If you love craft beer and have ever thought about trying your hand at homebrewing, there has never been a better place or time to get started than right here and now. There are great local DIY courses and other resources to help you brew your first batch and Beer West Magazine awarded San Francisco the title of "Best Beer City" this year in large part because of the "distinct energy surrounding the craft beer scene and the cohesive way it’s represented throughout the city.” Simply put: people here have beer skills.
Oktoberfest officially begins in Munich on September 17th, though related festivities, like Brews On the Bay kick off here in San Francisco a week earlier. Hey, we're a progressive city! The traditional Oktoberfest beer style is the Märzen, which some consider the earliest form of the lager. Originally brewed in the spring (März is March in German) the beer undergoes a long cool fermentation using lager yeast and is then consumed by the bootful during the fall. The longer fermentation clarifies the beer and gives it time to build complexity. Oktoberfest beers typically contain up to 6% alcohol, are medium bodied, slightly sweet and balanced with Noble hops.
It's the tail end of the dog days which means there's still time to squeeze in one more rocking summer party. The folks at Speakeasy Ales & Lagers just happen to be throwing a sudsy soiree this Saturday to mark 14 years of craft brewing and to launch a new addition to their lineup: Butchertown Black Ale.
This black IPA-ish brew is the first release from Speakeasy’s newly christened Bootlegger Limited Series. It will be a two month release as will all subsequent offerings. Butchertown Black Ale is a light bodied but dark brew, paired with an aggressive hop bill of Amarillo, Chinook and Cascade. While the beer has a touch of roast character, black malt gives the beer color without adding the body or flavors familiar to a porter or stout. Scoreboard: 8.2% ABV and 60 IBUs.
While most of the craft beer world has been exploding the boundaries of ale brewing, New York’s Shmaltz Brewing has been de- and reconstructing the world of craft lager though their sideshow-inspired Coney Island Lagers. Most lagers enjoyed in the US are known for their light and crisp styles, but Shmaltz has been creating a riotous freak show lineup and this latest two-headed lovechild is the progeny of their Human Blockhead lager and some Kentucky Bourbon Barrels.
Local hopheads will be pleased to know that this Thursday beer lovers everywhere will help launch the first International IPA Day. San Francisco’s premier event location, organized by Beer 47’s David Jensen, is at the Rosamunde Sausage Grill on Mission, where eight India Pale Ales will be on draft:
Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen officially opens its doors and 23 taps for business tomorrow (Wednesday, July 27). Adjacent to Kimpton’s Serrano Hotel and the former site of the Asian fusion restaurant Ponzu, the space has been transformed into an homage bar of sorts. Props are not only given to Jasper O'Farrell, the legendary 19th century surveyor San Francisco, but also to the concept of a taproom as an after work place to socialize over a variety of brews.
Get your mojo lubricated this Wednesday night. Cherry Voodoo Brewing, one of San Francisco's newest and most extreme craft brewers, is launching two new beers during a meet the brewer event at Rogues Ale Public House. Head Brewmaster Yuri Green is scheduled introduce the new beers, answer questions, give away schwag, and make a special announcement. This event also marks Cherry Voodoo’s six month anniversary; it was during this year’s San Francisco Beer Week that the enfant terrible brewery introduced their flagship beer: the Belgian style California Tripel, aka Mortal Sin in a Glass.
This Saturday afternoon the California Beer Festival barrels into Santa Cruz. The event will be showcasing over 60 craft brews, offering food from local eateries, and hosting four bands. What makes this particular event special is that it's the best place to sample the variety of beers brewed in Santa Cruz and the surrounding area; many of these beers are not distributed outside the area and some are only available on tap. Even a dedicated pub crawler would have little chance of sampling this many SC brews outside of the festival.
How hard is it to pass the exam for the first level of the Cicerone Certification Program? I found out a couple of days ago.
First, some background. Though 7x7, like many other publications, has covered the topic of Cicerones previously, let’s review: In 2008, steadfast in his determination to improve service to beer consumers, Ray Daniels, renowned beer writer, judge, and festival organizer, established a certification program for beer professionals similar to the sommelier certifications for wine. Fast forward to today: There are more than 5,000 people certified at the first tier, Certified Beer Server; more than 200 at the second level, Certified Cicerone; and a scant three at the top of the hop heap, Master Cicerone.
Last July, Jesse Friedman and Damian Fagan started brewing what would become time capsules of a summer in Sonoma.
The two founders of the newly-formed Almanac Beer Company added 250 pounds of hand-picked blackberries from Sebastopol Berry Farm into used oak wine barrels containing the Belgian-style golden ale they had contracted to be brewed by Drakes Brewery. The Duvel yeast in the beer discovered that it had additional material to work with and set about converting the sugar in the berries into alcohol. Over the next eleven months of barrel aging, the flavors of the malt, hops, berries, and oak melded and mellowed.
Last February, a prototype of their beer was a sell-out favorite at SF Beer week. In May, the brewing pair did some barrel tests and tastes, blended the aged beer with a fresh batch of their Citra-hopped ale to brighten the character, then primed and bottled the result. On June 30, the beer will have had sufficient time for bottle conditioning and will be ready for drinking. The crisp and complex beer is recommended to be paired with rich dishes like creamy cheeses, roast pork and duck.
While their web site should soon list the area stores and restaurants that will be stocking the ale, their bottle release event is scheduled: City Beer Store on June 30. Jesse and Damian will be on hand to talk about this beer, as well as serving a sour version from the same batch. Hapa Ramen will be doing the food paring.
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