Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for May, 2009

SF Wine Crawl this Saturday, 5/9

I’m going to Slanted Door in San Francisco for dinner tonight. Their corkage has jumped to $35! Yowzers. I’m guessing this is because they have SO many well priced wines on their list there’s simply no need for recessionistas like me to BYOB. We’ll see.

But I digress. I’m blogging about the SF Wine Crawl this Saturday, May 9 at various locations in San Francisco and Treasure Island. The event runs from noon to 5 p.m. and includes participation from 10 San Francisco urban wineries, inlcuding Lionheart Wines, Harrington Wines, August West, Sandler Wines, Blue Cellars and TI Wines, to name a few.

Individual tasting fees may apply at each location. For more information or to RSVP visit the SF Urban Wineries’ Facebook page.

Posted on Thursday, May 7th, 2009
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Weekend Update 5.8

There’s a growing number of beer events around the Bay Area coming up this weekend and beyond. See you there!


Saturday, May 9

The Raley Field Brewfest in Sacramento will return May 9 for its third year, put on by the Northern California Brewers’ Guild. Over 30 local and regional craft brewers will be pouring their beers, beginning at 1:00 p.m. and continuing until 4:30. Tickets, which can be purchased online, are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the festival. Admission includes 10 five ounce tastings. There are also V.I.P. tickets available for $40, and these include an exclusive early tasting (one hour earlier) and 18 five ounce tastings.

Raley Field Beerfest 2009

Sunday, May 10

The E.J. Phair Alehouse in Concord will host a Mother’s Day Brunch all day, beginning at 8:00 a.m., if you’re looking for a great place to treat your beer-loving Mom. Their brunch menu includes eggs Benedict, omelets, pancakes and their bottomless mimosas.

The Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol will also have a special Mother’s Day Brunch in their outdoor beer garden from 11:00 to 3:00 p.m., and live acoustic music from Noon until 6:00 p.m. You can also download a pdf of the special brunch menu.


Monday, May 11

The Magnolink Simul-Dinner at the Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery in San Francisco. See my previous post for all the details.

Tuesday, May 12

Lagunitas Brewing will host a tasting of their beers Tuesday night at The Toronado in San Francisco. The event and the Sierra Nevada event the next night will celebrate American Craft Beer Week and will include draft specials all night. 6-9 p.m.

Wednesday, May 13

Sierra Nevada Artisan Ale Experience at The Toronado in San Francisco. Five Sierra Nevada beers will be served, including their Limited Release Chico IPA, Brown Saison, Bigfoot Barleywine-style Ale, Summerfest and their new Kellerweis Bavarian Hefeweizen. 6-9 p.m.

Also taking place on Wednesday the 13th is a beer dinner at Mission Beach Cafe in San Francisco. The five-course dinner (plus Amuse Bouche) will feature the beers of Shmaltz Brewing, both the He’Brew and Coney Island line of beers. The all-inclusive price is $60 per person. You can also see the full menu and beer pairings at Beer & Nosh. Reservations can be made by calling 415-861-0198 ext. 2.

Saturday, May 16

Pacific Coast Brewing in Oakland will be holding their annual Spring Beer Tasting on the 16th. As of today, beers confirmed for the tasting include Pacific Coast Ultra Yellow Double Maibock Style Ale, Russian River Pliny the Elder Double IPA, Lagunitas Hop Stoopid, Celebrator Doppelbock, Dogfish Head Aprihop, Klokke Roeland Belgian Dark Ale, and Firestone Walker Reserve Porter. More will be added later. The sit-down tasting begins promptly at Noon and ends at 4:00 p.m. Tickets for the tasting must be purchased in advance and cost $50 per person.

The 10th annual West Coast Brew Fest in Sacramento’s Miller Park will be held next Saturday from 1:00-5:00 p.m. Over 60 breweries will be pouring beer along the Sacramento River with live music, food and even a V.I.P. Session.

Monday, May 18

On Monday, Pete’s Brass Rail and Car Wash in Danville will tap the first keg in California of Lost Continent Double IPA from the Grand Teton Brewery in Victor, Idaho. In addition, the last two kegs in existence of 20th anniversary Cellar Reserve XX Bitch Creek will be on tap.

Friday, May 22

The Beer Chef, Bruce Paton, will host a beer dinner featuring the Classic and Contemporary Beers of Duvel Moortgart at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in San Francisco. The dinner will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m. and the cost per person is $80. Call 415.674.3406 for reservations by May 14. You can see the menu for the four-course beer dinner online, and also make reservation there, as well.

Saturday, May 23

The 15th annual Sudz in the City will be held in Fresno’s Chukchansi Park from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. The festival will feature “dozens of familiar and not so familiar craft brews, great live music from some of the Valley’s top bands on two stages, plus a wide range of food vendors from barbeque to tacos.” Advance tickets are $25 and $30 at the door (designated drivers are $10).

Sudz in the City


June 6: Beerfest, Santa Rosa

June 6: Monterey Beer Festival

June 18: Downtown Hayward Street Party including beer specials at The Bistro

If you know of an upcoming beer event, please let me know about it so I can share it here. Let me know at

Posted on Thursday, May 7th, 2009
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Magnolia To Do Simultaneous Collaborative Beer Dinner

The Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery on Haight St. in San Francisco has enjoyed a well-deserved reputation for excellent food along with its terrific line-up of beers. They’ve been heavily involved with Slow Food and have used organic and local ingredients in all their dishes for many years. But their latest gastronomic foray is something altogether different.

On Monday, May 11 they’ll be doing a simultaneous beer dinner with The Linkery in San Diego, which they’re calling the The Magnolink Simul-Dinner. Essentially the two restaurants, one a brewpub and the other a restaurant, will be serving an identical three-course dinner with the same beer pairings. The Dinners are $45 per person, not including tax and tip.

Here’s how the two tell the story of the dinner:

Both dinners feature The Linkery’s house cured meats and Magnolia beers. Chef Ronnie New of Magnolia and Chef Max Bonacci of The Linkery have long admired each other’s cooking and share a commitment to community and sustainability in food and drink. Both chefs source local ingredients, using pasture and sustainably raised meats to make their own house made fresh sausages and house cured meats. While Magnolia brews its own beers on the premises,The Linkery does not boast a brewery, but serves excellent craft beers.Their collaborative menu is designed to pair with three special Magnolia beers.

Dinner will be served at Magnolia from 5:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., no reservations necessary. The Linkery is open for dinner from 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.


Magnolia & The Linkery Collaborative Dinner Menu
By Chefs Ronnie New and Max Bonacci

3 courses and beer pairings, $45

First Course:
Savory Clams with Smoked Chorizo Broth, Ramps, and Green Garlic
Beer Pairing: Branthill Bitter

Second Course:
Maple Ham and Beer Bread Coated Pork Chops with Grits, Greens, and Beer Mustard
Beer Pairing: Prescription Pale

Third Course, Dessert:
Lardo Ice Cream Sandwich with Candied Bacon and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Beer Pairing: Cole Porter


Sounds like a fun idea. Below is the information for both places.

Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery
1398 Haight Street (@ Masonic)
San Francisco, CA 94117

The Linkery
3794 30th St at North Park Way in North Park
San Diego, CA 92104

Posted on Tuesday, May 5th, 2009
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Winemaker Don Blackburn dies at 54

Does everyone else know Pinot Noir pioneer Don Blackburn died on April 23? I didn’t even know he had cancer.

Don was the French-trained winemaker at Emeritus Vineyards. To some, he was considered the Plato of American Pinot Noir.

According to an obituary released by his publicist, he earned a BTS with honors in viticulture and enology from the University of Montpelier, and interned in the vineyards and cellars of Bordeaux and Burgundy.

In Margaux, it reads, St. Emilion, Mersault, Alsace, Monthelie, and Vosne-Romanee, Don’s passion for wine grew. Always the scholar, he studied texts dating back to the 17th century to uncover the roots of the practical aspects of winemaking, learning techniques that we are now rediscovering with the help of technology. While in France, Don also became the first foreign correspondent for the Wine Spectator.

His 25-year winemaking career in America included winemaking at Elliston Vineyards, Bernardus Vineyards, Byington Winery and David Bruce Winery. His last post was at Emeritus Vineyards in the Russian River Valley, where his favorite vineyard has been renamed in his honor as McDonald Mountain.

Here’s my favorite part of the obit: “Don believed the finest quality a wine could aspire to was charm, not concentration, and while appreciating technology, in the final analysis he relied upon his intuition. Don never made wine “by the numbers,” instead he used intuitive metaphors, often from music and poetry, when describing his wines. For Don, a wine might be like a Vivaldi concerto or perhaps a California bikini girl.”

A celebration of Don’s life will be held at Emeritus Vineyards on June 5 at noon. Emeritus Vineyards is located at 2500 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472.

Posted on Tuesday, May 5th, 2009
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I’m back and Crushpad hits Bordeaux

Imagine my surprise to come back from almost three weeks in France and hear that the San Francisco based custom crush facility Crushpad has opened up shop in Bordeaux?

Crushpad Bordeaux

Yes, you can make world class Bordeaux from your Oakland hood.

The facility is located in Saint Emilion, home of micro-cuvée wine
production.  Crushpad’s clients will make their wines at Château
Teyssier, under the supervision of owner/winemaker Jonathan Maltus. Maltus is known for single-vineyard Grand Crus including Le Dôme, Les Astéries, Le Carré and Vieux Chateau Mazerat.

Not too shabby of a mentor.

Consultants Eric Boissenot and Stéphane Derenoncourt have
agreed to work with Crushpad on vineyard selection, viticulture and
winemaking support. Crushpad is sourcing fruit from vineyards in
appellations such as Margaux (seriously) and Saint Emilion as well as
emerging appellations where old vines and excellent terroir reign.

The 2009 harvest is ready for you. All vineyard and winemaking information is available on Crushnet, Crushpad’s online community.  Whether you have time to visit your babies in person or not, you will receive barrel samples periodically and can create final blends virtually by using Fusebox – Crushpad’s wine blending kit.

Bon chance!

Posted on Monday, May 4th, 2009
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Boontstock 2009

The lucky 13th annual Boonville Beer Festival, which over the last decade has grown into one of the best festivals in the area, turned into Boontstock this weekend as several inches of rain poured down on the Anderson Valley. The mud and rain might have doomed a lesser beer festival, but Boonville proved to be made of sterner stuff. I confess I expected the turnout to be lighter this year with the promise of rain all weekend hanging in the air. But by all accounts, this year’s festival was as well-attended as any, with festival-goes showing great ingenuity in their attempts to stay dry.

Anderson Valley Brewing

As always, the festival is sponsored by Anderson Valley Brewing, which is located in the small town of Boonville, roughly two hours north of San Francisco, the last thirty miles or so making Lombard Street look straight by comparison. The Mendocino County Fairgrounds becomes a tent city as thousands invade the town and camp right next door to where the festival takes place.


As promised, the rains came down, especially at the beginning of the festival, dumping a few inches on Saturday.


The brewers stayed mostly dry under tents, animal stalls and wooden stands. Here, David Gatlin, brewmaster, and Ken Allen, owner of Anderson Valley Brewing, the festival’s sponsor, stay relatively dry under a makeshift plastic roof.


Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo, from Russian River Brewing, who debuted their first beer in a new beer series, Empirical 7, along with Rich Norgrove, owner and brewmaster at Bear Republic Brewing.


So while the brewers stayed dry, everyone else didn’t seem to mind the rain at all.


One of the Bay Area’s newest breweries, Ale Industries in Concord, was also pouring a Wit Lager, which brewmaster Morgan Cox described as essentially a wit beer brewed with lager yeast.


As the rain came and went throughout the afternoon, people figured out unique ways to sample the beer and remain dry, such as these huddled masses, yearning to drink free.


Brian Hunt, from Moonlight Brewing, offers a final toast from Boontstock 2009.

Posted on Monday, May 4th, 2009
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