SF BEER WEEK, February 6th-15th: The city, North, South, and East Bay breweries represent.

As all my yarn weary friends can attest, I’m proud of bay area brewing history. Fritz Maytag and his San Fran Anchor Steam brewery hold a hallowed place in my heart.  Many quaffs of his magnificent common beer, with its fruity lager-fermented-ale-temp  finish and northern brewer subtle hop theatrics, make it all the more unbelievable that before he came along and worked his ass off, the brewery’s name was synonymous with sour swill.  Similarly, I will tell anyone with in drunken shouting distance of the storied New Albion brewery of Sonoma,  early hero of homebrewing, and bold masterbrewer, Jack Macauliffe, who constructed a handbuilt palace of ale fabrication before having to go under due to being too ahead of his time.

My point is this —  San Francisco beer fans need to grow a pair and attend the upcoming SF Beer Week. A small peek at the calendar will make you midwesterners and east coasters, so proud of your well-marketed “extreme” beers, cower at our west coast brewing heritage and present day bounty.  Have you been to the Toronado? Are you man enough for the annual Bistro Double IPA festival? Show your colors, motherfucka’, cuz this shit is on!

Founder of New Albion Brewery, Jack Macluiffe

Founder of the fabled New Albion Brewery, Jack Macauliffe

One more slightly related SF beer history note:

I challenge though hardest-hearted-homophobe-beer-lover not to shed a tear or get their (I’ll apologize in advance) ‘heartstrings’ yanked when watching the queers of Castro boycott Coors and pour that piss down the gutter  in the recent Harvey Milk documentary.

You can bet your ass I’ll be there.

From the SF BEER WEEK website: America’s craft beer movement began in the San Francisco Bay Area. With Anchor Brewing’s rescue by Fritz Maytag in 1965 and the founding of New Albion Brewing in 1976, craft beer grew into the Silver Age of American brewing, with over 1400 small craft breweries today. Northern California alone has more than most states and enjoys an unrivaled reputation for the quality and diversity of its craft beer.

SF BEER WEEK will be a ten-day celebration of that legacy, showcasing the Bay Area’s brewing heritage with as many as 150 events. The week will be anchored by the Bistro Double IPA Festival, the Toronado Barleywine Festival and will end with a bang at the Celebrator’s Best of the West Beer Fest. In between there will be beer dinners, cheese and beer pairing events, other gourmet food events savoring our world-class cuisine, meet the brewer evenings, homebrewing demonstrations, music, films, and even a museum exhibition exploring the history of Bay Area brewing, from Monterey to Sacramento and beyond.

Add to that a wealth of tourist destinations like Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, Cable Cars and the Golden Gate Bridge, and there’s never been a better time to visit San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Jeremy Fish paints San Francisco History of my Beer Dreams

Jeremy Fish Paints the San Francisco History of my Beer Dreams


Pop Skull, Brainchild of the 3 Dogfishhead Syndicate

Following the compelling lead of such lauded dreamteam superband collaborators as  Duke Ellington, Max Roach, and Charles Mingus, Harlem Globetrotters and the Scooby Doo Gang, Hot Chip and Robert Wyatt, Huey Lewis and Gwenyth Paltrow,  to name a paltry few — Sam Caglione of Dogfishead and Nick Floyd of 3 Floyds Breweries have joined forces to produce an experimental voltron beer. Just when you and your  Dark Lord worshipping friends were deciding not to wait in line for and horde for future ebay glory and beer advocate credibility, the beer of your dreams comes true.

It’s called Popskull, and according to Beernews.org, it’s an “Old School, German Brown Ale with Palo Santo Wood and Botanicals. 60 barrels of Popskull will be distributed in limited release around the time of DarkLord Day 2K9.”

As well as riding the “extreme” beer craze to its Silver Surfer zenith in the sky, bound for some Galactus gobbling apocalypse, Popskull nips at the heels of Hvedegoop, 2008’s 3 Floyd collaborative wheatwine released around DarkLord Day that took took home a silver medal in 2008’s Chicago Beer Society Brewpub Shootout, and answers the prayers of beer starved geeks everywhere.

I swore I’d heard the word Popskull before, so of course, after checking my Urban Dictionary, I learned that given this beer’s pedigree, the name is what we used to call “ironic”.


Waiting in Line at Dark Lord Day '69

With Popskull’s limited release and noble parentage, it’ll inevitably be tres chic to hate on this beer as overrated, expensive, not worth waiting in line, yadda yadda, objections which will indubitably turn out to be true. Nevertheless, I for one, am way down for the hype, and am waiting with baited breath and thirsty tongue for my promotional copy in the mail. (Don’t worry, I’ll put a torrent of it on Pirate Bay.) I have to admit, one of the cooler things about our mulifangled American craft brewing culture is the open source, no rules attitude exemplified by this project. Sam Caglione,  Nick Floyd,  Obama: Yes We Can…

Those stuffy German breweries would never be a part of such an abomination. It’s been a couple thousand years and I am willing to bet my dark lord ticket it’ll be another couple thousand before Weihenstephaner and Spaten get bed together to make a baby for the beer-loving public’s voyeuristic pleasure.

Historically, brewing tends to be a tyrant’s game, each brewmaster their own little dictator, free to spit invectives at each other under their breath. Pre and post-prohibition lore is rife with tales of winner-take-all brewery wars and extinct libations we can only dream about. Fuck that. Get me a ticket to the Popskull orgy.

Of course, I’ll fuck anything aged in Palo Santo wood, so what do I know?


Windell Is Also Surprised That People Drink Miller High Life Light

Miller High Life and its  working class hero, supposedly lovable delivery dude,  Windell Middlebrooks, are going to be running one-second long advertisements during the SuperBowl. You’ll remember his cherubic chocolate features from such feel good High Life commercials as “Hey rich whitey, you are charging too much for beer. That’s just wrong. I’m giving it back to people with integrity” as well as some of the better Hannah Montana episodes.

A  30-second commercial typically costs $3 million during the Super Bowl, making the one-second ads something akin $100,000. I’m guessing the commercial will have something to do with how the economy is forcing Windell to buy only a thirtieth of a Super Bowl commercial, and we can relate to that because we are poor.

One second will be long enough to make me thirsty, I guess. I wonder if he’ll take his shirt off.

Either way, I’ll never understand why Miller High Life abandoned the incredibly moving commercial spots directed by Errol Morris. Tear.

Reuters announced today that Japan’s Asahi Breweries LTd., furthering the trend of recent intergalactic beer company consolidation, is going to buy nearly twenty percent of China’s Tsingtao Brewery from InBev for 667 million, that is until Reuter’s realized that they made a big mistake and prompty changed the “m” in million to a “b”. Lord knows, Asahi and Tsingtao taste the same anyhow, so I’m not sure any beer drinker cares. I was always get a Sapporo when eating sushi anyway and pretty much stay away from Chinese Beer entirely, that is unless my local asian fish-market superstore is chucking twelve-pack of cans for $4.99.

Chinese Beer Drinkers Demonstrate How Much Tsingtao They Have to Drink to Get Buzzed

Chinese Beer Drinkers Demonstrate How Much Tsingtao They Have to Drink to Get Buzzed