I didn’t finish my observations on the 2011 CBC from San Francisco – and didn’t get to mention a few other notably cool things Beer Appreciators may enjoy to hear about.
The second night of the conference Anchor Steam and Lagunitas (just putting them together is so cool) bought out the Fillmore as a free musical event for all attendees. I got to wander around, eat some great catered food, access all the Anchor Steam and Lagunitas beer I wanted (I left before it ran out, I hear that was not fun)… And got to see Richard Thompson and his band.
For those of you that have been to the Fillmore, seen all the posters, felt the vibe of the Dead, etc. it’s really an amazing thing. Of course, being around my age makes it a bit more relevant. Stanley Mouse was there, drawing a “Rat Fink” with a beer in his hand, and if you don’t know about Mouse – creater of so many great rock posters of the 60’s and 70’s you may want to check him out.
Grabbed a cab back to the hotel with a nice couple – that turned out to include the founder/brewmaster of Starr Hill Brewing of Virginia – Mark Thompson, we talked about his new brew for Jefferson’s Monticello using authentic ingredients. He even covered the taxi fare! Beer people are really just cool.
Ended up my stay in SF visiting Anchor Steam – this had been a huge void in my brewery visitation history – considering especially that Anchor Steam beer was my first craft beer which woke me up and started this path of beer appreciation for some 20 plus years. Had a really great tour – starting with the tasting room, going through the entire place.
I talked with my Brewer’s assistant/guide about the fact that they cooled their beer in large flat stainless open tanks (that’s the “steam thing” – the evaporation) and how they insisted that they brought in outside San Francisco air – and likely some local wild yeast to add to the brew. I asked about how their beer was “flash pasteurized” and if that was perceived by craft beer purest as less than Kosher. Our guide/brewers assistant said – we are “clean” and the beer is great, said that he’d tried the beer before and after pasteurization – and couldn’t taste much difference. I can’t argue with my original favorite brew – that would be just wrong.
You can attend next year’s CBC like I did – and visit the great breweries in the Northern California area – but you have to join the Craft Brewers Association first. Well worth it, in my view, and hey you might just learn something you didn’t appreciate about craft brewing – and have a great time as well.