Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for the 'what’s on tap' Category

No Joke: Marin Brewing turns 20 today

Given that it was April Fool’s Day 20 years ago, people must have thought they were joking. A brewery in Marin County? But Brendan Moylan was quite serious, as evidenced by Marin Brewing celebrating their 20th anniversary today. He and his late partner, homebrewer Craig Tasley, opened the first brewery in Marin on this day in 1989. Since that time, the award-winning Marin Brewing has built a solid reputation for quality and innovation.

Current brewmaster Arne Johnson continues to makes their classic favorites, such as Mt. Tam Pale, White Knuckle Double IPA, Bluebeery Ale, and Pt. Reyes Porter. But he also finds time to create exquisite ales such as his bourbon barrel aged Barleywine, or the rich and thick Quad, so “fully loaded” that one can only have 10 oz. in one sitting.

Arne Johnson and Brendan Moylan

The above photo is Brewmaster Arne Johnson showing off the four gold medals he won at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival along with Marin Brewing founder Brendan Moylan.

All day today at the brewpub at 1809 Larkspur Landing Circle in Larkspur (take the ferry there) “pints will be only $2.00 and select retail items will be offered at a discount price.” Also available today, Brewmaster Arne Johnson has brewed a batch of Anniversary Ale, the Tripel Dipsea Belgian Ale, and the 20th Anniversary Old Ale, which will be an English style ale, but these will only be around for a limited time only. Tonight at the brewery there will be live music with Petty Theft from 5-8pm.

Posted on Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
Under: On Beer, what's on tap | 3 Comments »
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A Hayword beer memorial for Bill Brand

My colleague Eric Kurhi posted this piece about a memorial this Thursday, March 26 at a Hayward bistro in Bill’s honor. It will be an annual event and proceeds will benefit the Contra Costa Food Bank.

I believe March 26 is Bill’s birthday.

Posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
Under: what's on tap | 1 Comment »
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Best beer city? Let’s get out and vote

Best Beer City

If you’re even a casual beer fan, you’re probably familiar with Charlie
Papazian. He wrote the first major book on homebrewing, “The Joy of Homebrewing.
Papzaian also founded what today is the Brewers Association, which
includess the American
Homebrewing Association.

The AHA will be holding their annual conference this year in Oakland, from June 18-20 at the Marriott Convention Center. They’re calling this year’s conference “Sippin On the Dock of the Bay.”

Charlie Papazian also began blogging last year as The Beer Examiner
a recent post, he’s asked people to vote for their favorite beer city.

Here’s how Charlie puts it: “

With beer enthusiasm on the rise, especially for small, local and craft brewed beer there’s a lot of pent up pride building.  I’ve heard many boast of their favorite beer city.  Here’s your chance to express your feelings and vote. One vote per person.”

There are thirty cities and/or metropolitan areas listed on the poll plus
“other” for write-ins. You’d expect cities like Portland to do well, and
they are. With nearly 3,000 votes in so far, Portland has 906 votes, or 34%.
But they’re in second place. The top honor so far is Asheville, North
Carolina! How on Earth could Asheville get 1103 votes, or 41% of the votes?

To be fair, Asheville is a great beer town, but they’ve mounted a grassroots
effort to stuff the ballot box by trying to get people to vote for them. I
admire their tenacity, but there’s only one thing wrong. Asheville, good as
it has become, is not the “best” beer city. You already know who that honor
should go to.

The “San Francisco/Oakland – Bay Area,” which is how we’re listed, has a
meager 46 votes, only 2% of the total right now. You know what to do. Get
out and vote. Tell your friends to vote. Tell your friends to tell their
friends to voteYou don’t have to register or sign up for anything. It will take less than a minute of your time.

You have until May 7, at Noon (Mountain Time) to register your vote. And the results will be announced just in time for American Craft Beer Week, which this year is May 11-17.

Posted on Tuesday, March 24th, 2009
Under: what's on tap | 2 Comments »
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Spring Is Sprung, Beer Is Drunk

The latest from beer blogger Jay Brooks, who is guest blogging on What’s On Tap this week: Today is the Vernal Equinox, the first day of Spring. And as you know, in the spring a young beer lover’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of beer festivals. That’s right, beer festival season is upon us, with much good weather and great beer to look forward to enjoying. Here are few festivals and other beer events taking place around the Bay in the coming weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, March 20th, 2009
Under: what's on tap | 5 Comments »
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A final toast to Bill Brand

Grapes and Grains

Rod Santos of the Grapes & Grains classes and newsletter is organizing a final toast to the late Bill Brand next Thursday, March 26. Some of you may know Santos from Wine Thieves in Lafayette, where he is part owner.

He splits his time, and his heart, educating the public on his two loves: beer and wine. He’s a fine guy and does a great job.

Bill was an active participant in Rod’s local beer tasting group. He says “Bill treated each beer they opened with the same intense fervor as the last, displaying an enthusiasm that is normally reserved for critics half his age.” Amen.

With the same fervor, Rod plans to raise a glass in Bill’s honor next week during a comprehensive tasting of some of what he calls the most exciting beers on today’s market, and many of which Bill reviewed.

If you want to join Rod and his crew, it’s $20 and will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. in the downstairs cellar at the Lafayette store, 3401 Mt. Diablo Blvd. Sign up here.

Posted on Wednesday, March 18th, 2009
Under: Corkheads, what's on tap | 3 Comments »
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Fairfax Brewfest Kicks Off Bay Area Beer Festival Season

Beer blogger Jay Brooks attended the Fairfax Brewfest over the weekend, where Rodger Davis, the brewer at Triple Rock Brewery in Berkeley, announced a new beer called “Bill Brand Brown.” Look for a series of guest posts this week, as we continue to explore possibilities for the future of “What’s On Tap.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, March 16th, 2009
Under: what's on tap | 3 Comments »
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Looking for a What’s On Tap blogger

Bill Brand brought a passion to What’s On Tap that made the blog a treasure. It was evident to the public in his writing — in his words and the frequency with which he posted — and in the personal connections he made with readers.
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Posted on Sunday, March 1st, 2009
Under: what's on tap | 13 Comments »
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An excerpt from Bill Brand’s book proposal

Hey, folks. I got a call yesterday from a Philadelphia literary agent named Jenni Hatton. She was working with the late Bill Brand, our beer blogger who died on Feb. 20 after being hit by a MUNI train on Feb. 8, on a coffee table book about his love for California beers.

They’d only met a month ago, but as was his tendency, Bill’s passion for California breweries and brewmasters hooked Jenni right away. She and her company were prepared to represent Bill in the publishing world.

I’d like to share an excerpt of the loose proposal Bill sent to Jenni via e-mail on January 15. Here it is:

What I want to do is write about the beer, to infuse my prose with the passion I feel for great beer. One page for each beer. A great photo of the beer, and perhaps a small photo of the brewer or brewery, a description of the way the beer tastes and a very brief explanation of how it was conceived, whether it can be put away for months or years.

I’m thinking about something on the order of “100 Belgian Beers to Try Before You Die” or  “Around London in 80 Beers.”  Both are English.  The format would be easily doable as a trade coffee table book or a portable paperback.

California is vast. But it’s easily broken into sections, Northern California, San Francisco Bay Area, Central Coast, greater Los Angeles, San Diego County.  However, I’m not sure that’s the way to go. Organizing in the traditional way  compels one to have at least a rough idea of this state’s geography. In beer it’s not too important.

It might be simpler to list beers alphabetically — Alesmith Speedway Stout to Santa  Cruz Mountain Brewing Dread Brown. That makes reading the book an adventure, each time the reader turns the page, there’s something new to discover.”

Thanks again to Jenni Hatton for sending this our way.

Posted on Tuesday, February 24th, 2009
Under: Corkheads, what's on tap | 4 Comments »
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Gather at the Trappist to remember Bill Brand

The generous owners of The Trappist, where Bill Brand drank and analyzed many a beer, are opening up their doors for those of us who want to raise a glass as a community and remember Bill.

Stop by this Sunday, March 1 at 1 p.m. in the back room of the Trappist. Directions are available on the Trappist web site. See you there.

Posted on Tuesday, February 24th, 2009
Under: what's on tap | 10 Comments »
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Sad news

Our dear friend and longtime reporter Bill Brand passed away early this morning at S.F. General Hospital.

A brief obituary has been posted on the Oakland Tribune.

More will be added later about memorial services and the life of this wonderful man.

There is a guestbook with the story for those who would like to leave a message.

SAN FRANCISCO — William Brand, a longtime reporter for the Oakland Tribune, died early Friday as a result of injuries suffered in a Muni train incident in San Francisco Feb. 8. He was 70.
Brand died at San Francisco General Hospital, surrounded by family and friends, according to a friend of the family.
A recently retired reporter, Brand was walking near Second and King streets around 9:10 p.m. Feb. 8 when he was hit by oncoming N-Judah train, SF police said.
Brand was knocked into a nearby pole by the impact, police Inspector Dean Taylor said.
The investigation is continuing, but it appears to have been an accident, Taylor said.
Brand retired from regular news gathering at the Tribune in November after 27 years at the paper. He continued to write a well-read beer blog titled “What’s On Tap.”
The night he was struck by the train, Brand was returning from the 21st Amendment Brewery on Second Street where he had attended a food and beer pairing event he was writing about for his blog.
A memorial service is planned and details will be announced later today, a friend said.

Posted on Friday, February 20th, 2009
Under: what's on tap | 89 Comments »
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