Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for February, 2011

Beer Amongst the Belgians

British beer writer Tim Webb is working on what looks to be an interesting documentary series on beer in Belgium, to be called Beer Amongst The Belgians. The series is directed by Taylor Brush for Spotted Tail Productions. The video is listed as the “the final of the promotional episode.” It’s about 26 minutes, and is a great start, I’d say. Enjoy.

Posted on Friday, February 25th, 2011
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American Dietetic Association Toasts Beer For Good Health During American Heart Month

Yesterday, the American Dietetic Association sent out a press release regarding an article that was published in their ADA Times, extolling the benefits of beer and its numerous nutrition and health benefits for American Heart Month, which is February.

From the press release:

While red wine is often touted as the heart-healthy libation, more evidence is showing beer has a great deal of nutrition and health-promoting qualities as well, according to an article published in the Winter 2011 issue of the American Dietetic Association’s member publication, ADA Times.

“Red wine enjoys a reputation for sophistication and health benefits, but as interest in artisan brewing gains momentum and emerging research reveals unique nutrition properties, beer is finding redemption not only as a classy libation with deep roots in many cultures, but as a beverage with benefits,” writes registered dietitian and ADA Spokesperson Andrea Giancoli.

February is American Heart Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness of the leading cause of death in the U.S. — cardiovascular disease. One in three adults has some form of heart/cardiovascular disease. Many of these deaths and risk factors are preventable and food choices have a big impact on your heart’s health, even if you have other risk factors.

Moderate consumption of any alcoholic beverage, including beer, has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol, lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of blood clotting, Giancoli writes in ADA Times. Moderate alcohol consumption has also been associated with a lower incidence of gallstones, decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and improved cognitive function in older adults.

“Beer specifically has been associated with additional health outcomes, including lowering the risk of kidney stones in men compared to other alcoholic beverages, possibly due to its high water content and diuretic effect,” Giancoli writes. “Compounds in hops may also slow the release of calcium from bone that is implicated in kidney stones. Additionally, beer drinkers seem to have a more protective effect towards greater bone mineral density due to the high content of silicone in beer.”

Like wine, beer is fat free. Carbohydrates, which make up about one-third of the calories in beer, mostly come from partially broken down starch. Protein, which is nearly non-existent in wine, is present in small amounts in beer — about 4 percent of the total calories.

Most beers are between 3 percent and 6 percent alcohol by volume, although some beers can contain as much as 10 percent alcohol, “and some are much higher.” Giancoli writes. “Wines are between 12 percent and 14 percent ABV. Because the average beer has a lower ABV and more than two and half times as much water, it contributes to fluid intake more so than wine.”

Although the USDA Nutrient Database lists beer’s fiber content as zero grams recent studies have shown lager contains up to 2 grams of soluble fiber per liter, while dark beers can contain up to 3.5 grams. “Although wine and beer are neck-and-neck when it comes to mineral composition, each providing some potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and fluoride (the latter presumably contributed through the water source), beer is the winner when it comes to selenium and silicon,” Giancoli writes.

Here’s a chart from the article comparing what’s in beer and wine.


And here’s some more from the article itself:

A recent report from global research group Mintel shows that 33 percent of all beer drinkers in the U.S. are consuming less imported beer because they’re opting for domestic craft beer instead. in addition, nearly 60 percent of beer drinkers say they like to try craft or microbrew beers, and 51 percent would try more if they knew more about them, suggesting consumer education is the key to cultivating growth in the artisan beer market.

And about micronutrients:

Beer Outshines Wine with Many Micronutrients
One 12-ounce regular beer contributes folate, vitamin B6, niacin, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. Beer is also a plant source of vitamin B12, supplying about 3 percent of the recommended daily amount for adults, according to the USDA Nutrient database (although other sources claim higher B12 contents in beer).

So drink a toast to a healthy heart this month. And make sure it’s beer.

Posted on Friday, February 11th, 2011
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Anchor to Release New Beer: Brekle’s Brown

The story of Anchor Brewery begins shortly after gold was discovered in nearby Sutter’s Mill. That’s when German brewer “Gottlieb Brekle arrived in San Francisco with his wife Marie and infant son Frederick.” In 1854, Brekle applied for U.S. citizenship and 1871 bought an old beer-and-billiards saloon near Russian Hill. That location became “a little San Francisco brewery on Pacific, between Larkin and Hyde,” and 25-years later was known as Anchor Brewery.


On February 16, Anchor will unveil it’s newest beer, an all-malt, single hop brown ale named for the original Anchor brewer, Gottlieb Brekle, who was brewmaster from 1871 to 1888. Brekle’s Brown will then be available on draft only at select locations throughout the Bay Area for the remainder of SF Beer Week from February 17-20. Look for it at better beer bars everywhere.

Posted on Tuesday, February 8th, 2011
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Pliny the Younger 2011

Yesterday was Pliny the Younger Day at Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, California. I arrived a little before eleven, and owner/brewer Vinnie Cilurzo let me in the back of the brewpub. The difference between last year’s release day and this year’s was immediately apparent. There was relative calm in the place, the bar was not three or four deep, with people pushing against the bar clamoring for attention. Perhaps most importantly, both Vinnie and his wife/co-owner Natalie seemed relaxed, too.

Last year Russian River sold out of of Pliny the Younger, their Triple IPA that’s released just once each year, in just eight short hours. The brewpub was filled to the gills and the staff was understandably stressed and exhausted. The main reason this happened last year was nobody expected so many people to order growlers, and having placed few restrictions on them, they continued to honor orders until the entire supply of beer ran out.

The line outside to get in was long all day

Having learned from last that experience, this year no Pliny the Younger growlers were permitted. They also managed the door and made sure it was never too crowded inside, which made for a much more enjoyable experience. A line of people that stretched down most of the block outside waited patiently for their turn to come inside. As people left, a new customer took their place so there was a steady stream of new patrons.

Pliny the Younger Day bar scene

I actually thought this year’s Pliny the Younger was even better than last year. It seemed more balanced and the hop wallop wasn’t as vegetal or oniony as I remember it being last year. There is nothing quite like having it fresh from the source on the day it’s released. And this year, they’ve allocated enough beer so it will be available for at least two weeks, giving many more people a chance to try get some.

Pliny the Younger in the sunlight

It will also begin appearing in select accounts around the Bay Area, so keep an eye on your favorite water hole. But act fast, last year kegs of Pliny the Younger kicked at some bars in a matter of hours.

Vinnie, me and Joe Tucker, from Rate Beer
Vinnie Cilurzo, me and Joe Tucker (from Rate Beer) enjoying a day at Russian River Brewing.

Posted on Saturday, February 5th, 2011
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Local Reality TV Show Looking for Homebrewers & Beer Lovers to Compete

It was bound to happen, but at least it’s being done by someone we know and trust to treat beer and homebrewing with the proper respect. The Brewing Network has partnered with KOFY Channel 20 to create a new reality TV show about … homebrewing. The show, to be called Brew Your Own Beer TV, will take the form of a “game show-reality style program pitting teams of homebrewers and craft beer lovers against one another for some really great prizes. It will be shot all across the greater Bay Area in parking lots and bars and breweries.”

Here’s what they’re looking for:

We are looking for beer lovers of all types, men and women, couples, teams, bikini models — as long as they have a general understanding of how beer is made and a flexible schedule, they will be considered for the show.

Do you love beer? Are you a home brewer or craft beer enthusiast? Are you interested in learning more about the brewing process while competing with other brewers for great prizes?

We are casting for a reality show that centers around home brewers and craft beer lovers in the greater San Fransisco Bay Area.

Applicants must have a LOVE for beer, a desire to learn more about the brewing process, and a flexible schedule between February 20th and June 15th. A basic knowledge of how beer is made is required but home brewing experience is not a must — we want beer lovers of all knowledge levels.

21 and older only!

To apply: e-mail your name, recent photo, brewing experience (if any), an explanation or example of your passion for beer, and a reason why you should be a part of this TV show. If possible, you may also submit a link to a short video that further explains why we should select you and to help us get to know you better.

Deadline for submissions is February 15th!

The casting call is also on Craigslist and that’s where the e-mail address to use for applying can be found. Or you can simply e-mail the Brewing Network.

My understanding is that there will be ten teams of homebrewers competing, so not every team has to consist entirely of expert homebrewers. You’d need at least one, of course, but enthusiastic assistants that work well together would most likely make for the best team, rather than all homebrewers who might have trouble agreeing on how to proceed. There will be contests and competitions along the way to eliminate teams until one emerges victorious. Sounds like it could be great fun.

Good luck to everybody, and good brewing. But hurry up and apply, there’s less than two weeks to go.

Posted on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
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Are You Experienced Enough For Strong Beer Month?

It’s February, and that means it’s time for the 9th annual Strong Beer Month, once again with six new extreme beers each at 21st Amendment and Magnolia throughout February. Try them all, and you get to keep the commemorative glass. To see a list of the twelve beers, check out the Strong Beer Month website. This year’s theme is the Jimi Hendrix album “Are You Experienced” featuring instead of Jimi and his band, Dave McLean (from Magnolia) and Shaun O’Sullivan and Nico Freccia (both from 21s Amendment). Stop by both brewpubs throughout the month for the “Strong Beer Experience.”


Posted on Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
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