If you’re looking for something to have with a tri tip, you might want to try this,” suggested Craig Wathen, the owner of City Beer Store in SoMa, as he handed me a .75-liter bottle of Sierra Nevada’s Ovila Abbey Dubbel off the shelf—a specimen big enough to contend with a bottle of wine. “It’s a hearty dubbel, almost chewy, but it’s got enough tartness from the hops to cut through the juice of a steak.”
Eric Clapton called Robert Johnson the “the most important blues singer that ever lived,” and to help celebrate his 100th birthday, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery will be releasing their tribute beer Hellhound on My Ale, early this May. The beer’s name is a play on words from one of Johnson's songs, Hellhound on My Trail; the beer marks another in Dogfish’s riotous lineup of “offscentered ales for offcentered people.”
It's a breezy midwinter evening in the Mission District and half a dozen people are huddled around a stainless steel contraption in a small backyard watching intently as a clear liquid drips out of a spigot. "We're distilling an all malt beer, without the hops, to make this whiskey," notes our host, who asked to remain anonymous due to the legal ramifications of his work. Unlike commercial whiskey, though, this newly distilled batch of "White Dog"—the unaged distillate that eventually becomes bourbon—will be cut with cold water and consumed fresh. No months resting in an oak barrel to add color, hints of vanilla, and the mysterious smoothness that comes with time.
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