Posts Tagged ‘healthy spirits’

three nights in SF

Friday, October 29th, 2010

“what are your favorite SF beer spots?” a tough question to answer.  however, a week or two ago, I flew up to SF for business.  although the days were all work, the nights were a chance to stop by some of my favorite brew sources in the city.  given a limited time (3 nights) and a central location (the embarcadero), these were the places that made the cut.

  • night 1: giordano bros., la trappe, and rogue. going to giordano bros. for a coppa with egg with AF and CB was a no-brainer, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they now have beer on draft (I grabbed a pour of mangolia’s kalifornia kolsch).
  • afterwards, it was a straight shot to la trappe, where a bottle of drie fonteinen’s oude geuze was popped between AF, CB, and JC.  although la trappe has fallen slightly out of favor with me these days due to their high prices, cramped atmosphere, and spotty beer availability, you would be hard pressed to find many of their offerings elsewhere in the city.
  • we left la trappe for an outside table at rogue, where a pour of lagunitas little sumpin’ wild ended the night perfectly.  although I honestly can’t remember the last time I ordered a rogue beer there…
  • night 2: memphis minnie’s, toronado. as mentioned before, memphis minnie’s is my go-to spot now before toronado.  a pitcher of anchor steam complemented the ‘pulled’ chicken and greens nicely before heading over to toronado.
  • after experiencing the worst bar service I have ever known (even for toronado), I grabbed a cornucopia of brews, from moonlight’s homegrown to some russian river favorites.
  • night 3: healthy spirits and some CB homebrew. with checked bags being included on southwest, I knew I had to take some rarities home with me, so off to I went with CB to see dave over at healthy spirits.  after a half hour of pacing the store, I grabbed some goodies from hanssens, lagunitas, russian river, and drie fonteinen.
  • I then rolled over to CB’s, where we sampled over half a dozen of his homebrews, including a funked saison that was definitely top notch.  we spent a few hours pulling samples from carboys with thick pellicles and finished the night with a 750 of cascade’s the vine, which is a beer that was truly fantastic.  I left satisfied and inspired to be more adventurous with my own brewing .  thanks again CB!

anchor christmas ale 2009

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

anchor xmas ale

ever since the 2009 anchor christmas ale magnums popped up in stores I was itching to pick one up.

  • they were pretty inexpensive (>$15 from what I remember) and looked like a great gift/party idea.
  • however, I wasn’t too keen on the last few christmas ales from anchor, so I wanted to try a little taste before jumping in head first.
  • I found singles for sale somewhere (was it city beer?) and picked one up for a taste test, but before I got to try it i buckled and got a magnum for UD for his birthday.  it didn’t hurt that dave over at healthy spirits gave the ’09 a good review, so I had some faith going into it.  and, well, shit, any russian river offering short of blind pig or pliny costs more than this magnum, so it’s all relative…
  • anyhow, I’m glad I grabbed these bottles.  the brew has a super piney hop aroma with a smooth spicy malt back.  I can’t overemphasize the “piney-ness” here – it is very woodsy and earthy.  however, spiced beers get to me a little – I can’t really drink more than one or two of em.  this is a great example of a christmas “winter warmer.”

anchor xmas ale in the glass

anchor xmas ale in the glass v.2

bear republic hop rod rye

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

hop rod rye in the glass

bear republic’s hop rod rye is a great example of a rye IPA.

  • the rye in this beer complements the IPA hoppiness perfectly, and the result is a brew that is even more drinkable than a straight IPA.
  • I am definitely a fan of rye IPAs, and will order them up whenever I get a chance.  another great examples of a rye IPAs is schmaltz’ bittersweet lenny’s R.I.P.A.
  • I have also brewed denny conn’s rye IPA recipe multiple times, and each batch has gotten rave reviews from everyone who has tried it.
  • in fact, one of my top 5 personal favorite homebrew recipes is based off of a rye bread/kvass and pale ale recipe adapted from a conversation with dave over at healthy spirits.  I will definitely be brewing that one again.
  • bear republic is a great brewery that I have noticed more and more at festivals.  their employees are always super friendly and generous with their pours.  plus, their racer 5 IPA is my go-to pint at many bars around town.  great job guys!

hop rod rye bottle

mobile tap/bottle list updates

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

taplister

I doubt I’m the only guy who walks into a beer bar in the city and wishes he had a tap/bottle list available on his cell phone.  I always manage to block traffic or invade someone’s personal space as I scan the taps/chalkboard/etc. for the right brew. Sometimes I panic and go for a safe bet, then kick myself when I see something interesting that I overlooked.

  • city beer store has the occasional email update, and dave over at healthy spirits updates his blog on a regular basis, but I think we still have a way to go in this area.
  • the thing is, the idea of a mobile tap broadcast isn’t new. check out taplister, a user-updated bar database that is accessible via SMS and twitter and is optimized for mobile access.  they even have a live video feed of a bar’s chalkboard.  only thing is, it’s available only in Portland at the moment, and I don’t think it gets updated that often (Higgins has zero beers on tap? hmmm…).  a basic rundown can be found here.
  • on top of that, there’s this affiliated program called beer signal that enables you to tell your friends where you are imbibing real-time so they can meet up.  this could be a great way to organize a city beer store session after work or to promote a happy hour.
  • I figure some beer lover in SF could easily throw together a mobile web app (and maybe an accompanying iphone app) for the city in the same vein as taplister, but with even more features.  individuals could update and view existing tap lists using their phones, and the app could even link existing taps to style descriptions or even beeradvocate ratings to allow for more informed beer selections.
  • i had also read somewhere that one or two individual bars in portland have released proprietary mobile programs where they update their beer selection.  I would definitley prefer a more universal application, but I wonder how long it will take before toronado, magnolia, or 21st amendment jump on board and start offering similar services…
  • for other somewhat interesting phone beer apps, check out here and here.

pannepot old fisherman’s ale 2007, grand reserva 2005

Friday, August 28th, 2009

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last night I cracked open a bottle of de struise’s pannepot old fisherman’s ale 2007, a great belgian quad.

  • this beer was impossible for me to find for years, nobody carried it.  I talked to Dave over at Healthy Spirits and he initially said it couldn’t happen, but one day I rolled in and it was on the shelf.  before I knew it city beer store was carrying it as well.  I grabbed the bottle off the shelf so fast I’m surprised it didn’t break.
  • I think this beer is definitely slept on, it’s one of my top quads but I’ve seen it on the shelves for many months.  maybe there is just a huge supply of it in SF these days?  either way, I’ve got a couple tucked away for safe keeping.
  • the 2007 was great, awesome carbonation and aroma, with a thick, boozy taste that is smooth but kicks your ass at the same time.  you definitely know you’re putting down a 10% beer with this one, but it’s not harsh.

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sipping on this quad brought me back a year to Brussels, specifically Delirium Cafe, where I ordered an oak-aged pannepot grand reserva 2005 downstairs in the bottle room.  when the bartender came back with the (last) bottle, dusted it off, and cranked out an expert pour, all while I was thumbing through their inches-thick beer list, I was stoked.  the beer was great too, one of my all-time favorites, loaded with fruit flavors and unbelievably complex.

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