Last Sunday at the Commmonwealth Cafe and Pub in Oakland, Cicerone Nicole Erny held her British Isles beer and cheese pairing event. After a day at Triple Rock sampling sour beers amongst the crowds I was quite happy to get to this event. Seating was limited here and the ambiance was terrific, a great way to relax and get some focus towards pairings. Outside of this, it was also great to see some Bay Area Mashers there (AJ, Lee Shepard, and others) along with Nate Smith (part time masher!) and Chaz Lakip (traveled down from Juneau, AK).
After settling up on cost and enjoying some conversation with a pint of 21st Amendment’s very excellent Bitter American (way better than I imagined, can’t wait till it comes out in cans). We were promptly seated and the event began. I won’t go into too much detail but Nicole really does her homework for her events. Along with some history of both the beers and cheese we were tasting, she presented pairings that I wouldn’t have thought doable. You would think some of these cheeses would just overpower the beer but they didn’t. Amazing what the odiferous washed rind cheese brought out in the milk stout or how the stilton treated the Scotch Ale. None of the beers (and one cider) I’ve had before, certainly not the cheese. While I came to learn something, I also had a door opened up in terms of possibilities of what you can come up with. There is a lot going on with pairing beer and cheese, more so than I imagined. Thanks for the head start.
Trust me, you are doing a disservice by missing a Nicole event. Check out the few shots below and clicky on them for a bigger version.
Cheers and don’t forget the cheese with your next beer.
Archive for the ‘sf beer week’ Category
I’m finally getting caught up here and already I have to get ready to leave for Sour monday at Triple Rock(ed note: um that was yesterday and was fun, more on it in a later post). So here we go:
First of all thank you to Jay Brooks for being classy enough to invite the Bay Area Beer Blogging faithful. We all work for free and do it on the side because we love it. Inviting us to the event helps validate everything we do and makes us feel more part of the scene.
Also to Rich Higgins. Great to witness his rise up not only directing SF Beer Week but his new business ventures as well. Rich is a great guy and he will be successful.
I have been wanting to start taking more pictures of beer people as opposed to actual beer…which I have been doing a lot of. Shooting a picture of a beer is easy, it poses the way you want it to and doesn’t complain. I just feel the need to branch out more. So with the Opening Gala, I felt a little self serving (or not since I plan to post the pics at various spots around the web) in wanting to capture a lot of folks in a short time. If I stuck a camera in your face, I might need to apologize but the good news is that I probably have a great photo of you and I’m working on them now (along with writing this).
There was a lot of beer people to see and beers to drink (many high octane ones ). BTW, the classiest detail for me was providing actual stemware for the event. Nice touch. It’s probably easier for me to write what I missed so here we go in no particular order:
- Jesse Friedman – my camera toting brother. I know you were there but I seemed to pass you by.
- Stephen Beaumont - Next to Jay Brooks here is someone all of us bloggers look up to. I know he is in town and I know he will be at Sour Monday so I’ll catch him then(ed note…..I didn’t)
- Colin Kaminski - Colin and I are in the extreme verge of hooking up. It didn’t happen at the Gala so we stay extreme.
- Ted Vivitson - It is admittedly tough to see Eel River taps and no Ted. If you haven’t shared a few beers with Ted, you need to.
- No BN army - OK, Justin Crossley was there but he was undercover. Even more weird I was wearing my BN army shirt and I was an army of one that night (ed note….Sean Paxton had his BN hat on, that counts)
I have more photos to come including ones shot at Sour Monday at Triple Rock…look out for them soon and here’s a couple more shots from the night:
We have been getting our version of winter in the Bay Area lately. Meaning, one rainstorm after another. Outside of some flooding, trees falling, and apartment buildings dropping into the ocean, we actually do need the water. I think we are still only about 80% of normal. But we can’t suffer anymore because, as you may know, we don’t deal well with “weather” here.
It does make your local pub more cozy and I did want to get a couple of shots up. Prior to the storms, Rodger Davis the Brewmaster for Triple Rock celebrated the 20th anniversary of his 20th Birthday. On tap was “Bitter Birthday”, a recipe that originally came from 21st Amendment (Bitter American). I do like this beer but it took some getting used to. Now I feel there should be more beers like it. I suppose you could call it a “session-able west coast IPA”. It is a point or so under 5% ABV and has beautiful hop aroma and flavor. The getting used to part is that you don’t get the body you normally associate with IPA, which actually isn’t a problem and you could drink several as opposed to maybe two full strength IPAs. More session beers please.
Another beer that is wonderful on tap is Blind Pig. Pretty much a Bay Area IPA tradition, I tend to gravitate towards it whenever I see it on the menu. While it is called a DIPA by some the ABV is lighter for that style at about 6.x ABV. I am happy that it is available in bottle as well so I can have it at home.
This Saturday is the Brewing Network’s Winterfest at Linden Street Brewing Company in Oakland. It is their first beer festival but I do expect a couple things to come out of it: This will become an established event right up there with the other big west coast beer events and it will raise the bar on what a beer festival could/should be. Food will be preapared on site by Beer Chef Sean Paxton. The menu is amazing. The event itself is 25 bucks for entrance, a glass, and five drink tokens (more tokens can be purchased). Just remember that that the pours will be 9 ounces and most beers will be high octane. You will get your money’s worth. I would pack up to 50 dollars just in case since Sean’s food I believe will run you 10 dollars for the plate. Visit thebrewingnetwork.com for more info.
I look forward to meeting new faces and old. Please hit me up for a taste of my mead as I plan on packing some, low key style.
The day before the festival, Cicerone Nicole Erny will debut with her first beer dinner. The location is the Lafayette Hotel in Lafayette, CA. Please call the hotel for reservations.
The menu is first class and I believe is five courses total. The beers are all Belgian, culminating with St. Bernardus 12 being served with the main course. I know Nicole worked hard on the menu and if you have ever been to one of her beer schools, you know the depth of her knowledge. It kills me that I won’t be able to make the event but I wish her well and to a very successful event. Mark my words, Nicole is a name to watch in the industry.
SF Beer Week is Feb. 5 – 14
Reminder that SF Beer Week is coming. There are two many events to list. Please go their website: sfbeerweek.com to see the list. I will be at the Opening event on Friday at the Yerba Buena Gardens plus I will also be checking out sour monday at Triple Rock. Hoping to meet folks at both events. I may be at others but have no strong commitments yet.