Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for April, 2009

A reminder about sulfites

I agree with the commentators on this brief Chow video about sulfites. While Robert Camuto does a good job telling us what sulfites are (naturally occuring process of fermentation used in wines for centuries) and how we shouldn’t blame them for all our red wine headaches, he doesn’t tell us what the other ingredients are in wine that can cause headaches.

I always tell folks the same thing. The wine industry is one of few that doesn’t have to write every single ingredient that’s in its products on the labels. You could be irritated by the preservatives, the added flavorings or aromas. Or, if you think you get headaches from sulfites in wine, you should be getting the same reaction from eating dried fruits (actually if you have asthma, you should also be getting an attack or chest tightness from those).

Your best bet is to try biodynamic wines such as Ceago Vinegarden which are purer than pure. Then let me know how you feel.

Posted on Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
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Why the French hate Australia

Hey folks, I’m back! I was flat out knocked out for a week by a peculiar stomach virus. Let’s just say I wasn’t ingesting much, let alone wine.

My desk is stacked high with boxes of wine ready to go to the cellar. Underneath all the glass bottles, I found an intriguing book I’m looking forward to take on vacation next week.

“Why the French Hate Us” by Campbell Mattinson, an award-winning Australian wine writer,  explores the forces fighting Australian wine.

I have yet to delve in but the premise is unmistakable: A seismic shift has occurred now that it’s not just one region – the United States – that has taken away a piece of France’s market they’ll never get back. It now includes the land of Oz, and whether you like it or not, their big, bodacious wines.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the Australian wine industry and the seriously excellent wines they make (that often don’t make it into our market) give the book a whirl.

Posted on Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
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No Joke: Marin Brewing turns 20 today

Given that it was April Fool’s Day 20 years ago, people must have thought they were joking. A brewery in Marin County? But Brendan Moylan was quite serious, as evidenced by Marin Brewing celebrating their 20th anniversary today. He and his late partner, homebrewer Craig Tasley, opened the first brewery in Marin on this day in 1989. Since that time, the award-winning Marin Brewing has built a solid reputation for quality and innovation.

Current brewmaster Arne Johnson continues to makes their classic favorites, such as Mt. Tam Pale, White Knuckle Double IPA, Bluebeery Ale, and Pt. Reyes Porter. But he also finds time to create exquisite ales such as his bourbon barrel aged Barleywine, or the rich and thick Quad, so “fully loaded” that one can only have 10 oz. in one sitting.

Arne Johnson and Brendan Moylan

The above photo is Brewmaster Arne Johnson showing off the four gold medals he won at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival along with Marin Brewing founder Brendan Moylan.

All day today at the brewpub at 1809 Larkspur Landing Circle in Larkspur (take the ferry there) “pints will be only $2.00 and select retail items will be offered at a discount price.” Also available today, Brewmaster Arne Johnson has brewed a batch of Anniversary Ale, the Tripel Dipsea Belgian Ale, and the 20th Anniversary Old Ale, which will be an English style ale, but these will only be around for a limited time only. Tonight at the brewery there will be live music with Petty Theft from 5-8pm.

Posted on Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
Under: On Beer, what's on tap | 3 Comments »
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