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A Press Democrat Blog

Beer Country

A digest about that other famous beverage

Bear Republic Cellar Party results

The votes are in and the fan favorites for the Bear Republic Cellar Party are in: Old Saint Chango, 13 votes: A winter warmer with Mexican chocolate. Churchill’s Pale, 12 votes: a super hoppy rye pale ale (this was my favorite, but I didn’t vote. Journalistic detachment, dontchaknow?). Old Baba Yaga, 9 votes: A Russian Imperial Stout. The party, on Sept. 15,  featured the brewery’s entries in the Great American Beer Festival, starting Oct. 10 in Denver. – Sean Scully

Happy National Drink Beer Day

Ok, we need another National [insert subject here] Day like yet another hole in our heads but here goes anyway,  just because this happens to be in favor of our favorite passtime: Today happens to be National Drink Beer Day. So drink up everybody (though no driving afterward, right? Same with operating heavy machinery or taking prescription painkillers. Don’t say we didn’t remind you). Of course, I am tempted to observe that EVERY day should be National Drink Beer Day.… Read More »

Governor signs spirits tasting bill

Gov. Brown has signed the liquor tasting bill that we wrote about last week, allowing most distillers to offer tastings at their production facilities. Distillers aren’t exactly celebrating, however, since the bill does not allow direct sales of most kinds of spirits, the way wineries and breweries can do. Until that happens, many brewers say there is no point in setting up a tasting room. Dig into this question and it quickly becomes cleat that California’s liquor licensing is more… Read More »

Smuttynose reaches California, but not NorCal

New Hampshire-based Smuttynose will get a toe-hold (nose-hold?) on the West Coast with an agreement with two Southern California beer distributors, Brewbound reports. Previously, you could only get it as far west as Michigan and Indiana. That’s sorta good news for us in the North Bay – which is to say it merely raises the possibility that we might eventually see the brewery’s products up this way. For the moment, the beers won’t get north of Ventura County, but one… Read More »

Fresh Hop season arrives

Fall is fresh hop season, where brewers take the product of the harvest directly to the kettle. There is some debate about how much of a difference fresh hops make in terms of taste and aroma versus other options, such as using dried or pelletized hops, but there is no question that the offerings are popular with consumers and make for a fun seasonal beer. The latest annual fresh hop brew to arrive on the local scene is Dempsey’s, which… Read More »

Anything for a beer

Ok, Beer is good. And let’s face it, I would go a long way out of my way to acquire a good beer. But this guy perhaps went too far. The Marin Independent Journal reports that 18-year-old Cesar Montes of San Rafael was arrested Friday, accused of using a replica gun to take the beers from three men on Canal Street. No word on what kind of beer was involved, but I hope for Montes’ sake that it was good… Read More »

A weekend of beery fun

Here’s one more thing to do beerwise this weekend. In addition to the Oktoberfest event at Bergamot Alley I mentioned earlier this week, there’s the Second annual “Mowkeef Festival” at Anderson Valley up in Booneville on Saturday. The event celebrates the equinox and marks the release of the Mendo Mello fresh hop beer. The crew promises more rarities and fun stuff on tap. Slow Hand BBQ will serve up food and there will be a wings-and-beer consuming contest for the… Read More »

Welcome to Beer City?

  My colleague Kevin McCallum reports today on a new marketing campaign by the city of Santa Rosa to tout itself in major cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, and Portland in an effort to tell tourists that we’re about more than wine. One of the interesting elements is to informally brand Santa Rosa as “Beer City,” with a quick montage of images from Russian River Brewing, which is, as we all know, one of the hottest and most sought-after… Read More »

Russian River gets a Best Of nod. Again.

  Is there any accolade that Santa Rosa’s own Russian River Brewing has not received? Excepting perhaps a Nobel Peace Prize or a Pulitzer, it seems the answer is no. The brewery is at or near the top of everyone’s list, including our own Press Democrat Best Of awards, voted on by you the readers. So let’s add one more to the list of Russian River’s honors. The website Thrillist names Russian River best in California in its state-by-state look… Read More »

Oktoberfest season is upon us

One of the interesting things about Oktoberfest is that it really doesn’t happen in October, at least not mostly. Traditionally, the two-week Oktoberfest starts in mid-September and wraps up the first week in October. That means Oktoberfest is pretty much right now. If you can’t make it to Germany, there are plenty of ways to celebrate locally, though Americans tend mistakenly to shift their events into mid or late October, as you will see from the local lists. Here’s our… Read More »

A guide to homebrewing in under 2 minutes

Want to learn how to brew your own beer? Well, here’s a reasonable guide to the process in handy video format by an animator in New Zealand, all in less than two minutes. In a nutshell: get some malted grain, grind it up, add it to hot  water, hold it at a certain temperature for an hour, drain off the liquid, boil the liquid, add some hops while it boils, cool it down, put it in a tank and add… Read More »

Petaluma River Craft Beer Festival on Saturday

Fourteen local breweries will be on display Saturday at the Petaluma River Craft Beer Festival, from 1-6 p.m. on Water Street in downtown Petaluma. There will be food from a variety of area restaurants, and music by The Fossils, joined by some other local favorites. Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the door, including a souvenir glass and 10 tasting tickets. But nobody under 21 is allowed at any price. The event is sponsored by the Petaluma Area… Read More »

Water deal spells big expansion for Bear Republic

My colleague Clark Mason had an article over the weekend about a deal between the city of Cloverdale and Bear Republic Brewing that has big implications for the company and the craft brewing world in general. Because the city’s water supply is stretched thin at best, Bear Republic is stuck at making only around 65,000 barrels of beer, or about 2 million gallons, every year. That means that while similar standout breweries, such as Lagunitas, New Belgium and Oskar Blues,… Read More »

Sonoma County homebrewer gets national exposure

Sonoma County homebrewer Greg Haas is getting some attention for his “Bodega Bay Fog” recipe lately after San Leandro-based Williams Brewing, a well-known homebrew supply house, included it its “Customer Recipe Issue” of its seasonal catalog. It’s the first time since 1991 the company has included customer recipes in its catalog. Greg’s recipe is for a 10 gallon batch of a California Common, the generic name for the style defined by Anchor’s Steam Beer, a historic name that the brewery… Read More »

Wine Country brewers join Sierra Nevada fresh hop festival

Several prominent Wine Country brewers will be on hand Oct. 19 at Sierra Nevada’s first-ever “Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild Harvest Festival” in the hop garden at the Chico brewery. On tap are Lagunitas, Russian River, Marin Brewing, and Moylans, with more breweries possibly added later. They will join state and national standouts, including cult favorite Kern River and national players like Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing and Colorado’s New Belgium. The full list is worth a read because there are some… Read More »