Faction is brewing up a strong community

Faction hosts the Ales for ALS Beerfest for 2015

Beer drinkers rejoiced over the selection of one-off brews made with an exclusive hop blend when Faction Brewing Co. presented the second invitational Ales for ALS Beerfest.  The fest was part of a broader charity initiative that provided the coveted hops to breweries that pledged $1 per pint from sales of the resulting beers to research amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. On a warm, breezy August Saturday in Alameda, Calif., the event lived up to its promise as a destination festival. The Ales for ALS Beerfest attracted more than 1,500 beer lovers who swarmed the brewery to enjoy live music, food trucks, a raffle and outstanding brews.

Ales for ALS is an annual project founded by hop growers Mike and Cheryl Smith, third-generation hop farmers in Yakima, WA. The couple knows the face of the debilitating failure of nerves and muscles brought by ALS all too well.

“My dad died of ALS, my 54 year-old brother has ALS now, as well as a cousin and an uncle,” explained Cheryl.  “Six out of eight kids in my father’s generation died of ALS.”

“When my brother was diagnosed, we just began thinking we had to get busy raising money to find some kind of treatment or cure.”

Get busy is just what they did. Their Loftus Ranches are best known for developing varieties such as Simcoe®, Citra®, Mosaic® and Equinox. To raise funds, Loftus partnered with Hopunion hop supply company to offer a proprietary blend of experimental and hard-to-get hops to participating breweries, to support the ALS Therapy Development Institute, a major research organization working on a cure.

Initially the Smiths selected the breweries, but now brewers come to them. Mike Smith said, “it’s really touching, because every volunteer brewery has a family member, friend or colleague who has ALS.”

Last year Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River Brewing Co.) selected the hops with Ken Grossman (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.) and John Mallett (Bell’s Brewery).

This year Mallett returned. Ken Grossman brought his son, Brian Grossman. Cilurzo nominated Rob Kent (Bear Republic Brewing Co.) and Julian Shrago (Beachwood BBQ Brewing) in his place. Although Equinox and Mosaic® have names now, these recent graduates of the breeding program were included this year. Five as yet unnamed, experimental hops also made the mix. (291, 260, 344, 438 and 522, for those keeping score at home.)

Kent poured Bear Republic’s Red Racer IPA for ALS at the fest. He said it was an honor to choose the hops. “The selection process involved the ‘rub,’ which is squeezing and rubbing hops between your hands to heat up the lupulin to release its aromatics,”  Kent explained. “At this point there was debate about which hops make the cut. There were many good varieties to choose from. They ranged from fruity to earthy.”  

Most breweries brought one-off IPAs and hoppy beers, but there were stylistic surprises, such as a dry-hopped sour from The Rare Barrel, and a Brettanomyces-fermented interpretation from Cellarmaker Brewing Co.

Night-shift brewer Molly O’Brien got to formulate her first professional recipe, a saison, for this year’s version at Drake’s Brewing Co. “When I logged on to the ALS site, everyone was kind of doing pale ales and IPAs. And I love IPAs, but I wanted to do something different,” she said.  

View of San Francisco from Faction Brewing on Alameda Island. Photo by Gail Ann Williams
View of San Francisco from Faction Brewing on Alameda Island. Photo by Gail Ann Williams

Faction’s founders and festival hosts Rodger Davis and Claudia Pamparana poured their elegant imperial pale ale interpretation of Ales for ALS.  “The ALS beer was the very first beer we brewed at Faction and released in September of 2013,” said Pamparana. By the time the second Ales for ALS hops blend shipped, Davis and Pamparana had volunteered Faction as the festival site.

According to the Smiths, last year, 68 breweries got hops, and donations more than doubled from the prior year to $325,000. This year, after the accounting is done, 89 breweries in 25 states expect to combine donations with proceeds from the festival to again more than double last year’s contribution. Faction’s donation totaled $44,000.

Davis, too, has personal connections to ALS.  He’s made friends with Corey Reich, a Piedmont High School tennis coach who was diagnosed several years ago and has beaten the odds so far. Davis invited Reich to the event at his brewery, where Reich enjoyed the festival in his wheelchair.

While there’s still no way to halt this usually fatal disease, as the ALS Therapy Development Institute website reminds us, “ALS is not an incurable disease. It is an underfunded one.”


How to visit Faction

Donate to Ales for ALS

(This story was originally written for Celebrator Beer News, which comes out every other month on paper, by Gail and Steve in collaboration. Mike Condie submitted cool photos as well. Publishing works in mysterious ways, however. So, here it is electronically at Beer By BART instead. )

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Happy Anniversary, Hog’s Apothecary

2013 was sure a banner year for new beer venues around the Bay Area, many of which were instant classics.  Among these worthy destinations is Hog’s Apothecary in Oakland, a special place for beers and for dishes made from pigs.

Surprisingly, HA is a year old today.  Like several of its “classmates” from last year, including CellarMaker, Faction and The Rare Barrel, it seems both newer and older than a year old.

The beer program at Hog’s is the work of the passionate beer program director Sayre Piotrkowski, whose earlier influence can still be felt at Monk’s Kettle and St. Vincent’s in San Francisco.  
Hog's
Sayre seems to have embraced Hog’s and Oakland as much as he has embraced the select beers and brewers he brings into HA.  It’s gratifying to see that Sayre is celebrating with a collaboration beer made with Craftsman Brewing Company of Pasedena.   Late Sumac Summer Ale, a sour beer made with sumac spice, will be around for at least a little while.  Homebrew hop expert Nathan Smith did an innovative collaboration kolsch with Marin Brewing’s Arne Johnson to look out for, too.

This evening HA is closed for a private birthday party, but there will be plenty of time during the week to drop by and celebrate their milestone.  Hog’s is not a beer-hall with extensive snacks, but a restaurant built around great beers.

The sausages and meat dishes at Hog’s have many fans.  (It’s not an easy place for a vegetarian to find a full meal, but eating nearby and then dropping by for beer will usually work nicely, which is a good thing, because HA has become a must-visit Bay Area beer destination.)

Happy anniversary, Hog’s.

-Gail

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Dave McLean opens Magnolia Smokestack in the Dogpatch neighborhood

Several years ago, Dave McLean, founder of Magnolia Gastropub in the heart of the Haight Ashbury District, began to look for a place to brew more beer. The tiny brewery in the low ceiling basement under his pub was no longer meeting all the demand for Magnolia’s variety of English-inspired pints.

The next place would be a larger brewery and a serious sit-down BBQ joint in the Dogpatch neighborhood, that old industrial section of the city between China and India Basins, on the Bay side of Potrero Hill. The process of finding a group of investors to go in on building a modern brewery, then actually getting the place, designing both a production brewery and an eatery, and finally getting design and licensing approvals after many rounds of federal, state and local inspections, took nearly five years.

Since beer was urgently needed, the brewery was finished first, and Magnolia finally began brewing bigger batches in Dogpatch a few months ago. Finally, the restaurant construction site is no more. Smokestack has landed at 2505 Third Street at 22nd Street.

Cocktails and BBQ take their place beside the craft brews at Smokestack
Cocktails and BBQ take their place beside the craft brews at Smokestack

You’ll be delighted by the retro charm of the space. Library ladders for the spirits on the shelves behind the bar glide across. A tuba showing its aged curves peeks through an interior window above. Fresh Magnolia beer — with plenty of choices on tap and on cask — shares the stage with inventive cocktails and the eclectic menu of select BBQ meats and sides from a variety of culinary traditions. Long common tables fill an area in front of a kitchen area that looks like an antique deli or butcher counter.

We’re not even sure how to list this place yet. Magnolia Dogpatch? Magnolia’s Smokestack? What will we all be calling it?

Long common tables and a retro kitchen behind
Long common tables and a retro kitchen behind

The neighborhood now has two breweries within one long block of Third Street, at 20th and at 22nd Streets. (There is no 21st Street at Third, just to make the street naming in this section even more unpredictable.) It’s easy to drop in at Triple Voodoo, while out for a spin on the T streetcar line. Speakeasy is just south a few stops further south on MUNI, off of Evans Avenue in the Bayview District. Beer-hopping is now clearly possible on the east side, on the old industrial Smokestack side of SF. Check it out.
Dave McLean (center) at Smokestack
Dave McLean (center) at Smokestack

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Here comes Winter Brews Festival 2014 already

It’s that time of the year again, only different.  The nights are long and dark, but starting to shorten visibly. It’s not cold outside, thanks to the freaky ridge of high pressure over the Pacific, and a deepening drought that could spell trouble for local people and beer, but currently the outdoor conditions are delightful in the Bay Area.

Happily, we have a tradition that fits beautifully with this freaky weather.   The Brewing Network, an on-line beer radio website, will be hosting its fifth annual Winter Brews Festival on January 25th at Todos Santos Plaza in Concord.

The festival is distinguished by being the first one after a much needed break in the beer event cycle after the holidays.  It tides us all over until SF Beer Week.

picture from last yearIn addition, since The Brewing Network is at its heart a homebrewers’ podcast network and a virtual brewing club, there has always been good-to-excellent homebrew poured along with the latest professional creations.  The quasi-legality of this excellent arrangement has caused a bit of stress until this year, but now we can all relax.  The California ABC has ruled that “501C3” official charity events can now pour donated homemade wine or beer with no pushback from the state enforcers. (NOTE: Since this was written, some curious unintended side effects of the new law have become evident. Revision is needed. To help protect all-homebrew festivals and competitions, get involved.)

This fest exemplifies the enduring relationships the Brewing Network, with its often highly technical and highly rowdy style, has forged with respected pro brewers.  Societe Brewery (San Diego) joined the pouring list after one of their beers, The Harlot, was selected as the beer of the year on the Sunday podcast.  A casual on-air remark that “The Harlot” would be an interesting name for a new brewery resulted in a mock cease-and-desist letter from the young brewery, along with a promise to attend the Fest and bring that beer.  (Arriving in a homemade “The Harlot Brewery” tee shirt would probably neither get you free entrance nor your own hilarious friendly trademark infringement cease-and-desist letter, sadly.)

In terms of listing all the pro brewers who will be pouring, there’s nothing better but to point to the frequently updated list on their signup page.  Advance tickets are advised.

Walking to Todos Santos Square from BART is simple once you get across the very large parking lot.  Detailed directions for figuring out how to get to the park are in the listing for the adjacent EJ Phair pub.   

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.

Bistro Barrel Fest Blends Varieties and Flavors

November 11, 2013

Vic and Cynthia
Bistro Owners Vic and Cynthia Kralj

On Saturday we attended one of our favorite festivals in the Bay Area, The Bistro’s West Coast Barrel Aged Festival. Bistro proprietors Vic and Cynthia Kralj brought in 67 beers of many different styles that had one thing in common — they had spent some maturation time in a wood barrel. In general, the beers born of wine barrel aging tended to be sour ales inspired by the Belgian tradition, while a variety of clean strong ales had come through spirits barrels with rich results.

The beauty of this festival is in the incredible contrast between the beers. The panoply of intense flavors allows one to taste each beer without undue influence of the preceding beer. Sour beer reset the palate after a strong sweeter brew. Next, an oak-aged barleywine soothed the tang of a sour. The 41 participating breweries sent a wide range of flavorful concoctions. Bear Republic, for instance, brought five beers ranging from its wonderfully tart Tartare to a version of Big Bear Imperial Stout aged with prickly pear.
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, from Denver, sent a Burgundy Sour Ale. Sierra Nevada sent special barrel-aged versions of three of its readily available beers, Narwhal (imperial stout), Ovila Dubbel and Brett T-ShirtAudition, which is Ruthless Rye IPA dosed with whole cone Comet and East Kent Golding hops.
Several years ago, the Kraljs decided to dispense with the professional judging of this festival, believing it was difficult if not unfair to judge such divergent and emerging styles against each other for one award. However, festival-goers are still encouraged to vote for People’s Choice. For the second year in a row, tiny Sante Adairius Rustic Ales from Capitola won the award. Its West Ashley, a saison transformed by time in French Pinot Noir barrels with apricots and house souring organisms, was the only bottled beer served at the festival. Sierra Nevada’s bourbon barrel aged Narwhal finished second.
This fest is not for the weak livered. Only ten of the beers had an ABV under seven percent. 22 clocked in withGeneral Crowd double-digits. Despite the crowds, most of the beers in attendance left many wonderful flavors on the table — or in the kegs, if you will.
Fear not. The Bistro will put each of the remaining partial kegs back on tap in the coming weeks. It is most definitely worth a visit — or a return visit — to Hayward in November.

P.S.: Sierra Nevada opens their new taproom in Berkeley — the Torpedo Room — within about a week. Many of their small batch experimental brews will be coming to town. Sante Adairius is not an easy destination except by car, but a weekend getaway to Santa Cruz was already a pleasant idea before this great nanobrewery opened, so put it on your list. The tasting room is open Thursday-Sunday. Check: rusticales.com for exact times and location.

Mikkeller Bar San Francisco Opens…Again

Waiting For Noon
Waiting For Noon

After four weeks of soft openings, the much anticipated San Francisco Mikkeller Bar opened for real on Friday August 9th. A block-long queue of beer lovers began forming at 7:00am for the noon opening. When the doors finally opened, groups of thirty or so were admitted at a time so the bar and kitchen could take their orders  efficiently.

Greeting friends
Greeting Friends

By one o’clock, the line was gone and the bar had reached its capacity of 175 or so patrons.  Even at capacity, it did not feel excessively crowded. The 40 taps plus two casks were flowing with Mikkeller brews and collaborations, plus a selection of other beers from around the country and world that are rarely seen in San Francisco.  The sophisticated draft system was dispensing beer at three different temperatures depending on the particular style. Further, each line has its own control of the carbon dioxide and nitrogen mix, which can be tuned to taste.

Mikkel & Chuck
Owners Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and Chuck Stilphen

The beers were complemented by specialty smoked meats, cheese plates, snacks and house-made sausages offered up by Chef Mike O’Brien’s crew.

A prime attraction of the day was the downstairs  Tivoli sour room, which featured an extensive list of rare bottles, such as vintage geueze bottles from Cantillon and Drie Fonteinen from as far back as 1998.  A group of determined enthusiasts pooled their resources and ran through an impressive array of bottles ranging from around $20 to about four times that price. The next day another wave of tempting examples appeared for new impromptu bottle-shares.

Bottle Kill
Sour Cellar Depletion

The second day of the three day extravaganza started with a brunch and flowed into a poster-signing event, celebrating the “Spontan art” graphics of the Mikkeller graphic artist, Keith Shore.  The San Francisco pub is adorned with his artwork, along with other design elements that refer to the original Mikkeller pubs in Copenhagen.

Today is the third day of the festivities, and there is a sold-out beer dinner event until 7:00pm, when the doors will again open to the public.  As with many anticipated openings, this has served as a beer community gathering place and de-facto reunion event over the weekend.

Starting Monday, the plan is to open at noon daily.   Despite the starkly down-and-out block of Mason Street where the bar is located, the proximity to BART at Powell Street makes this an easy venue to visit.  It’s also easy to jump on BART or MUNI and make this part of a beer tour of San Francisco where you can experience places that are a little less elegant and rarified, just to mix up the set of offerings, the ambiance and the price points.  You might even want to take advantage of the location by parking near another BART station if you are driving in from afar.

More logistical details and a map:  https://beerbybart.com/why/mikkeller-bar-powell/

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SF Beer Week: Love?

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.

(Excerpted from our 2012 CBN story)

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!

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Sour Sunday, as #sfbeerweek continues!

San Francisco Beer Week continues all around the Bay Area today. The two of us (Steve and Gail) are going to Sour Sunday in Berkeley, at Triple Rock and Jupiter, both near the downtown Berkeley BART station. (Find them by station or alphabetically on the main Beer By BART directory on our home page)

My Funky Valentine fruit and wheat slurry
The making of My Funky Valentine: Brett meets organic stone fruits in a food-grade bucket

We’ll be pouring My Funky Valentine, the very small batch dark sour stonefruit collaboration beer Gail did with Bison Brewing at this event. Come on by the Bison table at 1:00 pm for the release. Think Baltic Porter base, and then organic dried sour cherries, organic dried red plums, organic dried nectarine… and whole wheat pasta. If you are at this crowded but always worthwhile event, drop by to ask Gail why the spaghetti made this sour beer sing.

Here’s more of the the story of this unique sour beer, and how “The Hostage” became “My Funky Valentine.”

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Sour beer collaboration with Bison Brewing – meet My Funky Valentine

(By Gail Ann Williams, the brewer in the Beer By BART family)

This coming week I hope you get to enjoy SF Beer Week, and that you get a chance to try My Funky Valentine.  In November, “Organic Dan,” Dan DelGrande of Bison Brewing, touched base with me to propose a collaboration.   He offered me four five-gallon corny kegs full of The Hostage, an organic Baltic Porter that had spontaneously soured in a bourbon barrel.

His offer was that I could add bugs, fruit or whatever to make something special out of this very lactic brown beer.

kegs in the kitchenI was delighted at the opportunity to “doctor” a clean lactic sour beer, and immediately started growing up several strains of Brettanomyces from little jars in my refrigerator, using organic apple juice and organic brown rice syrup for a starter because I had no organic malt in the house, and Bison is an organic brewery.  (I promise to post more geeky details later for those who want all the specs, but I selected the most vigorous strains of the yeast and put them in a bucket of chopped dried organic cherries and red plums. And organic whole wheat spaghetti. Brett loves wheat.)

After a week, I added the fermenting fruit slurry to kegs of the base beer.  Some weeks later, there was less fruit extraction than I wanted, so I added more fruit — some amazing organic nectarines that were the available organic fruit at my house that evening — to one of the kegs in order to blend in more fruit intensity.

The last tasting was much more fruit forward than I ever expected.   I can’t wait until I can have a whole glass instead of a small sample.

heart shaped charmI’m getting ready for the debut of this beer, most likely at the Opening Gala of SFBW Friday, and then at Sour Sunday in Berkeley.  There is only 20 gallons on the planet, so it may be poured at a set time at the Bison Brewing table.  Please stop by and have a taste if you like.   I even bought some little heart trinkets for decorating tap handles…

Go, Beer Week!   Go, My Funky Valentine.

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Baseball Bat IPA

Thursday was a rare day off for the San Francisco Giants and an even rarer off day at home.  For one Giants pitcher, this meant a chance to walk around his new neighborhood, followed by an afternoon nap, time with his baby girl and a chance for dinner with his wife, one of only about ten they can share during the baseball season due to the laborious Major League schedule.

And on this night, Shane Loux took his wife and child to 21st Amendment Brewpub to try a new IPA at a benefit for Hops For Heros, assisting veterans and their families.

Shane Loux
SF Giants pitcher Shane Loux tries the Homefront IPA

Shane was at 21A because he was invited to attend a charity auction event by his teammate Javy Lopez. Now, it’s not all that unusual to see charity events where the local sports team has donated items for auction. But what made this so interesting was the literal blending of craft beer and baseball. Yes, I said literal and meant literal.

Game bat and brew bats
Game bat and maple brew bats awaiting auction

Chris Ray, former Giants pitcher and current aspiring professional brewer, started Hops For Heroes to offer support to returning soldiers and their families. While with the Seattle Mariners, Ray took his homebrewing hobby to the next level in 2011, collaborating with Fremont Brewery in Seattle to brew the first batch of Homefront IPA, conditioned on maple wood baseball bats.  All sales of the beer went to his newly founded charity.

This year, Ray and his brother are in the brewing business. He invited six breweries around the country to join their Center of the Universe Brewing in Ashland, Virginia, in simultaneously brewing the Homefront charity beer.  San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery, along with Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, Fremont Brewery in Seattle, Perennial Artisan Ales in St. Louis, Saint Arnold Brewing in Houston, and SlyFox Beer in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, eagerly pitched in.

Chris Ray’s recipe was for an “East Coast-style IPA” made with oranges, conditioned on bats. The Louisville Slugger Company, maker of many of the baseball bats used by kids and pros, donated unvarnished maple bats to use in the fermenters during the brewing process.  When the beer was finished, the bats were dried out to be auctioned off at each of the six breweries.

21st Amendment’s award-winning brewer, Zambo (he does have a full name but prefers this moniker), said that when the bats were added to the tank, they immediately floated to the top. When he racked the beer to empty the tank, they laid themselves out horizontally, perfectly arranged in the cone.  “The bats were bleeding beer out of their pores for days,” said Zambo. By auction night, some still had moist spots and a faint beery aroma.

O'Sullivan and Lopez
21st Amendment owner Shaun O’Sullivan and SF Giants pitcher Javy Lopez

The visit to 21st Amendment’s brew pub was a first for both Lopez and Loux, even though it’s located only a couple of blocks from their home park. Both sampled the Homefront IPA, which was a clearly a hit with IPA fans.  When asked what he thought, Loux said, “When you get a non-beer drinker to like a beer, that says something.” Truth be told, however, Loux is not a hophead, and he said his favorite of the night was the 21A stout.

The loft at 21st Amendment was crowded and buzzing all evening as the 21A owners, Shaun O’Sullivan and Nico Freccia, greeted guests and brewer Zambo emceed the evening. He and Lopez took turns exhorting the crowd to bid and bid again.  The auction included bats from the brew, a game-used Buster Posey bat autographed by many of his teammates (used only for hitting, not brewing), along with game tickets donated by Lopez and an autographed Brian Wilson gnome. All told they raised over $4,500 via the silent auction.

All proceeds from sales of the beer will also be donated to the charity.  It’s worth a trip down to 2nd Street to try this smooth, tasty IPA. There is a pleasant fruity note contributed by the addition of oranges, countered by a dry finish supported by the maple wood.  When it’s gone, it’s gone, until perhaps next year if 21A is again chosen to be a partner for the 2013 brewing.

21A crew and ballplayers
21st Amendment Brewpub crew and Javy Lopez (center) with a brew bat

More photos including some close-ups of the bats can be found in the Beer By BART Flickr set.

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.