AboutJustin Carter – PorchDrinking.com
Hello darkness, my old friend…San Franciso Beer week is here again. This celebrated week that runs February 1 – 10 is a collection of curated events, spanning multiple days, that celebrate craft beer and the craft beer community. We’ve rounded a handful events you don’t want to miss today and tomorrow.
We’re finally feeling the weather changes here in Northern California. It’s beautiful, and my favorite time of the year. Not only because of the crisp air, but because it’s now barleywine season. Don’t get me wrong, I can drink barleywine anytime of the year; however, it’s difficult to find someone to crush the strong stuff with in the middle of summer.
I attended the 25th annual barleywine festival at Toronado in San Francisco a few weeks ago. 50 taps flowing, sweaty bodies crowding the bar, and the smell of future hangovers filled the room; I was in heaven. Soon I was sampling with other malt enthusiasts. A ton of great and not-so-great examples of the sweet stuff were tried, but one was particularly delightful.
I just got back from a weekend of epic proportions. World class beer, informative talks, great music, new friends, and an impressive brewery tour. The Firestone Walker Invitational is definitely the ultimate beer festival every beer fanatic should experience. While …
As I write this, the Oakland Athletics are celebrating their 50th year in Oakland. Sadly I wasn’t able to make it to the game, but luckily I snagged a few cans of Green Collar. While the players were at Spring Training, an all-star team was brewing. Serious A’s fans, Altamont Beer Works and Mraz Brewing teamed up to create this home run of a pale ale.
With so many exciting events over the San Francisco Bay Area, I had to break it down regionally. Each day, I will highlight an event that I will either attend or wish I could. Sadly, I can’t be in two places at once.
I’ve been drinking a lot of imperial stouts. Unlike most, I believe every season is stout season. Luckily for me it’s February and I don’t get flak for drinking a 12% Russian imperial stout. The proliferation of adjuncts to the market has been interesting. Brewers adding coffee, vanilla, cocoa, peppers, mint, you name it. While fun for the palate, I still prefer an adjunct-free stout. Let that malt shine, those chocolate and coffee notes should develop alone. One favorite is Cavatica Stout from Fort George Brewing.
I’m going to start this off by saying I am not a fan of the holiday season. Suddenly, I’m expected to be merry and in good spirits, which is just not the way I work. Bribe me with a winter warmer and we might be able to talk, slip me an Imperial Stout and we will be best of friends. Like a lot of you, alcohol makes this season bearable. To quote National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, “I had a lot of help from Jack Daniels.”
I recently wrote about the division of IPAs that’s happening. New England style IPA against West Coast IPA, a real Biggie vs. Tupac situation. But now, Berkeley’s Fieldwork Brewing Co. comes along and unites the two with Hop & Glo.
Summer may be coming to a close but that doesn’t mean the temperature has let up. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area we’ve been bombarded with unseasonably stifling heat and sticky high humidity. This has meant that light beer has been a major staple in my refrigerator. Lagers, pilsners, session IPAs, and Gose are not normally in my wheelhouse but I’ve come to appreciate their low alcohol crushability.
Remember the coastal rap rivalry of the 90s? Well, Tupac and Biggie’s beef is being resurrected. Instead of fresh beats and dope lyrics, craft beer lovers are squabbling over fresh hops and hazy juices. If you’ve been on social media recently, you’ve undoubtedly seen that a line has been drawn. Hop heads still prefer the dank resinous West Coast style IPAs well known for their outrageous IBUs; However, the New England IPA is a little more complex, yet subtler, then to be expected. Most of these “juice bombs” sport intense fruit flavors, soft mouth feel and a much sweeter finishing flavor. You could say that West Coast is the rougher, bitter, more “gangsta” of the two, whereas the New England style is the softer, easier drinking, almost hip-hop of the two.