On Brewing, Beer as Cuisine and the Appreciation of Real Beer
Monday, February 25, 2008
The Final Toronado Barley Wine Festival
2/15: Off to Frisco for Long Weekending. Into Oakland early Friday. Off, off and away on our hybrid magic carpet. Lunch at La Note in Berkeley and a quick jar up at the Triple Rock. (Red Rock Ale and an Ipax, respectively). Up to Santa Rosa for a run by Russian River Brewing. Half orders of a couple things; Pliny the Younger (Triple IPA; big body, firm expansive hop character, warming and way drinkable), the Pale Ale with Brett (medium bitterness, great hop flavor and intense pineapple from the Brettanomyces; so good), the Pinot Barrel aged Dark Strong (medium-ish for a Dark Strong with pleasant tartness) and a Czech-style Pilsner (for a brewery noted for such huge hoppy beers and strong flavors a great glass of beer). I heart Sonoma. Back to drop the car off and make our way into the City. Dinner at Ramblas; delicious tapas-style food. Great fruity sangria. Saturday morning and across town to the Toronado for the Barley Wine festivation. Tried for an early-ish start in order to get a table. Learned a very important lesson. Getting down at the Toronado for the Barley Wine thing is like playing Frogger. To get ahead you gotta hop at just the right moment. In the past we've managed to hop in late enough in the day to score a table just as the first wave is beginning to retire. This year we didn't hop early enough and got pasted. The lads showed up early and managed a few courses of 3 oz. tastes hunkered over the end of a table of attractive young urbanite fuckheads. The lasses showed up later and were less than impressed with the accomodations we'd managed. So we bailed. Into the Upper Haight to some Irish Bar for lunch and a few Guinness waiting for the rest of our party. Walked back down to the Toronado to check in on some Barley Wine. Out of all of them the Bear Republic "Old Scoutter" stood out the best; good example of the West Coast style, not just a Double IPA but bigger malt character, firm alcohol and well moderated hop character. Quite a few vintage selections. An 11 year old "Old Boardhead" from Fullsail and a 13 year old Devil Mountain (?, closed in 1995), both quite vinous yet very, very tasty. Exactly what I would hope for in a well kept up "Old Ale". Interesting that most of the comments I heard really put them down for being "sour and nasty". Fucking Philistines. Somewhere between this point, beers at the Pilsner Inn, dinner at Chow and back to the apartment; I lost my tasting notes. Not the end of the world but a fitting end to the whole beer festival shitteree. We'll see how the Hard Liver and the Cask Fest fall apart. I may be off the beer festival thing altogether. Anyway. Sunday; lunch at the excellent Monks Kettle, Chinatown, North Beach, stayed in with pizzas. Monday; goofed around at Golden Gate Park and dinner at Suppenkuche. Great German-style restaurant; German biers on draft, tasty pickled herring starter and awesome meat-potatoes-and-brown-gravy entrees. Tuesday; Home!