LIFESTYLE BEYOND THE GLASS
LIFESTYLE BEYOND THE GLASS
LIFESTYLE BEYOND THE GLASS
LIFESTYLE BEYOND THE GLASS
[KEEP IT IN THE HOOD] The Local Issue
Issue drink 12 me FEB/MAR 2011 1
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Photo by Darren Edwards
.4 miles from the Drink Me office
The Local Issue
Because itâ€™s better to drink where everybody knows your name.
Note from the Editor 8 Design: Wineries 10 S.F. Bay Area Breweries & Distilleries 12 The Local One
Legendary St. George Spirits. and their sense of place. By M. Quinn Sweeney
17 Profile Page: Ken Grossman
By Liza Gershmann
Your Adoring Public The brewpub inside and out. By Brian Yaeger
34 New Booze: Kuchan Peach Brandy 36 Made In Oakland
What is a true locavore wine? By Alan Goldfarb
Chardonnay Risotto By Denise Sakaki
Jerry Thomas: Our local rockstar. By Samir Osman
Making beer behind real bars. By Paul Ross
50 Gold Digging is Thirsty Work
The beer revolution started by the gold rush. By Corey Miller
to Drink to 56 Book Review:
Secrets of the Sommeliers By Stephanie Henry
2.2 miles from the Drink Me office (SFMoMa)
By Ale Gasso
Photo by Rupert Ganzer
LIFESTYLE BEYOND THE GLASS
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Editor In Chief: Daniel Yaffe TRAVEL Editor: Paul Ross Art DIrector: Lance Jackson Web Developer: Aman Ahuja Copy Editor: Sam Devine
Director of Operations: Pablo Perez BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Stephanie Henry InTERN: Miranda Jilka Advisory Board: Jeremy Cowan, H. Ehrmann, Cornelius Geary, Hondo Lewis, David Nepove, Debbie Rizzo, Genevieve Robertson, Carrie Steinberg, Gus Vahlkamp, Dominic Venegas contributOrs: Sarah Appleman, Darren Edwards, DarrenEdwards.com, Rupert Ganzer – Flickr.com/photos/loop_oh, Ale Gasso, Liza Gershmann, Alan Goldfarb, Stephanie Henry, Lance Jackson – LanceJackson.net, CoreyMiller, Amy Murray, Samir Osman, Patrick Poelvoorde, Paul Ross, Denise Sakaki, M. Quinn Sweeney, Mick Wiggins (cover art) mick wiggins.com, Brian Yeager Thank you: Sangita Devaskar, Sacha Ferguson, Sonia Meyer, Reliable Distribution, Skylar Werde Publisher: Open Content www.opencontent.tv Eriq Wities & Daniel Yaffe
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Note from the Editor
crafted with blue agave from the highland ranches of don josé pilar contreras 100%
e’re fortunate enough here in San Francisco that we can buy locally made goods for almost all of our needs. The Central Valley brings us fruit and cotton, and the neighborhood farms that dot the state bring us fresh eggs and milk. Don’t forget about all the great booze that comes from our own backyard; we’re living next to one of the most celebrated wine capitals in the world as well as in the center of the booming craft brewery movement. Buying local is incredibly important to help support our immediate economy and is better for the environment than just recycling beer bottles after last night’s pub crawl. In support of localism, this issue features the best of what’s nearby. We’ve got a historical look into San Francisco’s pre-prohibition beer revolution and a celebration of brewpubs (specifically, beer made where you drink it). We’re diving into the throngs of St. George Distillery, a staple of the Bay Area, and the magic they are doing over in Alameda. We’ve gone even more local to the disgusting (but very intriguing) world of prison brews and are taking a critical look into hyperlocal wines. It’s no coincidence that in this issue we are also celebrating San Francisco Beer Week and will be joining the thousands of other Bay Area folks who love their local breweries as much as we do. We hope to see you at the events, and, if not, we’ll see you at the bar down the street. Cheers, Daniel Yaffe
gold medal spirits of mexico tasting competition
Green isn’t just the color of the grape leaves. By Sarah Appleman
Wine tasting is not usually what you associate with good behavior, but when you get the chance to visit local wineries Medlock Ames in Healdsberg, California, and Cade Winery in Angwin, California, you get a delicious wine in a venue that does all the responsible work for you. Medlock Ames is an environmental rockstar. Their ranch is 100 percent solar powered and their garden is graded so that excess water is caught and filtered by a constructed wetland area and rain swales. Although the atmosphere is impressive, what blows us over is the 5000 board feet of recycled wood salvaged from the store in its previous incarnation. Just as it’s important to recycle all your empties, during construction 75 percent of demolition and construction waste were diverted away from landfills and to recycling plants. This store also achieves 22 percent more efficiency in energy consumption and 50 percent more efficiency in water consumption then what is required by California law. Now that’s responsible. MedlockAmes.com
Cade Winery is at an elevation of 1850 ft. above sea level . . . high above the rest of us in both its location and its building feats. The Cade tasting room, a modern masterpiece, has earned a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified rating (LEED is a rubric, laid out by the US Green Building Council, for certifying a building and its site’s environmental performance). “Some highlights of their design include minimizing the building’s footprint to preserve heritage trees from being cut down and saving electricity by utilizing on-site solar.” A Gold rating is the second highest achievable, and this building has more green than Shrek. CadeWinery.com
“Change is good, green is good, organic is good. We’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do as stewards of the land.” — CADE partner John Conover
1705 Mariposa St. SF, CA 94107 AnchorBrewing.com
1195 Evans Ave. SF, CA 94124 GoodBeer.com
Pacific Coast Brewing Co.
906 Washington St. Oakland, CA 94607 PacificCoastBrewing.com
Linden St. Brewery
95 Linden St. Oakland, CA 94607 LindenBeer.com
St. George Spirits
2601 Monarch St. Alameda, CA 94501 StGeorgeSpirits.com
Pier 50, Shed B Mail Box 9 SF,CA 94158 Distillery209.com
M I L E S
2 Harrison St. SF, CA 94103 GordonBiersch.com
Thirsty Bear 661 Howard St. SF, CA 94103 ThirstyBear.com
Beach Chalet 1000 Great Highway, SF, CA 94121 BeachChalet.com
Magnolia 1398 Haight St. SF, CA 94117 MagnoliaPub.com
21st Amendment 563 2nd St. SF, CA 94107 21st-Amendment.com
1705 Mariposa St. SF, CA 94107 AnchorBrewing.com
Old World Spirits, LLC 121 Industrial Way, #3, #4 Belmont, CA 94002 OldWorldSpirits.com
144-A SouthWhisman Ave., Mountain View, CA 94040 EssentialSpirits.com
Napa Smith Brewery 1 Executive Way Napa, CA 94558 NapaSmithBrewery.com
4001 Spring Mountain Road St. Helena, CA 94794 Charbay.com
345 Healdsburg Ave. Healdsburg, CA 95448 BearRepublic.com
Russian River Brewing Co. 725 4th St. Santa Rosa, CA 95404 RussianRiverBrewing.com
Lagunitas 1280 North McDowell Blvd. Petaluma, CA 94954 Lagunitas.com
Sweetwater Distillers, Inc.
611 2nd St. Petaluma, CA 94952, Yelp.com/biz/sweetwater-distillers-petaluma
S.F. Bay Area Breweries & Distilleries
Look at all of the wonderful booze being made in our backyard. Not sure what to do on the weekend? Here’s a medley of some of our favorite places to check out.
1404 4th Street Berkeley, CA 94710 Trumer-International.com
Bison Brewing Co.
2030 Fifth Street Berkeley, CA 94710 BisonBrew.com
1920 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley, CA 94709 TripleRock.com
The Local One Article & Photos by M. Quinn Sweeney
Over the past decade, several craft distilleries have emerged in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area. While a few have thrived and attained national recognition for handmaking unique, high-end spirits in small batches, many have disappeared or been sold to larger companies. Long before micro-distilleries became a trend in the liquor industry, the still independent and thriving St. George was making the high-quality spirits with a focus on bottling the bounty of California’s year-round growing season.
imply stepping into the distillery where St. George Spirits and Hangar One Vodka are made in Alameda, California, is transportive. The building itself is a piece of Bay Area history. Located on a decommissioned naval base, the cavernous, grey cement and glass airplane hangar maintains much of its military-industrial ambiance with playful twists and creative repurposing. Upstairs is a Pilot’s Lounge appointed with an airplane wing bar and painted panels of aircraft aluminum commissioned from a pin-up artist renowned for decorating the nosecones of bombers.
My exploration was led by master distiller Lance Winters (interestingly, a lance was the weapon Saint George used to slay the dragon) — who kept an unlit cigar ever-present, clenched between his teeth — and Dave Smith, the soft-spoken yet sharply articulate and philosophical distiller. These artisans describe their products as ingredient-driven, which they liken to the philosophy of California cuisine in which dishes are inspired by the freshest locally grown foods. Keeping with that culinary trend, Winters and Smith
5.6 miles from the Drink Me office source their components from within the Golden State, including the several grape varietals used to make brandy, the sugarcane that is juiced and fermented into rum, and the fruits and herbs that flavor their vodkas — some of which begin infusion and distillation only hours after being picked.
or decades, the distillery focused on eaux de vie — making colorless, clean-tasting brandies that combine California wines with epic quantities of fresh, local produce. But of late they have branched out to create whiskies, vodkas and liqueurs as well as the first legal American absinthe since 1912. Yet their goal remains capturing the flavors of the freshest seasonal fruit and preserving that essence in a bottle forever. This process is still used today to turn twenty tons of fresh Bartlett pears into a single batch of Aqua Perfecta Poire Eau De Vie, which translates to over fifteen pounds of fruit per bottle.
While in the lab, Smith pulled out a locally grown Australian finger lime, which I mistook for a chili pepper at first, as it looks nothing like any lime I have ever seen. He sliced around the fruit’s circumference and squeezed out clumps of spherical juice ventricles,
As ingredients inspire many chefs to experiment, so do fresh, native and
unique produce inspire innovation and experimentation in the distillers. Two rooms in the hangar are dedicated laboratory spaces where small batches of experimental spirits are distilled, tested, tasted, and applied. It’s the sort of place that makes geeking out about science feel cool. Shelves and countertops are covered with glass beakers, tinted flasks and stoppered bottles — all filled with any manner of animal, vegetable and mineral, suspended in liquids of every color. Arcane electronic devices are topped with horned and toothless skulls. Dusty chalkboards are caked with equations for the conversion of sugar to alcohol and intricate diagrams of molecular structures (as well as crude sketches and ribald jokes not suitable for publication).
which looked like translucent green caviar or tiny pale green pearls. He explained that they experiment with all kinds of fruit, both native and exotic, and that by infusing and analyzing the flavors of the finger lime, which include not just citrus Dave Smith but also vanilla and menthol, he has formulated new concepts for how those flavors can be blended in spirits.
he other common thread running throughout St. George’s diverse array of products, and galvanizing their experimentation, is a sense of place, where each complex amalgamation is created to embody one location in the memory of the distiller. Winters likens flavor to a work of art or a song, which stimulates the memory centers of the brain to make associations and
recall events. As smell and taste trigger memory more directly in the mind than sight and sound, they maintain a philosophy of evoking emotional responses by creating a sense of place in each spirit they conjure. So even if the drinker hasn’t had the same experience as the distiller, the liquor will still trigger a memory in anyone who imbibes. “In all honesty,” Smith admitted to me, “We don’t care about creating alcohol, we care about capturing the essence of fruits and the emotions attached to
time and place. Our sense of smell is the only one of the five senses that modern science has not completely figured out. The actual biological machine workings between the smell receptor in our Jacobson’s organ and the parts of the brain that respond to smell are very poorly understood. Scents connect to us at an emotional level. It’s as if our intellect has to catch up.” Examples of this approach can be found throughout the St. George portfolio. Their Agua Libra may be the only
entirely Americanmade agricole rum (rum comprised of 100 percent sugarcane), which they source from California’s Imperial Valley. Winters designed the flavors of the rum to invoke the smells and flavors of the outdoor markets of Southeast Asia, with its musty, grassy nose and pungent Lance Winters assault on the tongue transporting him back to that place. On the horizon for 2011, St. George is developing gin for which they are employing foragers to find wild California coastal juniper and are cultivating a flavor profile rich in cedar, redwood, and laurel reminiscent of the aromatic parks around Mount Tamalpais, just north of San Francisco. For many of us, the flavor of most gin evokes a distinct and yet hazy memory that began by raiding our parents’ liquor cabinet in middle school or buying the
dropped his basket and began filling it with as many blossoms as he could pilfer. He abandoned his domestic duties and immediately went to infuse the blossoms in alcohol, distilled them, and began to explore what they had to offer.
cheapest plastic bottle at a bodega for our first college party . . . and it ended badly. While that memory may prevent us from taking a sip to this day without feeling ill, Winters and Smith believe the taste of their new gin will instantly evoke memories of rural Marin County for those who have been there, and should still connect anyone with a natural environment from their own past.
Even the Hangar One flavored vodkas were each inspired by a found piece and conceived in the context of their environment. The Mandarin Blossom, for example, was stumbled upon by Winters on a walk to his neighborhood laundromat. He passed a tree of mandarin blossoms in full bloom and, upon smelling the flowers, immediately
he most extreme examples, which you will never find in stores, are a pair of spirits created when St. George was asked to host an Open Oceans benefit. Summoning Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, they formulated two custom brandies, one flavored with kombu — the dark kelp common in Japanese cooking — and the other distilled with crab. In a process not unlike making stock for crab bisque, they placed crab shells with brandy in the still instead of with water in a pot. I can attest that both captured the truest essence of their constituent parts in ways that are both shocking and thought provoking. I was immediately teleported to the deck of my father’s boat as a young boy, grappling with the horrors of threading a hook through a worm. If I had sampled either in a blind tasting, I would have likely spit them out immediately and demanded good tequila with which to rinse. But knowing what I was getting into, it really was amazing how perfectly they tasted of seaweed and shellfish respectively. This passionate and innovative approach to the craft has yielded some of the most well-respected and highly praised spirits on the market today. For their high-minded and experimental distilling techniques, St. George’s expertly crafted alcohols have a strong following amongst cocktail enthusiasts and bartenders. You might say that they have enough sense to find their place.
Profile Page: Ken Grossman by Liza Gershmann
f you’ve ever been to Chico, California, you probably have a soft spot in your heart for Sierra Nevada’s beer. It is not because their beer is impossible to separate from the university culture that permeates every crevice of the town, or that their products are so prevalent in bars and restaurants (though they are). But it is the spirit of the brewery and the founder that make Chico, and frankly much of the U.S., embrace the Sierra Nevada brand. When Grossman came to Chico in 1972 to attend the university, building an internationally recognized brewery was just a dream. “I was studying chemistry and opened a homebrew store selling wine, [and] making equipment and beer supplies,” remarks Grossman. “Creating an empire like the Sierra Nevada brand was more of a passion to succeed than an adoption of a solid business plan.” Chico’s quaint atmosphere has fostered this company. “It is small but has a thriving university,” says Grossman. What makes the brewery such a facet of the community is their ability to recognize the small town as a strength rather than a hindrance. “We market through people’s experience. There is a certain charm here.” As a proud business in Chico, Sierra Nevada has five hundred employees, including the restaurant personnel. “We have our own trucking company, and most of our employees live in Chico. We are one of the largest employers here besides the university and the hospital, and we love the community.” Grossman’s passion for brewing started long before college and his curiosity helped to establish the company he has today. “That interest goes back to when I was young. My best friend’s father was a homebrewer and winemaker. I was around his house when he was brewing and was taken in by it all. He was quite an alchemist. I was fascinated by the ability or notion in turning a handful of barley or hops into an interesting beverage.” Grossman, who has three of his kids involved in the business, loves what he does, and has thoughts of expanding into other ventures. When he is not drinking beer, he enjoys wine, Scotch, and absinthe. “We might do spirits and have talked about it for thirty years. I bought a copper pot to turn into a still thirty years ago and it is still sitting there unused, but maybe we will do something in spirits in the next few years finally, but no serious plans at this point.” drink me
When it’s ready, we want to be the first to try.
The San Francisco Brewers Guild presents
Welcome to SF Beer Week 2011... a glorious celebration of craft beer all around San Francisco Bay (and beyond). Northern California is the cradle of Americaâ€™s craft brewing revival and boasts some of the richest and most diverse beer culture in the country. That culture and the community that comes together around it are never more evident than during SF Beer Week, when a ten day stretch in the middle of February crams the calendar with over 200 events and turns the extended Bay Area into the epicenter of craft beer.
SF Beer Week offers a multitude of ways to explore and enjoy the local beer scene, from beers brewed down the street to artisan beers from around the world that share similar values about taste and ingredients. Aided and abetted by the equally homegrown explosion of artisan food culture, craft beer is reaching more people than ever before and a special relationship exists between the Bay Area beer and food communities. Many SF Beer Week events bring beer and food together through special dinners and pairing menus. But there are also rare beer tastings, special beer releases, festivals, pub crawls, homebrewing demonstrations, meet-thebrewer events, and more, with new events continuing to roll in even as the Opening Gala is just days away.
That’s because SF Beer Week is truly a grass roots affair. The San Francisco Brewers Guild and its member breweries have taken the lead in sponsoring and promoting Beer Week but it’s really put on collectively by the entire beer, bar, and restaurant communities. Each event is produced by a participating venue (perhaps in conjunction with a brewery or other collaborators), and together they come together under the big tent of SF Beer Week. A quick perusal of the schedule will also call attention to the unique camaraderie that exists among the region’s brewers. You will find existing brewers helping new ones get started by giving them a place to brew their beer. You’ll get to try one-of-a-kind beers made
“rare beer tastings, special beer releases, festivals, pub crawls, homebrewing demonstrations, meet-the-brewer events, and more, with new events continuing to roll in...”
collectively by groups of brewers and publicans just for this occasion. Other breweries have found ways to feature not just their own beers but those of fellow brewers in a plethora of clever and creative events. Experience it for yourself! Check out the entire schedule at sfbeerweek.org, download the free iPhone app create your own Beer Week itineraries, and dive into the dynamic world of craft beer in the Bay Area. Thanks to the miracle of geo-location, the online schedules can direct you to the events coming up closest to you. Should you want to travel
farther afield, the Beer Week site has public transportation info to help you get around and lodging partners if you need a place to stay (or have friends coming in for Beer Week). There are now over 1600 craft breweries in the United States, the most since 1900 (and with as many as 300 more currently in planning). Itâ€™s an exciting time for brewers and beer lovers. SF Beer Week is the perfect time to celebrate the Bay Areaâ€™s historic role in the birth of this movement and its ongoing appreciation for all things delicious in the world of beer (and food).
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2011 SF BEER WEEK
Map - View events within your geographic location. Schedule - Sort the events by day or region. Itinerary - Create and manage your own event schedule. Gallery - Upload and view photos throughout the week. Twitter - A stream of tweets from fans and festival goers. Check In - Who will be crowned mayor of SF Beer Week 2011!
DOWNLOAD T H SFBEERWEEK E APP at .oRG/APP
Craft Brewing in the SF Bay Area W EE RR YY BB RR EE W
at Stockton and Jackson in San Francisco in 1849. That was the first brewery in California and its arrival kicked off over 160 years of rich, vibrant pioneering beer culture in the Bay Area. The scene in those early years is well-documented, and it’s worth mentioning that three years later, in 1852, there were 350 bars serving the needs of a San Francisco population of just 36,000 people. Breweries
SF Beer Week – it’s as big a time as there is (at least until next year). 2011 marks only the third annual go round of this diverse and seemingly endless collection of craft beer events peppered throughout the Bay Area. SF Beer Week’s roots run deep, however, tracing all the way back to San Francisco’s thirsty Barbary Coast days, when Adam Schuppert opened his eponymously named brewery
sprang up left and right and, by the turn of the century, there were over two dozen breweries operating within San Francisco. One of those was Anchor Brewing Company, which traces its roots back to the 1850’s on Pacific Street (between Larkin and Hyde) but was purchased and renamed Anchor in 1896. Ten years later it was destroyed in the earthquake but was rebuilt, closed again during Prohibition, and then moved around the City a couple more times until rescued from near-extinction by Fritz Maytag in 1965.
San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing went on to pioneer the modern craft brewing movement, with Maytag researching, reviving, and inventing a host of beer styles that have become cornerstones of today’s craft beer landscape (including American IPA, porter, barleywine, and American wheat beer).
Other San Francisco breweries survived into the 20th Century, if only barely in some cases, and, through today, there have been more than 70 breweries that have called San Francisco
home at one time or another. There were breweries in Hayes Valley, the Marina, the Mission, and many throughout South of Market. Locally grown barley was turned into brewers’ malt right here in San Francisco, used locally and also exported to Europe. Other than the phoenix-like Anchor story the situation was mostly bleak through the 1960’s and 70’s, though. But, just as the Bay Area movement toward embracing local food and wine made by smaller, independent producers was emerging at that time, so, too, were a few brave souls teaching themselves how to build new breweries. Jack McAuliffe started New Albion Brewing Company, the first so-called microbrewery, from scratch in rural Sonoma in 1977, with brewer Don Barkley manning the kettle (and living in a tent on the property). In one of the first moments of the camaraderie that helped set a tone for craft brewing today, Fritz Maytag supplied New Albion with their first raw materials.
Just a couple of years later, Ken Grossman started Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico with some advice from Maytag and malted barley from San Francisco. Brewpubs, brewing beer and serving it on the premises, were legalized in the early 80â€™s and four of the first six opened in Northern California. One was Mendocino Brewing, in Hopland, in 1983, with beer
brewed by Don Barkley on equipment salvaged from thendefunct New Albion Brewing Company. Buffalo Billâ€™s in Hayward, San Francisco Brewing Company, and Triple Rock in Berkeley were soon to follow. San Francisco Brewing Company was the first brewpub in San Francisco, opened 26 years ago in an historic 1907 saloon space
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that has now been returned to its original use as the new Comstock Saloon. Despite that loss, as well as a handful of others, such as the much loved and dearly missed 20 Tank Brewery, San Francisco proper boasts eight breweries with dozens more in the counties around the Bay. The pioneering spirit lives on, too, written into the region’s DNA, perhaps, with local breweries, restaurants and bars leading the way in aging beer on wood, brewing with alternative yeasts and microbes, sourcing organic and locally grown ingredients, pairing beer with food, producing food with beer as an ingredient, and building community through ambitious events like SF Beer Week. The Brewing Science department at UC Davis, which has taught and trained brewers for over 40 years, remains one of the premier research centers for beer in the world. Things exploded quickly during the late 70’s and early 80’s, and several other regions rightfully lay claim to bits and pieces of
craft beer history almost as old as our own vibrant story. The Pacific Northwest and Colorado were other early bright spots in this story and today most states have strong and growing craft beer identities. It’s entirely likely that there may be 2000 breweries in this country within the next couple of years. But the deepest and earliest roots of these exciting times for beer run through the Bay Area and if you are reading this on the eve of SF Beer Week 2011, you’re in the right place.
SF Beer Week 2011 Sponsors
About the SF Brewers Guild The San Francisco Brewers Guild follows a centuries-old tradition of brewers banding together to exchange ideas, share resources, help each other out, and spread the good word about beer. The Guild is a collective of San Francisco-based brewers that aims to preserve and celebrate the Cityâ€™s long history as a key brewing center in the United States and the world while promoting the modern craft-brewing renaissance that began here. The Guild is very proud to sponsor SF Beer Week as a way to help unite the local craft beer community and drink me
fulfill its mission.
We’re all in this together The Guild is joined by a handful of additional sponsors that have gone above and beyond in making Beer Week a reality. Legendary East Bay icon, Drakes Brewing Company joined the cause this year, as has The Monk’s Kettle, Rosamunde Sausage Grill, Pi Bar, The Page Bar, The Certified Cicerone Program, Imbibe Magazine, Beer Connoisseur Magazine, The Celebrator Beer News, Beer Advocate, and a handful of others, along with this very publication, Drink Me. And, of course, SF Beer Week wouldn’t be possible without the additional hard work and enthusiasm of dozens of breweries, brewers, bars, restaurants, retail
stores, and others who put on this staggering slate of events.
The San Francisco Brewers Guild presents
OVER 200 CRAFT BEER EVENTS AROUND THE SF BAY AREA, INCLUDING: FEBRUARY 11 AT YERBA BUENA CENTER
SF Brewers Guild Opening Gala FEBRUARY 12 AT THE BISTRO
Double IPA Festival FEBRUARY 19 AT THE TORONADO
FEBRUARY 20 AT TRUMER BRAUEREI
Celebrator 23rd Anniversary Party CELEBRATING THE LEGENDARY HISTORY & DIVERSITY OF BAY AREA CRAFT BEER CULTURE.
sfbeerweek.org drink me 29
Your Adori drink me
By Brian Yaeger
1.5 miles from the Drink Me office
ng Public “Public houses,” commonly referred to as pubs, have existed around the world long before anyone brewed so much as a drop of beer on American soil. Some were “free houses,” which could procure their ale from any old brewery they wanted. Others were “tied houses,” meaning that alehouse had a contract with a specific brewery, which—more often than not—owned the pub. Historians even unearthed records of ancient Egyptian innkeepers who operated brewery and bakery combos. Imagine the Yelp reviews a place like that would get now. twenty-five percent of its beer within its doors, meaning that it can also sell bottles at retail outlets. But once that beer accounts for over seventy-five percent of production — bam — it’s a microbrewery. A micro, incidentally, is defined as a brewery that produces less than 15,000 barrels a year. There are several larger craft breweries that operate restaurants, which are technically brewpubs, but the brewing
Photos by Jennifer Yin
oday, of the over 1,600 breweries in the U.S., about a thousand of them are brewpubs, meaning they are breweries that sell most of their draught beer on premise even if bottles and growlers (refillable halfgallon jugs) are available to go. The best of them offer fresh, often local fare that’s as good as the beer they serve. The Brewers Association defines a brewpub as a restaurant that sells at least
company is still officially regarded as a brewery. Sort of like how all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares. Visiting brewpubs is a great way to add local flavor to any trip since terroir is a chief ingredient in most of their beers, from the fresh-hop beers in Washington to the cherry beers in Michigan. Most of them were created by passionate brewers who have learned that having a restaurant is a great way to bring in early revenue while their beers develop a reputation and following.
It’s this sense of people and place that, above all else, compels the brewpub concept ever forward. There are good restaurants and good breweries, but when the two are merged and customers can put a face to it all, that’s when magic happens. It’s a concept Bert Grant hit upon when he created the first post-prohibition brewpub in America in Yakima, Washington. In 1982, his Grant’s Brewery Pub, the outlet for his Yakima Brewing & Malting Co., kickstarted America’s brewpub renaissance, even if Grant eventually sold it in 1995 before it petered out in 2004.
That makes Hayward, California’s Buffalo Bill’s the oldest surviving brewpub. Then again, “Buffalo” Bill Owens sold his pub, too, so another
Bay Area pub, Triple Rock in Berkeley (previously Roaring Rock), is reportedly the oldest brewpub still owned by the original founders, who in this case are brothers John and Reid Martin. Incidentally, the oldest surviving brewpub in the world is U Fleků in Prague, established in 1499. While maintaining their brewing tradition for over five hundred years is impressive, offering up one single house beer — a dark or dunkel lager — and the fact that it has become more of a tourist trap that doesn’t serve many locals is less impressive.
ne of the most famous brewpubs is the Hofbräuhaus, first built in Munich in 1592. Disregard how touristy it is; the beer and food are delicious. A few locations have opened stateside, adding to chains like Rock Bottom, Gordon-Biersch, Karl Strauss, and BJ’s. Chains masquerading as your “local” brewpub seem counterintuitive, but at least Rock Bottom and GordonBiersch — which in November 2010 were bought and folded into Craft Works — actually brew on premise at their non-airport locations. But if you really want to celebrate your local brewpub, visit one — or all — of the dozens scattered around the Bay Area. Currently, there are six brewpubs in the City — 21st Amendment,
Thirsty Bear Brewing Co., Beach Chalet, Magnolia, Gordon-Biersch, and Social Kitchen. Best of all, to keep us in fresh suds, half a dozen more are in the planning stages set to open in 2011, including Fulton Street Brewing (NOPA), Southern Pacific Brewing (the Mission), Elizabeth Street Brewing (Noe Valley), Clara Street Brewing (SoMa), and the aptly named Local Brewing, because, in the end, no matter the styles of beer and food, it’s all about keeping it in the neighborhood.
Notable North American brewpubs A personal favorite is Stoudt’s Brewing in Adamstown, Penn. The Germanaccented brewery is Carol Stoudt’s offshoot of her husband Ed Stoudt’s Black Angus Steakhouse. Elizabeth Stoudt, their eldest of five kids, runs their on-site bakery, and she often incorporates family beers into her breads. Take that, Egyptians of old.
Perhaps the most unique is Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh. It is housed in an actual, deconsecrated St. John the Baptist Church, which had operated from 1902 to 1993. With the stained glass still in place, the brew system placed where it belongs — on the altar — and benches fashioned out of actual pews, Church Brew Works may not have the best food or even beer for that matter, but it’s simply gorgeous and possibly the most awe-inspiring pub. At the top of my Must-See-and-Drink list is Dieu Du Ciel in Montreal. A report from a beer industry friend who works at a top importer told me that upon a recent visit, “DDC had seventeen different beers on draft, all way different styles, and all completely delicious. It was truly mind blowing and is handsdown the most impressive brewpub I have ever visited. The brewer at the pub, Luc, is fantastic … The people are even better than the beers that they make, which is saying something.”
Up in New England, The Alchemist Pub and Brewery is a haven for all manner of beer lovers. Situated in Waterbury, Vermont, just outside of the ski and hiking Mecca of Stowe and near enough to Burlington, craft beer styles are always available. From imperial IPAs such as Heady Topper to a nice, tall glass of Shut the Hell Up! (the actual name of their session-able mild
ale), this joint is for those with great taste, no mater what their taste is. Not only is the pub grub menu celebrated for going above and beyond greasebombs that soak up booze, Alchemist’s owners, John and Jen Kimmich, go so far as to bedeck the walls with local artists’ creations.
Kuchan O’Henry Peach Brandy By Amy Murray of Cask
ld World Spirits is producing some of my favorite brandies, and only 20 minutes away in Belmont, California. Master Distiller Davorin Kuchan produces everything from absinthe to rye whiskey as well as several eaux de vie. His aged peach brandy, made from locally sourced O’Henry peaches, is an absolute joyride either on its own or in cocktails. Another aged peach brandy — not to be confused with peach-flavored brandy — literally doesn’t exist in the U.S. despite the frequency with which it was used in classic cocktails and punch bowls such as the Fish House Punch (one of the most historical punch recipes to date). The brandy itself shows warm cinnamon spice, cedar, and thyme on the nose alongside brisk floral notes, low vanilla tones, and sea salt while maintaining stone fruit integrity. Kuchan O’Henry Peach Brandy is copper-pot-distilled; each bottle containing approximately twenty pounds of peaches from the Sierra Nevada foothills, then aged in French Limousin oak for six months. Penelope Pit Stop: 1 oz. Kuchan Aged Peach Brandy 1/2 oz. Bols Geniever 1/2 oz. Cocchi Americano Aperitif Wine 1/4 oz. Fino Sherry 2 dashes Amargo Chuncho Bitters Stir; strain into coupe. Garnish with lemon twist if one feels so inclined. Fish House Punch: 2 qts. Appleton VX Jamaica Rum 1 qt. Comandon Vsop Cognac 3/4 lb sugar 2 qts. Water 1 cup Kuchan O’Henry Aged Peach Brandy
Stir until blended and refrigerate for one hour before serving.
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Where Are the Locavore Wines?
By Alan Goldfarb
When it comes to food, it has become de rigueur to be a so-called locavore. The notion of a locavore is someone who gathers or eats food from within a nebulously defined distance — for argument sake let’s say one hundred miles — from where said foodstuffs are being consumed. But when it comes to wine, thinking locally, for some strange reason, doesn’t seem to be a concern. The new paradigm is reserved for the indigenous domain of the food world.
ow if you’re in a restaurant in most any appellation from Spain to France to Italy, you will encounter plenty of local wine. One will never find wines from Burgundy, for instance, while in Bordeaux. But in California? Fergetit. Here, in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are oh-socosmopolitan that our wine lists are filthy with bottles from Southern Italy, Northern Spain, Greece, Croatia, and Timbuktu.
Before you have an apoplectic fit, allow me to explain. I’m no xenophobe or so narrow-minded as to advocate only California wines for Californians. There
are fabulous wines from all of those places aforementioned (with the possible exception of Timbuktu). Additionally, I’m extremely bullish on the wine/food affinity side. The food has to go well with the wine. As an example, Mark Ellenbogen, the erudite former wine buyer for the very wonderful Slanted Door in San Francisco, was notorious for not having any Napa Valley wines on his list. Despite this, it continues to be one of the best lists in the city. Ellenbogen’s heavily laden German and Austrian selections are perfect for Charles Phan’s upscale, bold and modern Vietnamese food.
Wines tilted toward the acidity side, as this list is slanted, wash away and cleanse the palate of Phan’s nuanced food and gets one ready for the next delicious bite.
That’s precisely what, one recent fine night, I ran into. Upon sitting down with a friend at a neighborhood boîte, and upon further perusing the menu, my gaze came upon these words:
llenbogen, whose moved on to the new Bar Agricole, has dug in his heels in retort to the angry missives he’s received over the years from the napkins of Napa who feel they’ve been slighted. That’s because many Napa Valley and California wines, as we are well aware, can be over-theedge regarding high alcohol, overly sweet fruit, extremely strong aromas and flavors from oak.
“We are proud to present to our clientele our food that has been sourced from no more than fifty miles away from our kitchen door.”
But here’s the point of this digression: When restaurants boast that the beets come from Red Bowl Farms in nearby Beetville and the asparagus comes from the storied Stinky Pee Ranch only 5.75 miles away in Stalkburg, where the hell are the wines that come from just down the road? After all, we in Cali are fortunate that no matter where we are, there is probably a wine region within fifty miles of where we’re supping.
A great start, I thought. But then, then — wait for it — I turned the page to the wine list and behold and lo, what did I see? Was there a pithy statement extolling the virtues and the exigencies of the joint’s locavore wines? You guessed it. Although the list was eclectic and interesting, with fair prices to fit anyone’s shrinking pocket, there was nary a selection from Livermore, which sits thirty miles away from said kitchendoor, or even a wine from the quickly growing San Francisco East Bay urban wine scene. The café in question sits in the middle of one of the most vibrant wine countries in America – the East Bay of San Francisco Bay. The East Bay Vintners Alliance is growing like crazy.
In 2009, there were more than fourteen producers in Oakland, Alameda, Emeryville, and Berkeley, making world-class wines from sourced grapes from all over California. By the end of 2010, there was a fifty percent increase in the number of commercial winemakers. But was there one wine on that list from any of the twenty-two wineries that belong to this august organization whose winemakers produce wine in that particular area? Nary a one. Why, I asked, why not? I summoned the owner, a sweet soul who, when made aware of the oversight, was reduced to utter: “You’re right. I never thought of that.” Duh.
ut yet, upon alighting at the table of another new (in a long line) Oakland restaurant, this one a French bistro, I encountered yet another locavorian slight. The gripping food menu was “stamped” across its bow, in a stamp-like red font, with the words proudly and in all-caps extolling: “MADE IN OAKLAND.” While guessing that most all of the raw ingredients that went into the delicious offerings didn’t all originate in the provenance of Oak Town, we know that, at least, the finished product was made on-premises.
When turning then to the carte du vin, there again was the crimson stamp screaming, “MADE IN OAKLAND.” There were wines from Châteauneufdu-Pape, from Meursault, Sonoma, Napa, Gevrey Chambertin, Côte Rôtie, Piemonte, Carneros, Dry Creek, and Monsant, and . . .
But from Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, or even Livermore? “MADE IN OAK-
LAND” was but a platitude at best and a lie at worst. On what was a perfectly splendid and eclectic wine list, nowhere did there appear a locavore wine. That is, made and/or bottled anywhere in the vicinity of Oakland, even if the grapes had not originated there. Many of those wineries within a thirty-mile radius of Oakland make some damned fine, world-class wine. Good enough, I’m confidant, to form an affinity with some of the finest, hottest, trendiest, and tastiest food being turned out now in my hometown. There is no legal definition of locavore to this point, just as there isn’t a regulated meaning of the term “old vine” or “reserve” or “biodynamic grape growing.” What is an old vine anyway? Is it twenty years old, fifty years, one hundred years? No one really knows and no one has taken it up as a legal, regulated thing. But we know inherently. The odds are short that a wine from an older vine is likely more delicious than a wine from a young vine. Just as buying a loaf of bread from the independent corner bakery — while the wheat was not grown in the backyard — at least we’re more assured that that bread is fresh and most likely tastes better than the packaged product we can obtain at the supermercado. And therein lays the moral of our little story. Wine, even to a most enlightened restaurateur, as those in question seemed to be, was but a mere afterthought. Or perhaps a slip of a notion, or a slight of a slight. Nonetheless, it ‘twas an egregious mistake. What’s the point of calling yourself a locavore — a concept that I’m down with one hundred percent — if you don’t go all the way? And I like it when people go all the way. (To find out the wines from the members of the East Bay Wine Alliance go to EastBayVintners.com)
Eat Your Booze
Chardonnay Risotto By Denise Sakaki
he Chardonnay grape is a popular varietal in California, both in the vineyards and in people’s glasses. Probably one of the main reasons for its popularity is its ability to play so well with different foods. Chardonnays can have a range of light flavors consisting of citrus notes to subtleties of apple or pear. It’s balanced with a kick of acidity and the mellow rounding-out of its flavor by being aged in oak barrels. This combination makes Chardonnay an ideal feature ingredient for making risotto. A traditional Italian dish, risotto is creamy rice infused with the flavor of its cooking liquid, usually a combination of wine and broth. The high starch content of the Arborio rice is what provides the thickened, rich sauce that gives risotto its signature consistency. The trick behind risotto is to keep mixing the rice to develop this creaminess, so while it’s a dish that requires constant babysitting, your
Butternut Squash and Wild Mushroom Chardonnay Risotto (serves 4)
4 2 6
cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (about 1 small, 1.5 lb butternut squash, seeded) cups roughly chopped chanterelle mushrooms or sliced button or cremini mushrooms cups chicken or vegetable broth
efforts are most certainly rewarded in flavor and texture. To complement the light, fruity tones of a Chardonnay, the natural sweetness of butternut squash is used, and the earthy tones of chanterelle mushrooms echo the oak barrel ageing of the wine. The squash imparts a golden hue to the finished dish, complementing the flavors grown and raised in the Golden State. 1 cup finely diced onion 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin 2 cups Arborio rice 1.5 cups California Chardonnay of your choice 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg 1 teaspoon powdered ginger 1 tablespoon of canola oil (for roasting squash) Salt and pepper to taste Grated or shaved Parmesan to garnish Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley to garnish
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the cubed butternut squash and lightly toss with canola oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper before spreading across an oiled baking sheet. Bake the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning with a spatula to ensure they don’t stick to baking sheet and remove when fork-tender and lightly browned. Set aside. In a medium-sized pot, bring the broth to a simmer and then keep the burner set to low, to maintain the broth’s heat. On a nearby burner, set a large saucepan on medium-low. Melt the butter in the saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic cloves until translucent, but not browned. Add in the chopped wild mushrooms and continue to stir, until the mushrooms give off most of their liquid. Add the spices and the Arborio rice and raise the burner heat to medium-high. Stir constantly for
about a minute until the rice is coated with the butter, and then slowly add the wine in small amounts, continuing to stir constantly as each increment of wine is absorbed by the rice. Use a ladle to add in about 1/4 cup of the broth into the rice and mushroom mix. Continue to stir the rice, allowing each addition of the broth to be fully absorbed. Keep adding the broth until half of it remains, and then add the roasted squash. Continue to ladle in the broth, stirring the rice and allowing the broth to absorb. This process should take about 18 to 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. The finished consistency of the rice should be creamy, with the rice maintaining a slightly firm, al dente texture. Serve the risotto right after it’s made, either as a side dish or an entrée. Ladle into a bowl and garnish with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and Parmesan shavings.
WWJTD By Samir Osman
Jerry Thomas: Our local rockstar
Every discipline has its guru. Its Einstein. Its Lennon. Free thinkers have shaped mankind’s process from the dawn of civilization, and the culture of the cocktail is no different. The man who grabbed the world of imbibing by the lapel and tossed it off its barstool right onto its collective ear was Jeremiah “Jerry” P. Thomas. “The Professor,” as he was called, took the art of mixing spirits, juices, and bitters to a level no one before had dared, and he became an American icon in the process.
lthough the average drinker doesn’t know who Thomas was, he single-handedly changed the way drinks are prepared and consumed in America. With every finely crafted cocktail, you are partaking of the soul of Jerry Thomas, just as every rock-and-roll song is echoing the blues. He was also much more than a barman. He was a showman. He was an experience. He was larger than life, quite literally according to his membership in the “Fat Man’s Club,” although he was its most svelte member by most accounts.
The cocktail to Thomas was more than
During the height of the gold rush, when Thomas made his way from his
native New York to San Francisco to hold court at the bar inside the Occidental (the newest and nicest hotel in the City at the time), he was pulling down a cool hundred dollars a week — more than Vice President Hannibal Hamlin. He was said to be covered in diamonds and gold. He would light spirits aflame and toss them from cup to cup creating a dazzling light show that culminated in the finest beverage anyone of the time had the pleasure to consume. His signature Blue Blazer cocktail attracted as many, if not more, onlookers than the bearded lady and the strong man combined.
what went in the glass. It was the entire process, from the shine on his cuff links, to the selection of spirits, bitters, tinctures, and fruits, to the madman’s dance
“In all ages of the world, and in all countries, men have indulged in ‘social drinks.’”
of the mixing itself, to the feeling each patron had as they stumbled back into the Wild West night to rest up for the next day’s search for gold.
he first book of cocktail recipes to ever be published was Thomas’s “How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon Vivant’s Companion” in 1862. It begins:
“In all ages of the world, and in all countries, men have indulged in ‘social drinks.’ They have always possessed themselves of some popular beverage apart from water and those of the breakfast and tea table. Whether it is judicious that mankind should continue to indulge in such things, or whether it would be wiser to abstain from all enjoyments of that character, is not our province to decide. We leave that question to the moral philosopher. We simply contend that a relish for ‘social drinks’ is universal; that those drinks exist in greater variety in the United States than any other country in the world; and that he, therefore, who proposes to impart to these drink not only the most palatable but the most wholesome characteristics of which they may be made susceptible, is a genuine public benefactor.”
The Gold Rush brought many things to the San Francisco Bay Area. Peoples of countless diverse cultures, customs, religions, and backgrounds flocked to the Golden Gate, all of them in search
of the big strike. One day’s labor could yield enough to secure your future, and the future of generations to come. But what those treasure seekers weren’t counting on was the social wealth that was awaiting them in San Francisco. At the height of the rush, the City itself was merely a conglomeration of shacks and tents set up as close to the nearest bar or brothel as possible and served as little more than a place to rest one’s head between the panning and partying. The Barbary Coast was a place for decadence. Hinton Helper, who visited the City from 1851 to 1854, had this to say about it: “We find the Governor of the state seated by a table, surrounded by judges of the supreme and superior courts, sipping sherry cobblers, smoking segars [sic], and reveling in the anticipation of the debauch … I have seen purer liquors, better segars [sic], finer tobacco, truer guns and pistols, larger dirks and bowie knives, and prettier courtesans here, than in any other place I’ve visited: and it is my unbiased opinion that California can and does furnish the best bad things that are obtainable in America.” Jerry Thomas may have hailed from New York and tended many a bar in many other cities, but the mark he left on San Francisco came at exactly the right time. It played a major role in shaping the place that we call home today. Unfortunately, for all that Thomas did for the cocktail and its culture, much of it was lost to prohibition. With the advent of each new cocktail bar, the art is finally beginning to flourish once again. Bartenders are taking themselves seriously. Some are even taking it a step beyond the clothes and recipes, and are including the flair that made Jerry Thomas the star that he was (and I am
most certainly not speaking of flair in the Tom Cruise acrobatics sense).
cott Baird and Josh Harris of the Bon Vivants (yes, the name is a tribute and French, incidentally, for “good liver” or “one who lives well”) and the soon-tobe-opened Trick Dog in San Francisco are two such men. They understand that the cocktail is a personal and intimate affair. Instead of reaching for the nearest bottle of vodka and the soda gun, these guys take the time to get to know their patron. They inquire of their likes and dislikes, assess their palate, and create something accordingly. Once they know their customer well enough, they only use the finest ingredients and tools to formulate something personal and delicious for each and every person. “It all starts with the greeting,” says Baird. “Are they confident in what they want, or do they need guidance? Once I have an idea what direction to take them in, I tell them to sit back and relax and let me take care of them. They are guests in my house and I treat them as such.” When their customers leave, they have the same warm and often starstruck feeling that Thomas’s customers must have had. Jerry Thomas changed our community in many ways. He was not only at the forefront of making San Francisco what it is today, but he also led by example by not settling for the mediocrity of the masses. He taught us to understand our drinks, and not settle for sub-par ingredients. He proved that a cocktail made with finer spirits, juices, and bitters made for a better experience not only for the consumer, but also for the artist charged with creating the drink. He taught us that the treasure we seek isn’t just up in them thar hills. Some of life’s finest things are right under our noses.
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Prison Brews: Drink in the Clink Article and Photos by Paul Ross
Y’all can’t get more “local” than an alcoholic product that’s made and consumed all in one place, and I’m not talking about the output of micro-breweries. I refer to operations that are much, much smaller, say 6’x8’ ... with facilities as close as your toilet. Pruno (aka juice, jump, chalk, buck, and hooch) is hoosegow homebrew: made in prison by and — God help ‘em — for prisoners.
merica has the largest incarcerated population (USA! — We’re #1!), so in the interest of being prepared, here’s a brief guide to imbibing behind the other kind of bars.
The basic recipe for producing jail “wine” is simple: fill a plastic bag with anything sweet, from stewed prunes (hence the name “pruno”) to cake frosting. Add yeast (or even moldy bread) and hot water. Ferment for “up to” nine days. The result is a stinking, orange-to-maroon liquid that may make you sick but will get you buzzed. It’s so prevalent in American lockups that some administrators have banned all fruit. Ever-resourceful inmate
vintners have responded by concocting the libation from jelly, ketchup, soft drinks, and even sauerkraut as a way to get “pickled.” Illegal alcohol is an omnipresent and uncontrolled staple in American hardtime joints. In Ireland, where social life frequently is the pub, former inmate Joe Doherty said big house brewing is taken all the way to distillation. He explained that after starting with a pruno-type mixture, “a water boiler was set up in one of the sanitaries away from the preying eyes of guards. Twelve pints of the drained fruity mash were poured into the boiler,” then the lid, venting, and
drainage pipe were sealed “using wetted bread.” Thirsty prisoners on all-night shifts kept an eye on the processing. “It was important to check on the selected workers as well,” Doherty continued, “due to the deep urges, particularly during the wee small hours, to have a quick taste of the uisce beatha (water of life in Irish).” According to Doherty, the deoch (or poitin) was even legal at certain times of the year (sort of ). “Next to tunnel escapes,” he added, “the making of the Christmas deoch (prounounced ‘jock’) was a military imperative.” or all their danger and inherent foulness, prison brews remain a source of lore, fascination and even inspiration. Even the American Homebrewer’s Association had a professionally judged pruno-making competition at one of their national conventions.
Jarvis Masters, a San Quentin inmate, wrote a poem called “Recipe for Prison Pruno,” which alternates quotations taken from the death sentence handed down to him by a judge with detailed instructions for the manufacture of penal potion. The elegy ends with words appropriate to judgment or imbibing prison brew: “May God have mercy on your soul.” A summary of the benefits of klink drink can be found in the brutal bible of incarceration survival, “You Are Going to Prison.” Author Jim Hogshire aptly describes the horrible swills, but, in his concluding coda, reflects “... in hell, this is all you get.” White Lightnin’ is ambrosia by comparison. And where there’s a still, they’re a way. Read Jarvis’s poem, “Recipe for Prison Pruno,” at: DrinkMeMag.com/pruno
Gold Digging Is Thirsty Work by Corey Miller
The beer revolution started by the gold rush
Prior to 1848, not too many folks had heard of San Francisco. There were just a thousand people living here. San Francisco, in fact, had only been part of the United States for a few years, after Mexico decided to hand it over at the barrel of a gun in 1846. The city was sparsely populated, thinly developed, and had an appalling shortage of breweries.
y what a difference a little gold can make. In 1848, the precious metal was found to the east of San Francisco, and the population exploded. In 1849, the first brewery in California was established and San Francisco immediately became much more livable. So much so, that by 1850, there were fifty thousand people here.
of the city. By the 1880s, conditions were ripe for a brewing explosion: commercial refrigeration had become widely available, the city was growing, and San Francisco’s new designation as the banking center of the West meant investment opportunities were nearly endless. Also, there were well over six hundred saloons in the city.
They worked hard in the hills and in the shipyards. And when they came back from a long day, they all had a mind to quench their thirsts with flavorful brews.
Begin the Golden Age.
People can’t live like hooligans forever, unfortunately. Eventually they want to settle down, have families, raise kids, and drink good beer. In the decades following the initial gold discovery, the population of San Francisco grew and diversified. Families came from across the country and across the world, softening the character
Or the English, German, and Irish Age. Despite the diversity of immigrants pouring into San Francisco, the brewing industry at the turn of the nineteenth century came to be dominated by our friends from across the pond. German immigrant John Weiland typifies the story of these völken (folks). Eventually settling in San Francisco, he took over the Philadelphia Brewing Company in 1856, changing the name to John Weiland Brewery, creating a brewery success that would last until 1920. Throughout the city, brewing
drink me 51
styles and products that originated in Europe cropped up: hefeweizen (wheat beer); bocks and dünkelbiers; and India pale ales that originated in the British Empire (a special brew for homesick Britons in India).
hat isn’t to say that Americans were out of the game. John Burnell, trained in London, came to San Francisco at the age of nineteen. He built a castle in what is now Hunters Point, and started the Albion Porter and Ale Brewery in 1874. Burnell stored his beer in casks in the recesses of the castle, behind three-foot walls, claiming that his ales didn’t reach their full potential unless they had been aged for two years. Old World know-how merged with American ingenuity to turn San Francisco into a brewing mecca on the West Coast. By 1890, there were over twenty-four breweries in the city limits, including St. Louis Brewery at Larkin and Polk, Pabst Brewing Company at Taylor Street, and Union Brewing at Eighteenth and Florida Street. In 1896, one of San Francisco’s bestknown breweries came into being — Anchor, created by German immigrants Ernst F. Baruth and his son-in-law, Otto Schinkel, Jr. Rather than adopt the brewing practices of the fatherland, they decided to continue the San Francisco tradition, making steam beer. (This decision, history has shown, was a good one.)
An Earthquake & Prohibition
In the early morning of April 18, 1906, a massive earthquake rocked the city by the bay. The quake, the deadliest in United States history, was followed by a massive fire that burnt most of the city to the ground. Many of the breweries damaged by the fire never reopened their doors.
In the years after the quake, San Francisco’s brewers struggled to recover from the quake and absorption by conglomerates. And a more sinister threat loomed: prohibition. In the early twentieth century, many states throughout the country enacted total bans on alcohol. Brewers from other states moved their operations to California, believing that the good-time–loving people of the state would never agree to prohibition. They were wrong. Nationwide prohibition, which began on January 16, 1920, was the last straw for many of San Francisco’s breweries. Though San Francisco was one of laxest enforcers of prohibition, large breweries had difficulty remaining in operation. The Golden Age was over.
Well through the middle of the twentieth century, San Francisco, as with the rest of the United States, wallowed in a dearth of options for quality beers. Brewers in the city turned to other means of survival, and even after prohibition was repealed, a great deal of beer-making knowledge had been lost or forgotten. For most of the twentieth century, San Francisco was in beer decline. At one point in America’s great beer slump, there were only fifty-one breweries in the entire country.
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Mark Twain has been quoted as saying that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. For San Francisco and brewing, these words could not ring truer. As in the past, we are seeing a resurgence of local, neighborhood breweries creating delicious brews in small batches. We are seeing ingenuity and craft and quality over quantity. It’s the Golden Age all over again, but this time, without the dysentery.
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In the decades following, a quiet revolution was fought, with small breweries and craft beer-makers springing up in the greater Bay Area. Now, San Francisco is home to a thriving brewing culture (see the SF BEER WEEK insert for some more contemporary history).
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ashing machine money had a hand in reversing this distressing trend. Fritz Maytag, of the washing machine Maytags, tasted an Anchor Steam at North Beach’s famous Spaghetti Factory and was entranced. In 1965, he bought the company and immediately went to work revitalizing its operations. It took nearly ten years to clean up and get Anchor in order. In 1971, a little over one hundred years after the original Anchor set up shop, the first modern Anchor Steam was bottled. The result was one of America’s first successful craft beer ventures.
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GIVE YOUR MARGARITA A BRAZILIAN TWIST INTRODUCING JDK & SONS 03 PREMIUM ORANGE LIQUEUR ™
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RIO MARGARITA 2 parts Hornitos™ Tequila 1 part JDK & Sons™ O3 Premium Orange Liqueur 1 part lime juice ½ part agave nectar
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled margarita glass. Garnish with an orange.
JDK & Sons™ is an abbreviation for John DeKuyper & Sons.™ John DeKuyper and Sons™ O3 Premium Orange Liqueur, 40% Alc./Vol. ©2011 John DeKuyper & Son, Cincinnati, OH.
Websites to Drink to
ou love drinking beer and miss being an activist? Well now you can be an activist for beer! SupportYourLocalBrewery.org has banded together with local breweries and brewers guilds (including our own SF Brewers Guild) from around the country to support the tradition that has been keeping us together (and inebriated) since the very first public houses. They often fight to keep legislative and regulatory treatment fair. You can sign up to learn more about issues and stand up to keep the taps pouring your favorite local beers. We’ll raise our glass to that. SupportYourLocalBrewery.org
...walks into a bar A default Sans Serif font walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve your type here!” This is a QR code. You can scan it with your smart phone and link directly to us. Want to find out more? Check out RedLaser.com
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Book Review: Swallow Your Words By Stephanie Henry
Secrets of the Sommeliers Authors: Rajat Parr & Jordan Mackay Subject: Wine Tasting, Buying & Storing
Synopsis & Review: To typical diners, a sommelier can appear a bit like Batman — mysterious and hidden in the shadows of a restaurant’s chaos until help is sought by a well-heeled, wine-list-wielding patron. No wonder, really, since there’s never been an insider’s look into the psyche of the sommelier. Until now. Aptly named “Secrets of the Sommeliers,” this tome to understanding, purchasing and savoring classic Old World wines — and their worthy contemporaries — is one of the most relevant books about wine knowledge we’ve seen to date. In contrast to the hundreds of fermented grape guides out there, this is told from the service perspective, which gives collectors and novices alike a rare look into how the finest restaurants in the world run their wine programs. From getting the best deals on the most expensive vintages to the challenges of pairing whites and reds with fickle ingredients, it’s a secret-spilling read that manages to make buying and ordering less intimidating. Why We Recommend It: Becoming a master sommelier — or even a run-ofthe-mill chain restaurant sommelier, for that matter — doesn’t happen overnight. There are hours and hours of classes and tests involved in addition to thousands of dollars and an innate sense of smell and taste that takes a lifetime to hone. Fortunately, this book reads like crib notes of a sommelier’s mind, from how to ace a blind tasting to what temperature to store a fine white Burgundy. One of the greatest benefits of this book, however, is the hard-core regional wine knowledge you’ll learn through the storytelling. Intimidated by the French section of the bottle menu? Fear not, mon frere. After a read-through, you’ll walk away with at least a working knowledge of the countryside’s best grape varietals (and a newfound appreciation for a sommelier’s superhuman palate).
About the Authors: Most San Francisco foodies are already familiar with Jordan Mackay, who scours the City’s new and noteworthy dining destinations for “San Francisco” magazine. In the line of duty, he met Rajat Parr, the wine director of the Mina Group and co-owner of RN74. Together they weave journalistic prose with firsthand knowledge that makes this book both an informative and interesting read.
Become a guild member
Your local bartender may not be from your local area, but he or she has definitely grown to love where they live and work. This can be guaranteed if they are a member of their local Bartender Guild. The United States Bartender Guild (USBG) was created in 1948 by a group of bartenders who wanted to show dedication to their craft and exchange knowledge with fellow bartenders. In 1967 the guild became a non-profit, and today there exists over 17 chapters of the guild throughout American. To become a proud member of the guild you simply need to prove that you are currently a bartender and can pay your annual dues. With at least one meeting a month designated to a specific liquor or distillery, you will definitely receive your money’s worth. And it’s all in the name of research... Here in San Francisco, a membership in the USBG not only means you get access to job openings and contests, but you get to participate in the Farmer’s Market Fresh cocktail events four times a year. Choosing produce from local farmers to use with their sponsored liquor, fantastic beverages are created for just one night of imbibing and judging. Some have even gone on to be featured on menus (see below) while others were just a fun play on a classic cocktail. For more information on local events that are open to everyone, visit the website for your local USBG chapter via www.USBG.org.
The Jubilee Train
1 1/2 oz. 1/4 oz. 1/4 oz. 3/4 oz. 1/2 oz. 2 dashes 1/4 oz.
2 oz 1/2 oz 1/2 ½ oz 1 1 Piece 1 Pinch
by Steven Liles for CUESA Spring 2008
Pisco 1/4 oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram Luxardo Maraschino Fresh pressed Cherry Juice Lemon Juice Regan’s Orange Bitters Simple syrup
Preparation: Shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass.Garnish with brandied cherries.
by Alex Smith for CUESAFall 2009 Bourbon Meyer Lemon Juice Honey Syrup Kumquat Fresh Fennel Fennel Fronds
Preparation: Muddle kumquat and fennel fronds. Add ingredients to glass, shake with ice, strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with Fennel.
The Sandwich Place Brick Oven Baked Bread
2029 Mission Street
(between 16th St & 17th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110 (415) 431-3811
MEXICAN KITCHEN & TEQUILA LOUNGE
- ONE OF THE THE TOP 10 TEQUILA BARS ACCORDING TO PLAYBOY.COM RESERVATIONS 415 227 0500 130 TOWNSEND ST. SAN FRANCISCO, CA INFO@TRESAGAVES.COM
Drunken Wisdoms by Ale Gasso
You find them wrapped around pipes lining toilets and unlockable doors I found a jewel below a rusty latch I once cut my finger on and cleaned with gin it was all I had never leave it at the bar, bring it with you to protect while reading words left by drunks some vengeful some funny all inspired by the release of what brought us here in the first place.
Featured Recipes Gangs of New York By Martino DiGrande Palio Dâ€™Asti, San Francisco 2 oz. 1 oz. 2
(ri)1 Rye Whiskey Carpano Antica Formula (sweet vermouth) dashes orange bitters
Technique: Stir vigorously and serve up. Garnish: Brandied cherry
EFFEN Cucumber Masterpiece 2 8 1 1
parts EFFEN Cucumber vodka fresh cilantro leaves inch peeled cucumber part fresh lemon sour
Technique: Combine ingredients in a three-piece shaker and muddle. Add ice and shake vigorously to chill. Double strain into chilled cocktail/martini glass.
Garnish: Lemon twist
INTRODUCING KNOB CREEK SINGLE BARREL RESERVE. ®
WE POUR OVER EACH AND EVERY BARREL TO HAND SELECT THE VERY BEST BOURBON. AS EXHAUSTING AS THAT SOUNDS, WE’RE DEDICATED TO PERFECTION. YOU WOULDN’T WANT IT ANY OTHER WAY – NEITHER WOULD WE.
H A ND-SE L E C T E D | 120 PROOF | ROBUS T F L AVOR
WORTH THE EFFORT Knob Creek® Single Barrel Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 60% Alc./Vol. ©2011 Knob Creek Distillery, Clermont, KY.
Join the Stillhouse at KnobCreek.com
HAVE A L CAL
AFFAIR. THE WORLD’S BEST PILSNER. BREWED FRESH IN BERKELEY. For the TRU story visit www.trumer-international.com
Published on Feb 11, 2011
In support of localism, this issue features the best of what’s nearby. We’ve got a historical look into San Francisco’s pre-prohibition beer...