Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Does All Italian Beer Suck? Find Out With Pfiff!

It was around this time last year, as the San Francisco summer was thinking about maybe staring (or not), that my friend (and huge beer nerd) Rob decided it was time to gather fellow beer lovers for a American wild ales tasting, complete with food pairings. The event turned out to be a great time all around, and even before the day was over Rob and I were talking about how he would need to do a tasting again.

August, it seems, is an auspicious month, because the date has been set for another grand tasting.Once again Rob has selected an intriguing theme -- Italian beer. If you're anything like me, you like to dunk your toast in your egg yolks, love monkeys, and don't think of Italy as a producer of great beer. This is your chance to put one of those notions to the test (hint: it involves beer. Well, maybe also monkeys if we can figure out a way to break into the zoo). Once again, each beer will be paired with food and I'll be lending had hand in the galley -- Since this time around I have the use of both hands it won't be as funny to watch me wield a knife, but the food should get on the table quicker. As an added bonus, all the beer is being provided by the fine folks at Healthy Spirits which means that should any of the beer you try really strike your fancy, you won't have to run all over town collecting your favorites.

Head on over to Rob's site for details, or keep on reading for the quick and dirty info.

When -- Saturday, August 15, at 3:00 p.m
Cost -- $45 (worth every penny I might add)
Location -- You'll have to RSVP for that, but it's pretty centrally located and has a plethora of public transportation options.

You can RSVP to rob_denunzio [at] yahoo [dot] com or head over to his site and leave him a comment.

Last year was a great, casual way for beer nerds, and novices (like myself) to taste and talk about interesting beers, and I expect this time around to be no different so get to gettin' already.

Comments always welcome or feel free to e-mail us at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Clock Bar -- Year One

In just a few short days, the one year anniversary of Clock Bar will be upon us, and they've got a hell of a celebration about to begin.

Like all good birthdays, they are setting them selves up for a birthday week, with new guest bartenders each day beginning on Monday -- An amazing line up at that. They're also having a different spirit sponsor each day. Normally I would be wary of liquor sponsors for something like this, but they happen to be ones which I quite like (or, in the case of Chartreuse, love in a way which is illegal in several states).

Here's the line up -- Plan your week accordingly.

Monday, July 13: Scott Beattie and Jacques Bezuidenhout. Sponsor: Partida Tequila.

Tuesday, July 14: Brooke Arthur and Neyah White. Sponsor: Domain Canton and Chartreuse.

Wednesday, July 15: Their birthday proper -- Steven Liles. Sponsor: Plymouth and Beefeater 24.

Thursday, July 16: Erik Adkins. Sponsor: Bols Genever.

Friday, July 17: Dave Nepove. Sponsor: Flor di Cana.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Reflections on Two Years Down

Just like that, two years have come and gone since we started this humble blog. While it is somewhat on the moribund these days, we've still got a pulse. We've had a great time doing this blog, and don't plan on going anywhere soon.

Before we go any further, A huge thanks goes out to H. Joseph Ehrmann, proprietor of Elixir -- He has been kind enough to allow us to conduct our experiments, and be generally supportive of our endeavors (he even asked Ed and I to come up with a Hot Buttered Rum variation to put on the menu last winter which was pretty cool).

To be sure, the last two years have been quite an experience for both Ed and I -- We learned pretty quickly that I jumped the gun in naming the blog Drink A Week, because actually coming up with a drink a week is, you know, pretty hard. Making an average drink isn't that hard, we've made plenty of those, but really knocking something out of the park takes the kind of resources, and time that we just don't have. There are a fair number of bartenders out there who are constantly creating, and tweaking drinks and I've developed an even greater respect for that aspect of their job than I had before.

Ed and I have also been able to meet a really terrific group of folks under the guise of being bloggers. This has been a bit more the case for me, as I am not in the industry, but beyond bartenders, distillers, and the like we have also had the pleasure of meeting numerous other cocktail geeks and bloggers. Cocktail geeks are a great bunch, and beyond having a great time meeting those folks, one frequently learns a little something along the way.

Speaking of learning, the downside of chronicling what is essentially their personal learning process is that, for me at least, the more I learn, and write about what I'm learning, the more I realize there's a lot I don't know. There is no shortage of people putting their opinions on the internet with mixed results. Trying to create an informed opinion on anything, however, and blogging about the process is a decidedly more dicey matter -- There's a big difference between, "This is just my opinion.", and "This is my opinion, but I actually know what I'm talking about."

On one of our earlier posts, I had just about finished it up when, in looking at something else for another idea I had, I realized I had written something incredibly naive in the post I was about to publish. I corrected it (and no, I won't tell you what it was), and ever since then there's been a tiny voice asking me if I really should be doing this. On the other hand, part of the reason I wanted to blog about our experiments was precisely because we thought it would be interesting, at least to somebody, to watch us (myself in particular as I'm the total novice in this equation) learn by exploration.

Finally, a big thanks to our readers who have stuck with us through our shenanigans. Writing is hard, and doing so when you feel as though you are working in a total vacuum it's torture. It's nice to know we've got a posse on this trip. Big thanks are also in order for those folks in the industry who have been exceedingly generous in sharing their time, and expertise in helping me to learn more about spirits and cocktails. Whenever I mention that I have a blog to a bartender I'm just hoping they won't laugh at me. To not only not be laughed at, but have my enthusiasm taken seriously has been fantastic.

Here's to another year ya'll -- Cheers!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

40) Siesta #1

1.5 oz. Tezon Blanco Tequila
.5 oz. Plymouth Sloe Gin
.5 oz. St. Germain
.5 oz. Lemon Juice

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass

Sweet Jebus! We done actually threw down with a drink for the first time in for the ever.

I had just popped into Elixir to say "hey" to Ed after running some errands, and found him keen on working on a drink. We were both feeling a bit loopy, so when he suggested Tequila as a base, I said we should mix it with Sloe Gin. We looked at one another, and decided to go for it. As we discussed what else to put in the drink Ed brought up the St. Germain, as its floral notes tends to work well with Tequila. Since St. Germain is fairly sweet, and the Plymouth Slow Gin is tart, yet has a sweetness to it we thought a bit of lemon would help round it out, and bring a bit of brightness to the drink.

We thought this was going to be a disaster of a cocktail, but were pleasantly surprised to find it was rather tasty. We tend to like our drinks on the dry side, and while we thought this might be a bit on the sweet side it suited our tastes well. The first few sips were Tequila forward, but as the drink sat a bit, the fruit from the Sloe, and the floral from the St. Germain began to work with the agave notes of the Tequila.

We're tossing the #1 in the name as the first thing Ed said upon tasting it was, "I think this needs an egg white." As we drank it, we became more convinced that this drink would work very well as a fizz. Ed (the lucky bastard) is currently off having fun in New Orleans, but when he gets back we are going to see what we can do with the Fizz variation.