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Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Friday, Surprisingly, I'll Never Forget


Friday February 5th and SF BEER WEEK had officially started. It was obvious that I had already started in on the celebrations, so why stop. My friends Rick and Brent met up with me at the 21st Amendment for more STRONG BEER TASTING and punches on my 2nd punch card. Brent and I had just come from burgers at Burger Joint, which, by the way, is one of the best burgers in town. My favorite location will always be the original on Valencia by 19th Street. The grill over there just makes them burgers taste so juicy. I remember in my fatter days, when I first moved here, I would order 2 and go home to my apartment and watch the original Melrose Place while completely pigging out. These days Burger Joint has expanded in locations and I have trimmed on how many burgers I eat. But that day was just screaming to consume beer and my taste buds were perking for a little Blind Lust. It was that and the Hop Crisis. Oh, and Lower De Boom that set us off for a crazy afternoon. They were certainly STRONG enough to us 3 big guys who were a bit loopy when we left the Brewery.

That night consisted of more drinking at Range with friends Ron, Chris and Bill. Since there were 4 of us, I think we must have tackled most of the menu. My first cocktail, the Side Dish, was a big hit. It had Torres 10 yr Brandy, Allspice Dram, Grand Marnier, Cranberry, Egg White and Lemon. I B Lined it for my 2nd round with Bulleit Bourbon, Lillet, Bergamot, Honey and Bitters. Bring it on me!!! And if that weren't enough, I became a Bitter Maestro for round 3. That consisted of Russell's Reserve Rye, Amaro Nonino, Apple Jack Brandy, Dubonnet and Pomegranate. They were my kind of drinks. And and we ate too. I remember now. We shared things like their raw dayboat scallops with pickled beets, satsuma mandarins and orach. Fantastic! I loved my petrale sole with trumpet mushroom chowder, portuguese cabbage and parsley puree. The think all the guys ordered the pan roasted bavette steak with barley, turnips, roasted scallions and horseradish sauce. I mean, how could you not? Just writing it makes me drool. But the showstoppers might have been those chestnut crepes with moyer and mariposa plums, chocolate-honey gelato and armagnac. Somebody stop me!! We also were pleasantly pleased by the butterscotch pudding with whipped cream, vanilla wafers and toffee.

I basically peeled myself off the floors of Range and wandered into the Castro for a 440 Castro Walkthrough. And walk through I did and out the door after one BIG DADDY. I walked all way up to Noe Valley and stopped Outer Mission side, toward Bernal, at Front Porch, to see what they had up their sleeves. My friends Blake and Karri were closing up and yelled "Action!" as I walked in the front door. After getting hugs all around I rewarded my long journey from the Castro with so more STRONG BEER. I'm amazed too, by the way, as I recall this stacked day of boozing. And to tell you the whole truth, I know I tried all 5 beers on their menu. First up, On The Cask, Speakeasy-Triple Daddy with 11% ABV. WHOOOOO-WEE!! and HOT DANG!! It was then onto the Merkin, the Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin Oatmeal Stout from Paso Robles (5.8% ABV). Its Bourbon Barrel Aged and so chocolaty. Brown and Tan, 2 great colors to look at in a glass. And super smooth to drink with just the right kick of hop. I was a PRANQSTER after that from the folks at North Coast Brewery. This Golden Belgian is a local star at Pi alot and clocks in around 7.6% ABV. 8.25% ABV, Drakes Triple Belgian was my next encounter. This Triple is aged in Pinot Noir barrel for 2 years. WHAT?! ratebeer.com describes it as, "unblended, unspiked with Brett, yet extremely sour imparted from the barrel itself." I would have to agree on the sour but oh so hoppy I was. I mean it's name is George Brett Triple. Hello? One of my childhood heroes. I think his baseball card(s) are in my garage. One final beer, was my last call. That was SF BREWERS GUILD IMPERIAL COMMON (8.2% ABV). "A lager fermented in SF's ambient temperature...beautiful, copper-colored, aged in St George Spirits whiskey barrels." Oh yeah it was...

I remember that it was raining and I remember that my good friend Karri gave me an umbrella. I live inches away from the Porch, so it was not too difficult. I made it through my front door and dried up for the night.

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