Archive for the ‘beer festival’ Category

The Brewing Network’s Winter Brews Festival Returns January 29 to Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park

Monday, January 17th, 2011

If any of you made it to last year’s event, then you know that this was one of the best beer fests of the year. That first annual event pretty much went off without a hitch. Great food, great beers (including a few one-offs), and well organized. I would say the only difficulty was the sheer number of people that showed up. While it caused backups at food lines and bathrooms, it wasn’t overwelming for the BN crew that ran it. Here is my post on last year’s event.
I’m sure the BN took the experience from last year and are applying that to make for an even better fest this year. Please check out the press release below and remember that your 40 bucks gets you unlimited pours. With all those pours in you, you’ll have an easy time getting to the BART station that is only a block and a half away.
Pre-sale tickets are available at See you there.

For release:

(BERKELEY) January 15, 2011 – The East Bay-based craft beer radio company, The Brewing Network, is back for its 2nd Annual Winter Brews Festival to jump-start the local craft beer appreciation season.

With more than 30 world class breweries on tap, visitors will enjoy unlimited tastings from breweries such as the 21st Amendment, Gordon Biersch, Lagunitas, Magnolia, and Triple Rock. This Winter Brews Festival promises to expose beer lovers, new and experienced, to a variety of tasty beers, as well as raise awareness and funding for two local non-profi ts; the Coral Reef Alliance and BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit bulls).

The 2nd Annual Winter Brews Festival will be held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley on Saturday, January 29, 2011, from 12pm to 4pm. Tastings will feature a wide variety of local brews and unique innovations from some of the best brewers around, many of whom will be pouring their own beers giving visitors an opportunity to learn more about how the beer is made.

Rain or shine, they’ve got you covered. And with the Downtown Berkeley BART station just two blocks away, this afternoon event will be sure to satisfy locals wanting to enjoy some beers for a great cause. Tickets are $35 pre-sale, or $40 at the gate and include unlimited pours and a commemorative glass. For more information on the event, and to purchase tickets, please visit

SF Beer Week: Pro Brewers hang with the Bay Area Mashers at Oak Barrel on Thursday

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Last night, Pro Brewers Adam Lamoreaux (Linden St.), Christian Kazakoff (Iron Spring), and Rodger Davis (Triple Rock) came down to The Oak Barrel homebrew shop in Berkely to hang out at the home of the Bay Area Mashers. The public was invited as part of SF Beer Week and in Oak Barrel style, Homer Smith was BBQing. I believe the event topped out at about 150 folks….way more than both Homer and Bernie expected. While they were happy by the entusiastic attendance, they unfortunately ran out of Homer’s famous BBQ.
I myself didn’t get there till about 8pm (the event started at 5pm) since I had to get the kids to bed. Fortunately for me, Oak Barrel is about a 4 minute car ride from my house.  I was greeted by old faces and new and I had a great time. In homebrew fashion, I brought some of my homebrew. In this case, a 14% spiced mead fermented with oranges and raisins. Folks enjoyed it and I got to enjoy some of Nathan Smith’s Imperial Stout (smooth and tasty, it was about 9%). Thirsty Bear Witbier was the only beer left on tap so I enjoyed a pint of it.
Of folks I know, it was a pleasure to shake hands and talk with Nathan, Roger Davis, Ed Ledger, and Homer. It was also a pleasure to officially meet Christian of Iron Springs. Of the Bay Area Mashers, I finally met both Lee Shepard and Jon Sheehan who I have seen around on Facebook.
It was great to see yet another SF Beer Week event so well attended. Bernie (Oak Barrel) is already figuring out how he is going to work next year. Hopefully more BBQ! The best news for me is I am now officially a Bay Area Masher. I paid my dues and bought the shirt of which I will wear proudly around town and certainly to Minneapolis for this year National Homebrewer Conference.
OK, on to some shots. Please click on them for a full res version as PHP code has a way of munging phots when it auto-shrinks them. Cheers!

Nathan Smith and Homer Smith
Homebrewer extroadinare Nathan Smith with Homer, Bay Area Homebrewing and Winemaking icon.

Ed Ledger and Paul

Ed Ledger, owner of Ledger’s liqours. Ed runs one of the best stocked bottle shops in the East Bay. Paul (on the right) of the Bay Area Mashers.

Lee Shepard and Nathan Smith

Bay Area Mashers Lee Shepard and Nathan Smith

Bay Area Masher brewed a beer
Bay Area Mashers brewed a beer during the entire event. Brew time was 4 hours and 20 minutes which is fast for an all grain brew! The shot was taken while the wort was going into the fermenter.

Big flame for brewing

Oak barrel’s brew setup. This very high BTU burner is capable of bringing 12 gallons of liquid to boil in 15 minutes!

SF Beer Week: Triple Rock’s Sour Monday

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Like Pliny the Younger, I fear that Triple Rock’s annual sour day is on its way to becoming “legendary”, meaning big huge crowds due to the hype. Rodger Davis mentioned yesterday that it is possible they may have to move the event next year. Triple Rock was packed until the end of the night with sour beer lover’s and if that hype does take hold then you could expect anywhere from double that crowd or greater for next year.
Don’t get me wrong, the event was worth it for being able to try not only Duck Duck Gooze (Lost Abbey) but then walking up to Tomme Arthur and telling him how much you enjoy it. Odonata had their other version of Rosa there. The first version having the Russian River Beatification yeast strain and this version having the Drie Fonteinen yeast strain. Triple Rock had the Drie Fonteinen beer there too so you could compare both. All of this was poured into a tasteful snifter that came with your purchase at the door. The glass with labeled with the Barrel Aged Beer Night but I can see it being too  expensive silk screening glasses for both nights. Not a problem for me….just don’t be confused by the photo below that contains a wonderful sour in the glass.
My personal favorite style is Flanders Red and there where a couple new ones for me (one being Ichtegems) plus three versions of Rodenbach (regular, regular from ’07, and grand cru). 
Some didn’t know but there were sours also being poured at Jupiter down the street and your tokens were good there as well. Jupe had only a small corner devoted to it and there a couple few people around. This is where the Rodenbach was and also a couple by Moonlight Brewing. The Moonlight “60 to life” and Bear Republic’s Belgian Brown with fruit (11% ABV) where definitely worth the two block trip south.
OK now to text between the pics below, follow me (and please click on the photos for a higher res version….PHP does horrible things when shrinking pics):

John Tucci - Brewmaster for GB-SF

Above is John Tucci, trained at Paulaner in Munich and the Brewmaster for Gordon Biersch – SF. What most people don’t know is that John has a barrel of Hefeweizen in his cellar that have brett and bugs pitched into it. He brought a keg. Can you say Hefe with horse blanket? Works for me!

Triple Rock's Sour/Barrel glassware with a sour

Same glass for both Triple Rock festivals. Don’t be fooled, this glass has a beautiful sour beer in it.

Peter Hoey and Rick Sellers from Odonata

The Odonata boys: Peter Hoey and Rick Sellers. They brought their second version of Rosa (the first version was poured at the BN Winterfest). I do have to mention that my favorite Odonata beer so far (and they have all been great, BTW) was their Water Witch Belgian Quad aged in Malbec wine barrels. Oh baby!

Ichtegem's Flanders Red

This beer above was right up my alley. A very nice Flanders Red that I may not have had an opportunity to try otherwise.

Lost Abbey's Duck Duck Gooze

…and the much hyped Duck Duck Gooze. Worth the wait and was very happy I got to try it. A wonderful sour that is not too overly dry (read thin). This was probably the first beer to run out.

The Brewing Network’s Winterfest a resounding success

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

note: pics were taken well after Winterfest at the Trappist in Oakland. Pretty much the only pics that I got that day. OK, back to it:
Justin Crossley and BadrockLast Saturday, the Brewing Network held their first beer festival at Linden Street Brewing Company in Oakland. I predicted that the BN would firmly establish themselves as a beer fest and they did. Frankly, that was an easy bet. You would understand why by walking around the festival itself. The volunteers were a whos who of Bay Area beer writers/bloggers, homebrewers, and BN faithful. The event promotion didn’t hurt either. Justin Crossley and co., including Nicole Erny headed over to UC Berkeley’s KALX to talk about the Winterfest and SF Beer Week. What was the effect? After I got off at West Oakland BART to walk to the festival I noticed a stream of college age students headed in that Adam Lamoreauxdirection.
The organization of the event was spot on for a first effort as well. Most impressive was walking down the closed side street and seeing a sign that read “if you want beer, start here”. You couldn’t make it any easier. The event featured over 40 beers on tap and had food venders including Sean Paxton who roasted two whole pigs on site. While the crowds were huge, it never took long to get a beer or food. The lines for Sean Paxtons food were long but on the far side was a falafel stand with no line. Quick and easy way to fill the stomach. The Bay Area Mashers had a homebrew stand and the beers there were terrific. There were bands all day and other stands including a custom bicycle company and Oaklandish folks selling their clothing (yes, this native Oaklander was finally able to pick up an Oaklandish shirt).
Adam LamoreauxThe event lasted from 1pm to 8pm, fortunately I stuck it out and was able to grab one of the pig sandwiches in the end and I wasn’t dissapointed. Seeing how I didn’t get the clue to volunteer prior to the event, I was able to lend a hand breaking down the event in the end. The crowds cleared out easily and the running out of beer timing couldn’t have been better. By about 7-ish there were probably one or two beers on tap and the crowd was tapped out anyway. A few gentle yells of “time to go” and the place was empty.
I had the pleasure of catching an after event round of drinks at the Trappist with Justin,  BNer and volunteer extroidinare Adam “badrock” Petramala, Adam of Linden Street, and several others including Adam’s partner (although we had a long great converstion I apologetically can’t remember his name….)and Paul from Bay Area Mashers. I was able to catch a couple shots and my job was done. An all day beer fest and now I had to run to the last BART train. I can only imagine how tired that crew felt.
So was there anything bad about the event? No, but they may need to go to a different venue next year to have room for the even bigger crowds.