, January 28th, 2009
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Draft magazine’s top 25: A few opinions…

That DRAFT magazine top 25 beers of  2008 list that I posted has rteally gotten around. It got mentioned and discussed on Beer Advocate.  A bunch of people have posted comments.  The author even e-mailed me, after I posted a comment about Apricot Ale, noting the description failed to mention minor points like it was an abbey-style tripel and the beer was fermented on ripe fruit for four months:

  • I just wanted to clarify something from your comments area, even though I’m guessing it was make in jest – I didn’t call the beer an Apricot Ale, the beer’s name is Apricot Ale and is printed in big letters on the bottle. As for going back to beer school – man, I’d love to! 😀

It’s true, it was in jest. Sorry about that.

But the best comment came in an e-mail from Mark H, who lives in Southern California, to a friend in Walnut Creek. I find his opinions excellent. What do you think:

Isabelle Proximus
smells like foot but tastes delicious; only for the sour beer lover; I have a case in my basement

Bruery Orchard White

fantastic Belgian Wit; one of the best Wits I have ever had

Dark Lord
UH-mazing imperial stout and damn near impossible to get here; only had one bottle about 4 months ago and on tap at the Strong Ale in December in Carlsbad

Ol Dubh 16
Totally disagree here, just an okay beer.  They also make a 12 and 30.  The 12 and 30 are very good but the 16 is just okay.  The 30 should be a lot better than the 12 for the price difference.

Very good beer but their other limited release that cam out at the same time Dissident was fantastic.

Firestone XII
Have not had yet.  I was only able to procure one bottle.  This is what I was askign the bartender for when we were at the Brewery with you.  In the next couple weeks A friend  and I are going to have a vertical tasting of the X, XI, and XII.  I will keep you posted.

Angels Share
We had a bottle of this up in Solvang.  Top 3 of all-time.

Westmalle Trippel

A standard.  This is where the first Trippel recipe came from.  It is drier than most Abbey style ales because it is an authentic Trappist ale.

Pliny the Elder


Palo Santo Marron

This beer just keeps getting better with age.  I first had a bottle of this about a year ago.  Very rich and delicious malt body.

The style is Old Ale.  Not a very common style.  Very rich beer again.  I think you will like this beer.  Has nice balance.


Had a bottle from 2006 last night.  Very enjoyable beer with subtle spicing.

Posted on Wednesday, January 28th, 2009
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Two buck 29?


I’m less concerned about the Governor’s proposed wine tax slightly hiking up the price of Charles Shaw wines and more irked by the devastating number of layoffs it would bring to California. Like we don’t have enough already.

Whether you cook with it or serve it to a date in your college dorm, I’m guessing most people wouldn’t mind paying another 29 cents for Charles Shaw. Am I right? Post your comments here.

Posted on Tuesday, January 27th, 2009
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SF Beer Week: Original Albion Draft Ale debuts at the Bistro Double IPA Fest

There’s a piece of history being made during SF Beer Week: It’s Napa Smith’s Original Albion Draft Ale. It’s a recipe salvaged from New Albion Brewing, circa 1976 and it;s gonna be tapped Saturday,Feb. 7 at the Bistro’s Double IPA fest.  Here are the details:

Napa Smith’s Original Albion Draft Ale!! This is pretty historic stuff. Once a brewer at the nation’s first microbrewery, the former New Albion Brewing Company of Sonoma, CA circa 1976, Don Barkley has taken an old recipe for their flagship ale, possibly out of an old shoebox, and crafted this new version especially for SF Beer Week, over at the Napa Smith Brewery. This exciting new beer will be the first time that recipe has been used in years, and there are not too many folks around who have ever even had the original version, as it mostly exists now as a benchmark in the lore of craft beer history. Needless to say, we’re excited! This will be the official ale of SF Beer Week, and will be unveiled at our public kickoff event: The Bistro’s Double IPA Festival, on Feb 7th. There will only be one single batch of this beer made, and we will feature it at multiple locations during the week, saving the last drops for the Celebrator’s Best of the West Beer Fest on Feb 15th, our grand finale.

Well, I remember the beer. Came back from Mexico for a visit, stumbled into my favorite pub in Berkeley and there it was: Ohmygawd. You could chew that beer. I never looked at beer the same way again. See ya’ at the Bistro!  And right now, hie thee to SF Beer and check out the incredible array of events.

Posted on Tuesday, January 27th, 2009
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