Happy Chanukah everyone! It is that time again this year (a little earlier then usual) to hang out with friends, buy some presents, eat some latkes, and drink some He’brew. At least it is for this Jew in San Francisco.Friday night, joined by a few friends, we headed to Toronado. It was an idea of one of our friends while we ate noodles and sushi in japantown. A very good idea it was. The place was packed but we got a table rather fast. They had pretty much every He’brewthere is. We tried a few of the He’brew beers before we got lured over to the xmas/winter side. There was a real nice rye beer – Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A – I like a beer that has a taste to it that you don’t usually encounter and the rye in this one didn’t disappoint. It didn’t really taste like 10% to me. Someone else ordered a Coney Island Lager – good standard light colored lager. Later an Origin: Pomegranate Ale was passed around. The group didn’t really love it. I would like to give it another chance sometime – the subtle pomegranate might have been fuzzed out by some of the other beers I was drinking. There weren’t only He’brew beers to get – we also tried- MarinHappy Holidaze (very good – hoppy – unfiltered – loved it) – Reality Czech from Moonlight(didn’t get to try any but my friend seemed to like it) – Bombay by the Boat IPA – packs a punch – i might try this next time I go to Toronado. Oh and I can’t forget – Samichlaus- not the strongest beer in the world anymore but – wow what a beer. I was not really prepared for it but enjoyed the different tastes i could pick up (tobacco, brandy, pepper, cake, apricote). Usually it is tough for me to pick out flavors but this has a lot going for it. There were more beers but I think those were the highlights.
Next day - we were off to City Beer Store. What a party they were having. Jeremy Cowan and crew were there. And so were a whole bunch of other people. They were doing a Chanukah vs Xmas tasting. My notes are not great on what we tasted but some of the highlights were AllagashFour barrel aged, He’brew Jewbiliation 10 and 11 on rye, 21st amendment holiday spice ale, and St Bernardus Christmas Ale. This was my first time at city beer and I loved it. What a great vibe. Craig and Beth were gracious hosts (so gracious they had to close the doors at some point because there were too many people) and I can’t wait to go back and buy everything I have been pining for.