Belgium. No other country has a wider variety of native styles, or a larger impact on modern craft brewers. Belgians have spent centuries developing the world’s finest beers by brewing with combinations of top fermenting or wild yeasts, warm fermenting temperatures, and adjuncts as diverse as fruit, candi sugar, orange peel, coriander, black pepper, and star anise.
The roasted meats and seasonal root vegetables that traditionally cover fall tables are best enjoyed with beers that are also tied to the season. Pilsners and other summertime lagers are replaced with maltier, richer and more complex brews as the days get shorter. And while pumpkin ales are popular this time of year, several other beer styles complement the foods of the season just as well.
Beer and bicycles don’t always mix, but this weekend is a notable exception. Marin’s Biketoberfest offers bicycling beer lovers a chance to burn off as many calories as they consume.
Located in Fairfax, Biketoberfest is a relatively flat, 20-mile ride from downtown SF. If you prefer to ride with friends, join the SF Bicycle Coalition’s casual-pace group cruise from the Ferry Building at 9:45 a.m.
The first Oktoberfest was held 1810 as public celebration for a royal Bavarian wedding. In the ensuing two hundred years it has morphed into what’s been called the largest secular celebration on Earth. Its growing popularity has been fueled by pork, potato pancakes, the chicken dance, and lots of beer. As with other holidays, we Bay area residents put our own spin on the festivities.
President Obama ushered in a lot of firsts. Besides being the first African-American president and the first president to openly support marriage equality, his is the first administration to have beer brewed in the White House.
Summer is nearing its end, and Oktoberfest is around the corner, which means we’re in that blink of a season for wet-hopped beer. The end of August and early September marks the usual harvest season for the flowering cones of the hop vine. These catkins are normally kiln dried and packaged immediately after harvesting for later use when brewing. But traditionally, brewers with ready access to fresh– or “wet” – hops would sometimes make small batches of “harvest ale” with just-picked hops for personal enjoyment.
The late Michael Jackson (the Beer Hunter, not the pop music icon) once dismayed that Saison style beers were becoming scarce to the point of vanishing altogether. He would be heartened to learn that this classic beer style has not only been revived, but is thriving in ways he could hardly imagine–particularly in San Francisco.
We San Franciscans like our craft beers big and bold: High in alcohol, aged in oak, wild and sour, and enough piney west coast hops to strip the enamel from the teeth of lesser beings. But during the long days of summer, it can be challenging to down three or four IPAs in an afternoon and then pop up from the picnic spread to play Frisbee. What we need in the summer are “session beers.”
On Saturday, July 14, one of the Bay’s longest running beer events will take place at Fort Mason. Over 50 breweries, mostly local, will be pouring at the 12th annual BreastFest Beer Festival.
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