Dandelions, Wine, and Beer

An Alameda wine shop is reborn as part of the specialty beer revolution, and a French-inspired boutique puts fine flowers and gifts within reach.


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Karim Preuss creates beautiful floral arrangements at Dandelion, also a gift shop.

Megan Small

 

When you want to know the story behind your drink, come to CRAFT Beer & Wine. Owners Russell Rasmussen and Dan Marshall know more than a thing or two about their crafts and can expertly discuss how your beer and wine were made and who makes them. They can also recommend food pairings for each brand, and much more.

In recent years, craft beer has grabbed the limelight in the beverage industry. As a result, interesting local and international brewers have been creative in making tasty beers. For instance, oak barrels formerly used to store zinfandel and chardonnay are now used to barrel-age beers, including Old Prospector ($14.99 for a 22-ounce bottle) from Auburn Alehouse and Calabaza Blanca ($6.99 per 12-ounce bottle), an artisanal white ale by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales.

Wine lovers will toast to Marshall’s expanded selection of European wines, especially from Greece and Italy. Marshall, who ran the former Du Vin Fine Wines at the same location for 12 years, gets to know the wines he sells by personally visiting and meeting the families who own and run wineries of the region. Most wines range from $9 to $20 per bottle, but CRAFT carries specialty bottles and offers 375 different wines. Keep an eye out for wines from Bulgaria in the coming months. Marshall’s latest trip to the region as a wine-tasting judge gave him the opportunity to bring some of the highlights to Alameda.

The store also boasts temperature-controlled beer coolers that regulate the selection of 350 beers stored between the mid-40 to mid-50 degrees, as intended by the brewers. Stop in for advice on beer, ciders, and wines for parties, events, tailgating, or picnics.

Summer favorites by Rasmussen include Port Brewing by Hop 15 Ale ($8.50 per 22-ounce bottle) and Evil Twin Bikini Beer, a light Indian pale ale ($2.25 per 12-ounce can) by Evil Twin Brewing. Marshall recommends light, crisp, and fresh wines, such as Aveleda Vinho Verde ($8.99) from Portugal and 14-18 by Gaia ($17.99), a fruity Rosé from Greece.

2526 Santa Clara Ave. A, 510-769-9463, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat.; find CRAFT Beer & Wine on Facebook.

 

What started as delicate and charming flower bunches sold outside select stores around Alameda has blossomed into one of the Island’s best-known places for gorgeous flower arrangements and gifts. Dandelion Flower Shop, formerly Red Poppy and now located in the Park Street Plaza, conveys a French-country-cottage-store-meets-modern-loft-vibe. Owner Karim Preuss continues to create Instagram-worthy floral arrangements for events and special occasions, or for people who need to feel uplifted by a fresh and affordable bouquet. Deliveries are now available outside of Alameda, and accompanying gifts, such as scented candles or jewelry, can also be delivered with the flowers.

Trinkets we can’t keep our hands off include aqua-colored bud vases ($15) and adorable wool-felted animal branch decorations ($11.50) by Roost, and totes and T-shirts with classic book cover designs ($20–$50) by Out of Print, a company that donates a book to an African community in need for every item sold. The store continues to carry sumptuous cashmere and silk clothing and scarves, and unique flower holders, cards, and stationery. The website now offers online ordering and delivery and sign-ups for events, such as high-end floral design, wreath creation, and floral-crown making in May.

Preuss plans to offer future workshops that bring together different generations who share a love of flowers to work on a seasonal project, such as grandmother-mother-daughter vase and flower arranging or air-plant terrarium displays.

1419 Park St., Suite D, 510-388-2215, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Tue.-–Wed., 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Thu.–Sat., 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun., www.DandelionFlowershop.com.

 

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