February 16, 2009

SF Beer Week Wrap-up

Is it over yet? Mein got, man, that was a lot of beer. And so many awesome ways to enjoy it, let me count the ways: with cheese, with dinner, sour, strong, barrel-aged, with chocolate, by bike, by BART, with the brewmaster, and most importantly, with friends. Lots.

I attended the New Orleans Jazz Fest for the first time in 2001 and vowed never to miss it until I die. I will say the same thing for SF Beer Week. Luckily, I live here.

Once overheard at Jazz Fest, while racing from one stage to another to see yet another phenomenal artist, someone said, "Judge not Jazz Fest by who you saw, but by who you had to give up in order to see them." SFBW worked the same way. With around 150 overall events, spread out over 10 days all across the Bay Area, it was impossible to hit everything I wanted.

Before I get to some highlights, I'd like to thank the organizers, Dave McLean, Jay Brooks, Bruce Patton Shaun O'Sullivan, Tom Dalldorf, and the countless others who worked so hard and blasted it out of the park the first time at bat.

I already blogged about events I was able to make it to February 6-12. For brevity sake, I'll just say that on Friday, I started things off at Speakeasy Brewing for lots of great beer and company from brewers to bloggers...to drinkers. And a special shout to Dave (and Devon, below) for letting me try the Mocha Porter after it was tapped out.
Afterward, I caught the tail end of Shmaltz's pub crawl in the Mission at Amnesia, then Elixir. Pictured below: Donny Vomit, the Human Blockhead with all around good guy, Shmaltz's own Zak Davis; the brewing co.'s founder Jeremy Cowan, and Donny at work:

Saturday: Barleywine fest @ Toronado. Two words. Boo. Zy. Plans for a homecooked meal were scrapped when the Siren song of Memphis Minnie's lilted from across the and Half Pint & I shared a BBQ sampler plate.

Sunday: Started with a BJCP (Beer Judging Certification Program) 101 class, which began with samples of Bud Light dosed with artificial butter, then banana extract, then ground cloves, and was topped by the surprising taste-test of a quite hoppy beer and a richly malty one, only to discover they were both Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot (but 2009 and 2004 vintages). That bitterness really does age out.
(Above, Steve from Beer by Bart mans the dump bucket).

From there, I BARTED up to the Oakland Convention Center for Celebrator's beerfest.

How was it?

Firestone-Walker XII & Saucerful of Secrets & Abacus barleywine, North Coast Old Rasputin XI, Russian River Consecration, New Belgium La Folie, Alaskan Smoked Porter '06, Allagash Curieux and Black, Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye aged in Chardonnay barrels.

And that was just for starters. Rarely do I drink the price of admission. In those beers alone, it was worth every penny. Not to mention, it was great seeing many familiar faces--ones from the Bay Area and ones I'd come to recognize this past "week" at the events. While I had a blast, I'm relieved for the 51-week reprieve before we kick off the Second Annual SF Beer Week.

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