I've decided to try something new. I've been trying to figure out how to share the great libations that I enjoy each week. Bill has exceptional taste in beer and wine and manages to sniff out the most interesting local (and not-local-but-small-scale-equally-awesome) drinks to pair with our weekly culinary adventures.
It seems distracting to highlight the tasty drinks that are in the background of my cooking and baking. It's difficult to interrupt the cooking/baking story. Besides, a brief inserted sentence and photo wouldn't do these great finds justice. Don't get me wrong: there is not always drinking happening. Why would you think that?!
So, this is the first installment of Libation Weekly.
This week we made our first trip to Healthy Spirits in San Francisco. Never been? Get yourself there! If you don't like bourbon or beer, go for the aaahhmaazinggg hummus and other made-with-love Middle Eastern fare (I also recommend the za'atar spice mix). The owner, Rami, is friendly, helpful and highly knowledgeable. The shop is packed with a huge selection of high-quality beer and bourbon, but despite the small size of the shop and huge volume of choice, it's easy to navigate.
We picked up the Tanilla from Knee Deep Beer Company here. Two Tortugas was a treat Bill snagged from BevMo.
With the cold weather, we've turned to big, dark beers. Tis the season. Thank goodness there are so many amazing beers to fit the bill. These are great beers to share, too --just another way to get into the holiday spirit! I tend to drink my beer slowly and the nice thing about a darker beer is that it develops flavor as it warms up a bit, so it's ok if it takes a little while to sip it.
How creative is this: it's Karl Strauss' Brewing Company's San Diego-style ode to the Twelve Days of Christmas: instead of two turtle doves, it's the two sea turtles. Last year was the first installment with a Parrot in a Palm Tree. Ok, a sweet name, a beautiful label... but how's the beer? Honestly, I'm not much of Belgian beer fan. I don't like the musky-ness, the sourness. But I really like this one. It's a good, big beer for sipping, with a nice maltyness, a richness, smooth. Not a traditional dark beer, but still big and bold. It can be aged to develop more of those caramely flavors and deepen the spiciness. But it's great now.
Knee Deep's Tanilla actually didn't have quite the vanilla flavor I had hoped for. It's a solid, decent porter, but not what we expected. Tasty and local, but not something I'd go out of my way to find again. If you are in the Bay Area and see this, give it a try, though -- Knee Deep is in Belmont.