Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for November, 2009

Holiday Beer Fest Line-Up Announced

The press releases asks ” Where can you taste over 125+ of the Greatest Holiday, Seasonal & Special Craft Beers-Ciders from 100+ of the best Breweries in the World at one time, in one place?”

The first BevMo! Holiday Beer Fest will be held at Fort Mason’s Herbst Pavilion in downtown San Francisco on Sunday November 15th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. The event will feature 50+ Holiday, Seasonal & Special, “soon-to-be-released beers. Tickets are $35 in advance, and can be purchased online, or $45 at the door the day of the event.

Attendees will experience Rare European Beers, Belgian Trappist & Abbey Ales, Bold American Craft Beers, Canadian Craft Beers, Fruit Lambics, Gluten-Free Beers, Organic Beers, Heirloom Ciders, English Ciders, Polish-Russian-Slovakian Premium Lagers, Bocks, Double Bocks, German Wheat Beers, Double Wheat Beers, Blonde Ales, Brown Ales, Black Lagers, Baltic Porters, Imperial Stouts, Helles Beers, Imperial Lagers, Black Lagers – the list goes on and on. (scroll down to see the attending Breweries.)

Many of these special Beers & Ciders are brewed once a year for the Holiday Season.

holiday-beerfest

Here’s the impressive list for tomorrow’s festival:

Uncommon Brewers Rubidus Red Ale – Golden State Ale – Siamese Twin Dubbel
Unibroue La Fin du Monde- Chambly Noire- Maudite – Don de Dieu- Éphémère
Delirium Noel 2009
Gouden Carolus Noel 2009
Lucifer Belgian Golden Ale
Straffe Hendrick Bruges Triple
Amstel Light Draft
Newcastle Draft Englsih Ale
Heineken Lt German Lager
Dos XX Lager Mexican Dark Lager
Celebrator Dopplebock
Ayinger Brau-Weisse
Rochefort 10 Blue Cap & 6 Red Cap
Samuel Smith Winter Welcome Ale
Westmalle Dubbel & Triple
Lindemans Fruit Lambic
Traquair Scotch ale
Orval Trappist Ale
Greens Gluten-Free
Okocim Polish Pilsner & Porter
Golden Pheasant Slovakian Pilsner
Baltika Russian Lager-Unfiltered Wheat
Ninkasi (Oregon) Believer Double Red- Oatis Oatmeal Stout – Total Domination IPA
Wandering Aengus Organic Heirloom Cider
Abita Brewing Christmas Ale – Pecan Harvest – Jockamo IPA – Abbey Ale
Alaskan Brewing Alaskan Amber – Alaskan White Ale – Alaskan Winter Ale
Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale – Liberty Ale
Anderson Valley Winter Solstice
Anheuser-Busch Pumpkin Spice – Winter Bourbon
Allagash Allagash Curieux (bourbon barrel aged) – Black Belgian Style Stout
Asahi Super Dry – Brewmasters Select
Asphall Dry English Cider
Bards Tale Gluten Free
Batemans English Ale
Wells Banana Bread Beer
Youngs Double Chocolate Stout
Malheur Brut
Belhaven Scottish Ale
Big Sky Powder Hound – Big Sky IPA – Moose Drool – Trout Slayer
Bison Brewing (Organic) Ginger Bread Ale- Chocolate Stout
Black Diamond Winter Ale (Belgian Abbey Style)
Blue Frog Big Dippa 3 IPA – McPhrog Scottish
Boston Beer Winter Lager – Coastal Wheat – Camberry Lambic – Old Fezziwig – Holiday Porter
Buffalo Bills Pumpkin Ale
Chimay Grand Reserve
Chang Premium
Coastal Fog IPA
Widmer Brrr Ale
Kona Pipeine Porter
Redhook Winterhook
Deschutes Jubelale
De Proef Belgian Ale
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA – Midas Touch – Palo Santo Marron – Festina Peche – Chicory Stout
Castelian St Amand French Country Ale
Brasserie Dubuisson Scaldis Noel
Brasserie Dupont Foret Organic Saison – Saison Farmhouse Ale – Bons Voeux X-Mas Ale
Hopf Dunkle Weisse
Elysian Bifrost Winter Ale
Firestone Walker’s Reserve Porter
Nectar Ales Red Nectar – Nectar IPA
Firehouse Belgian Double – Scotch Ale
Fox Barrel Mulling Cider
Full Sail Wassail Winter Ale -Session Black Lager – Brewmaster Reserve
Vesuvius & Wreck the Halls
Hornsby Hard Apple Cider
BridgePort Hop Czar – Ebenezer
Shiner Cheers Ale
Gordon Biersch Winter Bock
Grand Teton Brewing Black Cauldron Imperial Stout, Cellar Reserve – Double Vision Dopplebock – Howling Wolf Weizenbock – XX Bitch Creek Double ESB/20th Anniversary – Pursuit of Hoppiness Double Red Ale
Woodchuck Vermont Hard Cider
Guinness Irish Stout
He’brew Jewbelation
Heineken Premium & Dark Lager
Lagunitas Brown Shugga’
Lost Coast Winterbraun – Downtown Brown – Tangerine Wheat
Mad River John Barleycorn Barleywine Style Ale
Magners Cider Hard Irish Cider
Marin/Moylans White Christmas Winter Lager – Hoppy Holidaze Spiced Ale – Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale
Napa Smith Bonfire Winter Ale – Lost Dog
Oskar Blues Gordon Red Ale – Old Chub Scotch Ale
Green Flash Imperial IPA
Saint Landelin French Speciale Noel
Triple Karmeliet Belgian Tripple
North Coast Old Stock Ale – Old Rasputin Stout
Meantime Coffee Porter
Dues Brut Des Flanders
St Feuillien Cuvee De Noel
Paulaner Salvator
Brouwerij Huyghe Fruli Strawberry Belgian Ale
Fullers 1845 Ale – Vintage Ale
Carlow Brewery O’Hara’s Irish Stout
Menage a Singe Black IPA
Pyramid Snow Cap Winter Ale
Rogue Ales Santa’s Private Reserve Ale – Yellow Snow IPA – Juniper Pale Ale
Santa Cruz Ale Works Oatmeal Stout – IPA – Barrel Aged Porter
Schneider Aventinus Weizen Eisbock – Aventinus Doppelbock
Shipyard Pugsley Signature XXXX IPA – Imperial Sout
Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale – Celebration Ale – Pale Ale
Spaten Spaten Optimator – Double Bock – Munich Dunkel
Franziskaner Franziskaner Dunkelweiss
Speakeasy Black IPA – Double Daddy IPA
Smithwicks Irish Ale
Stone Double Bastard draft
Tied House Holiday Ale
Trumer Brauerei Premium Pils
Boxer CruiserWeight Ale
21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat
Blackthorn English Hard Cider
Babycham Sparkling cider
Clausthaler German Classic – Amber Alcohol Free
Krusovice Imperial Czech Pilsner
Cerne Polish Lager
Radeberger German Pilsener
Tucher Heff Helles Hefeweizen
Wyder’s Hard Pear Cider
Strongbow English Hard Cider
Affligem Belgian Noel
Moretti La Rosa
Weihenstephan Hefeweissbier – Hefeweissbier Dunkel
Mendocino Winter Imperial IPA
John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale
Karl Strauss Red Trolley – Tower 10 IPA – Amber Lager

See you there!

Posted on Saturday, November 14th, 2009
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Weekend Update 11.13

ALL MONTH

November 1-30

All November, the BRU/SFO Project will be going on at both 21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant and Magnolia Pub & Brewery.

bru-sfo

What is it? “It’s an excursion of Belgian-style and Belgian-influenced beers, six from each brewery. Grab a boarding pass and take a trip to Belgium via Magnolia and the 21st Amendment. The first three beers at each brewery hit the taps on Monday, 11/2 and then both breweries will release a new beer every Monday for the rest of the month. Try all 12 and get the special commemorative glass.”

The beers will be released throughout the month by the following schedule:

21st Amendment

  1. Via – Belgian Single 11/2
  2. St. Martin’s Abbey 11/2
  3. Noir de Blanc- Chocolate Wit 11/2
  4. Brew Libre! Ou Mourir – Belgian IPA 11/9
  5. Monk’s Blood – Belgian Dark Strong 11/16
  6. Baby Horse – Quadruple 11/23

Magnolia

  1. Deep Ellum Dubbel 11/2
  2. Tweezer Tripel 11/2
  3. Gris-Gris – Belgian Grisette 11/2
  4. Gordo – Pumpkin Wit 11/9
  5. Destiny Unblonde – Belgian Pale 11/16
  6. Paint it Black – Belgian Dark 11/23

THIS WEEKEND

Saturday, 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.

Sunday, November 15

The first BevMo! Holiday Beer Fest will be held at Fort Mason’s Herbst Pavilion in downtown San Francisco on Sunday November 15th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. The event will feature 50+ Holiday, Seasonal & Special, “soon-to-be-released beers. Tickets are $35 in advance, and can be purchased online, or $45 at the door the day of the event.

holiday-beerfest

IN THE COMING WEEKS

Monday, November 16

Monday, November 16, 2009

From 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., Rogue Ales Public House at 673 Union Street in San Francisco will be holding their annual Cheese and Barley Wine pairing, Dusty & Crusty. Hosted by Sheana Davis of the Epicurean Connection, 7 years of vintage Rogue Old Crustacean Barley Wine will be paired with artisan cheeses from Delice de la Vallee, Rogue Creamery, Widmer Cellars, Carr Valley Cheese Company, Bohemian Creamery and Mato St. George. Tickets are available at Rogue Ales Public House or by calling 415.362.7880.

Monday, November 16

21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant in San Francisco will host a beer dinner by Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef, and will debut the collaboration beer, Monk’s Blood. From the press release:

Sean and 21A’s Shaun (that’s two Shawns folks) and Nico collaborated on Monk’s Blood Beer this past February for Strong Beer Month, then took the recipe to Belgium where they further collaborated with the West Flander’s brewery De Struisse Brouwers, the makers of old world style Belgian beers with a new world approach. They then brought the recipe back to San Francisco this past summer brewing and refining it further before heading out to the 21A production brewery in Minnesota for wider release.

The cost for the five-course beer dinner is $95, including tax and tip. Call 415-369-0900 for reservations.

ON THE HORIZON

November 18: New Belgium beer dinner at the Hopmonk Tavern.

December 2: Dogfish Head beer dinner at the Hopmonk Tavern.

December 12: From Noon to 4:00 p.m., Pacific Coast Brewing in downtown Oakland will host their 21st annual Holiday Beer Tasting.

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, November 13th, 2009
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Nottingham Cellars marks 46th Livermore winery

Nottingham Cellars

Instead of retiring from his plastic manufacturing business and playing golf, Jeff Cranor has joined forces with his son Collin to launch Nottingham Cellars, the Livermore Valley’s 46th winery.

The Cranors, of San Leandro, source fruit from Lodi, Livermore, and Napa Valley for their inaugural wines, which include a Viognier and a Bordeaux blend called Ralphi’s, which is 60 percent Livermore Cabernet Sauvignon.Wines range from $18 to $45.

Despite troubled times, the Cranors even managed to set up shop in a tasting room at 2245 S. Vasco Road. The wine will be flowing for free at their three-day launch party, Nov. 20-22. To RSVP, visit their web site, www.nottinghamcellars.com.

By the way, winery No. 45, Occasio, opened last month in the Livermore Valley and also has a tasting room on S. Vasco Road. Their current releases, a Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Petit Sirah, and Pinot Gris, are crafted solely from grapes grown in the Livermore Valley. Check them out on their web site, www.occasiowinery.com.

Posted on Wednesday, November 11th, 2009
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Giving Thanks With Beer and Food

It’s time once again for Bruce Paton, better known as the Beer Chef, to share some of his culinary magic with us, this time around on the subject of pairing beer with the upcoming Thanksgiving meal.

Bruce Paton, the Beer Chef

Food & Beer with Bruce Paton

Giving Thanks With Beer and Food

So here it is time once again to embark on the Holiday Season and with the economy slowly rising from the ashes it is time to gather with family and friends and celebrate at the dinner table albeit with an eye on the old pocketbook. As a professional chef I have spent a lot of time in hotel kitchens preparing Thanksgiving feasts for those who would rather go out on the town and celebrate to avoid going through all the muss and fuss of turning their homes into a busy restaurant for one evening and facing the daunting task of cleaning up after being sated by copious amounts of food and spirits. Also there is the possibility that they are following a long-standing family tradition or maybe they are just to tired out from the rigors of work and the other factors of life that tend to wear folks down. As a professional chef I have also spent a lot of time in the kitchens of family, friends and colleagues either orchestrating or assisting in the preparation of many a holiday meal because this is one of the things I really take pleasure in. One of the reasons I became a professional chef is that I enjoy making people happy through food as well as the instant emotional rewards that the process can bring. There are also the feelings of accomplishment of creating something from start to finish and the celebration of a job well done. If you are indeed eyeballing your wallet like a great many of us “home for the holidays” is a great way to go. In order to wash down your holiday meal without raiding your retirement plan beer is an excellent choice as well.

So lets get started and have some fun with beer and food. Whether you plan on sticking to the traditional Thanksgiving line up of turkey, stuffing, yams and pumpkin pie or you want to branch out and do something else beer and assist you in many ways. After you have decided on the menu and the guest list, sent out the invitations and done all your shopping I would recommend opening a beer and pouring yourself a glass. As well you know there are a litany of beers to choose from and I would suggest availing yourself of a few different styles for the various parts of the day and evening. For the chef’s consumption during the cooking chores I would choose something light and refreshing to quench your thirst as you toil over the cutting board and hot stove or grill. Might I suggest a Trumer Pilsner, Lagunitas Czech Style or maybe a Saison Dupont so that you are hydrated and alert when your guests arrive. Beer also makes a wonderful ingredient for some of the holiday menu items. If you are bringing your turkey, beer can be added to the liquid to give a more complex flavor to the final result. Try adding some Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar to the candied yams or a splash of Paulaner Hefeweizen to your salad dressing the possibilities are endless. A further benefit of cooking with beer is that you can consume the leftovers and nothing goes to waste. As for beer with the hors D’Oeuvre portion you may offer you guests some Pilsner or Saison (if there is any remaining) or perhaps a medley of choices augmenting those two choices with the Hefeweizen and some Russian River Blind Pig. When it is time to sit down for the feast there are a myriad of options to accompany the noble bird. There is the beer of Ocktoberfest, a malty German style Marzen (brewed in March to be consumed in October) that will complement the roasted flavors of the turkey or possibly a Chimay Grand Reserve (after all we are celebrating aren’t we) to add to the rich flavors of the dinner meal. Again ther are a plethora of choices for beer as well as any number of ways to upgrade the menu items to add a little pizzazz. So get the menu figured out and shopping list started and get down to City Beer on Folsom near Eighth Street and you will be all set.

Cheers,

Chef Bruce
The Beer Chef

Posted on Tuesday, November 10th, 2009
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Sacto Beer Week Planned

The brewers in and around Sacramento got together last week to begin planning their own Sacramento Craft Beer Week. Tentative dates are February 24-28 of next year, a few weeks after SF Beer Week. Watch their website as new developments unfold.

sacto-cbw

Posted on Saturday, November 7th, 2009
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Weekend Update 11.6

ALL MONTH

November 1-30

All November, the BRU/SFO Project will be going on at both 21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant and Magnolia Pub & Brewery.

bru-sfo

What is it? “It’s an excursion of Belgian-style and Belgian-influenced beers, six from each brewery. Grab a boarding pass and take a trip to Belgium via Magnolia and the 21st Amendment. The first three beers at each brewery hit the taps on Monday, 11/2 and then both breweries will release a new beer every Monday for the rest of the month. Try all 12 and get the special commemorative glass.”

The beers will be released throughout the month by the following schedule:

21st Amendment

  1. Via – Belgian Single 11/2
  2. St. Martin’s Abbey 11/2
  3. Noir de Blanc- Chocolate Wit 11/2
  4. Brew Libre! Ou Mourir – Belgian IPA 11/9
  5. Monk’s Blood – Belgian Dark Strong 11/16
  6. Baby Horse – Quadruple 11/23

Magnolia

  1. Deep Ellum Dubbel 11/2
  2. Tweezer Tripel 11/2
  3. Gris-Gris – Belgian Grisette 11/2
  4. Gordo – Pumpkin Wit 11/9
  5. Destiny Unblonde – Belgian Pale 11/16
  6. Paint it Black – Belgian Dark 11/23

THIS WEEKEND

Sunday, November 8

Dean Biersch’s Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol is hosting a benefit event Sunday afternoon from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to benefit the Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research (IMBCR). Guitarists Ottmar Liebert and Roy Rogers will play the 2 Guitars 4 The Cure event. Reunion Beer will also be served. Tickets are $75 and include brunch.

IN THE COMING WEEKS

Saturday, 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.

Sunday, November 15

The first BevMo! Holiday Beer Fest will be held at Fort Mason’s Herbst Pavilion in downtown San Francisco on Sunday November 15th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. The event will feature 50+ Holiday, Seasonal & Special, “soon-to-be-released beers. Tickets are $35 in advance, and can be purchased online, or $45 at the door the day of the event.

holiday-beerfest

Monday, November 16

21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant in San Francisco will host a beer dinner by Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef, and will debut the collaboration beer, Monk’s Blood. From the press release:

Sean and 21A’s Shaun (that’s two Shawns folks) and Nico collaborated on Monk’s Blood Beer this past February for Strong Beer Month, then took the recipe to Belgium  where they further collaborated with the West Flander’s brewery De Struisse Brouwers, the makers of old world style Belgian beers with a new world approach. They then brought the recipe back to San Francisco this past summer  brewing and refining it further before heading out to the 21A production brewery in Minnesota for wider release.

The cost for the five-course beer dinner is $95, including tax and tip. Call 415-369-0900 for reservations.

ON THE HORIZON

November 18: New Belgium beer dinner at the Hopmonk Tavern.

December 2: Dogfish Head beer dinner at the Hopmonk Tavern.

December 12: From Noon to 4:00 p.m., Pacific Coast Brewing in downtown Oakland will host their 21st annual Holiday Beer Tasting.

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, November 6th, 2009
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Wine is processed grape food? Get over it

Welch's Grape Jelly

I was confused by Keith Wallace’s Daily Beast article, “How Wine Become Like Fast Food.” It’s about the fact that there aren’t as many actual wineries with physical addresses in the country as some wine consumers may have thought.

The headline reads like there will be some scandalous exposure of the wine industry, like jug merlot is the next pawn in our national war on obesity. In reality, we all know that big brands and cheap conglomerates make up the majority of wines purchased and consumed by average Americans.

Big deal. They’re drinkable and affordable, and unlike French fries or double decker hamburgers, fermented grape juice doesn’t clog your arteries and isn’t any better or worst for you if it’s made in the old Sutter Home facility (now known as The Ranch) or a Pomerol chateau.

The author goes on to “out” custom crush facilities like they’re something evil too. In reality, places like Napa Valley Custom Micro Crush at Judd’s Hill, Crushpad, Bin to Bottle, and The Ranch function more like cooperatives giving ordinary people the opportunity to smash grapes and make some freaking nectar.

What confuses me the most is that after exposing the ills of mass produced wine, the author ends by saying that there are actually plenty of wineries out there, and that there’s no need to despair. Even worst, he says you have to choose between authenticity and value. I do not agree.

The next time you visit your wine merchant, tell him or her you have $10 to spend on a bottle and want it to come from a “real” winery. You shouldn’t have a problem.

Posted on Thursday, November 5th, 2009
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Holiday gift ideas for wine lovers

Times are tough. Presents are expensive. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that the gift-giving holidays are next month, and we gotta pony up for our loved ones.

With that, here’s the first annual Corkheads Holiday Wish List. Cast your vote for the best wine gift, or better yet, post your own ideas. Whoever has the most creative idea wins a bottle of wintery petit sirah.

1. A copy of Robert Parker Jr’s new book, “Parker’s Wine Bargains: The World’s Best Wine Values under $25.” At $17.99, the book fits the bill.

2. A bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from the person’s birthday vintage. Oh, romantic-o.

3. A gift certificate to one of the Bay Area’s temperature-controlled wine storage unit companies, such as Subterraneum. The cellar for the rest of us.

4. A mixed wine case of 12 varietals the person has never tried. Can you say mencia?

5. A wine class at the Culinary Institute of America. Foie gras on a stick for lunch, anyone?

6. A road trip to a California wine region (Lodi!) you’ve been meaning to visit, complete with average accommodations, cheese picnic, and gas money.

7. A gift certificate to Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. It’s time to finally learn why the French rule.

8. Coupons for a week’s worth of meals cooked for you by your roommate, partner or slave, er, loved one.

9. Dinner at Spruce in San Francisco. Have you seen the wine list?

10. One-year wine club membership of your choice.

Mencia grapes

Posted on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
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Rossi-Wallace Pinot Noir is wild, bright

We did dinner at Pizza Antica last night, where thin, Naples style pizzas are decorated with light fare, such as arugula, goat cheese and olive oil drizzles.

With this kind of pie, as opposed to the deep dish stuff at Zachary’s, I really like drinking pinot noir, like this  Rossi-Wallace from the Antinori Vineyard in Napa Valley.

Napa Valley Pinot Noir

The wine ($35) is just pretty. It sparkles like a jewel and because it is aged in spicy Burgundian oak (only 30 percent of the oak is new), the fruit – wild and full of cherries – dances on top of the wood. It’s integrated, but subtle enough as to not interfere with the crisp, cracker-like delicate pizza.

While I love cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel with pizza, I think those wines would soak this “bread.” Rather, a wine like the 2007 Rossi-Wallace, with its earthy aromas and acidity, paired beautifully with the earthiness of the goat cheese and mushrooms and the acidity of the sundried tomatoes.

Can you dig it? Rossi-Wallace is mailing-list and online only, so you can find their low production, boutique wines on the Rossi-Wallace web site.

Posted on Monday, November 2nd, 2009
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