San Francisco to Santa Rosa
The morning started with a ferry ride from Oakland to San Francisco and one of the first proper coffees in ten days.. Magic.
First up we took a step back in time and visited the Anchor Brewery. A fairly large operation of an almost Willy Wonker character.
Ancient copper kettles covered in all sorts of taps and hoses and dials, some of which are no longer required, but still used, for traditions sake.
The hop room was fantastic, all cones no pellets. And a massive open vat fermenting room used for their flagship product the Steam Ale.
Other than being the pioneer for Steam Beer they also have the oldest continuously brewed, American examples of Porter and Barley wine.
This is pretty much the birthplace of U.S. craft brewing. We had a quick chat with Mark Carpenter - Assistant Brewmaster, who had been at the brewery for decades! He had recently visited Oz and had just made a beer called the Humming Ale using the NZ Nelson Sauvin hop....a good solid beer which represented the hop variety very well.
After checking the Apple store for the elusive iPad (sold out...again) we went on to have lunch with Jaime Jurado (Trumer Pils) and his colleague Lars Larson (Master Brewer - Trumer Pils). We slammed down some fine fish taco's and a couple of Burritos which punctuated a serious discussion about beer academia. It doesn't get much more serious than fish taco serious.
The guys from Trumer Pils were brilliant hosts and we thank Jaime, Lars and Darren Moser (also of Trumer Pils).
Anchor is the symbol of the birth of U.S. craft beer, our next stop, Russian River in Santa Rosa, is recognised at being at the forefront. A range of 18 taps (only one guest beer), Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary, which we hope to have at the brewery in Chico tomorrow). One seasonal and 16 house brews means that the 17 two Oz. tasting flight is a long and tasty way to learn.
calzones and pizza's but we had to restrain ourselves for fear of overload on carbs. The antipasto was a bit lack luster, nothing more than a selection of pizza toppings thrown on a plastic plate. Not a worthy for Pliny the Elder.
Above: Antipasto plate at Russian River
We have had some great food over here. Some beer bars have had better fare than others. What is increasingly obvious is that food shares the limelight. A good example is Magnolias in San Francisco.
Below: Charcuterie and cheese plate at Magnolias