Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Magnolia's Pub & Brewery

Last week I was in San Francisco for a conference. The conference didn't start until Tuesday night, so my wife and I decided to travel out there early and take a few days to see the city. It was my first time there, so there were a lot of things I wanted to see like Alcatraz, Fishermans Wharf, Ghiradeli's Chocolate, Lombard Street and most of all the Haight Ashbury district.

I don't consider myself, nor have I ever, a Dead Head. I do like the Dead and even saw them when I was in high school down at Madison Square Garden. (Great show by the way). But this is a place where you can trace the historical significance back to specific period of time where an event or events happened. The 60's San Francisco music was that period of time, and the Dead where that "Thing" that makes this place famous!

About a year ago, there was an article I read inside All About Beer and a brewpub called Magnolia's Pub & Brewery. It talked about the great vibe, great beers and great location! Being that I was in that location, I had to stop by and check it out! We arrived a little early that day since we had a bunch of places to see. We killed some time by walking Haight street and grabbed a seat at the bar when it opened.

November was deemed "Belgian" month in the San Fran beer scene. Both Magnolia's and the 21st Amendment had predominantly Belgian beers available, with of course others. I started with their newest beer at the suggestion of the bartender, Destiny Unblonde. It was a Belgian Pale Ale and was very tastey. Unfortunately I didn't write anything down so no official review (until I go back and get more). The beer was a beutiful straw gold color and had a fruity taste and aroma to it. Very drinkable!

Next was the Deep Elem Dubbel. Again, no notes but it was a darker amber color with some raisony aroma and flavor! This was everything I'd imagined a Dubbel should taste like! Those, unfortunately, were the only two beers I had. We had to depart and get through the rest of the sites we wanted to see. I thought about trying to come back later in the week, but being with work folks and being at a work conference made it very difficult.

I will definitely make it back to San Fran and I know that this will be a place I spend some more time at. If you're ever in San Francisco, I highly recomend that you check out Magnolia's!!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

San Francisco

So I'm out in San Francisco for a work conference this week. Salesforce.com runs a user conference every year and it is an amazing show. Tonight they had a concert which featured the Black Crowes. Yeah, that's right.......the Black Crowe!! And.....it was free......AND, it was open bar!!! Wow!!

So, what does this have to do with beer? Well, they had a great selection. I mean, we're in San Fran so naturally there is some good beer locally. Anchor brewery, Magnolia's, 21st Amendment are some big names here in town. And, about 3.5 hrs away is Sierra Nevada. So, needless to say, they had some good beer served at the show.

My wife and I decided to come out a few days early and she was a trooper. She obliged as we went down to Haight Ashbury and scoped out the "scene" there. I'm a Dead fan so this is like Mecca!! Then we went to Magnolia's. A GREAT brewery restaurant right on Haight street. Its been writen about in All About Beer magazine so I felt I had to go.

I only had two beers. My wife had their Root Beer, which in her words was "AWESOME", and I had a sip or two and had to agree. They make a Root Beer and another fruit soda that escapes me at the moment (hey, I just left a crowes show...throw me a bone).

This week at Magnolias was Belgian week so they featured Belgian beers. I started with there Unblonde. Light colored, spicy/fruity aroma and taste. It reminded me of a mix between a german hefe and a belgian woit. Very good beer!!

Second waas the Dubbel. Cramel colpor and taste. Some alcohol warmth although I'm not sure why as it only came in under 7% (I think....hey, I'm foing this from memory).

Overall, it was awesome. We also got an order of fries (Pom Frittes as Jay Brookes calls them) and they were out of thid world. If your ever in San Fran, I highly recomend Magnolia's.

Cheers....here's to hpping the rest of this conference is as good as the first day!!!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Odds and Ends

Boy, do I need to brew some beer!!!! My last batch was back in September. I brewed my Winter Spiced ale for this year. I'm changing it up. For starters, I brew it will all grain. Second, I'm not going to dry spice it this year with cinnamon sticks. I thought the cinnamon in last years batch was very overpowering and I really want to make sure the beer is what stands out, not the cinnamon. I still have 4 bottles from last years batch, so I'll do a side-by-side when this years batch is bottled and ready!

A little off topic, but a cause of why I have not been brewing, I just renovated my bathroom! This was a full renovstion, down to the studs and I did the vast majority my self, with the exception of the plumbing and electrical work. It is almost 100% complete which will be nice. We have a 110 year old home, so when you do these types of projects, there are always issues. We had many....which caused all the delays. I was planning on being done this past sunday, and then I was going to have 2 brew sessions this week after work, but this delays/issues keep piling up!! So, I'll brew soon enough!

Next up is 2 batches of Belgian Tripel. It was a big hit, so I'm going to brew a lot of it and trade it with some friends for some random things. This should be fun! I also think I'm going to brew up my brown session ale. I've been really craving some session beers lately, but all I have are the belgian tripels and some bigger IPA's. This isn't neccesarily an issue, but when you swill 4-5 of them you definitely feel it in the morning, which IS an issue!!

With the renovation of the bathroom, we rented a dunpster for all the demo. This allowed us to clean out the basement, which was long overdue. It was clutered with things we bought or collected over the years and have no use for. With this new found space, I'm going to try and carve out a space so I can brew down there in the winter. I'm not sure if it's a good idea or not to brew with a propane burner indoors, but I think if I do it by the door and have the door open, I'll have the proper ventilation I need to make everything ok. Besides, I've seen plenty of people in BYO or Zymurgy who have propane setups in their basements and it seems to be fine. We shall see!