Steve Atkinson, who does great video work for the Celebrator and others, put together this fun video from last night’s SF Beer Week closing celebration at the Trumer Brauerei in Berkeley. I should give you fair warning; you will have to suffer through not one, but two interviews with yours truly. Enjoy.
Wow, check out the Three Ring Circus Brewer’s Dinner & Sideshow happening this Wednesday night. To me, this sounds like the most off-the-hook, amazing, one-of-a-kind beer dinner since … well, since the last one Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef, did. If this isn’t on your SF Beer Week itinerary, it really should be, at least in my opinion. I admit a certain bias; Sean is a friend, but honestly I’ve enjoyed every single beer dinner he’s ever done. And they just keep getting better because Sean — who I like to call “The Mad Alchemist” — is always challenging himself to do more and more amazing things with beer and food.
So instead of taking your valentine out on the 14th, or buying them some chocolates, why not treat them to something truly amazing, the Three Ring Circus Brewer’s Dinner & Sideshow. Tickets are $120 each, which might sound steep until you consider that this is a nine-course meal that includes a dozen amazing beers, 6 live circus acts, live music, an emcee and a terrific setting: the historic Elks Lodge in San Francisco. Also, the three breweries will be pouring a new beer that all three, plus Sean, collaborated on called Three Ring Circus Ale just for this event. It’s described as “an anything-but-traditional nut brown ale brewed with dulce de leche, popped corn and peanuts that pays homage to the spirit of the circus.”
Three Ring Circus Beer Dinner Menu
Pre-Dinner Reception Nibbles: Gourmet Popcorn
Bacon fat popped organic popcorn seasoned with tomato powder, roasted garlic, hop salt and smoked in bourbon barrel wood
Black Truffle Oil Scented Popcorn with cooked in vegetable oil with roasted garlic salt flakes
Thyme Infused duck fat popcorn with Sonoma Vella Dry Jack shavings, green peppercorns
First Course: The Mermaid
Lobster and prawn mousse infused with Ninkasi Believer Double Red Ale, wrapped around petrale sole filets, Speak Easy White Lightning Ale “Tide Sauce”, Ninkasi Little One Beer Foam, Speak Easy Prohibition Ale quinoa “sand”
Paired with Ninkasi Sterling Pils
Second Course: The Drumstick
Willie Bird Smoked Turkey legs rillettes layered with He’Brew Genesis 15:15, shallots, dried figs and thyme, Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk cheese, malt pickled heirloom pumpkin, assorted crackers, breads and spiced nuts
Paired with Speak Easy Massacre Black Wheat Wine and Coney Island Geektoberfest
Third Course: The Sword Swallower
“Haute” Dogs infused with 4-H style Lamb, Speak Easy Scarface Imperial Stout, caramelized onions and rosemary Ninkasi Renewale Porter Beer mustard, fennel carrot slaw, sweet roll
Paired with He’Brew Bittersweet Lenny’s RIPA
Fourth Course: Hopped Cotton Candy
Centennial hop scented sugar, wrapped around a cube of Sonoma foie gras terrine mixed with He’Brew Genesis
Paired with Speakeasy Big Daddy IPA
Fifth Course: Slider
Ground elk and duck heart patty, rendered dry aged beef fat, Brioche bun, house made He’Brew Genesis 15:15 beer ketchup, baby arugula, Speak Easy Payback Porter braised red onions
Paired with Ninkasi Conventionale (2010 Imperial Stout), Speakeasy Scarface Imperial Stout and He’Brew Genesis 15:15
Sixth Course: Churro
Point Reyes Blue cheese mixed into a Speak Easy Double Daddy savory churro, roasted garlic powder
Paired with Ninkasi Total Domination IPA
Seventh Course: Three Ring Circus
Roasted red, gold and white baby beets, Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog crumbles, carbonated citrus segments, malt candied hazelnuts, micro greens drizzled with a Three Ring Circus Collaboration vinaigrette
Paired with Speakeasy Prohibition Ale
Eighth Course: Funnel Cake
He’Brew Bittersweet Lenny’s RIPA infused batter with bergamot zest, Three Ring Circus Wort Honey Drizzle, Malted Powdered Sugar Dust, Ninkasi Sleigh’r Beer Caramel
Paired with Coney Island Albino Python
Ninth Course: The Non-Fried Non-Twinkie Cupcake
Ninkasi Conventionale Imperial Stout Chocolate Cake, filled with a He’brew Jewbelation 15 mousse filling, Speak Easy Prohibition Frosting, THCO Cocoa Nibs, Caramel Malt
Paired with Speakeasy, Ninkasi, Shmaltz, Home Brew Chef Collaboration beer: Three Ring Circus
- 1st Place: Hopologist DIPA, Knee Deep Brewing
- 2nd Place: Pliny the Elder, Russian River Brewing
- 3rd Place: Ruination, Stone Brewing
And for the second straight year:
- People’s Choice Award: Kern River Citra Double IPA
And for the first time, Triple IPAs were judged this year. Since there were only fifteen, only first and second places were awarded.
Congratulations to all the winners.
Friday’s ad couldn’t be more new, less historical, if it tried. It’s the new poster for this year’s SF Beer Week, which begins today. This year’s poster may be the best yet. Each of the objects, people, places, things represent the name of a local beer, so it’s game, as well as a piece of cool art. See how many you can find and figure out.
Although SF Beer Week doesn’t officially launch until later tonight, there’s already been one event that took place at Anchor Brewing on Wednesday. Three weeks ago, they announced their new Zymaster Series and later revealed that the first beer in the series would be a pre-prohibition California Lager. Wednesday night, Anchor held an event to launch the new beer.
As I wrote before, Anchor based the beer on a lager from Boca Brewing, who is believed to have made the first one in the state, around 1875. The town of Boca was located in northeast California, roughy 6.5 miles from Truckee. In 1880 it had a population of around 200 people, though today it’s literally a ghost town. The brewery was founded in 1875 and closed in 1892, four years before the Anchor Brewery opened.
There were plenty of other local brewers in attendance to try out the new beer. Here, from the left, is John Tucci (from the San Francisco Gordon Biersch), Aron Deorsey (from Beach Chalet) and Zambo (from 21st Amendment).
So how’d the beer taste? Consensus was that it was pretty good, an interesting beer. Having had several other pre-prohibition lagers, it tasted better than most of the others. In fact, I can’t think of one I enjoyed more. A lot of the others used corn, which was common then, but I believe Anchor’s is all-malt, and the taste seems to reflect that. It’s only slightly sweet, but smooth, and the Cluster hops are fairly muted and restrained. They never overpower the flavor of the beer, they’re just there for balance. The overall flavors are similarly mild, making the beer very sessionable.
John Heylin, of the Nor Cal Beer Guide, along with several other BABB members, created a little spoof or homage film for SF Beer Week entitled What’s SF Beer Week Like? Drawing on Reservoir Dogs and the cult status of Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, the minute and a half video might make you cry, especially if you can’t get Pliny in your hometown. But fear not. As is revealed in the end credits; “No Pliny the Elder was harmed in the making of this video.”
Here’s how John describes his film: “How spoiled is the Bay Area when it comes to beer? This spoiled. Come check out SF Beer Week from February 10th-19th and spoil yourself silly.” I spoke to Vinnie Cilurzo at Russian River Brewing today, and he loved the video, thought it hilarious and sent it to all his employees.
As promised on Friday, Anchor Brewing announced today a new series of beers they’ll be debuting during SF Beer Week. The new beers will be under the series designation “Zymaster,” which Anchor describes like this:
Zymaster n [Gk zyme leaven + master – more at ZYMURGY]
1: a new word coined by Anchor Brewing to describe a brewmaster with hands-on experience throughout the a-to-z process of creating a new beer, from the research and selection of the raw materials and development of a recipe to brewing, fermentation, cellaring, and finishing
2: a unique series of beers from Anchor Brewing, rooted in its exceptional respect for the ancient art and noble traditions of brewing and featuring extraordinary ingredients, innovative techniques, and unusual flavors
The first Zymaster Series beer will be released at select events during SF Beer Week, which this year is February 10-19. The initial offering will be “available on draught only in 13.2 gallon and 5.16 gallon kegs,” and “[i]nitial distribution will be focused in California.”
No word yet on what the first beer will taste like, whether it will hew closely to any recognizable style, what ingredients were used to brew it, or how often we can expect subsequent offerings in the Zymaster series. Updates as they emerge.
The opening celebration to kick-off SF Beer Week for 2012 has been announced. Having outgrown our space last year, this year it’s been moved to a new, larger location at the Concourse pavilion at the Concourse Exhibition Center in SOMA. Here are the details:
On February 10, 2012, over 50 Northern California breweries will converge on the Concourse in San Francisco for the Opening Celebration of SF Beer Week, which kicks off a ten day marathon of beer tastings, small festivals and food pairing dinners across the Bay Area. From 6-10pm, beer lovers will discover newly minted nanobrewers pouring alongside legendary craft brewing pioneers.
Early bird tickets are now available for $55. Each attendee will receive a commemorative glass and enjoy unlimited samples of new, rare and classic beers. Tickets are expected to go quickly. The event is one of the largest and most anticipated gatherings of the region’s beer community. A complete list of attending breweries will be published in mid January.
This year the Opening Celebration has moved to a larger venue in San Francisco’s SOMA district. The Concourse pavilion will provide a more spacious experience, easier access to the breweries and more food options will be available. Artisan producers from around the Bay will serve up a range of delicious choices for purchase, while live music fills the air.
Tickets are available online, the early bird price is $55. See you there.
On Monday, Rich Higgins (Director of SF Beer Week) and I went on the local ABC affiliate’s afternoon show, 7 Live, to promote SF Beer Week. Rich brought two of his beers from Social Kitchen & Brewery. First, his White Thai Affair (9.5% a.b.v., an imperial Rapscallion with galangal and lemongrass) was paired with a Kale salad with clementines and a ginger garlic vinaigrette. Then his Giant S’mores (10.5% a.b.v., a Belgian Imperial Stout) was paired with Point Reyes Original Blue cheese. Lastly, I picked up some beer ice cream from Humphry Slocombe made with He’Brew’s Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A. and brought bottles of the beer so they could taste the beer the ice cream had been made with.
It was a quick 3-4 minute segment, as is the nature of these things, but overall I think went well. Of the three 7 Live hosts, our segment was with Lizzie Bermudez, though both of the others did get into the act with Brian Copeland snagging one of the beers of the table and Jennifer Jolly trying the ice cream, too. We got the message out about SF Beer Week and, I think, opened their eyes a bit to beer with food. The cheese pairing went over particularly well and the ice cream was a big hit, too. And it was great fun for us.