Posts Tagged ‘bottle barn’

healthy spirits, bistro gambrinus and hopmonk tavern – an SF weekend

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

last weekend AP and I flew back up to our old stomping grounds in SF for a swim as well as some much-needed beer exposure.

  • on friday we made a pit stop over at columbus cafe, and old favorite, where a couple pints of lagunitas’ dogtown pale and bear republic’s racer 5 eased me into the weekend.
  • we also cruised by bistro gambrinus for dinner per AP’s research, which turned out to be a great idea.  the food was great (the burgers looked awesome), and although the service was spotty and a couple taps were kicked, the beers were still outstanding.  I grabbed a köstritzer schwarzbier (drinkable and well balanced, a little more refined than death and taxes) as well as a schneider aventinus (not my thing, tons of clove and banana), and AP knocked back a neumarkter lammsbräu dunkel, which was damn tasty and made me wish I had ordered it (AP has been doing a lot of that lately).
  • on saturday we hit the bridge and went up to the hopmonk tavern in sebastopol with the CBs and TB (after trying some of CB’s pale and his killer saison going to town in his fermenator).  after getting off on the wrong foot with their house kellerbier (super corny and actually pretty horrible), I recovered with pliny, while the table was being peppered with favorites like lagunitas’ kronik/censored and rodenbach’s grand cru.
  • we also stopped by bottle barn on the way back to grab some beers, highlights including ’08 bourbon county stouts for $3.50 a pop!
  • before taking off on sunday, there was one essential stop to be made over at healthy spirits.  this spot was my first major beer discovery in the city and is still a must-visit location for many reasons, a few of them being:
    • the staff – the owner, rami, and resident beer expert, dave, are super friendly and can talk for days about beer.  dave has given me great homebrewing ideas (kvass IPA) as well as insightful beer procurement advice (bi-rite for brews?).
    • the selection – unless I cruise down to port’s bottle shop in SD, there is really no other place I can go to get ANY hard-to-find beers, much less small batch belgians from cantillon, fantome, drie fonteinen, etc.  healthy spirits carries them all, and aggressively stocks some of the finest beers money can buy.
    • the blog – dave maintains a great blog that is consistently updated with their new procurements.  even though I can’t make it in most of the time, I can check the blog to keep updated on new killer releases.
  • of course, this selection and service does come with a price (healthy spirit beers ain’t cheap), but if you mix a sixer you get a discount.  I grabbed a boxload of brews and checked them on my flight without any issues (FYI, a standard 24-pack filled with 6-7 wrapped bottles weighs about 25 pounds, well under standard airline limits).
  • when AP and I finally got back to LA, we were glad to be home, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the amazing beer scene up north.

weekend in review 02/27-02/28

Monday, March 1st, 2010

this last weekend was full of destinations, both old and new.

  • AP and I met up with NB and PB over at anchor and hope down in SOMA.  I remember beer and nosh reviewing this place a while back.
  • the food was good, and the beers were even better.  the jug shop developed the beer list, which was pretty deep and had some good choices.  the staff was friendly and pretty knowledgeable about their brews, especially one dude who was sent over after we picked up a bottle of allagash‘s curieux for the table.
  • we hit up a wide variety of beers – I started with drake’s 1500 on the hand pump and finished with a (very generous) pour of valley brewing’s old inventory barleywine.
  • the next day AP and I trekked up to santa rosa, where we made an obligatory stop at russian river brewing for overflowing pours of temptation, consecration, and supplication.
  • another mandatory destination was the bottle barn, where we scored more than a few good brews at great prices.  why pay $25 for a russian river bomber at the brewpub when you can get em here for $18.99?  I love that place.
  • after checking out a lackluster chinese new year parade in chinatown with AF, we all rolled over to rogue for a nightcap – I chose a pint of john john, which was pretty great and will be reviewed in the future once I crack open a bomber of it for a second opinion.