Beer & Ale
They call it Slow Food, but let me tell you that some of the biggest lines are at the drinks tables. Of all the sections, though, I have to give the nod for the beer pavilion as the best of them all. Why? Not just because it's the quickest service, but because of the diversity and breadth of the selection. The beer pavilion is divided into three bars, each representing a method of beer delivery: bottle, cask, and draught (below).
Though it was a spring release, there's still Lagunitas "Sirius" Cream Ale to be had. Go out and get some immediately - it's likely one of the most delicious beers that will pass your lips this year.
Sirius is one of Lagunitas' many seasonal releases. Traditionally, a cream ale is a sort of cross between a lager and an ale. It often contains some portion of corn or rice, similar to a classic American lager like Budweiser, in order to lighten the body and thin out some of the flavor.
Not really, but it's quite amazing that two huge, historical and prominent brands have recently been sold to European firms. First, Budweiser, the King of Beers, goes to InBev of Belgium. Now Chateau Montelena goes to the Bordeaux house Cos d'Estournel.
Both were good buys, given the state of the dollar. Still, it's weird that there's not more outrage that our national beer and wine icons are being wheeled and dealed like a used Chevy. Where are the anti-Gall cries of today? What are the new Freedom Fries?
Just a block from the Monteleone was the famed Acme Oyster House, purveyor of New Orleans seafood since 1910. I stole over there one day by myself for lunch and sat at the bar for an oyster po'boy. Gulf oysters are not my favorite--a little big and mushy for my taste--but they're good when baked, sautéed or, in this case, fried. Despite the sandwich's almost ideal appearance, I didn't love it. Even a whole layer of extra dill pickles didn't save it from being a little bland and soft.
Few dining opportunities make me happier than the Japanese triple: a glass of sake, a Japanese beer and some fish. This photo was taken at Sebo in Hayes Valley. The beer, Orion, one of my favorites in the world, is brewed on Okinawa, in the south of Japan. The sake was Wakatake Onigoroshi (I believe . . . it was ordered for me), a Junmai Dai Ginjo. I had two. And the fish . . . it was the first of many bites.
Ever since I was 15 and traveling through France and Britain with my family, I've loved European dry, alcoholic apple cider. This is probably because my parents wouldn't let me drink beer, scotch or (much) wine, but they would let me get the occasional buzz off cider. While there, I developed an affection for the dry, crisp apple-y taste of the stuff.
A friend alerted me to this astonishing development in the world of beer: Happy Tail Ale, the first beer for dogs. It's nonalcoholic, fortified with glucosamine (for the joints) and Vitamin E, and it's beef-flavored. Hell, if it weren't for the nonalcoholic part, I'd probably drink it myself.