Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for June, 2010

5 things I learned at the Next Gen Millennial Wine Competition

Blue wine

1. Blue wine, made from the blue agave plant commonly used in tequila, is gross unless it’s served over ice. Then it tastes like fancy melted Slurpee.

2. Barefoot Wine & Bubbly is good. Even great. Judged blind, a Barefoot dessert wine finished Best of Show out of 700 wines entered into the competition. Another Barefoot wine, a sparkling rose, finished Best of Class.

3. Get your wine on, Los Angeles. Second Glass, the Wine 2.0 site with the bad ass educational events, is coming your way.

4. Contrary to popular judging technique, I think roast beef kind of messes up my palate when tasting through dozens of reds. Graber olives on the other hand? Keep those coming.

5. Get your hands on some Gundlach Bundschu Tempranillo Rose. I don’t care what you have to do. It was another Best of Class wine, and it is summer in a bottle. They made 292 cases of this wine and you owe it to yourself to try it.

Posted on Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
Under: Corkheads | 2 Comments »
Leave a comment

Jack McAuliffe, Beer Pioneer

The Brewers Association’s new website,, has a great article and interview up today with Jack McAuliffe. If you don’t know who Jack McAuliffe is, you should. McAuliife founded the New Albion Brewery in Sonoma, California in October of 1976. New Albion was the very first modern microbrewery in the country, and along with Anchor and several early brewpubs, is the reason that the San Francisco Bay Area is the birthplace of craft beer in America.

Jack in his new brewery back in the day.

Check out The Rise and Fall of New Albion Brewing led the way for the American Craft Beer Revolution by John Holl.

Sierra Nevada is also doing a collaboration beer, Jack & Ken’s Ale (a barley wine) with Jack McAuliffe as a part of their Sierra 30 Series, celebrating their 30th anniversary this year.

A New Albion label.

Posted on Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
Under: On Beer | No Comments »
Leave a comment

REUNION 2010: A New Beer For Hope

REUNION — A Beer for Hope, now in its fourth year, will be a Belgian-style Scotch Ale for 2010. Bison Brewing in California and Terrapin Beer Company in Georgia are the brewing and fundraising partners.

The beer will be released this month in both 22 ounce bottles and draft in 14 states, including California. Information about special events later this month is available at the REUNION website.


REUNION Beer is the inspiration and collaboration of Alan Shapiro, president of SBS Imports, Pete Slosberg, creator of Pete’s Wicked Ales, and Virginia MacLean, long time friend and colleague, as a way to raise awareness of and donations for The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research. All met during the early days of Pete’s Brewing Company. Virginia passed away from complications from Multiple Myeloma in June 2007, four months after the initial release of REUNION. To date REUNION has raised in excess of $130,000 for The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research via profits from beer sales, retailer fundraising events, and private donations.

This year’s beer was developed in concert by brewmasters Spike Buckowski of Terrapin, Dan Del Grande of Bison, and REUNION co-founder Pete Slosberg. It is a Belgian-Style Scotch Ale — a nod to Virginia’s heritage. It is brewed to an original gravity of 1078 using 5 different malts and hopped with East Kent Goldings to 35 IBU. It is fermented with a high gravity Trappist yeast and is 7.0% alcohol by volume.

Posted on Thursday, June 10th, 2010
Under: On Beer | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Dogfish Head Brews Up A Miles Davis Beer

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery today announced the release of Bitches Brew to commemorate the original release of the milestone jazz album, Bitches Brew, by jazz legend Miles Davis.

The new beer by Dogfish Head is described as “a bold, dark beer that’s a fusion of three threads imperial stout and one thread honey beer with gesho root, a gustatory analog to Miles’ masterpiece.” It also features the “the album’s iconic artwork, created by the late Mati Klarwein, on its label, Dogfish Head’s Bitches Brew will be unveiled at Savor, An American Craft Beer & Food Experience tonight at the National Building Museum, Washington DC where I’ll be hosting a salon room tonight. The beer will be bottled in 750ml bottles and released through Dogfish’s distribution network in late August.


From the press release:

The newly created ale is designed, according to Dogfish founder and president Sam Calagione, “as the ultimate partner for chili or spicy curry chicken” and best enjoyed “sipped cool, not cold, from a snifter or red wine glass while listening to the Bitches Brew album.”

Calagione was drawn to the alchemical spirits in Bitches Brew right out of college, acquiring a copy of the album “within months of the first time I brewed a batch of homebrew in my apartment in New York City. I listened to it when I was writing my Dogfish business plan. I wanted Dogfish Head to be a maniacally inventive and creative brewery, analog beer for the digital age. You could say that my dream was to have Dogfish Head, in some small way, stand for the same thing in the beer world that Bitches Brew stands for in the jazz world. You can imagine how excited we are to be doing this project 17 years after I wrote that business plan.”

“There’s a spirit of innovation, of creativity and individuality, that’s at the core of Miles’ music,” said Adam Block, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Legacy Recordings. “Sam and Dogfish Head approach their art from the same place and consequently the marriage is an easy and cool one.”

No word yet on when it will be available in California, but hopefully soon.

Later this year, on August 31, an anniversary edition of the recording — two, actually: a Legacy Edition and a deluxe Collector’s Edition — will be released on CD.

Posted on Saturday, June 5th, 2010
Under: On Beer | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Sierra Nevada’s Favorite Son

Brian Grossman, who’s the son of Ken Grossman, has been working at the Sierra Nevada Brewery that his father co-founded, off and on, since he was fifteen. Grossman’s two daughters have also worked at the brewery at times throughout their lives, but are no longer there at present. Instead, Brian in stepping up and thinking about the future. In Growing Up With the Family Brewery, a first person account in the New York Times, Brian Grossman ruminates on the future of Sierra Nevada and his place in the company.


Posted on Friday, June 4th, 2010
Under: On Beer | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Stephane Derenoncourt’s 2006 California wines are beauties

Stephane Derenoncourt, the Bordeaux superstar who consults for dozens of wineries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, has released his own wines made from grapes grown in California.

I had been holding on to these wines, waiting to open them for just the right meal. Last night, alongside a maple-and-balsamic glazed pork chop, I popped open the 2006 Syrah from the Hudson Vineyard in Carneros. Derenoncourt also makes a Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot from the Stagecoach Vineyard on Atlas Peak.

According to a February post on, Derenoncourt’s intention was to  make California-style wines with an emphasis on freshness and elegance. You won’t find heat or high sugar on these wines.

The Syrah was a beauty. On the nose, it had subtle aromas of bacon fat and leather in harmony with black fruit and spice. The flavors are similar. I also got some white pepper on the finish, which is silky, long, and lacks that bite of big tannins we often get when tossing back a Cali syrah. Definitely a fresh and vibrant take on the wine. I loved it and really look forward to tasting his other California wines.

Posted on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
Under: Corkheads | No Comments »
Leave a comment

Short Pour Film Fest Picks Best Beer Movie

“The inaugural Short Pour Film Festival on the subject of beer, which was announced last August, was judged last weekend. The films will debut at the Monterey Beer Festival on June 5th, 2010, from 12:30pm to 5pm.” The Winning Film, along with the entire One Hour & Twenty Minute Program, will be shown in the historic ”King City Room”, a 10,000 square foot building at the Monterey Fairgrounds (home to The Monterey Jazz Festival & The Monterey Blues Festival).


The overall winner is “The Swagger Stagger” in San Francisco by Sayre Piotrkowski, which you can watch below.

The runner-up was by the Beer Nation Show and titled “Legend of Craft Beer Bandit” by Mike Winn & Seth Wright.

The winners will also be screened at this year’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver, September 16-18.

Posted on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010
Under: On Beer | 1 Comment »
Leave a comment