Beer week speeds on towards the Celebrator Beer News 25th Anniversary Party, which we’ll attend for sure on Sunday. More about that in just a bit.
If you do the math and look at your calendar you’ll see that Valentine’s Day will invariably fall within the 10 days of SF Beer Week goodness. Beer is not what it used to be in America, and that means it is more delicious and sharing it can be more romantic than ever. There are Beer and Chocolate events on the list this year, and a lot of lovable beers, but we still see few brewing traditions the actually honor the romantic holiday in all its sweetness, cheesiness and despair. We wrote about this last year for Celebrator Beer News:
Very few breweries bother to make a Valentine’s seasonal, but Russian River Brewing is an exception. Like all of Russian River’s Belgian-inspired beers, this beer’s name ends in “tion,” and the brewery brought kegs of this special beer to several events.
Russian River brewer and founder Vinnie Cilurzo explained: “Tomme Arthur [The Lost Abbey] called me five or six years ago in January with a suggestion for a beer called ‘Rejection’ for Valentine’s Day.” The very next day, Cilurzo brewed the beer, using a Belgian yeast and ingredients he had on hand, including some dark malt, in order to have it ready in time. That’s how Rejection became a beer as black as the heart of whoever has jilted you. The beer is available only in February and only on draft. One thing Cilurzo discovered by holding on to a few kegs was that Rejection ages beautifully. “We’d like to bottle it at some point so that customers can enjoy aging it at home,” he said. But that’s still just a twinkle in the brewer’s eye.
While looking around to find that story, which was one of our earlier pieces for The Celebrator Beer News, I happened to come across an earlier, lovely description of the beer. It was from the Celebrator party the year before SF Beer Week began, and it was by our friend and fellow beer writer Bill Brand, whom we’ve really missed since his tragic death five years ago.
Bill described the party and gave another description of Rejection (the beer) here: http://www.ibabuzz.com/bottomsup/2008/02/21/update-celebrator-beer-news-20th-a-fest-with-amazing-beer/
A short excerpt from Bill’s article:
” …Vinnie Cilurzo was pouring two Russian River beers, his famous Pliny the Elder and a new one: Russian River Rejection. It apparently will never see bottles or distribution outside the pub in Santa Rosa. A black beauty, indeed: Very dark brown, 6.1 percent ABV, 24 IBU (International Bitterness Units — Bud 13 IBU, Pliny 100 IBU).
Vinnie said he used Weyermann Carafa Special Chocolate Malt, which is malted barley that has been dehusked. Weyermann, the German malting company removes the tough and bitter outer covering before the malt is kilned. Dark malt kilned with the husks on produces bitterness in beer. Delicious, smooth, almost silky taste with enough of a dark malt taste to provide a great finish. ”
(2008 article by the late Bill Brand)
So as we approach the last days of SF Beer Week, cheers to a happy Valentines Day, to all romantics and any cynics who can appreciate another time for toasting. We’ll be out and around, and happy to raise a glass for love, for the memory of Bill and for the beauty of Beer Week.
We are delighted to be part of the Celebrator 25th Anniversary Party on Sunday. For one thing, many special beers, including the rich and citrusy Celebrator 25th Anniversary Double Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Beer Camp will be pouring. The Golden Promise malt and Citra hops we added to the classic Pale Ale recipe make this velvety, sumptuous and citrus-salad fruity. It’s not exactly like any other beer, but it is in the double IPA family! There’s a fun collaborative story about being at Beer Camp by all the writers who were there, here on the Celebrator site. (By the way, Beer By BART Gail’s “My Funky Valentine” sour beer collaboration with Bison Brewing will not be pouring again during beer week. The last of that will be served in future weeks at Bobby G’s in Berkeley, we are told, so that’s proof there’s life after #sfbeerweek. Stay tuned.)
Go Beer Week!
Explore Beer By BART; use our list of some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s best beer places with detailed transit info, so you can get out there to enjoy without driving.