Friday, September 28, 2012

Yowza!! Dogfish Head Chicory Stout Coming!

One of my favorite stouts is being released in November, a sure sign that winter can't be far behind!
Read and view about it here:

Chicory Stout Story

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Gordon Biersch Night at Heritage Public House

Great time at Heritage Public House last night... Gordon Biersch was the featured brewery and they tapped an Überkeg of Festbier for the evening. Of course, the biggest attraction at Heritage are all the taps available, without fail, one or two of which will be new beers to try.  Last night was a challenge because as soon as Kay and I sat down, I saw that they had Ballast Point Sculpin IPA and since that is one of my top 5 beers, I had to start with that.

Big surprise of the evening: two, count'em, two new beers to try: the Speakeasy Butchertown Black IPA (8.5% abv) and a limited release from Bear Republic, Café Racer 15 Double IPA (8.9%). I highly recommend them both. The black IPA is described as lighter in body than the dark color would indicate and it is dry-hopped. The Racer 15 description from the web page:

" Brewed to celebrate the spirit of the counterculture streetracer motorcyclists and the 15th year of innovative brewing at Bear Republic Brewing Co. Café Racer 15™ is a deep golden Double IPA with a rebellious blast of the resinous, grapefruity aroma of Citra hops and a dry malty finish."

The Gordon Biersch offerings for the evening's event included the two beers pictured:

The IPB (Imperial Pilsner Brau) features hops from central Europe including Hallertau, Tettnang, Spalt and Saaz (don't ask me, I haven't a clue). Brewed in accordance with the German Purity Law of 1516. GB is the only brewery in the country doing it this way.

The Weizeneisbock (10% abv) is a highly crafted, strong, dark, wheat beer brewed with a top fermenting Bavarian Hefeweizen yeast strain. Very different tasting experience for those of us who swear "the hoppier the better!"

And now, back to our favorites: Kay had the North Coast Old Rasputin (left in photo) and I of course had a second Sculpin. A good time was had by all and no one got their clothes dirty.

Friday, September 21, 2012

White House Now Brewing

Saw POTUS Obama on Letterman the other night where they discussed the beer being brewed and how it came about. Hey, if it's good enough for the WH, we all should be brewing our own! Doubt that's gonna happen, but here's a video describing the process that Obama uses:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

White Knuckles Does It Again!

Yep, those White Knuckles from Marin Brewing were awarded another championship.  Haven't managed to find any on tap locally, but with due diligence, I'm sure I will have a first hand report soon;
Read about it here:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Visiting Whole Food's Tap Room

Not a lot of people are aware that inside the new Coddingtown Center's Whole Foods (Santa Rosa), there is a great little pub with an impressive selection of craft beers on tap. It's called the Tap Room (quite the coincidence you might say) and we were back there the other night to check in. Tasted several new brews from this menu, which changes frequently:
That Aroma Prieta from Drake's Brewing was my favorite of the night.  Just 6.7% abv so having two was not a problem. 
Alas, still no one but the brewery has Lagunitas' latest gold mine, Day Time. In bottles, but no one is getting kegs at this time. When it does hit places like the Tap Room, I'm betting it's gonna go fast!
Here's how the brew master describes it:
"Sometimes you want a beer, then you realize how much crap you need to do before you call it a day. This is it. Nicely dosed with Big, Round Hop Flavors and a Toasty Malt Foundation to satisfy your every need. But it still lets you stay in the game to do what needs to be done. Yup."

ABV: 4.65%

Photo: Lagunitas web site

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Few Words About An All-time Fave

Photo: Ballast Point Web Site
After a trip to San Diego earlier this year, I came back to Sonoma county with a much greater appreciation of the varied (and many) craft brewing communities down there. And I also added another IPA to my Top Ten list: Ballast Point Sculpin. Doing some reading this morning at one of the burgeoning brewing on-line publications, I ran across their description of Sculpin, liked what they said and decided to pass it along:

"Sculpin’s aroma perfectly complements its flavor: While powerfully bright orange and tangerine radiate in the nose, on the tongue, woodsy, piney hop flavors permeate thick, bready, toasted malt—a fantastic showcase of American hops’ versatility. Although com- manding, this beer’s bitterness feels smooth, nipping a flash of sweetness in the finish as a palatable dryness settles over the tongue."

To that I might add, "it's damned yummy!!"

Tap Room Tyler Goes to Denver

Visited the Tap Room in the Coddingtown's Whole Foods last night where I not only had the opportunity to try couple new beers, but also learned about a local success story (that is still ongoing).
I had a pint of Bear Republic's Buddha's Hand Pale Ale and was pleasantly surprised to learn its history. Tyler Smith, who has been with the Tap Room since it opened two years ago, is a homebrewer and it's his winning recipe that became one of Bear Republic's  entries for the 2012 Great American Beer Festival  Pro-Am competition, held next month in Colorado. Congratulations to Tyler for this honor and for a great tasting Pale Ale. Here's how Bear Republic describes the ale:

" Pro-Am Entry: Buddha's Hand Pale
American Pale ale w/ fruit
Brewed in collaboration with homebrewer Tyler Smith for the 2012 Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am competition. Buddha's Hand Pale is an American-style pale ale brewed with Citra, Simcoe and Amarillo hops and Buddha's Hand citrus fruit for an extra citrusy punch.
ABV: 6.2% IBU: 55 Color: Copper"

I'll have to do some more research on Buddha's Hand citrus fruit, totally new to me. I'll get back to you with what I learn, but first, another pint! (More about the new ales I tried later!).

Tyler ready to pull another pint of his winning Pale Ale

The Ale itself, straight from the cask and tasty!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday in Petaluma, Lagunitas Style

Well, if it's Sunday afternoon, the weather is warm and chores around the house are done, must be time for a visit to Lagunitas tap room and music venue. So, that's exactly what happened yesterday. Details follow:

The Tonewoods entertaining the crowd.
The fourth member of the group, affectionately knows as "Woody." A regular dancing fool... with a little help.

 Smile abound after a pint or three!

           A boy and his dog and his beer!
          And a girlfriend too!

           It's a Maximus kind of day

Perry being available.
Hooray!! What a day!!

Beer in Shady Healdsburg Plaza

Fun time last Saturday at the Healdsburg Beer in the Plaze taste fest. Tho new beers to try were few, there many old friends to revisit. I was a bit surprised at the number of beers in bottles at this event, but they were cold and fresh, and, like the Firestone Double Jack, a real pleasure to imbibe.
Some pics of the event, before it got too crowded to compose a photo without bumping into someone:
The Soulshine Blues Band were great!

Hardest working guy at the festival: Firestone Rep.

Bottle cap necklaces, made from beers they consumed!

Friendly lady with Twist of Fate.

Ian pouring Deschutes for beer lover.

Lagunitas gave away posters until they ran out.

Different view of the band at work. Crowd loved them.

Lost Coast was there!

So was Mad River.

Mario who???

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Further Adventures in Black

This time it's a Black Belgian-style Stout from Allagash Brewing. Had it last night at Spinster Sister's Restaurant in Santa Rosa.  7.5% ABV. Here's what their webpage says about this beer:

"Allagash Black is a Belgian style stout brewed with 2 Row barley, torrified wheat, oats, both roasted and chocolate malt and a generous portion of dark caramelized candy sugar. The silky mouth feel is a great balance to the roasted character, coffee and dark chocolate notes expressed throughout this beer."

Here's what I say:  Three of us at the bar had it after a tasting sample and all agreed it was special and that we would order it again. Since there were only three of us, that's 100% approval!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Great News For Russia River Brewing!

Time magazine has a story featuring the survey results for the best beer in America and the #1 beer is our own local favorite, Pliny the Elder from RR Brewing on Third Street in Santa Rosa.
I'm not going to go that far but I can categorically state that having drunk plenty of Pliney in recent years, it is certainly one of my all-time favorite beers. I'm searching for a photo of mine that shows Pliney but so far nothing.... you can always go to Russian River's website to get more info on that winning brew!!

Here's the list of the Top Ten and please note how many are from CA!
ABA’s 2012 Top 10 Best Beers in America:
  1. Russian River Pliny the Elder
  2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
  3. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
  4. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  5.  Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale
  6.  Bell’s Hopslam
  7. Sierra Nevada Celebration
  8. Stone Ruination IPA
  9. Sierra Nevada Torpedo
  10. North Coast Old Rasputin

Monday, September 3, 2012

Another Beer Discovery in Ashland

Activities in Ashland usually fall into three categories: going to plays (Shakespeare and others), coming from plays looking for a snack, or having dinner prior to a play.
So that's what was going on when this picture was taken. Having dinner prior to seeing "All The Way" at Sesame Restaurant, one of Ashland's finest in our opinion (four of us!) and as luck would have it, trying a new ale: Boneyard RPM IPA. Boneyard Brewing is in Bend, OR and this was our first exposure to their brews... and it won't be the last.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ashland - Beer and Shakespeare Pair Up

Just back from Ashland, OR, home of the Shakespeare Festival and many places to try some new beers. One is Caldera Brewing with its Tap Room down on Water Street, just off the famous plaza. My first brew was the Hopportunity Knocks IPA (ABV 6.8%) which was just what was needed after a 7 hour drive up from Sonoma County. Caldera has just recently moved into a larger brewing facility and is well known for their canned IPA.
As far as I am concerned, they will hereafter be known for a satisfying, well hopped (Centennial hops, I'm told) brew at trail's end (some poetic license here).

Hopportunity Knocks IPA

Menu on back deck.