August 28, 2010

The week in heavy drinking. Day 1: Eat Real

I'm a lightweight. I mean, my weight isn't light (due to my beer consumption), but I can't consume all that much beer. So I went on a one-week wagon in preparation for the coming week, which began yesterday in Oakland at Eat Real.

I was interested in all the ice cream carts and fusion taco trucks, but if we're being honest, I was there for the beer shed (over 20 local breweries) and to participate as one of the 10 judges of the first annual homebrew competition. We were given the option of which of the 5 categories we wanted to judge, and while I would've been happy with any of them (session, hoppy, farmhouse, strong, and taco), I opted for the later to see what area homebrews thought constituted a taco-worthy beer. For the record, no, they didn't have to be made with carnitas or cumin or queso fresco, they just had to pair well with tacos. There were only four entries (the winner was an herbal number, possibly jasmine or lavender and ground ginger, maybe grains of paradise; the runner up was a jalapeno stout but it lost points for having a strong root beer flavor, perhaps from fermented in a carboy or keg that previously held root beer). Of course, the sampling continued through the Best of Show round, which went to a Bretty farmhouse ale. Whoever the winners were--congrats, and thanks for entering. Ditto for those who entered the jam competition. I loved sampling 'em all and while I believe the blackberry-chocolate was going to win, my hands-down vote was for the Lemon-IPA marmalade!

From there, it was over to the beer shed. I was surprisingly disappointed with Sierra Nevada's Tumbler (autumn brown ale) because their new releases have really been killing it. But fortunately, I got to try Ale Industries' Rye'd Piper and Black Diamond's Saison (from the description, it tasted like Red Headed Stepchild).

As I was leaving Jack London Square, I cashed in my remaining drink ticket at the juice stand and the perceptive rep from Odwalla steered me toward a tropical number with coconut juice ("It has extra potassium"), hence, while I had an easy-breezy BART ride home, I did not wake up hungover.

Tonight: a Christmas in August Beer BBQ.


Thomas said...

Interesting I have had bottles of Tumbler on the East Coast in bottle and from keg on the West Coast at Hop Camp and the beer has been good regardless. A much better beer than their old brown ale. While the smoke is on the upper level for an every day beer for me, I appreciate it as a much more complex offering than they have done before. But taste is to the individual of course, give the beer another try in another environment I'd suggest.

Thomas said...

excuse the extra "in bottle"