Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for February, 2009

Praying for Bill Brand

It’s a glum day in the Contra Costa Times office as we all keep Bill in our thoughts and prayers. I know he’s going to be OK. And I’m sure he can feel the energy and outpouring of love and support from everyone on his blog.

Whatever you’re drinking today, raise your glass to help Bill pull through this terrible accident.

Tonight, I’ll be drinking a Chimay with my schnitzel in his honor.

Posted on Monday, February 9th, 2009
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Pulling for Bill Brand

This morning, we learned of our colleague Bill Brand’s accident. Contra Costa Times reporter Robert Salonga’s story “Former Tribune reporter injured in S.F. Muni accident” follows below:

A former longtime reporter for the Oakland Tribune was critically injured when he was hit by a Muni train Sunday night in San Francisco’s Financial District, authorities said.

Bill Brand was in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital after he was hit about 9:10 p.m. Sunday, family members said.

He was was walking near Second and King streets when an N-Judah train struck him, according to the San Francisco Municipal Railway.

In his career with the Tribune, Brand covered a host of topics for the newspaper, including crime and science. After leaving the paper in July, he continued to write a regular beer column titled “What’s on Tap” and contribute to the Bottoms Up blog.

Here’s a link to Tyche Hendricks’ late-Sunday story in the San Francisco Chronicle.

We’d love to hear from blogging buddies, commenters and community members in the comments below so that we can pass your best wishes as soon as we’re able to share them.

Thank you for reading.

Update, 3 p.m.: We’re making more calls to try to update Bill’s condition. Here are links to Henry K. Lee’s San Francisco Chronicle story, and stories by CBS5, KTVU, and Kimberlee Sakamoto’s KRON-4 story.

Posted on Monday, February 9th, 2009
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SF Beer Week: Rocking out at the Bistro DIPA fest


Part of the crowd at the Bistro Saturday.

bistro-dipa-2009-crowd1Did you make it to the Bistro’s Double IPA fest Saturday (Feb. 7, 2009)? What a great-kickoff to SF Beer Week. Bistro proprietors Vic and Cynthia Kralj hadn’t figured the gate, but they guessed the turnout would reach 1,500.

It was a great event and the Bistro crew had really transformed the festival area. The City of Hayward let them close the block of Main Street outside the pub.  They transformed the street into a large, long, enclosed arena with beer tap stations under canvas and actual wooden serving tables.

bistro-dipa-2009-glass-closeupSo participants could wander from the outside patio on B Street into the pub and onto the main street arenas. They wound up with 46 double India Pale Ales, plus New Albion Ale. I posted the winners of the professional judging here.

There were several entries from out of state including Avery Ale to the Chief, Boulder, CO., Oskar Blues Gordon, from Lyons, CO., Deschutes Hop Henge Experimental IPA, Bend, OR, Rogue XSIPA from Newport, OR, Shmaltz Bittersweet Lenny’s RIPA from Saratoga, NY,  Big Dog’s Hop Harvest Ale, Las Vegas, NV,  Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA, 120-Minute IPA, Milton, DE, and Flying Dog Double Dog, Frederick, MD.

Besides the winners, I tried Stone Sublinely Self Righteous Ale, 8.7 percent, 85 IBUs.Very nice:  a dark brown with malt on the nose and a creamy head. Taste was malty with a dry, mildly hoppy finish.

Also, Pizza Port, Solana Beach, Lou P. Lin: 8.2 percent, 87 IBUs, A real hop bomb, aromatic nose, decent, balanced taste and a whoosh of hops in the finish.

Rogue XSIPA from John Maier was a surprise: 9.5 percent, 7 IBUs: Soft malty nose, a mildly sweet taste with lots of sweet malt and hops in the finish. Very drinkable.

Hats off to the Bistro.  And if you love the Bistro, check out two more upcoming events there this week:

  • The Bistro’s North County Cheese-Off, Tuesday, Feb. 10; 6:30 p.m., $45, Five cheeses paired with beers from Bear Republic, Lagunitas, Marin Brewing, North Coast and Russian River.
  • Thursday, Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m.  The Bistro Beer Mixology & Sensory Appreciation, $40. Hosted by Judy Ashworth (Americas Premier Lady Publican) & Terence Sullivan (of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.),   Judy one of the craft brew pub pioneers has long had a hobby of blending different beers together for some intriguing and tasty drinks.

Make reservations at: 510-886-8525.

Posted on Sunday, February 8th, 2009
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SF Beer Week: The beat goes on…

SF Beer Week is roaring into high gear and I’ve got a lot of catching up to do this afternoon before I check in at the Sour Sunday fest at Triple Rock. Plan to hit there about 4 p.m. (It starts at 1 p.m. and I advise going early, if you can — I can’t.

Then it’s on to the 21st Amendment for a beer dinner prepared by homebrew chef Sean Paxton and featuring Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head as honored guest.

About Sour Sunday, the list I posted last night includes both the sour beers that will be on tap today at both Triple Rock and Jupiter and the barrel-aged beers that will be on tap at both pubs on Tuesday.  The glass can be used at both pubs and each has the same selection today.  For the updated Sour Sunday list, check comments below.

Anchor’s Fritz Maytag with a magnum bottle of Our Barrel Ale
Anchor's Fritz Maytag with a magnum bottle of Our Barrel Ale

OK, catching up.  Here’s a photo of Anchor proprietor Fritz Maytag holding a bottle of Anchor’s Our Barrel Ale, thanks to Beer & Nosh. In comments at the Friday night unveiling of the new beer, Fritz said he long was strongly opposed to barrel-aging beer. He recalled touring pubs in England when he firsts got his feet wet, buying Anchor in the mid-1960s. Lots of beer came ot of barrels and it was often sour, he said.

I’m told that at the time Fritz bought Anchor, the beer’s qualty was spotty. He set out to change that and he did.

However,. he told the crowd of brewers  Friday night, his nephew, John Dannerbeck and head brewer Mark Carpenter finally convinced him to give barrel-aging a try.  He said he realized that the oak barrels used to age Anchor’s Old Potrero Straight Rye Whiskey were free of bacteria. The high alcohol of the distilled rye whisky made that certain.

As I said, the beer’s  a blend of many of the Anchor beers, but not Anchor Steam. They’ll go on sale in 50.7 ounce magnum bottles, $30. They’ll only be sold at the brewery, starting sometime in mid-February.

Posted on Sunday, February 8th, 2009
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SF Beer Week: The lineup for ‘Sour Sunday’ at Triple Rock

Just got the list of beers from John Martin for Rodger Davis’ Sour Sunday at Triple Rock and Jupiter in Berkeley Sunday afternoon. It begins at 1 p.m. $ 20 (price includes one logo glass and two 5oz. tasting pours; additional tasting pours $4)

Allagash – Curieux
Ballast – Sea Monster
Ballast – Sour Wench
Beach Chalet – Dubbel
Bethelham – Framboise
Blue Frog – XXX
Brewmaster – Signature Ale
Bruery – Blend
Cantillion – Classic Gueuze
Cantillion – Kriek
Cherish – Rasp.Lambic
De Ranke – Cuvee
De Ranke – Kriek
Deproef – Seasonal
Desuhutes – The Dissadent
Dogfish Head – Palo Santo
Drake’s – Frankenwine
Drake’s – Impinoir
Drake’s – Sideways Stout
Drake’s – Cherry Port
Drake’s – Blueberry Port
Drake’s – Brettamber
Drie – Gueze
Duchesse – De Bourgogne
Echte – Kriekenbier
Firestone Walker – SaucerfulSecrets
Gordon Biersch – Hefe
Green Flash – Dbl.Bbl. Stout
Haandbryggeri – Haandbakk
HeBrew – Lenny on Rye
Hitachino – XHShochuCask
Iron Springs – Barleywine
Ithaca – Oaked Nut Brn
Ithaca – Brute Golden
Jolly Pumkin’ – Wit
Jolly Pumkn’ – La Roja
Jolly Pumpkin – Stout
Magnolia – Trippel
Mayfield – XXX
Monks Café – Sour Ale
Moonlight – 60 to life
Moonlight – Sourpuss
Moylans – Hopsickle
Petrus – Old Brown
Petrus – Aged Pale
Reinaert – Flem.Wild Ale
Rodenbach – Grand Cru
Russian River – Consecration
Sac. Brewery – Wheatwine
Schooners – Old Woody
Speakeasy – Hunter’s Point Porter
St.Somewhere – Dubbel
Stone – 07 Vertical Epic
The Bruery – Blend
The Bruery – Berliner Weisse
Thirsty Bear – Imp. Stout
Valley Brew – Effingreat
Zoetzuur – Flemish Red

Posted on Saturday, February 7th, 2009
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An update on the Bistro Double IPA fest winners…

In case you don’t get all this blog’s comments via RSS…here’s what I just posted as a comment about the winners at the Bistro Double IPA fest today:

I’ve been at another Beer Week event and didn’t want to attempt posting anything with my cel phone — even if it is an iphone, which I just broke down and bought,


The winner was: Pizza Port/Carlsbad. The beer was Poormans IPA — Brewer Jeff Bagby. ABV: 9 pecent. Figure the IBUs in the 90s.  I didn’t get to try it; Got there about 3 and it was gone.  Everyone who did try it loved it. I really liked the Pizza Port Lou P Lin.

Silver winner was Triple Rock Imaxx Imperial IPA, Rodger Davis, 9 percent. 80 IBUs.

Bronze winner was Bear Republic APEX.  Brewrers Ricardo and Peter, 7.5 percent, 83 IBUs.

People’s Choice: Pliny the Elder, naturally.


Both were absolutely excellent, in my opinion.

Posted on Saturday, February 7th, 2009
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Bistro duipa results

Pizza Port wins DIPA Fest; Triple Rock se cond, Bear Republic third and
Pliny the Elder wins Peoples Choice

Posted on Saturday, February 7th, 2009
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SF Beer Week begins with a new beer from Anchor: Our Barrel Ale

Just left the kickoff party for SF Beer Week at Anchor Brewing in San Francisco and is there ever news.  Anchor unveiled a new beer and it’s a stunner.

Meet Anchor Our Barrel Beer. It’s 8.02 percent, aged six months in charred oak barrels that had been used to age Anchor Old Potrero Straight Rye Whisky.  They only have about 100 cases of  magnum –50. 7 ounce – bottles 12 bottles to the case. No kegs; no 12 ouncers.

The beer, Anchor Proprietor Fritz Maytag said, will only be sold at the brewery. Price: $30 a bottle. It’s going on sale sometime in mid-February, Fritz said.

The taste: It’s a medium brown beer with copper highlights; it pours with a bit of foam that fades fairly rapidly as barrel-aged beers tend to do. It has a nose of wood, vanilla and spice. The taste is very mellow, smooth, faintly sweet with a drying, mild vanilla finish and a bit of warmth from the alcohol.

On first taste, I give it FOUR STARS. It’s a great barrel-aged beer. As one brewer — not from Anchor — said during the presentation: “They really got it dialed in.:”

Maytag and Anchor brewmaster Mark Carpenter, as usual, had little to say about how the beer was made. Mark said it’s 9.02 percent alcohol. Fritz said it’s a blend of Anchor’s other beers, but not Anchor Steam.

So — just guessing we’re looking at Anchor Porter, Old Foghorn, Liberty Ale and maybe Bock.  Whatever, this is a beer worth waiting in line to buy. What a great start for SF Beer Week.

Posted on Friday, February 6th, 2009
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Corkheads discount for Bottlenotes event

Looking for something to do on Feb. 19? Check out Bottlenotes’ inaugural Around the World in 80 Sips at Crushpad in San Francisco. The Stanford grads who brought you one of the hippest locally-produced sites for wine enthusiast networking is now holding an annual event where they truly bring it.

Eighty wineries from around the world, including Lebanon and Israel, will be pouring their juice for more than 600 peeps like me and you. Bay Area food vendors, like TCHO, the latest to deliver artisanal chocolates, will be there to dine us while Bottlenotes wines us.

Buy your $40 advance tickets at Enter “Corkheads” at checkout for $10 off!

Posted on Friday, February 6th, 2009
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Tasting New Albion Ale: FOUR STARS


Don Barkley at the Toronado Friday noon.


Don Barkley's recreation of New Albion Ale, first brewed in 1977. Wow!

AT MAGNOLIA PUB AT 1:30 P.M…It’s the second stop on the New Albion Ale/SF Beer Week Friday afternoon pub crawl…with several pubs to go before ending up at 21st Amendment about 5 p.m, after stops at Magnolia Pub, Monk’s Kettle and City Beer.  See this post for the sked.

About the beer — New Albion Ale, that is — Dynamite. Tried it at the Toronado. What a great beer for a nooner. Let’s see: clean light copper color, hops on the nose, big time. Taste is very clean and malty with an unusual and quite tasty herbal, earthy background, from the malts and the hops. Deliciously hoppy finishish that leaves a tang on the tongue. I give it FOUR STARS.

Posted on Friday, February 6th, 2009
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