Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for January, 2012

Kelley Brothers Brewpub To Close Today

I got an e-mail last night from a reader that the Manteca brewpub Kelley Brothers Brewing was closing and today is to be their last day. I haven’t been able to independently confirm that news, but will do so when I’m able. It’s always sad news to hear that a brewery is closing.

UPDATE 2/1: The Manteca Bulletin confirmed the closing of Kelley Brothers Brewing today, posting Last call for Kelley Brothers with the full story.

Posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
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Anchor Announces New Zymaster Beer Series

Anchor Brewing announced today a new series of beers they’ll be debuting during SF Beer Week. The new beers will be under the series designation “Zymaster,” which Anchor describes like this:

Zymaster n [Gk zyme leaven + master – more at ZYMURGY]
1: a new word coined by Anchor Brewing to describe a brewmaster with hands-on experience throughout the a-to-z process of creating a new beer, from the research and selection of the raw materials and development of a recipe to brewing, fermentation, cellaring, and finishing
2: a unique series of beers from Anchor Brewing, rooted in its exceptional respect for the ancient art and noble traditions of brewing and featuring extraordinary ingredients, innovative techniques, and unusual flavors


The first Zymaster Series beer will be released at select events during SF Beer Week, which this year is February 10-19. The initial offering will be “available on draught only in 13.2 gallon and 5.16 gallon kegs,” and “[i]nitial distribution will be focused in California.”

I spoke to the Zymaster himself — Mark Carpenter — who told me a bit more about the beer. It sounds like it will be a pretty interesting beer, and one I’m definitely looking forward to trying.

Carpenter told me they wanted to do something distinctly Californian, and they searched brewing logs and records that they could find from early California brewers. Reasoning that as soon as brewers had the technological ability to brew lagers, that’s what they did, so they turned their attention to lagers. In California, Boca Brewing is believed to have made the first lager in the state, around 1875 (according to American Breweries II). The town of Boca was located in northeast California, roughy 6.5 miles from Truckee. In 1880 it had a population of around 200 people, though today it’s literally a ghost town. The brewery was founded in 1875 and closed in 1892, four years before the Anchor Brewery opened.

So Anchor set about to recreate the first lager brewed in California. They used California-grown malt and California cluster hops. Clusters were the first hop variety grown in the United States. Though their origin is unknown, it has been “suggested that they arose from hybridization of varieties, imported by Dutch and English settlers and indigenous male hops.” They weren’t able to find enough cluster hops actually grown commercially in the state, but they did find cluster hops growing in Washington using the same bines that used to grow in California, before the hop-growing family took their rhizomes with them when they moved north from California to Washington.

So the first Zymaster Series beer from Anchor is also the first true lager they’ve made (with Steam beer being essentially a hybrid) and was brewed to try as best they could to replicate the first lagers brewed in California. It’s 5% a.b.v. and is a single-hop beer, using only Cluster hops. Because of quality issues in the late 19th century, lagers here tended to be more highly hopped then they are today, and Anchor’s new beer will also reflect that, though they have not yet calculated the IBUs, so no one can yet how hoppy the lager will be. Only one thing is certain, I can’t wait to see what it tastes like.

Posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2012
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There Are 1,952 Craft Breweries In The United States

This is a pretty cool piece or artwork that would look great on your wall. Los Angeles-based artist David Odere has created a poster entitled There Are 1,952 Craft Breweries In The United States, in which the glass of beer, head included, contains the names of every one of those 1,952 breweries. The poster is below, but to really get a flavor for it, look at in his website, Factry, where you can zoom in on it to read all of the brewery names. Last time I’d checked, the number was in the high 1800s, but I guess we’ve gone way past 1900 since then. Can hitting 2,000 breweries be very far away at this point? See if you can find your own or the ones in your area. For $20 (plus shipping) you can also but an 18″ x 24″ poster of it.


Posted on Monday, January 9th, 2012
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Winter Brews Festival In Concord January 28

The 3rd annual Winter Brews Festival, sponsored by the Brewing Network, will be held this year on Saturday, January 28 from Noon to 4:00 p.m. Thanks to the Occupy Berkeley movement, last year’s location was not available and BN thought they’d have to cancel. But the City of Concord came to the rescue, and this year’s event will be held at Todos Santos Plaza, just two blocks from the Concord BART station.
Tickets went on sale tonight, and can be purchased online through Eventbrite.

Here’s all the info from the press release:

Todos Santos Plaza is normally closed to public events during the winter months. Due to the extreme situation, however, they graciously opened their doors to allow the event to go on uninterrupted. Partnering with the Todos Santos Small Business Association and a local environmental non-profi t organization, this event will proudly promote the value of local breweries, local businesses, and fresh beer.

Visitors will enjoy unlimited tastings from more than 30 world class breweries. Confirmed breweries include the 21st Amendment, Drakes, Heretic, Lagunitas, Magnolia, Triple Rock, and Russian River. This Winter Brews Festival promises to expose beer lovers, new and experienced, to a variety of appetizing and innovative beers. A portion of the proceeds will also benefit local nonprofit, the Coral Reef Alliance.

The 3rd Annual Winter Brews Festival will be held at the Todos Santos Plaza in Concord on Saturday, January 28, 2012, from 12pm to 4pm. Tastings will feature a wide variety of local brews and unique innovations from some of the best brewers around, many of whom will be pouring their own beers giving visitors an opportunity to learn more about how the beer is made. The event will happen rain or shine, with arrangements in place to keep festival goers dry or out of the sun. And with the Concord BART station just two blocks away, this afternoon event will no doubt satisfy locals wanting to enjoy some beers for a great cause. Tickets are $35 pre-sale or $40 at the gate and include unlimited pours and a commemorative glass. For more information on the event, and to purchase tickets, please visit The Brewing Network Ontap.

See you there!

Posted on Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
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Oakland’s Nicole Erny Becomes First Female Master Cicerone

Perhaps you’ve already heard about the thousands (just over 8,800) of beer industry professionals who have become Certified Beer Servers in Ray Daniels’ Cicerone program since it was launched in 2007. It’s essentially the beer equivalent of a sommelier. But what you may not know is that there are actually three levels of Cicerone certification? Until recently, only three persons had attained the third level, that of Master Cicerone, and one of them is Bay Area brewer Rich Higgins, who brews at Social Kitchen. Now a fourth person has earned the lofty position of Master Cicerone. It was announced today that Nicole Erny of “Oakland, CA earned the title of Master Cicerone® during testing in November.” That makes Erny not just the fourth Master Cicerone, but also both the first woman and the youngest person to reach that level. It also means that half of the world’s Master Cicerones are in the Bay Area.

Here’s more information from the press release:

Erny earned the certification through a series of exams culminating with two days of intense taste testing plus written and oral questioning about beer styles, draft systems, beer evaluation, brewing technology and beer and food pairing given November 9 & 10. The Master Cicerone exam includes 8 hours of written questions, 2 hours of oral questions and 2 hours of beer tasting and evaluation. Candidates needed an overall score of 85% to pass.

“During the Master Cicerone exam, Erny distinguished herself with her knowledge of all aspects of beer and her skill in tasting beer and creating interesting beer and food pairings,” said Ray Daniels, Director of the Cicerone Certification Program.

Since earning her Bachelor’s Degree in 2007, Erny has worked a specialty beer bartender, consultant and beer educator, putting on classes and beer and food pairings. She has sharpened her palate and beer analysis skills as a homebrewed beer judge and already holds the title of National Judge in the Beer Judge Certification Program.

Join me in congratulating Nicole on her wonderful achievement.

At the Celebrator’s 20th Anniversary Party in 2008.

Posted on Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
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