The San Francisco-based band The Famous regularly plays the beer circuit and can frequently be seen performing at beer festivals and brewpubs around the Bay Area. They’re a terrific band. I’ve seen them several times, most recently at Vinnie Cilurzo’s 40th birthday party at Russian River Brewing. At Vinnie’s party, The Famous did a song created for the occasion, Pliny the Elder or The Pliny Song, an awesome little homage to the beer and the man it was named for. They’ve now recorded a studio version of it, and have created a music video to go along with it. Enjoy.
There are only three more beer dinners left that will be held at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in San Francisco. For the past eight years, the Beer Chef, Bruce Paton, has done over 60 beer dinners featuring beers from around the corner and across the world. But what you probably didn’t know is that many of the recent dinners have been done on borrowed time. A medical corporation owns the land that the hotel is situated on, and for many years has been planning on building a new hospital there. It’s been postponed several times already and the hotel’s been able to keep renting rooms and doing beer dinners. But that’s finally coming to a close as a date is now set and the Cathedral Hill Hotel will be closing.
Only three more beer dinners will be held, and the first of those will take place on Friday, September 18. The dinner will feature the beers of Russian River Brewing. It will be a four-course dinner, and well worth the $100 price of admission. It will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m. Call 415.674.3406 for reservations before it’s sold out. I’ll see you there.
Reception: 6:30 PM
Beer Chef’s Hors D’Oeuvre
Beer: Huge Large Sound Czech Pils
Dinner: 7:30 PM
A Mélange of Delicacies from the Sea
Salad of Pepper Cress, Crispy Sweetbread, Cage Free Egg, Cambazola Cheese, Duck Prosciutto, Oven Dried Toy Box Cherry Tomatoes, Avocado, Roasted Corn Vinaigrette
Beer: Empirical 7
Beer Chef’s Surf and Turf
Beer: Consecration and Salvation
My first beer stop after recovering from my trip to New Zealand was to head up to Russian River Brewing. It was not because I was craving hops after two weeks mostly without them — although I was — but for another reason related instead to Brettanomyces. One of the most interesting beers I sampled in New Zealand, at Hallertau Brewbar near Auckland, was called Porter Noir, an English-style porter aged in local pinot noir barrels for four months which then spent six more months bottle conditioning with additional Brettanomyces. I brought back two bottles with me, but unfortunately one of them was damaged during the flight. It didn’t break but developed a small leak. Some of the beer seeped out but happily stayed inside the Ziplock bag I had packed it in. So I knew I had to drink it pretty quickly before it went flat.
So I stopped by Russian River’s new production brewery to open it for Vinnie Cilurzo, figuring he’d appreciate trying another Brett beer. The place looked quite a bit different then when I was there less than three weeks before. For one thing, all the construction equipment and spare parts were gone, making it look much larger inside and out. Vinnie also showed me the sixty barrels of the Consecration — the first beer brewed at the new brewery — aging in the barrel room. Most already have the Zante Currants added, but a few are still waiting for them. The beer will age for at least nine months before being released.
So we opened the Hallertau Porter Noir. Although it had lost a few inches of beer from the neck, it was still quite well-carbonated. All of the bottles at this point are from Batch 001, but this one was from Barrel #99081 and was bottled on November 10, 2007. It was 6.6% abv. Dark in color and a very thick tan head. The nose was marked by characteristic barnyard aromas with just a touch of malty sweetness. The nose was slightly less pungent than the sample I had in New Zealand, but Vinnie and I both declared it to be quite tasty. The Brett character married quite nicely with the nutty, malty porter flavors.
At the original tasting of this beer at Hallertau Brewbar last week in New Zealand. On the left is my host, Luke Nicholas — who owns Epic Beer and is also VP of the recently formed New Zealand Brewers Guild — and, on the right, Stephen Plowman, owner/brewer of Hallertau Brewbar & Restaurant.