Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for January, 2009

SF Beer Week: More events –


SF Beer Week is becoming so huge that it’s becoming unwieldy. Basically, every pub and restaurant in the Bay Area that gives a damn about beer has something planned; brewpubs and breweries also have many, many events.  In addition, a number of famous brewers are going to be in town, people like Rob Tod of Allagash, Portland, ME. and Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head, Milton, DE. and Matt Brynildson, Firestone-Walker, Paso Robles, CA.

Be sure to check out the listings — more are being added daily — at

OK, here’s a tiny selection….

  • Saturday, Feb. 7, 6 p.m. Meet Rod Tod, of Allagash at The Trappist, 460 8th Street, Oakland CA, 510-238-8900. Free, Buy your own beer. As most of you know Vic Kralj’s deservedly famous Double IPA Fest begins Feb. 7 at 11 a.m. Taste some mighty IPAs, get something to eat, jump on BART at the Hayward Station and make your way to The Trappist,. It’s avthree block walk from 12th Street BART in Oakland.
  • Sunday, Feb 8, Noon – 3 p.m., “Brewer’s Sunday Tea”, 21st Amendment, 563 2nd St., San Francisco. Part of the 21st and Magnolia Gastropub’s Strong Beer Month:  Beers from Magnolia and the 21st Amendment with a few special surprises. Enjoy Fatted Calf’s delicious handcrafted sausages grilled outside in the 21A’s beer garden.  $30. No reservations just show up.
  • Sunday, Feb. 8 6 – 9 p.m. A Beer Dinner with the Homebrew Chef. Sean Z. Paxton, chef and brewer extraordinaire is paring and cooking with the beer Monk’s Blood, that he guest brewed at the 21st Amendment for this year’s Strong Beer Month. Monk’s Blood , made with exotic sugars  is based on the beer “Saucerful of Secrets” that he designed and brewed at Firestone Walker Brewery with Matt Brynildson.  $50  Reservations: 415-369-0900
  • Monday, February 9; 6:30-9:30 p,.m. Henry’s Jam House Beer Dinner with the beers of Triple Rock Brewry and Iron Springs, Henry’s, (inside the Durant Hotel) 2600 Durant Ave., Berkeley, CA 510-809-4132, $45. Chef Eddie Blyden, the former chef at both 21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant and Magnolia and Alembic, knows how to cook with beer like few other people. He’s now cooking across the Bay at Henry’s, an International Gastropub adjoining the Cal Berkeley campus. His beer dinner will be a food and beer pairing featuring the beers of Triple R ock Brewery and Iron Springs.
  • Monday, Feb. 9, 6 – 9 p.m. Wanna git my Eastern Peanut Butter in yer Western Chocolate”, 21st Amendment, $50. Reservations:  415-369-0900. “Witness Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head and Shaun O’Sullivan of the 21st Amendment in an East vs. West Coast Slam pairing Dogfish Head beers with West Coast foods and 21A beers with East Coast food. Think Tupac vs. Biggie, Spicoli vs. Sam from Cheers, The Grateful Dead vs. Velvet Underground. It will be a legendary showdown, featuring some of the best craft beer around, no matter which coast you’re from.”
  • Wednesday, Feb. 11,  6 p.m. Beer Dinner featuring the beers of Stone Brewing, Monk’s Kettle, 3141 16th St., San Francisco. Price to be announced. Info: 415-865-9523.

1st Course: Salade Verte, Butter Lettuce, fresh herbs, Mustard Vinaigrette
Beer: Cali-Belgique IPA
2nd Course: Butternut Squash Soup with fried pumpkin seed and spiced crème fraiche
Beer: Oaked Bastard
3rd Course: Pan Seared Fish Thyme roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Delta Asparagus, Toybox Tomato Relish
Beer: Stone-Alesmith-Mikkeller Tripel
4th Course: Slow Braised Short Ribs, Whipped Parmesan Yukon Gold Potatoes, Blue Lake Green Beans, Natural Jus
Beer:  Smoked Porter
5th Course: Chocolate Tuxedo Cake with White Chocolate Ganash, Crème Anglaise, Raspberry Sauce
Beer:  12th Anniversary Ale

Posted on Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
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Buy Drake’s beers at the brewery on Thursday and Friday afternoons

drakes-imperial-stoutIf you’re a fan of Drake’s beers. but never seem to find them in stores, here’s some good news. They brewery is now selling cases and kegs off the dock on Thursday and Friday afternoons.  Drake’s also plans to begin their Friday afternoon openhouse again when the weather improves. No growlers yet, but growlers are coming. Best deal I see here is a 500 ml bottle of Imperial Stout for $5.
Here’s the scoop:

  • CASES:   For the winter season, and because we aren’t holding the Friday Tastings, we are offering Drake’s Blonde, Amber, and IPA for $25 a case (plus tax & crv).   Hefeweizen will be back in bottles in a few weeks at the same price.  We also have Drake’s Imperial Stout available in 500 ml bottles for $5, or in cases of 12 for $57.
  • KEGS:  15.5 gallon kegs of Drake’s beers are also available for pick-up off the dock.  Right now we have in stock our Blonde, Amber, IPA 1500 and Hefeweizen. We do keep a few five gallon and  7.9 gallon kegs in stock, but you might want to call first, as we often run out.  We have a very limited supply of picnic taps available.

Posted on Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
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Two Beer Chef Dinners: North Coast Friday night, Beer & Chocolate, Feb. 13

Bruce Paton, the Beer Chef.

Bruce Paton, the Beer Chef.

Two very incredible beer dinners produced by Bruce Paton, the Beer Chef at the Cathedral Hill Hotel, 1101 Van Ness Ave. in San Francisco  are coming up.

  • First, tomorrow night, Dinner With The Brewmaster: The Unique Beers of North Coast Brewing. It’s almost  sold out, but make a reservation on this link right now, and you’ll get in. See you there.
  • Next, is Bruce’s annual Beer & Chocolate Pairing, which is one of the closing events during SF Beer week, Feb. 13. This one always sells out. So make reservations today.

Curious? Here are the menus:

The Unique Beers of North Coast Brewing Co

Reception, 6:30 p.m.
Beer Chef’s Hors D’Oeuvre Selection
Red Seal Ale and Pranqster Golden Ale
Dinner 7:30 p.m.

  • First Course : Salad of Peppercress, Peeky Toe Crab. Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese and Satsuma Mandarins
  • Le Merle Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale
  • Second Course: Coffee Crusted Duck Leg Confit with Caramelized Fennel and Four Cheese Ravioli
  • Brother Thelonius Belgian Style Abbey Ale
  • Third Course: Molten Chocolate Cake with Old Stock Ice Cream and Smoked Paprika Sabayon
  • Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

$70 per Person Inclusive of Tax and Gratuity


Friday February 13, 2009
Featuring TCHO Artisan Chocolates and
Fine Ales of Belgium and Britain

Reception: 6:30 p.m. Chefs Hors D’Oeuvre Accented with Chocolate

Blanche de Bruxelles and Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

  • Dinner: 7:30 p.m. First Course: Carpaccio of Seared Sea Scallop with Saffron Vanilla and “Citrus” Chocolate Sauces
  • Malheur 10
  • Second Course: Burrata Cheese with Poached Pear, Pistachios and “Nutty” Chocolate Pear Vinaigrette
  • Malheur Brut
  • Third Course: Slow Braised Berkshire Pig Short Rib with “Chocolatey” Chocolate Parsnip Flan and Dr Pepper Jus
  • Malheur Brut Noir
  • Fourth Course: Eggnog Pannacotta, Compote of Black Mission Figs and Cocoa Nibs with “Fruity” Chocolate Coulis
  • Malheur 12

$95 Per Person inclusive of Tax and Gratuity

Posted on Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
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The Obama Innauguration Luncheon: Some beer pairings

obama-innaugural-luncheon-plateDid you watch the inauguration? Were you there? What an eloquent event.

Checked the Inauguration Luncheon in the Capitol Building, but they did not serve beer. Just California wine. Sigh.

Here’s the menu and the beer I think SHOULD have been served as a choice, along with the wine.

First Course:

Seafood Stew
The wine: Duckhorn Vineyards, 2007 Sauvignon Blanc from the Napa Valley in California
My beer choice: La Merle Belgian-Style Farmhouse Saison, North Coast Brewing, Fort Bragg, CA. Reason: A spicy, tangy saison is just about perfect with a seafood stew: La Merle’s effervescence provides a pleasant contrast to the rich, meaty taste of the stew.

Second Course:

A Brace of American Birds (pheasant and duck), served with sour cherry chutney and molasses sweet potatoes
The wine: Goldeneye, 2005 Pinot Noir from the Anderson Valley in California
My beer choice: Brother David’s Belgian-Style Double, Anderson Valley Brewing, Boonville, CA. Reason: The intense roast malt , high fermentation sweetness of the beer melds with the roast game and the beer’s sweetness offsets the tart chutney. A second choice would be Damnation, from Russian River, Santa Rosa, CA.

Third Course:

Apple cinnamon sponge cake and sweet cream glacé
The wine: Korbel Natural ‘Special Inaugural Cuvée,’ from California
My beer choice: Lagunitas Czech-Style PilsnerReason: Spice from the yeast to match the cinnamon; hops and malt to offset the sweetness.  Another choice would be a rich, creamy stout: Bison Chocolate Stout or maybe Anchor Porter.

Comments welcome. I don’t pretend to be a food pairing expert.

Posted on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009
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Oddbits: Lagunias Gnarleywine wins Alaskan fest, Alesmith Nogne O in the Bay Area, a beer glass fights breast cancer

Oddbits…One of our own won the Great Alaskan Barley Wine Festival this past weekend. According to beer blogger Jay Brooks, the winner was
GnarlyWine, Lagunitas, Petaluma, CA.,  Runnerup: Old Gander Barley Wine, Sleeping Lady Brewing,  Anchorage,  third:  Big Woody Barley Wine, Glacier Brewhouse, Anchorage. (Link to Glacier Brewhouse is down.)  Thanks Jay!

nogne-oTalking about good beer, there is a source out in the Tri-Valley (Livermore – Pleasanton, CA). It’s Perry’s Liquor, 1522 Railroad Ave. in Livermore.  (925-443-0550). ‎Proprietor Harpreet Singh keeps adding to his beer stocks. He says he’s just gotten in a stock of new beers from Alesmith, San Diego: Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, IPA, Alesmith X, Alesmith The Anvil ESB and Winter Alesmith. No, he doesn’t have Speedway Stout, but he’s hoping to get it shortly.

Harpreet adds he’s getting in some of Shelton Brothers  rare beers, including Dark Horizon from Nogne O, the Grimstad, Norway craft brewery and neew beers from De Struise in Belgium.  Dark Horizon, is 16 percent, designed to ward off the arctic night. Sounds like it could take the chill of our Tule fog too.

Have you heard of Lolita, the glassware maker?  They have a constantly changing repertoire of interesting glasses.  Their newest are striking,  a salute to the fight against breast cancer.  You can order it online for $25 plus shipping. Also find at any number of stores with stocks of good glassware in the Bay Area. If anyone is interested and can’t find a local store, e-mail me at or post a comment here and I’ll send you the

Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2009
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Toasting President Obama on Tuesday morning

Where are you going to be tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. PST when Barack Obama takes the oath of office and becomes America’s 44th president?

If my body is willing, I’m going to be at 21st Amendment, 563 2nd St. in San Francisco. They’re going to be open and serving $2 canned beer all day.  We’re not talking PBR here. They’ll have both their canned beers, Hell or High Watermelon Wheat and Brew Free or Die! IPA.  Sounds like a great way to bring in what we hope is a new era.

There’s going to be plenty of Chicago beer at the inauguration, naturally, Goose Island will have beer in Washington.  Here’s the news from their media release:

  • We’re going to have a lot of fun during inauguration week,” says Greg Hall, brewmaster of Goose Island Beer Co. “We’ll be serving Chicago beer at both black-tie affairs like the Heartland Dinner and alternative events like the Big Shoulders Ball at the Black Cat.” Goose Island beer will also be available at legendary Washington D.C. watering holes including Capitol Hill’s Hawk and Dove, where it is hoped that our nation’s leaders will sit down over a pint of Honkers Ale, stop bickering and start working together.
  • For off-premise inauguration parties, shoppers can pick up Goose Island beer such as 312, Honkers Ale and IPA at Washington D.C.’s grocery and liquor stores. “It’s flying off the shelves,” says the local distributor. “Lots of folks already knew about Goose Island; you just couldn’t get it here.”

piece-brewing-obama-and-beerThen, there’s Piece Brewery & Pizzeria
, an award-winning Chicago brewpub in a converted auto garage in the hip and happening Wicker Park neighborhood in northwest Chicago. Head brewer Jonathan Cutler said the Obama team asked if they could send beer to the inauguration. “Unfortunately, we’re a brewpub; they needed beer in bottles, so we weren’t able to send any beer,” Cutler says.

Nevertheless, Jonathan brewed Inaugurale, a classy American pale ale, caramel malt, Cascade hops and dry hopped with Cascades. It’s a 5 percent session beer and they’re tapping it tomorrow.  If you’re ever in Chicago, I highly recommend Piece. It’s a friendly, cheerful neighborhood place. They even deliver pizza and the beer is excellent. No wonder, Jonathan was named Champion Brewer and Piece won the Champion Brewpub award in 2006 at the Brewers Association World Beer Cup.

My wife’s cousin, Brad Morris, a comedian with Second City told us about Piece. It was great advice.  By the way,  Piece has a photo of Barack Obama hoisting a pint at the brewpub. “It’s a Photoshop job,” Jonathan said. “He hasn’t visited here. But we checked and they said it’s OK to do things like that with presidents.”

Hint: Mr. Soon-To-Be-President; Check out Piece.


I can’t leave this subject without checking in with Half Moon Bay Brewing, out on the San Mateo coast. Head brewer Alec Moss, you may recall, brewed two beers: Mavericks Obama Ale and McCain Ale. The deal was: Buy the beer of your choice, casting an unofficial vote for that candidate. As you can see, Obama won big time. The beer, in 22 oz. bottles in a four pack, can still be purchased at the pub or on the web for $15 plus shipping.

Finally (I’m getting tired of this thread) has published a list of Obama beers, most of which had their labels denied by the feds. Find it here.  This is one of the dissed labels from Flossmoor Station, a brewpub ins Flossmoor, south of Chicago.

Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2009
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A cartoonist’s beery view of the Bush years: The hangover


I have nothing against Republicans, although the Bush era has been difficult,  the crap we’ve been wading through recently isn’t all his fault by any means. But Jack Curtin, who writes the Liquid Diet beer blog just posted this cartoon drawn by  Clay Bennett in the Chatanooga Times Free Press pretty much sums things up. Thanks for the post Jack.

Posted on Saturday, January 17th, 2009
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Drake’s Denogginizer Imperial IPA in pubs now, Triple Rock has big SF Beer Week plans

Drake's Denogginizer Imperial IPA, 10 percent, 100 IBUs and very tasty.

Drake's Denogginizer Imperial IPA, 10 percent, 100 IBUs and very tasty.

Just heard from John Martin, proprietor of Triple Rock and Jupiter in Berkelely, CA, who bought Drake’s Brewing in San Leandro with a brewing partner last year.  He says a new batch of  Denogginizer,  Drake’s mighty  Imperial IPA , 10 percent ABV, 100 IBUs, has been released.  Here’s John:

  • Right now Denogginizer is on at Ben & Nick’s, Barclay’s, The Trappist, Triple Rock, The Bistro, EJ Phair, Toronado, Fireside (Alameda), Bear’s Lair, Jupiter, Cato’s, Looney’s Smokehouse (Berkeley), Meridian Sports Bar (Berkeley) Porky’s Pizza Palace (San Leandro) & Lucky’s Pizza (Dublin).

As I was writing this post Rodger Davis, who created Denogginizer with current Drake’s head brewer Josh Miner, called. He’s now at Triple Rock in Berkeley and he’s really got plans for SF Beer Week:

  • We’re gonna’ do Sour Sunday Feb. 8, we;re getting American wild ales and Belgian sours. I talked to a friend of mine at  Bethlehem Brew Works in Pennyslvania and he’s sending  a sour.  I’ve also got a bunch of beers from The Breuery, down south. It should be intereset.
  • Tuesday,  Feb. 10, we’re dong  barrel aged beers along with Jupiter. You buy a glass, then you walk back and forth or two and fro,  whatever. There’ll be different barrel aged beers at Jupiter and different ones here at Triple Rock. (They’re two blocks apart.)

OK Rodger, can’t wait.  Meanwhile, I’m going to snag a Denogginizer this weekend.

Posted on Friday, January 16th, 2009
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City of Oakland has put Linden Street Brewing on the ropes

Part of the crowd at a Friday night open house at Linden Street Brewing.

Part of the crowd at a Friday night open house at Linden Street Brewing.

Do you believe in heaven and hell. If they exist, I hope there’s a special compartment in hell for the jerks at the City of Oakland bureaucracy who have dragged their feet for well over a year granting  a  permit to Adam Lamoreaux at Linden Street Brewing in Oakland.

Talked to Adam this morning. He said that finally, finally, the city has scheduled a “final inspection” next Monday morning.  But the situation is dicey.

Two years ago when Adam and his wife, Alice Chen, and a friend, Carey Peterson,  leased empty warehouse space at 95 Linden St., a few blocks north of Jack London Square, things looked bright. But all the delay and now, the credit crunch, has hit them hard. Adam’s lost his bank credit line and is looking hopefully for help from a local bank that understands what he’s trying to do…

I thought, “well, what about a beer festival benefit for Linden Brewing?”  I talked to Celebrator Beer News Publisher Tom Dalldorf, who has done many a benefit. He said that because Linden Street is a for-profit company,  a benefit would be almost impossible.  Damn and hell. Anyway, here’s some background…

Linden Street Urban People's Common Lager

Linden Street Urban People's Common Lager

Back in 2007, Adam bought the brew plant from Bison in Berkeley, installed it and dutifully applied for the necessary permits for the first brewery in Oakland in 50 years. He ran into a wall of horse doey. Pure crap. First PG&E dragged out the electrical permitting for months and months. Some of us, me included, called PG&E PR and whoosh, oh miracle,  the delay dissipated.

But that was just the start.
Next, the highly-paid plodders in the Oakland city bureaucracy discovered the building was not earthquake safe. Turned out this was the building owner’s problem, but it took months again to correct it.  Then, Adam says, the city building permit bureaucrats descended.

If this was a town in New Jersey or New York, I would think that the building inspectors were dragging their feet, waiting for a little under-the-table cash. But apparently that’s not true. It’s just bureaucratic indifference and sloth.

Among other things, a building inspector objected to something called a “trench drain.”  The guy said, the city doesn’t allow trench drains.  “I said, find me a brewery that doesn’t have a trench drain. I brought pictures of trench drains from Pyramid in Berkeley and Drake’s in San Leandro,” Adam says.

“They said, ‘Oh, that’s Berkeley, that’s San Leandro, we don’t do things like that in Oakland.’ ”

Adam lucked out. Rumsey Engineers, a crack mechanical engineering firm, is next door. “They did the engineering for New Belgium (Fort Collins, CO.) and Peter Rumsey heard about the problem and assigned his senior plumbing engineer to help me,” Adams says.

  • So, finally, that final inspection is Monday. Meanwhile, Adam’s dithering. “The current financial situation is pretty bad: one of our lines of credit dried up. We’re looking for investors and talking to local banks. It’s just way crazier that I ever could habe possible imagined. I’m not 100 percent certain we can get through it.  There are no guarantee.”

Damn and hell. What can be done? We gotta’ save Linden Street. The test batches of Linden Street Urban People’s Common Lager and Black Lager, brewed at Drake’s, were most excellent.  Any beer-loving lawyers out there? Ideas, anyone?  Let’s do something. SF Beer Week is coming up, let’s show America and the g.d. bureaucrats that this the Bay Area gives a damn.

Posted on Friday, January 16th, 2009
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SF Beer Week: Two more dinners, Beer & Nosh and the Toronado

More SF Beer Week events. Here are two that promise to be great fun:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 11, 6:30 – 10 p.m. The Beer & Nosh  Dinner, a benefit for the San Francisco Food Bank, Scala’s Bistro, 432 Powell St., San Francisco, $100. Five courses. Jesse Friedman writes the Beer & Nosh blog and this benefit is his contribution to SF Beer Week. Most excellent.  Beers from Firestone Walker, Triple Rock , Drake’s, Sacramento Brewing, Shmaltz and Oskar Blues. Make your tax deductible reservation here.
  • Thursday, Feb. 12, 6 p.m. The Toronado and Homebrew Chef  Sean Paxton’ Night osf-beer-week-toronado-beer-dinnerf Ales Beer Dinner, featuring the beers of Firestone-Walker, Peacock Lounge, 552 Haight St. (Across the street from the Toronado), $95. Firestone-Walker head brewer Matt Brynildson will bring a number of special beers; the menu, prepared by Sean, will be keyed to the beers. Sean is a homebrewer who cooks and has prepared many dinners for homebrew gatherings. Read about him here. The Peacock Lounge is not large. So, if you’re interested in attending, do so today. This one will sell out.  Tickets  only available at the Toronado.

Posted on Friday, January 16th, 2009
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