Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for September, 2009

Jannah in SF is delicious and affordable

As a restaurant critic, I so wish we reviewed restaurants in San Francisco. Alas, there are too many to get to in the East Bay. If we did, I would put Jannah in Western Addition/NOPA high on my list.

I’ve eaten there three times in the past week, and I will continue to go back. The Iraqi restaurant is one of those neighborhood finds that you want to share with everyone, visiting relatives and foodie BFFs alike.

Normally, I would want to keep gems like this a secret, but in this continually flailing economy, there’s no way I’m going to let such an exquisite establishment go unnoticed.

I was trying to figure out what I recognized about the restaurant – the consistent, fast service, the stand-apart flavorful dolmas, the fresh and healthy grilled kabobs plates – when I read on their Web site that the chef is Yahya Salih.

Salih used to run the Mesopotamian-inspired Yaya Cuisine on Van Ness Avenue, which was a favorite of mine when I first moved to the Bay Area. I used to day dream about their safeeha (a sort of Iraqi pizza). I’m not sure when it happened, but YaYa closed its doors sometime in the past five years.

Here’s why I think I’m so jazzed about Jannah. I’m Persian, and while I love the food of my mother’s homeland, I’ve long believed that Iraqis take it to the next level. There, I said it. Iraqi food excites me more. Their inclusion of cinnamon and their ability to use cumin and turmeric with such command – it shows up neither passive as it does in Persian food nor aggressive as I sense in Indian cuisine – that I’ve found myself smelling the kuzi (phyllo dough filled with shredded lamb, rice, almonds, golden raisins, and spices) when it’s put before me. Then, I dig in to its splendor.

The best part? Every dish on the dinner menu is $11 or less. There you have it. It’s not impossible to enjoy a wholesome, exotic dinner on a budget with your whole family in San Francisco.

Posted on Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
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Score a grand cellar at WineBid.com

Sorry I’ve been missing in action. I got married, went on a honeymoon then came back to an office piled with work and wine. I’m currently typing away on a column about wine merchant Kermit Lynch’s 37th anniversary, which he’s at least partly commemorating with “Man’s Temptation” (Dualtone), an album of bluesy folk (yes, he sings – very well).

But you’ll have to wait and read that column on Oct. 7. For now, I’ve got to tell you auction-bound winos about a spotlight feature on Winebid.com, the largest online auction space for fine and rare wines. They’ve got a cellar from one of Wine Spectator magazine’s Grand Award winning restaurants. Yes, it’s a real restaurant. Try to forget the fake restaurant  Spectator awarded last year. This restaurant is legit, and so is the wine list.

If you’ve got the bones, check it out. The list features 2000 Petrus, 2003 Romanee-Conti, 1967 Chateau d’Yquem, and 1990 Margaux.

Winebid.com

Posted on Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
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GABF Winners 2009

On Saturday, the Great American Beer Festival the winners were announced. A total of 234 medals were awarded in 78 categories (gold, silver and bronze). California breweries took home 39 of the 234 awards, or about 17% of the total. Only Colorado, with 44 medals, won more. Breweries from just the Bay Area won 14 medals, more than all but three whole states! It’s also worth noting that in the popular India Pale Ale or IPA category (the one with more entries than any other style) California was a swept the field, winning gold, silver and bronze medals.

The Great American Beer Festival by the numbers:

  • 457 breweries in the festival hall
  • 2,100 beers served at the festival
  • 49,000 attendees (includes brewers, volunteers and ticket holders)
  • 3,000 volunteers
  • 495 breweries in the competition
  • 3,308 beers judged in the competition
  • 78 categories judged + Pro-Am category
  • 132 judges from ten countries

gabf2009

And the winners are (with California breweries highlighted in bold):

Category: 1 American-Style Cream Ale or Lager, 24 Entries
Gold: Milwaukee’s Best, Miller Brewing Co., Golden, CO
Silver: Hamm’s, Miller Brewing Co., Golden, CO
Bronze: Red Dog, Miller Brewing Co., Golden, CO

Category: 2 American-Style Wheat Beer, 19 Entries
Gold: County Seat Wheat, Blind Tiger Brewery & Restaurant, Topeka, KS
Silver: Shredders Wheat, Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Baker City, OR
Bronze: Double Eagle Ale, Rockyard Brewing Co., Castle Rock, CO

Category: 3 American-Style Wheat Beer With Yeast, 43 Entries
Gold: Haywire Hefeweizen, Pyramid Breweries, Seattle, WA
Silver: Hefeweizen, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Portland, OR
Bronze: UFO Hefeweizen, Harpoon Brewery, Boston, MA

Category: 4 Fruit Beer or Field Beer, 104 Entries
Gold: Raspberry Creek, Breakwater Brewing Co., Oceanside, CA
Silver: Magnolia’s Peach, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery, Huntington Beach, CA
Bronze: Raspberry Tart, New Glarus Brewing Co, New Glarus, WI

Category: 5 Herb and Spice or Chocolate Beer, 85 Entries
Gold: Stillwater Rye, Montana Brewing Co., Billings, MT
Silver: Imperial Chocolate Stout, Rogue Ales, Newport, OR
Bronze: Rude Elf’s Reserve, Fegley’s Allentown & Bethlehem Brew Works, Allentown, PA

Category: 6 Coffee Flavored Beer, 45 Entries
Gold: Dude! Where’s My Vespa?, Rock Bottom Brewery – Arlington, Arlington, VA
Silver: Overcast Espresso Stout, Oakshire Brewing, Eugene, OR
Bronze: Coffee Bender, Surly Brewing Co., Brooklyn Center, MN

Category: 7 Specialty Beer, 21 Entries
Gold: Chateau Jiahu, Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton, DE
Silver: Palo Santo Marron, Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton, DE
Bronze: Drunken Angel, Rock Bottom Brewery – Chicago, Chicago, IL

Category: 8, Rye Beer, 21 Entries
Gold: Crazy Jackass Ale, Great American Restaurants, Centreville, VA
Silver: Blue Point Brewing Co. RastafaRye, Blue Point Brewing Co., Patchogue, NY
Bronze: Hoss, Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, CO

Category: 9 Specialty Honey Beer, 36 Entries
Gold: Countdown Honey Brown, Thunder Canyon Brewery, Tucson, AZ
Silver: George’s Fault, Nodding Head Brewing Co., Philadelphia, PA
Bronze: Midas Touch, Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton, DE

Category: 10 Session Beer, 27 Entries
Gold: KinderPils, Triumph Brewing Co. of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Silver: Firestone Xtra Pale, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA
Bronze: Bam Biere, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Dexter, MI

Category: 11 Other Strong Beer, 44 Entries
Gold: Cardiff, Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co., Glenwood Springs, CO
Silver: Winter Wheatwine, Rubicon Brewing Co., Sacramento, CA
Bronze: FiftyFifty Imperial Stout, FiftyFifty Brewing Co., Truckee, CA

Category: 12 Experimental Beer, 32 Entries
Gold: TPS Report, Trinity Brewing Co, Colorado Springs, CO
Silver: Bloody Beer, Shorts Brewing Co., Bellaire, MI
Bronze: Brabant, Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, CO

Category: 13 Out of Category – Traditionally Brewed Beer, 82 Entries
Gold: W ‘10, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Portland, OR
Silver: Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen-Weisse, Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
Bronze: S1NIST0R Black Ale, 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend, OR

Category: 14 Gluten Free Beer, 10 Entries
Gold: Celia Framboise, The Alchemist, Waterbury, VT
Silver: Redbridge, Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Saint Louis, MO
Bronze: Celia IPA, The Alchemist, Waterbury, VT

Category: 15 American-Belgo-Style Ale, 51 Entries
Gold: Exit 4, Flying Fish Brewing Co., Cherry Hill, NJ
Silver: The Crow and The Sparrow, Rock Bottom Brewery – Chicago, Chicago, IL
Bronze: Temperance, Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery, Boulder, CO

Category: 16 American-Style Sour Ale, 32 Entries
Gold: Rosso e Marrone, Captain Lawrence Brewing Co, Pleasantville, NY
Silver: Raspberry Torte, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Wilmington, DE
Bronze: Diamond Kings ‘09, Brugge Brasserie, Indianapolis, IN

Category: 17 Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer, 33 Entries
Gold: Humidor Series IPA, Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL
Silver: Red Woody, Goose Island Beer Co., Chicago, IL
Bronze: Red Brick Anniversary Ale 15, Red Brick-Atlanta Brewing Co., Atlanta, GA

Category: 18 Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer, 110 Entries
Gold: Cereal Killer Barleywine, Arcadia Brewing Co., Battle Creek, MI
Silver: Barrel Aged Gonzo, Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick, MD
Bronze: Duck-Rabbit Barrel Aged Baltic Porter, The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, Inc., Farmville, NC

Category: 19 Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer, 45 Entries
Gold: Bourbonic Plague, Cascade Brewery Co. LLC, Portland, OR
Silver: Vlad the Imp Aler, Cascade Brewery Co. LLC, Portland, OR
Bronze: Phruit Phunk, Nodding Head Brewing Co., Philadelphia, PA

Category: 20 Aged Beer, 32 Entries
Gold: Horn Dog Vintage 2007, Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick, MD
Silver: St. Bob’s Imperial Stout, IL Vicino Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM
Bronze: Winterfest 2008, Utah Brewers Co-op, Salt Lake City, UT

Category: 21 Kellerbier/Zwickelbier, 27 Entries
Gold: Hell In Keller, Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que, Austin, TX
Silver: Natural Born Keller, Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co., Roseland, VA
Bronze: Red Rock Organic Zwickel Bier, Red Rock Brewing Co., Salt Lake City, UT

Category: 22 Smoked Beer, 43 Entries
Gold: Smokejumper, Left Hand Brewing Co., Longmont, CO
Silver: Up In Smoke, Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon, North Olmsted, OH
Bronze: Diesel Imperial Smoked Porter, 21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, CA

Category: 23 International-Style Pilsener, 13 Entries
Gold: Gold Leaf Lager, Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co., Roseland, VA
Silver: OE800, Miller Brewing Co., Golden, CO
Bronze: Gold Mountain Pilsner, Silver City Brewery, Silverdale, WA

Category: 24 German-Style Pilsener, 48 Entries
Gold: 106 Pilsner, Rock Bottom Brewery – Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Silver: Pilsner, Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham, WA
Bronze: Troegs Sunshine Pils, Troegs Brewing Co., Harrisburg, PA

Category: 25 Bohemian Style Pilsener, 39 Entries
Gold: Vermont Lager, Otter Creek Brewing/Wolaver’s Organic Ales, Middlebury, VT
Silver: Gordon Biersch Czech Pilsner, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, Broomfield, CO
Bronze: Bell’s Lager Beer, Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Galesburg, MI

Category: 26 Munich Style Helles, 31 Entries
Gold: Saint Arnold Summer Pils, Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Houston, TX
Silver: Where the Helles Bill?, The SandLot, Denver, CO
Bronze: Gordon Biersch , Golden Export, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, Broomfield, CO

Category: 27 Dortmunder or German-Style Oktoberfest, 20 Entries
Gold: Move Back, The SandLot, Denver, CO
Silver: Greenside Up, The SandLot, Denver, CO
Bronze: Capital Bavarian Lager, Capital Brewery Co., Inc., Middleton, WI

Category: 28 American Style Light Lager, 25 Entries
Gold: Budweiser Select, Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Saint Louis, MO
Silver: Keystone Light, Coors Brewing Co., Golden, CO
Bronze: Michelob Ultra, Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Saint Louis, MO

Category: 29 American-Style Lager or Premium Lager, 34 Entries
Gold: Coors Banquet, Coors Brewing Co., Golden, CO
Silver: Miller High Life, Miller Brewing Co., Golden, CO
Bronze: Totally Naked, New Glarus Brewing Co, New Glarus, WI

Category: 30 American Style Specialty Lager, 23 Entries
Gold: Keystone Ice, Coors Brewing Co., Golden, CO
Silver: Pre-Pro, Coors Brewing Co., Gol, Golden, CO
Bronze: Steel Reserve, Miller Brewing Co., Golden, CO

Category: 31 Vienna Style Lager, 25 Entries
Gold: Vienna Lager, Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham, WA
Silver: Vienna Lager, Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co., Roseland, VA
Bronze: Clipper City Marzhon Vienna Lager, Clipper City Brewing Co., Baltimore, MD

Category: 32 German Style Märzen, 45 Entries
Gold: Dogtoberfest, Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick, MD
Silver: Reines Marzen, Dry Dock Brewing Co., Aurora, CO
Bronze: Rocktoberfest, Rock Bottom Brewery – Long Beach, Long Beach, CA

Category: 33 American Style Amber Lager, 45 Entries
Gold: Durango Colorfest, Durango Brewing Co., Durango, CO
Silver: Killian’s Red, Coors Brewing Co., Golden, CO
Bronze: Michelob Marzen, Michelob Brewing Co., Saint Louis, MO

Category: 34 European Style Dunkel, 21 Entries
Gold: Dunkel, Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham, WA
Silver: Gordon Biersch Dunkles, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, Broomfield, CO
Bronze: Dunkel, AC Golden Brewing Co., Golden, CO

Category: 35 American-Style Dark Lager, 15 Entries
Gold: Session Black Premium Lager, Full Sail Brewing at Riverplace, Portland, OR
Silver: Roadrunner Red Lager, Thunder Canyon Brewery, Tucson, AZ
Bronze: Saranac Black Forest, Saranac/F.X. Matt Brewing Co., Utica, NY

Category: 36 German Style Schwarzbier, 34 Entries
Gold: Schwarzbier, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Wilmington, DE
Silver: Schwarzbier, Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham, WA
Bronze: Dark Helmet, Titletown Brewing Co., Green Bay, WI

Category: 37 Bock, 40 Entries
Gold: Troegenator, Troegs Brewing Co., Harrisburg, PA
Silver: May Bock, Backcountry Brewery, Frisco, CO
Bronze: Fornicator, Piece Brewery, Chicago, IL

Category: 38 German Style Doppelbock or Eisbock, 21 Entries
Gold: The Kaiser, Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, CO
Silver: Samuel Adams Double Bock, Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA
Bronze: Carbonator, Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co., Glenwood Springs, CO

Category: 39 Baltic-Style Porter, 16 Entries
Gold: Duck-Rabbit Baltic Porter, The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, Inc., Farmville, NC
Silver: Danzig, Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co., Roseland, VA
Bronze: Veles Baltic Porter, FireHouse Grill & Brewery, Sunnyvale, CA

Category: 40 Golden or Blonde Ale, 43 Entries
Gold: Golden Spike, Tustin Brewing Co., Tustin, CA
Silver: Kiwanda Cream Ale, Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City, OR
Bronze: Red Rock Blonde Ale, Red Rock Brewing Co., Salt Lake City, UT

Category: 41 German Style Kölsch, 43 Entries
Gold: Kolsch, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA
Silver: Clearwater Kolsch, Ram Restaurant & Brewery #2, Tacoma, WA
Bronze: Stoudts Kolsch, Stoudt Brewing Co., Adamstown, PA

Category: 42 English-Style Summer Ale, 33 Entries
Gold: Light Rock Ale, RJ Rockers Brewing Co., Spartanburg, SC
Silver: Surfer’s Summer Ale, Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City, OR
Bronze: True Blonde Ale, Ska Brewing Co., Durango, CO

Category: 43 Classic English Style Pale Ale, 33 Entries
Gold: Mactarnahan’s Amber, Pyramid Breweries, Seattle, WA
Silver: Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR
Bronze: Hopfish, Flying Fish Brewing Co., Cherry Hill, NJ

Category: 44 English-Style India Pale Ale, 40 Entries
Gold: Beech Street Bitter, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Silver: IPA, Goose Island Beer Co., Chicago, IL
Bronze: Brewer’s Alley India Pale Ale, Brewer’s Alley Restaurant and Brewery, Frederick, MD

Category: 45 American Style Pale Ale, 108 Entries
Gold: Sweetgrass IPA, Grand Teton Brewing Co., Victor, ID
Silver: 44 Pale Ale, Colorado Brewing Co./Draft House, Boulder, CO
Bronze: Tumble Off Pale Ale, Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Baker City, OR

Category: 46 American-Style Strong Pale Ale, 70 Entries
Gold: Racer 5 IPA, Bear Republic Factory Five, Cloverdale, CA
Silver: Hopshot IPA, Beaver St. Brewery, Flagstaff, AZ
Bronze: IPA Nectar, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA

Category: 47 American-Style India Pale Ale, 134 Entries
Gold: Union Jack, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA
Silver: Sculpin IPA, Ballast Point Brewing Co, San Diego, CA
Bronze: Blind Pig IPA, Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA

Category: 48 Imperial India Pale Ale, 77 Entries
Gold: Organic Ace of Spades Imperial IPA, Hopworks Urban Brewery, Portland, OR
Silver: Denogginizer, Drake’s Brewing Co., San Leandro, CA
Bronze: Hip Hop Double IPA, Hollister Brewing Co., Goleta, CA

Category: 49 American Style Amber/Red Ale, 78 Entries
Gold: Organic Rise Up Red, Hopworks Urban Brewery, Portland, OR
Silver: Red Rock, Triple Rock Brewery and Alehouse, Berkeley, CA
Bronze: Hop Head Red, Green Flash Brewing Co., Vista, CA

Category: 50 Imperial Red Ale, 36 Entries
Gold: Shark Attack, Pizza Port Solana Beach, Solana Beach, CA
Silver: 547 Haight – The Toronado San Francisco’s 20th Anniversary Imperial Red Ale, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Bronze: Organic Deranger Imperial Red, Laurelwood Brewing Co., Portland, OR

Category: 51 English Style Mild Ale, 17 Entries
Gold: Sara’s Ruby Mild, Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery, San Francisco, CA
Silver: AK Session, Snake River Brewing, Jackson, WY
Bronze: Coyote Moon, Snipes Mountain Brewing Inc., Sunnyside, WA

Category: 52 Ordinary or Special Bitter, 45 Entries
Gold: Big Rapid Red, Beaver St. Brewery, Flagstaff, AZ
Silver: Cutthroat Pale Ale, Uinta Brewing Co., Salt Lake City, UT
Bronze: Numbers Ale, Red Brick-Atlanta Brewing Co., Atlanta, GA

Category: 53 Extra Special Bitter or Strong Bitter, 47 Entries
Gold: ESB, Redhook Ales – Woodinville, Woodinville, WA
Silver: Motorboat ESB, SweetWater Brewing Co., Atlanta, GA
Bronze: Colorado Boy IPA, Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery, Ridgway, CO

Category: 54 Scottish Style Ale, 29 Entries
Gold: Railbender Ale, Erie Brewing Co, Erie, PA
Silver: Kilt Lifter, Four Peaks Brewing Co., Tempe, AZ
Bronze: Cold Smoke Scotch Ale, Kettlehouse Brewing Co., Missoula, MT

Category: 55 Irish Style Red Ale, 32 Entries
Gold: Ridgetop Red, Silver City Brewery, Silverdale, WA
Silver: Colorado Boy Irish, Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery, Ridgway, CO
Bronze: Saranac Irish Red Ale, Saranac/F.X. Matt Brewing Co., Utica, NY

Category: 56 English Style Brown Ale, 41 Entries
Gold: Longboard Brown, Rock Bottom Brewery – La Jolla, CA
Silver: Buster Nut Brown, Ska Brewing Co., Durango, CO
Bronze: Good Grief Brown, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA

Category: 57 American Style Brown Ale, 43 Entries
Gold: Dirty Helen Brown Ale, Barley Island Brewing Co., Noblesville, IN
Silver: Cheyenne Cañon Ale, Bristol Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, CO
Bronze: Great American Brown, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA

Category: 58 German Style Altbier, 35 Entries
Gold: Bismarck Altbier, Dry Dock Brewing Co., Aurora, CO
Silver: Boca Alt, Brewzzi West Palm, West Palm Beach, FL
Bronze: Gordon Biersch Alt Bier, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, Broomfield, CO

Category: 59 German-Style Sour Ale, 13 Entries
Gold: Berliner Weisse, Southampton Publick House, Southampton, NY
Silver: NBB Love, New Belgium Brewing Co., Inc., Fort Collins, CO
Bronze: Bad Kitty, Brugge Brasserie, Indianapolis, IN

Category: 60 South German Style Hefeweizen, 66 Entries
Gold: Top Heavy Hefeweizen, Piece Brewery, Chicago, IL
Silver: U-Boat Hefeweizen, Dry Dock Brewing Co., Aurora, CO
Bronze: Wiezen, Redhook Ales – Portsmouth, Portsmouth, NH

Category: 61 German-Style Wheat Ale, 38 Entries
Gold: Hefeweizen, Triumph Brewing Co. of New Hope, New Hope, PA
Silver: Weizenbock, The Covey Restaurant & Brewery, Fort Worth, TX
Bronze: Upslope Dunkel Weizen, Upslope Brewing Co., Boulder, CO

Category: 62 Belgian-Style Witbier, 53 Entries
Gold: ZON, Boulevard Brewing Co, Kansas City, MO
Silver: Belgian White, Big Dog’s Brewing Co., Las Vegas, NV
Bronze: Wits End, Great American Restaurants, Centreville, VA

Category: 63 French- and Belgian Style Saison, 56 Entries
Gold: Saison Vautour, McKenzie Brew House, Glen Mills, PA
Silver: Belgian Summer Ale, Great Adirondack Brewing Co., Lake Placid, NY
Bronze: Saison Du Bastone, Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak, MI

Category: 64 Belgian and French-Style Ale, 41 Entries
Gold: Carnevale, The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, CA
Silver: Demolition, Goose Island Beer Co., Chicago, IL
Bronze: Collaborative Evil-Sacramento, Sacramento Brewing Co., Sacramento, CA

Category: 65 Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale, 29 Entries
Gold: Duck Duck Gooze, The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, CA
Silver: Red Rock, Big Rock Chop House & Brewery, Birmingham, MI
Bronze: Supplication, Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA

Category: 66 Belgian-Style Abbey Ale, 58 Entries
Gold: Signature Dubbel, Choc Beer Co., Krebs, OK
Silver: Tripel, Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, ME
Bronze: Deschutes Brewery Quad, Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR

Category: 67 Belgian Style Strong Specialty Ale, 70 Entries
Gold: Revelations, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Silver: “100”, The Covey Restaurant & Brewery, Fort Worth, TX
Bronze: Father Damien Abbey Ale, Maui Brewing Co., Lahaina, HI

Category: 68 Brown Porter, 38 Entries
Gold: St. Charles Porter, Blackstone Brewing Co., Nashville, TN
Silver: Lazy Jake Porter, Long Valley Pub and Brewery, Long Valley, NJ
Bronze: Black Butte Porter, Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR

Category: 69 Robust Porter, 57 Entries
Gold: Pt. Reyes Porter, Marin Brewing Co., Larkspur, CA
Silver: Mocha Porter, Rogue Ales, Newport, OR
Bronze: Pirate’s Porter, Sullivan’s Black Forest Brew Haus & Grill, Frankenmuth, MI

Category: 70 Classic Irish Style Dry Stout, 19 Entries
Gold: Dark Starr Stout, Starr Hill Brewery, Crozet, VA
Silver: Three Steve Stout, Cambridge House Brew Pub, Torrington, CT
Bronze: Pub Dog Black Dog Stout, DOG Brewing Co., Westminster, MD

Category: 71 Foreign Style Stout, 20 Entries
Gold: Space Stout, Laurelwood Brewing Co., Portland, OR
Silver: San Quentin’s Breakout Stout, Marin Brewing Co., Larkspur, CA
Bronze: Whiteface Black Diamond Stout, Great Adirondack Brewing Co., Lake Placid, NY

Category: 72 American-Style Stout, 22 Entries
Gold: Liberty Stout, Gella’s Diner and Lb. Brewing Co., Hays, KS
Silver: Troegs Dead Reckoning, Troegs Brewing Co., Harrisburg, PA
Bronze: Stonefly Oatmeal Stout, Third Street Aleworks, Santa Rosa, CA

Category: 73 Sweet Stout, 27 Entries
Gold: Cow Stout, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Silver: Cream Stout, Redwood Brewing Co., Flint, MI
Bronze: Steel Toe Stout, Ska Brewing Co., Durango, CO

Category: 74 Oatmeal Stout, 31 Entries
Gold: Ernest’s Silky Smoove, Pizza Port San Clemente, San Clemente, CA
Silver: Oatmeal Stout, Schooner’s Grille & Brewery, Antioch, CA
Bronze: Sleeping Dog Stout, Chama River Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM

Category: 75 Imperial Stout, 56 Entries
Gold: Gonzo Imperial Porter, Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick, MD
Silver: Yeti Imperial Stout, Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, CO
Bronze: Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout, Foothills Brewing, Winston-Salem, NC

Category: 76 Scotch Ale, 37 Entries
Gold: Reed’s Wee Heavy, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Silver: BagPiper’s Scotch Ale, Fegley’s Allentown & Bethlehem Brew Works, Allentown, PA
Bronze: MacPelican’s Wee Heavy Ale, Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City, OR

Category: 77 Old Ale or Strong Ale, 29 Entries
Gold: Old Scrooge ‘98, Silver City Brewery, Silverdale, WA
Silver: Outback X, Bend Brewing Co, Bend, OR
Bronze: 4th Dementia Old Ale, Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., Warren, MI

Category: 78 Barley Wine Style Ale, 54 Entries
Gold: Old Inventory Barley Wine, Valley Brewing Co., Stockton, CA
Silver: Treblehook, Redhook Ales – Woodinville, Woodinville, WA
Bronze: Old Ruffian Barley Wine, Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, CO

Posted on Monday, September 28th, 2009
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Reunion ’09: A Beer For Hope

Now in its third year, Reunion – A Beer for Hope has welcomed four regional breweries as production partners for 2009. Bison Brewing, headquartered in Berkeley returns for its third year. Joining Bison are Terrapin Brewing in Georgia, Pizza Port Brewing in Southern California, and Elysian Brewing in Seattle.

The original idea behind the Reunion beer is a colleague of Pete Slosberg, founder of Pete’s Wicked Ales, and Alan Shapiro, a former employee of Pete’s (and who now owns SBS Imports), developed a type of cancer known as Myeloma that affects the bones. Pete and Alan, along with Dan Del Grande of Bison Brewing, created a special beer to help riase money for The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research . Sadly, Virginia MacLean passed away in June of 2007, but the search for a cure goes on, as does the Reunion beer project.

The 2009 Reunion beer is a Double Wheat Ale with a hint of lemon, based on the original Pete’s Wicked Summer Brew. The recipe for this year’s brew was conceived by Pete Slosberg and Brian “Spike” Buckowski of Terrapin. Each brewer has adapted that recipe to meet the requirements of their production facility and place their individual stamp on the beer. It is available in draft only.

reunion-09

Bison President and brewer Dan Del Grande describes their version of Reunion as hazy golden with a pronounced citrus nose. Fruit and subtle spice notes dominate the pallet, with a rich, soft finish. It is brewed with Pale Malt Torrified Wheat, Accidulated Malt, Weyerman Wheat and Great Western White Wheat. It is bittered with Sorachi Ace hops and spiced with orange peel, lemon grass, rhubarb root and coriander. The beer is 7.2% a.b.v.

“I am thrilled to have Bison return as a brewing and fundraising partner for 2009,” noted Reunion co-founder Alan Shapiro. “Since we created this project in 2007 they have been an enthusiastic partner and I look forward to tasting another fantastic Bison beer.”

“As in the past two years, Pete’s original recipes inspired me to brew some exceptional beers in tribute to Virginia and all those who battle cancer. It is my pleasure and honor to add in this small way to the cause.” added Del Grande.

Reunion Double Wheat Ale will be sold at on draft only at approximately 15 pubs and bars in the Bay Area. Bison will be making a donation to IMBCR for every keg sold. As these locations are confirmed they will be posted online.

For additional information on Reunion-A Beer for Hope please visit the Reunion website.

Posted on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
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Weekend Update 9.18

Two promising festivals this weekend, depending on whether you prefer being by a river or the ocean.

THIS WEEKEND

Saturday, September 19

Half Moon Bay Brewing will host a new festival, Oktoberfest on the Coast, on September 19 from Noon to 4:00 p.m. at Pillar Point Harbor.

Organizers expect to have more than 15 microbreweries in attendance, including Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, Bear Republic, Kona, Seabright, Steelhead, Speakeasy, Mad River, Los Gatos Brewing Company, Moylan’s, and, of course, the coastside’s own Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. The $30 admission fee will get you a commemorative pilsner glass and unlimited, delicious beer to fill it with. There will plenty of hearty food cooking on the grill including savory sausages and jumbo dogs.

There will be live music all afternoon by Catie Chase and the Getaways.

hmb-fest

Saturday, September 19

The 15th annual California Brewers Festival will be held in Discovery Park in Sacramento. The festival features beer from over 50 breweries and takes place from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased online, but at the gate they cost $30. Music to my ears, kids under 12 are free. And speaking of music, three bands will be performing: Utz!, the Shuttlecocks and Velvet Tongue.

Sunday, September 20

The Bear Republic Brewpub in Healdsburg, Calif. will have a special cellar tasting of all 22 beers they’re entering in this year’s Great American Beer Festival. It will take place from 4-6:00 p.m. and will be limited to 50 people. “Guests will have judging sheets, modeled after the official forms used in the competition, and can ask the brewers questions about the beer styles as well as vote for party favorites. The afternoon will include beer sampling, cheese pairing as well as a buffet of pub fare.” The cost is $30 per person and tickets can be purchased online or at the brewpub.

IN THE COMING WEEKS

Thursday, September 24

The Toronado will celebrate Oktoberfest all day September 24th with “Brats, Kraut, Ooompah band, and of course, great Spaten beers on tap with draft specials all night.”

ON THE HORIZON

October 3: The Bistro in Hayward will be hosting their annual Wet Hop Festival, which will feature beers made with fresh hops added to the boil directly from the field for the freshest tasting beer you’ll ever drink.

October 3: It will be Meet the Brewer Night at The Trappist and Chris Bauweraerts From Brasserie d’ Achouffe will be on hand from 5:00-9:00 p.m., in the back bar. The evening will also include specials on four Achouffe Beers, including La Chouffe, Houblon, McChouffe & N’ice Chouffe.

October 7: The Albatross Pub’s 45th Anniversary Party will take place October 7, 2009 from 7:30-10:30 p.m. “The Whiskey Brothers Bluegrass Band will be playing with no cover charge and a buffet will accompany the pub’s fine imported and domestic draft and bottled beers.”

October 10: The Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at U.C. Berkeley will be holding a very unique event called 99 Bottles of Beer: Global Brewing Traditions 2500 B.C. — Present.

October 10: Iron Springs Pub & Brewery in Fairfax will celebrate their 5th anniversary with a “special menu, food and beer specials, and dancing to local country music favorites Danny Montana & the Bar Association.”

Notoberfest

October 10: This should be a fun one. Beer & Nosh is hosting Notoberfest, which they describe as “an epic feast prepared by Ryan Farr & the 4505 Meats Team, custom beer-infused ice creams & treats from Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream, and Reinheitsgebot-breaking beers from Valley Brewing.” The beer dinner will take place from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 at the Mars Bar (located at 798 Brannan St. in San Francisco). Tickets will be $50 in advance and $60 at the door. You can also view the menu at Beer & Nosh.

October 10: Oakland is throwing its own Oktoberfest, dubbed Oaktoberfest, on Saturday the 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. “Oaktoberfest in the Dimond 2009 will feature fresh brews from many of the best breweries in the Bay Area, served in a giant covered Beer Hall” named “The Bill Brand Memorial Biergarten.” There will also be an Eco Fair, a Kid’s Area with Root Biergarten, a homebrew competition, and vendors from around the Bay. “Celebrate Oktoberfest, Oakland style, in the Dimond at Fruitvale and MacArthur.”

November 14: The Bistro in Hayward will be hosting their annual Barrel Aged Festival, which will feature beers aged in various types of barrels, whether new or having previously held wine or spirits.

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

Posted on Friday, September 18th, 2009
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Weekend Update 9.11

This week the San Francisco Brewers Guild hosts their annual festival aboard the Liberty Ship, the S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien, moored at Fisherman’s Wharf.

THIS WEEKEND

Saturday, September 12 – Sunday, September 13

The 6th annual Brews On The Bay will again take place aboard the old World War II Liberty Ship, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien. Hosted by the San Francisco Brewers Guild, all seven City craft breweries will be serving 40 beers, with food and music by Zepperella and Zoo Station.

brews-on-bay-09

Saturday, September 12 – Sunday, September 13

Beer School will return to The Trappist, this time covering Belgian-style dubbels and tripels. Check out their website for details.

IN THE COMING WEEKS

Monday, September 14

Beer & Baroque, a celebration of beer and Bach at Berkeley’s Pyramid Alehouse. The brass quartet Piston Horn Quartet, comprising the horn players from the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, will be performing from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Only 80 tickets will be sold for this event. Tickets are $20 in advance/$25 at the door and can be purchased by contacting Kenton Kuwada at (415) 252-1288.

Saturday, September 19

Half Moon Bay Brewing will host a new festival, Oktoberfest on the Coast, on September 19 from Noon to 4:00 p.m. at Pillar Point Harbor.

Organizers expect to have more than 15 microbreweries in attendance, including Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, Bear Republic, Kona, Seabright, Steelhead, Speakeasy, Mad River, Los Gatos Brewing Company, Moylan’s, and, of course, the coastside’s own Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. The $30 admission fee will get you a commemorative pilsner glass and unlimited, delicious beer to fill it with. There will plenty of hearty food cooking on the grill including savory sausages and jumbo dogs.

There will be live music all afternoon by Catie Chase and the Getaways.

hmb-fest

Saturday, September 19

The 15th annual California Brewers Festival will be held in Discovery Park in Sacramento. The festival features beer from over 50 breweries and takes place from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased online, but at the gate they cost $30. Music to my ears, kids under 12 are free. And speaking of music, three bands will be performing: Utz!, the Shuttlecocks and Velvet Tongue.

Sunday, September 20

The Bear Republic Brewpub in Healdsburg, Calif. will have a special cellar tasting of all 22 beers they’re entering in this year’s Great American Beer Festival. It will take place from 4-6:00 p.m. and will be limited to 50 people. “Guests will have judging sheets, modeled after the official forms used in the competition, and can ask the brewers questions about the beer styles as well as vote for party favorites. The afternoon will include beer sampling, cheese pairing as well as a buffet of pub fare.” The cost is $30 per person and tickets can be purchased online or at the brewpub.

Thursday, September 24

The Toronado will celebrate Oktoberfest all day September 24th with “Brats, Kraut, Ooompah band, and of course, great Spaten beers on tap with draft specials all night.”

ON THE HORIZON

October 3: The Bistro in Hayward will be hosting their annual Wet Hop Festival, which will feature beers made with fresh hops added to the boil directly from the field for the freshest tasting beer you’ll ever drink.

October 3: It will be Meet the Brewer Night at The Trappist and Chris Bauweraerts From Brasserie d’ Achouffe will be on hand from 5:00-9:00 p.m., in the back bar. The evening will also include specials on four Achouffe Beers, including La Chouffe, Houblon, McChouffe & N’ice Chouffe.

October 7: The Albatross Pub’s 45th Anniversary Party will take place October 7, 2009 from 7:30-10:30 p.m. “The Whiskey Brothers Bluegrass Band will be playing with no cover charge and a buffet will accompany the pub’s fine imported and domestic draft and bottled beers.”

October 10: The Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at U.C. Berkeley will be holding a very unique event called 99 Bottles of Beer: Global Brewing Traditions 2500 B.C. — Present.

October 10: Iron Springs Pub & Brewery in Fairfax will celebrate their 5th anniversary with a “special menu, food and beer specials, and dancing to local country music favorites Danny Montana & the Bar Association.”

November 14: The Bistro in Hayward will be hosting their annual Barrel Aged Festival, which will feature beers aged in various types of barrels, whether new or having previously held wine or spirits.

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

Posted on Friday, September 11th, 2009
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Summer in the Bay Area is Tasty

Today it’s time once more to delve into the mind of Tom Dalldorf, the publisher of the Celebrator Beer News, the nationally distributed “brewspaper” that’s headquarted in northern California.

Tom Dalldorf

Celebrating Beer with Tom Dalldorf

Summer in the Bay Area is Tasty

Bay area beer lovers are blessed with an embarrassment of great beer venues and events. This summer has been off the scale even by bay area standards. If you’ve yet to avail yourself of the cornicopia of beery delights here’s a short list of events not to be missed coming up in the near future.

Saturday and Sunday, September 12–13, the San Francisco Brewers Guild is is hosting its sixth annual Brews on the Bay beer festival. All seven of San Francisco’s artisan breweries be pouring their best beers from noon to 5pm on Saturday and from 1pm to 5pm on Sunday. What makes this tasting unique is the event takes place aboard the Jeremiah O’Brien, an historic WWII Liberty Ship located at Pier 45 on the SF Embarcadaro. The event helps raise funds for the restoration and preservation of this link to our past. 40 remarkable beers, live music and great food. Check it out or buy tickets at sfbrewersguild.org.

A short hour and a half from the bay area puts you in another great California beer town, Sacramento. If you go Saturday, September 19, you be there for the 15th annual at the beautiful Discovery Park located at the confluence of the Sacramento and Amreican Rivers. The festival hosts microbrewers from all over the US and some fabulous imports too! Some 4,000 beer lovers are expected to attend. Food and music is included. For information go to calbrewfest.org.

What happens when you distill beer? Whiskey (Whisky for you Scots) of course! And there is no better place in the world to taste great whiskey than in San Francisco on October 16, 2009 at the San Francisco Marriott Hotel. The Grand Ballroom will be the focal point of a gathering of single malts and other great distillates for your tasting and evaluation. The admission price will be recovered in just a few well chosen drams of some of the finest (and most expensive) whiskies in the world. Scotch, Irish, bourbon, Tennessee, Japanese, Welsh, Canadian and more will be offered. High-end rums, tequilas beer and other spirits will be represented as well. Seminars by top whisky experts run throughout the evening. Attendees will also enjoy an expansive gourmet buffet all evening, plus coffee, tea, water and soda. Hint: Stay at the Marriott Hotel and take advantage of the special rate for attendees. Full details at maltadvocate.com.

If you are looking for an excuse to get back to Reno, Nevada, how about planning to attend the CANFEST — Reno International Canned Beer Festival, the first international beer judging and tasting for canned beer, to take place at the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino, October 23, 2009. Buckbean Brewing Company, Nevada’s largest production microbrewery, is helping to sponsor this event. Proceeds from the event will benefit The Nature Conservancy and the Great Basin Bird Observatory. In addition to Buckbean Brewing Company, Big Sky Brewing Company, Oskar Blues, Ukiah Brewing Company, Maui Brewing Company, Surly Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing Company, Uncommon Brewers, and Rochester Mills Brewing Company are among those that have confirmed to attend the event. Ticket prices are $35 per person and room packages will be available for attendees. For more information contact Constance Aguilar constance@abbipr.com or by calling 775.323.2977.

The Bay Area is a wonderful place for beer lovers. Hope to see you at a good beer place soon!

Posted on Thursday, September 10th, 2009
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Win An Internship To An Oregon Brewery

Oregon Bounty, which promotes travel to Oregon and specifically its local food and beverages, is sponsoring a very cool contest. They’re offering seven “cuisinternships” to local artisan businesses. You can be an intern chef, cheesemaker/choclatier, distiller, fisherman, rancher, winemaker, or — the coolest of the seven — craft brewer. Winners get an all-expenses paid trip to Oregon which includes round-trip airfare, six-nights lodging, and $1,000 cash spending money. You’ll then intern for five days.

You can enter online with a two-minute video and/or your 140-character essay on why you deserve to win an Oregon Bounty Cuisinternship. That’s basically a twitter post; a tweet. The deadline to enter is coming up; it’s Friday September 18. There’s also an FAQ if you have any questions about the contest.

The brewery Cuisinternship is with Jamie Emmerson at Full Sail Brewing in Hood River, Oregon. I’ve known Jamie for a long time now, and he and the staff of Full Sail couldn’t be nicer people. Plus, Hood River is an absolutely gorgeous part of the world.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll be doing if you win: Tour the Great Western Malting and Hop Farm, learn about mashing and the mash tun, learn about sparging and the lauter tun, understand the spice of the beer and the contributions of the hops and kettle, pitch the yeast (the magic ingredient), look under the microscope in the lab, partake in bottling at 500 beers per minute, fill kegs, and — most importantly — taste the rewards of your hard work. Whew, that doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

Here’s how the website describes it:

Along the shores of the mighty Columbia River Gorge, get a week-long lesson from some of the country’s craft brewing pioneers. From the hop farm to the mash tun to the microscope, you’ll feel, smell and taste beer from beginning to end. If you can tear yourself away from the tasting table, explore the charming town of Hood River, unofficial U.S. capitol of windsurfing, beer drinking and hanging out.

I’ve also been asked to judge the submissions and help pick the winner, so be sure to answer the question. “Why do you deserve to win?”

cuisinternships

Posted on Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
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Russian River Beer Dinner at Cathedral Hill Hotel

There are only three more beer dinners left that will be held at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in San Francisco. For the past eight years, the Beer Chef, Bruce Paton, has done over 60 beer dinners featuring beers from around the corner and across the world. But what you probably didn’t know is that many of the recent dinners have been done on borrowed time. A medical corporation owns the land that the hotel is situated on, and for many years has been planning on building a new hospital there. It’s been postponed several times already and the hotel’s been able to keep renting rooms and doing beer dinners. But that’s finally coming to a close as a date is now set and the Cathedral Hill Hotel will be closing.

Only three more beer dinners will be held, and the first of those will take place on Friday, September 18. The dinner will feature the beers of Russian River Brewing. It will be a four-course dinner, and well worth the $100 price of admission. It will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m. Call 415.674.3406 for reservations before it’s sold out. I’ll see you there.

The Menu:

Reception: 6:30 PM

Beer Chef’s Hors D’Oeuvre
Beer: Huge Large Sound Czech Pils

Dinner: 7:30 PM

First Course

A Mélange of Delicacies from the Sea
Beer: Temptation

Second Course:

Salad of Pepper Cress, Crispy Sweetbread, Cage Free Egg, Cambazola Cheese, Duck Prosciutto, Oven Dried Toy Box Cherry Tomatoes, Avocado, Roasted Corn Vinaigrette
Beer: Empirical 7

Third Course:

Beer Chef’s Surf and Turf
Beer: Hopfather

Fourth Course:

Chocolation
Beer: Consecration and Salvation

bruce-vinnie
Bruce Paton, the Beer Chef, with Vinnie Cilurzo, from Russian River Brewing, at an earlier beer dinner.

Posted on Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
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Gold medals in wine contests don’t mean much

Gold medal wines

Fantastic story in the Los Angeles Times about the  findings of a study on gold medals in wine contests.

It found that of almost 2,500 wines that were entered in more than three competitions in 2003, 47 percent won a gold medal in at least one contest. However, of those gold medal winners, 98 percent were regarded as just above average or below in at least one of the other competitions! Haha.

Take the whole gold medal thing with about 25 grains of salt. Judges (including me) get palate fatigue about half-way through a blind tasting. While everyone’s threshold is different (mine’s about 30 wines), it makes sense that judges start awarding points to wines that are memorable, stand out, or are made to their taste, not necessarily those that are stellar or true to varietal or region.

Posted on Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
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