Nosh Box: Ten Days a Week in February
Here’s a guide for to how to drink your way through Beer Week.
Russian River Brewing
Twelve years old, 10 days long, and featuring more than 100 events in five Bay Area counties — including many in the East Bay — Beer Week celebrates an anniversary this month. The events promise larger, more detailed, and varied demonstrations of the brewers’ art, Feb. 7-16. Producers claim local brewers “… have brainstormed with bands, artists, restaurants, community groups, as partners for Beer Week.”
February may be the dankest month, but the hops are hopping, as the wort heats up in Oakland and beyond. Forty-three breweries, brewpubs — plus Admiral Malting — comprise the East Bay association, the Bay Area’s Brewers Guild. See DrinkBayBeer.com/eb/breweries. And that’s not all of them, because the listing omits many non-members.
Key East Bay Brewers and Events
• Marin Brewing at The Beer Baron — You can order by the glass at an all-day event on Feb. 15, from Family Tree, at 5900 College Ave., including “Meet the Brewers” from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Look for beers from the brewing programs influenced by those trained at Marin Brewing Company and award-winning brewmaster Arne Johnson, known as a “brewer’s brewer.” Expect offerings from Cellarmaker, Woods, Half Moon Bay Temescal, Henhouse, and others to honor his inspiration.
• The 20th Double IPA Festival — This event kicks off Feb. 8 at The Bistro in Hayward, with more than 100 Double- and Triple-IPAs on tap. It’s where Russian River Brewing Co. debuted Pliny the Younger, the world’s original triple-IPA. This beer competition culminates in an awards ceremony, replete with live music, food trucks, and complimentary cheese tasting from noon to 3:30 p.m., all for $70 or $90 for early VIP access. It all happens at 1001 B St., a short walk from Hayward BART.
• The Brewer vs. Brewer Dinner — On Feb. 10, Drake’s Dealership brewmaster John Gillooly and HenHouse brewmaster Collin McDonnell present their beer pairings, course-by-course, to chef Taylor’s five-course prix fixe menu. The $89 tab includes the five-course meal, nine beer pairings, brews during the mingling hour, private dining, and open discussions with the brewers at Brewervbrewer-sfbw2020.eventbrite.com. Once tickets go live, Drake’s and HenHouse will release a special-bitter collaboration beer for this dinner.
Conceived on Davis Street in San Leandro, where the Barrel House now sits, Drakes Brewing continues evolving and expanding, with the Dealership in downtown Oakland, and Drake’s Barn, along the river in West Sacramento’s Bridge District.
• Sour Sunday — There’re no sour grapes for sour beer or sour hops for that matter. Sourness comes from introduction of wild yeast strains or bacteria into the brew. At Jupiter and Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse in downtown Berkeley, come rain or shine for five hours, starting at noon on Feb. 8. People can enjoy the Bay Area’s premier exhibition of sour and barrel-aged beers. For a decade, this festival celebrates extraordinary and unique beers from more than 60 of the world’s finest sour-beer brewers. Tickets are $35-$100. More info at SourSunday.com; Triple Rock, 1920 Shattuck Ave., and Jupiter, 2181 Shattuck Ave.
• Changing Face of Craft Brewers — Some nearby stalwarts have been ousted from the craft brewing fraternity, either because they produced too much beer, or sold more than a 25 percent interest to a major brewer. Among those excommunicated are Elysian Brewing of Seattle, San Diego’s Ballast Point, as well as Lagunitas Brewing of Petaluma. As we go to press, the Haight’s Magnolia Brewing awaits loss of craft status pending final approval of its parent New Belgium Brewing’s acquisition by a Kirin subsidiary.
And the granddaddy of them all, San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing is now owned by Sapporo of Japan. But thanks to brewmaster Scott Ungermann’s steady hand on the tiller, Anchor beers maintain a familial note that harkens back to their roots, despite a change in ownership, and the addition of seasonal brews with new ingredients.
Brewers’ Lingo: A Glossary of Beer Terms
Ale — A brew with top-fermenting yeast, normally darker and thicker than lager.
Lager — A bottom-fermented brew, clear and light. “Beer” and “lager” are often used interchangeably.
Pilsner — A kind of pale lager.
Stout — A dark ale. Popular variations include porter and imperial stout.
IPA — India Pale Ale, a light-colored beer, somewhat bitter, usually with a higher alcohol and hops content. Originally brewed in an era before refrigeration to withstand the scorching voyage from Great Britain to colonial India without spoiling.
Bock — Strong dark beer brewed in the fall then drunk in the spring
Sour beer — Beer with an intentionally acidic, tart, or sour taste through introduction of wild yeast strains or bacteria into the brew.
Session beer — Low alcohol brew, usually less than 5 percent alcohol by volume; suitable for drinking over an extended period.
Malt — A grain — usually barley — that has been soaked, germinated, and dried, for brewing.
Wort — A liquid produced from malt and hot water, which can be fermented to make beer.
Hops — Flowers used as a bittering and stabilizing agent in beer, producing flavors and aromas.
Dry hopped — Adding dry hops into an already fermented brew. Although they become wet, they are not boiled in the wort, preserving their volatile aromatics.
Craft brewer — In America, a small brewer making 6 million barrels of beer or less annually and independent, with less than 25 percent ownership by a non-craft brewer.