Friday, January 16, 2009

Localize it, pt. 2 - SF Beer Week buddies

Something happened yesterday, something unplanned, unexpected, and for lack of a better description, something completely unintended. This dainty little blog turned four years old. And of the manifold benefits we reaped this past year, persisting to document some sort of beer tasting thought diary experiment, was the explosive array of new acquaintances we made. While we managed a marked return to our homebrewing experimentation (a discussion I'll save for this Friday), and likewise managed to get our hands on some pretty thought-provoking, sought-after bottles as well, but what was truly unique about this past year was the motley collection of wiseacres we came into regular communication with, transforming this formerly insular little notepad into a place where commentary, insight, and interplay came into the game.

That said, SF Beer Week is nearly upon us, and along with it, as luck would have it, a number of folks I've had the distinct pleasure of getting to know be just happen to be involved in hosting events under auspices of the golden Beer Week banner. Whereas the focus of these events might deviate from "the local", what with Belgian and German beers and whatnot, the sheer number of hardworking individuals - mostly bloggers, no less - organized here in the cause of raising an appreciation of fine beer in the Bay Area speaks volumes about the groundswell influence of local individuals. Where there have been obvious comparisons between SF Beer Week and it's relative Philly Beer Week, one could argue that our East Coast competitor is by the breweries and for the beer, whereas ours is for the people and by the people. In chronological order:

- Mario from Brewed for Thought has organized an Introduction to Belgian Ales at Alpha Sigma Phi on the UC Berkeley campus on Friday, February 5, along with a "meet the brewer" event with Tim Goeppinger of Sonoma Springs Brewing Company on Tuesday, February 10. A fellow member of BABB, Mario's a chatty, knowledgeable guy who fosters a pretention-free appreciation of craft beer, and who would be the perfect guide for someone who'd otherwise be turned off by a snobby introduction to arguably the world's greatest brewing culture.

- Chris and Meredith from have organized a German Beer Tasting at Rosie's Cracker Barrel in Carmel Valley on Saturday, February 7 at 2:00 p.m. Last summer I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with the two of them while they were visiting Iron Springs on their way up to the Santa Rosa Brewing Festival. Good folks with a serious appreciation for German beer (which I've always found a little sadly lacking in the craft beer circles), Chris and Meredith are well-traveled and well-versed, certain to use what they've learned in their time in Germany to provide some excellent insight on some overlooked styles. 

- Peter and Sammy from BetterBeerBlog are hosting a Beer & Dessert Tasting Event at Wine Affairs in San Jose on the evening of Monday, February 9. As many folks have been vocal about the decrepit state of craft beer on the Peninsula, this couple has resolved to be a part of the solution, trying to carve out an oasis of brewing appreciation with their beer dinners and pairing adventures. With keen perception on the nuances of beer tasting, they've been boldly creative in finding ways to bring beer to the table alongside all manner of foods. And dessert is, after all, the best course.

- Jesse from Beer & Nosh is presenting a beer dinner benefiting the San Fransisco Food Bank on Wednesday, February 11, hosted by Scala's Bistro. One of the local beer and food documenters that I just happen to run into more often than not, Jesse's a true gourmand of the local scene, and definitely the guy you want with a camera in hand when you're trying to show off. This dinner, subbed "New American Food and New American Beer", with a menu designed and executed by hotshot chef Jen Biesty, looks to be everything you'd want in a presentation that really showcases the elevated status and versatility of the new craft beer scene in this country.

- Sean Paxton is teaming up with Firestone Walker and Toronado for a beer dinner at the Peacock Lounge on Thursday, February 12.

It will be insane.

This last one is of a little more personal importance to me as I'll be donating the services of my delicate, lily-white hands to the man better known as The Homebrew Chef in his kitchen, a position garnered solely through the illusion I've cast as having some idea of how to find my way around a cutting board. We'll just see if I can pull that off. (If you see a bearded, bloodied man running back and forth across Haight Street that evening, there's a one-in-ten chance it's me.) It's a thrilling opportunity to get my hands dirty (after washing them!) in an arena in which we've always itched to dabble.

There ought to be a Pfiff! sponsored event, I suppose. Maybe next year? Or maybe something wild and impromptu will happen on the 8th, with the assistance of my four year-old nephew. On second thought, maybe the 13th would be better. But don't wait up. If you're attending events at this year's Beer Week, make a point of coming to some of these events, as they seem to define, as a group, what beer means to the current indie-by-way-of-foodie generation of the Bay Area.

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Blogger gail said...

Bravo, Rob. Nice post.

Maybe the SF Beer Week blogger touch you mention -- which is vivid -- is all part of being on the edge of the pacific plate out here, as far as you can go by land into the new world. West Coast traditions often have a touch of barely balanced dynamic anarchy.

Congrats on the chopping gig, it will be amazing to be part of that event. Looking forward to hearing the stories and seeing the pix.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Mario (Brewed for Thought) said...

Sorry to burst your bubble Rob, but all Belgian beers quaffed on the 6th will be drunk exclusively with pinky extended to the sky. For an after party, those who might make it to the Trappist may run into me, possibly sporting an ascot.

Also, I am attempting to secure a second event at the Toad in the Hole, hopefully a Torpedo Extra IPA release party with something on the handpump. We'll see.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Thanks for the plug, Rob. I've always been a bit envious of your writing style. I should have you write up all my future event descriptions, ha!

1:41 PM  

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