Tag: anderson valley

…But Is It Green?

In honor of St. Patrick, some Guinness rumors we uncovered in our research:

It’s brewed with beef bouillon. It used to be brewed with rats (these have been replaced by beef bouillon). It’s mixed with old, stale beer. Guinness brewers were some of the first to practice sparging, or rinsing their grains to extract more fermentable sugars. Guinness brewers used to power parts of the brewery with a steam engine that ran on old beer. Guinness tastes better in Ireland. (This last rumor was “confirmed” by “researchers” in the Journal of Food Science this month.)

Break free of your shamrocked chains! Today, drink American: rat-free, and obviously more delicious here.

See my picks of the best American dry(ish) stouts in the Wall Street Journal: North Coast Old No. 38, Avery Out of Bounds, Anderson Valley Barney Flats.

SF Beer Week: Pig Hunt

A woman working at his hotel swooned over having a bona fide brewer stay in one of her rooms, but no one at Pi Bar recognized Anderson Valley‘s Fal Allen last night, or if they did they played it cool. We had to eat our pizza standing up.

We had already tried their session beer, Wee Geech, at the opening gala, and loved it, and we had some more last night to chase the harder stuff: strong but smooth Imperial Boont; a puckering sour stout; and the truly awesome Drunkin Horn, a barreled barleywine with notes of sour cherries. We were drinking out of tulip glasses, sure, but there’s something unpretentious about Anderson Valley beer that made us think about chilling cans in a trout stream, or getting Zen on a dirt bike. Drinks were drunk, the pizza vanished, and pretty soon we were talking about pig hunting. That’s what happens in Anderson Valley. Or, as they say, “that’s how we do it in the Boont.”

And so we found ourselves, craving pig, at Rosamunde. They were hosting Green Flash, but all out of what we wanted (a nut brown we’ve never tried). We got the usual: stout, IPA, and a wild boar with the works.

(Stay tuned for a dispatch from our last trip up to the Valley, including: redwoods, burritos, dogs in human coffins, and lots of beer.)

SF Beer Week: Opening Gala

The Yerba Buena center was packed. The line to taste Russian River‘s very rare and very hoppy Pliny the Younger started at one wall and disappeared into the crowd, out of sight. It was almost as long as the line to the men’s room, where a guy wearing sunglasses declared, “Pliny is bullshit.” There was no line for the women’s room.

We had a good rye saison from Devil’s Canyon—the peppery saison yeast worked well with the rye’s natural spice—and a weird mugwort beer from Moonlight. It tasted a little like thyme, with a hint o’ mint at the end.

California is supposed to be laid back, but there was a lot of posturing going on, beers trying to out-sour, or out-hop each other. Lagunitas talked up their special release, Fusion: 280 IBUs, dry-hopped with four pounds of citras per barrel. It was OK; their stout was better. In the midst of the fray, I met a guy wearing a Great Lakes Brewing Company t-shirt and talked to him a little bit about Cleveland. He said Great Lakes’ beer is great, but he loves them even more because their food is just as good. That made me feel better. He reminded me of Magnolia Brewpub, home to an excellent pork sandwich and straight-forward, British beer, so we went there. They were pouring Pride of Branthill, a so-called “double ESB,” which sounds like big talk, but it tasted mild, full, and bready. As strong as the beer was, it was a nice respite from the more overdone offerings on tap.

A few tables poured “session beers,” lighter and easier to drink than their soured or dry-hopped cousins. There were no lines to try session beers. Anderson Valley‘s Wee Geech was delicious.

True relief came from North Coast, who were passing out Underbergs with each sip of bourbon-barrel-aged Old Rasputin. I predict a hangover-free morning.