Even though we San Franciscans are chilly most of the year, during these rare scorching days of summer, it's hard not to occasionally fantasize about a cold beverage, filled to the top with glistening, frosty ice cubes. We don't usually spend a lot of time thinking about ice, but I can assure you that many of city's bartenders do whether it's cubed, spheroid, chipped, shaved or crushed.
A couple of months ago, a Sonoma job listing flew around the internet. Not only was it posted everywhere, but it was emailed to me by about 100 people and even made news in places like the New York Times and LA Times. The headline was that Murphy Goode winery was going to pay someone $10,000 a month to Twitter about wine.
San Francisco is certainly wine-soaked. And, since the days of the Gold Rush, it's always been a place that loves its hard stuff. But what about beer? Though there is still a lot of improvements to be made on the beer scene here, as several brewers have voiced to me, there's no question that beer's fortunes are changing. Look at the fact that last year we got not one, but two new beer joints: Monk's Kettle and La Trappe. The Bay Area got a new brewery, Napa Smith.
We already recognized Mexican beer for its outstanding achievement in the category of light, vacuous summer-drinking pleasure. But those cervezas amount to only one small sliver of the summer beer pie. The fact is there are lots of beers with more flavor and more brewing artistry that fall into the summer category. And a good many of them are wheat beers.
Oh my goodness, today is one gorgeous day. A perfect 75 degrees, with a breeze to rustle the hair. Not so much the kind of day for a Manhattan or a class of Cab, but a good day to pop a beer in an unpretentious space in the great outdoors. Here are, in my opinion, SF's best places to do just that.
It's the first official week of summer and the weather's been knockout good, so in the spirit of summer fun, I'm proclaiming this Buzzed Beer Week. Look for posts throughout the week on summer beers, places to drink it and other beery topics.
The Classic Martini
You might think that the best martini is nothing but a perfect union of gin and vermouth, but it's the dash of orange bitters that makes it extra elegant. Rub the orange twist along the rim of the glass for an added bit of punch.
2 oz gin
1/2 oz vermouth
dash of orange bitters
Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass. Fill with ice. Gently stir for about 40 revolutions. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
The 8th edition of Zagat’s guide to San Francisco Nightlife just came out. This is the book that tourists will slip into their purses and coat pockets as they visit (hopefully) in droves this summer and pump their dollars into our economy. As such, it may be important as to where those dollars go.
So, in the world of drink, what did they get right and what did they get wrong?
They’re pretty on top of things, including, for instance Heaven’s Dog, which opened only a few months ago, and Adesso in the East Bay.
A few days ago the wine critics of the Rupert Murdoch-owned, reliably patriotic Wall Street Journal posted a highly critical, take-no-prisoners, anti-American piece called "No Flag-Waving for U.S. Chardonnay." I'm not kidding, it was vicious. Take a look: "U.S. Chardonnay, especially under $20, has been lousy for a long time now . . . over the past several years, we have been outraged—that’s not too strong a word—at the junk that’s selling for up to $20. It has little real fruit, far too much oak flavor and harsh tastes. Too often, it has reminded us of fingernail polish that has been mixed with oak chips while it aged in the tank truck along the highway." Ouch!
Glory be, the Hangar One Fraser River Raspberry Vodka has just been released. Made from juicy, at-their-peak Meeker raspberries that grow way up in the north of Washington State, near the Canadian border, the reddish-pink, intensely flavored spirit is a true seasonal treat from those masters of fruit infusions over in Alameda. On top of the infusion, some fresh raspberry juice is added to the vodka for flavor, color and a little sweetness.