Category Archives: Beer and Food

State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria to Open in Downtown Los Altos, Launches Kickstarter Campaign

State of Mind Public House
Credit: State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria

Los Altos will be adding a public house and pizzeria later this summer in the downtown area at 101 Plaza North.

Led by brothers – and peninsula natives – Andrew and Lars Smith, State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria is inspired by the “golden state” and will focus on California beer and local food.

A recently launched Kickstarter page reveals plans to feature 25-30 California craft beers, ciders and California wine, with a menu showcasing seasonal ingredients and food made from scratch. The fare will consist of appetizers, salads, pizzas, wings, brewer’s pies, sandwiches and desserts.

Look for board games, pinball, arcade games and large TVs for entertainment, along with a casual and family friendly vibe.

If the Kickstarter campaign proves successful – there’s less than a week left in their effort – then the funds will go primarily towards the installation of a 30-tap draft beer system and a walk-in refrigerator for draft beer featuring a direct draw system.

Before this venture, Andrew and Lars helped open Palo Alto Tap Room. More about them and the State of Mind team from their Kickstarter page:

“State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria has been a long time dream of ours (Andrew and Lars Smith) along with our father Jim. After years of planning and searching for the right location, State of Mind Public House is close to becoming a reality… We have a combined experience in the restaurant business of close to 25 years. Andrew’s passions are service and bartending and Lars is very passionate about both food and beer. Our father Jim is a newly retired high school teacher who has passed on his lifelong passion for craft beer to us. We are extremely excited to also have Cristina Smith and Amy Betz as part of our management team. Cristina (Lars’ wife) has worked in the restaurant industry on and off for 8 years and loves keeping all of us organized and on track. Amy Betz has also been in the restaurant business for years…”

State of Mind Public House Team
Credit: State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria

State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria looks to be a very welcome addition to Los Altos. They’ve been providing the latest updates on Instagram and Facebook.

Looking forward to their opening!

Brewery and Restaurant Lineup for Bacon and Beer Classic 2017 at Levi’s Stadium

Scene from last year's Bacon and Beer Classic at Levi's Stadium
Scene from last year’s Bacon and Beer Classic at Levi’s Stadium

The final lineup of participating breweries and restaurants – and their bacon-related dishes – is set for the upcoming Bacon and Beer Classic taking place Saturday, Feb. 25.

Participating Breweries & Cideries

  • 10 Barrel
  • Anchor Brewing
  • Anderson Valley
  • Ballast Point
  • Berryessa
  • Carneros Brewing
  • Coronado Brewing
  • Devil’s Canyon Brewing
  • Elysian
  • Firestone Walker
  • Golden State Brewery
  • Guinness
  • High Water Brewing
  • Hop Valley Brewing
  • Knee Deep Brewing
  • Kona Brewing
  • Lagunitas
  • Loma Brewing
  • Lost Coast Brewery
  • Mendocino
  • Mother Earth Brew Co.
  • New Bohemia Brewing
  • Oskar Blues
  • Red Branch Cider Company
  • Saint Archer
  • San Francisco Brewing
  • Sierra Nevada
  • South City Ciderworks
  • Sonoma Springs Brewing
  • Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
  • Strike Brewing Co.
  • T.W. Pitchers’ Brewing
  • Uinta Brewing
  • Umunhum Brewing
  • Wildcide Hard Cider (Aurum Cider Co.)
  • Working Man Brewing Co.

Participating Restaurants and Bacon-Related Dishes

  • 7 Stars Bar & Grill: Bacon & Linguica Balls w/ Spicy Ketchup
  • Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas: Mini Tamales w/ Pinto Beans, Jalapeño and Bacon
  • Armadillo Willys BBQ: Fully Loaded Grits topped with Pulled Pork and Bacon
  • Bourbon Steak and Bourbon Pub: Bacon Banh Mi
  • Cal Coast Kettle Corn: Savory Cheddar Cheese & Bacon Kettle Corn
  • Cross Hatch Eatery: Cold Yam Noodles w/ Pork Belly
  • Fattoria e Mare: Fried Bacon Jalapeño Aioli Calzones
  • Faultline: Bacon Rice Krispies
  • Habana Cuba Restaurant: Cuban Rice w/ Bacon
  • Hey Hey Gourmet: Bacon Tomato Dip
  • Izzy’s Cheesesteaks: Bacon Cheesesteak Shots
  • Jerky Hut: Bacon Jerky
  • Kindred Cooks: Spicy Bacon Caramels
  • Loma Brewing Company: Whiskey Glazed Bacon on Bacon Chip w/ Bacon Beer Cheese
  • Nom Burger: Jalapeño Bacon Sliders
  • Psycho Donuts: Dead Elvis Donut Holes
  • Roots and Rye: Braised Pork Belly w/ Bacon Jam
  • Sammy G’s Pizzeria: Classic Breakfast Pizza
  • Snake & Butterfly: Bacon Caramel & Bacon Toffee
  • Spread Deli & Bottles: BLT Sliders
  • Sunny Side Up: Maple Glazed Bacon Pancakes
  • Sweetdragon Baking Company: Bacon Brittle Cookie
  • The Boneyard: Pulled Pork Deviled Eggs w/ Smoked Bacon
  • The Halford: Bacon & Cheddar Hushpuppies w/ House-made Bacon & Beer Cheese
  • Tres Truck: Street Style Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs
  • Wok in the Stadium: Gluten Free Kick Ass Spicy Bacon Noodles

15% Off Discount Code

Use discount code CHEERS for 15% off current ticket prices. Direct link to tickets: http://www.baconandbeerclassic.com/santa-clara-bacon-and-beer-classic-2017-tickets/



SF Beer Week Events at Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant

Sneak peek from Steins' upcoming beer dinner featuring Elkhorn Slough Brewing (credit: Steins)
Sneak peek from Steins’ upcoming beer dinner featuring Elkhorn Slough Brewing (credit: Steins)

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant will be hosting three beer events during the coming week, and Steins manager Lynna Nguyen invites one and all to come out and enjoy good food, service, atmosphere and – of course – tasty beer.

Cascade Brewing Tap Takeover, Saturday, Feb. 11 at 5pm

The beer list featuring Oregon’s Cascade Brewing:

  • Cranberry, ABV: 7%. This NW style sour wheat ale was barrel aged for up to 12 months with cranberries, orange peel and cinnamon. Soft aromas of cranberries and light floral notes start this beer off. Tart, dry notes of sweet cranberries with hints of wild strawberries on the palate give way to a pronounced dryness and a lingering finish of cranberries and spice.
  • Strawberry, ABV: 7.1%. This NW style sour ale is a blend of wheat and blond ales aged oak wine barrels with strawberries and vanilla beans for up to twelve months. Bright and crisp, the 2015 Strawberry captures the essence of fresh strawberries with subtle notes of oak, vanilla, and fruit preserves.
  • Pumpkin, ABV: 11.4%. This NW style sour old ale is no trick, it’s all treat. We smashed and triple roasted 50 lbs of pumpkin down to 6 lbs, then aged the beer for 11 months on the roasted pumpkin in rum barrels. The aromas of spiced rum, mingled with the soft notes of roasted pumpkin, are notice up front. Spice, roasted pumpkin and rum is followed by a soft warming from within.
  • Blueberry, ABV: 7.33%. This NW style sour ale blends wheat & blond ales that were oak aged in barrels for 6 mths, then additionally aged 4 mths on fresh blueberries. Huge herbal notes of dense blueberries in the nose give way to hints of oak & a dusty floral note. Rich earthy notes of dark fruit on the palate lead to a tart finish that dries out to a base note of blueberry skins.
  • Noyaux, ABV: 8.94%. This NW style sour ale features blonds and triples aged on oak for 18 to 24 months, then additionally aged for 12 months on raspberries and apricot noyaux.
  • Sang Royal, ABV: 10.12%. This NW style sour ale was made with various red ales that were aged in oak with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, then blended with red ales that were aged in Port and Pinot Noir barrels.

Along with individual pours, flights will be available.

‘My Bitter Valentine’ Featuring Fort Point Beer Company, Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 5pm

Steins will be offering up a special ‘Crispy Sweet, Salty Pork’ appetizer along with the following offerings from SF’s Fort Point Beer Company:

  • SFBW Collaboration Beer (Kölsch style, ABV 5.3%). This year’s annual collaboration beer – New Frontier – was brewed at Fort Point Beer Company. Japanese satsuma provides notes of zesty citrus, while Pacific Northwest Douglas Fir lends a light pine aroma to the finish. It’s a balance of old-world tradition and modern technique.
  • Standard American Pale Ale, ABV 5.5%. A moderate, refreshing ale with noticeable hop aroma balanced by supporting malt flavors.
  • Animal Tropical Modern IPA, ABV 7%. This is a big, wild and aromatic IPA. Amarillo and Meridian hops give the beer a sticky orange mid-palate that’s balanced with a classic IPA bitterness from an early addition of Centennial. All of this wild hop action sits on top of a fairly simple malt bill. We use a blend of winter-grown Pearl and Pilsner malts to create a light and delicately sweet foundation.
  • Moonphase Bourbon Barrel-Aged Quadruple Ale, ABV: 13.0%. A unique reflection of old-world Belgian Quadrupel ales, Moon Phase shines brightly full of bourbon and charred oak. Notes of gingersnap, toasted almond and toffee elevate Moon Phase’s smooth alcohol warmth and fade into a gentle, sustained finish. A delicate blend of smoky Buffalo Trace and Smooth Ambler Rye bourbon flavors, Moon Phase’s complexity rises with every sip.

Look for flights of the four beers to be available as well.

4-Course Beer Dinner Featuring Elkhorn Slough Brewing, Thursday, Feb. 16 at 6pm

The following four-course, beer-pairing menu features offerings from Watsonville’s Elkhorn Slough Brewing. Brewmaster Michael Enos specializes in small batch specialty beers – with a focus on barrel-aged wild ales – crafted from locally sourced ingredients.

Amuse (a bite-sized appetizer served to prepare your palate for the meal):

  • Chef Selection Amuse
  • Paired with Starlight (mixed-culture wild rye ale with brett, ABV 6.8%)

Appetizer:

  • Winter Squash Soup
  • Paired with Goose Blind (juicy central coast IPA, ABV 6.9%)

Entree / Choice of:

  • Hand Cut Rib Eye, root vegetable puree, roasted cipollini onions, fresh herbs
  • Paired with Love and Marriage (imperial IPA, ABV 9.3%)

-OR-

  • Pan Seared Diver Scallops, roasted trumpet mushrooms, risotto with parmigiano reggiano
  • Paired with Love and Marriage (imperial IPA, ABV 9.3%)

Dessert:

  • Chocolate Dream Trio
  • Paired with Muddy Water Porter (robust porter, ABV 6.8%)

Tickets are $65 per person (plus tax and tip), and reservations are requested. Dinner times  are available every 15 minutes from 6pm to 8:30pm.

Click here to make your reservations. For any questions, contact event manager Rachel at rachel@steinsbeergarden.com or (650) 386-1367.



The Bacon and Beer Classic Returns to Levi’s Stadium, Plus 15% Off Discount Code

Scene from last year's Bacon and Beer Classic at Levi's Stadium
Scene from last year’s Bacon and Beer Classic at Levi’s Stadium

Last year’s Bacon and Beer Classic at Levi’s Stadium was a highlight for many, including for wifey and me. And we’ve been eagerly awaiting the announcement of this year’s Classic.

No need to wait any longer, as this year’s Bacon and Beer Classic – presented by Cannonball Productions – is returning to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Saturday, Feb. 25 and will be held on the field.

Kate Levenstien – Cannonball Productions’ founder – is thrilled to host the Classic at Levi’s Stadium for the second time:

“Levi’s Stadium is an absolutely beautiful backdrop for the event, and I can’t wait to get on the field! From more ticket types, to new vendors and exciting VIP lounge additions, guests can expect the same festival with a fresh twist and a few surprises.”

Over 30 local restaurants will serve up original bacon-infused dishes to be enjoyed by the 100+ offerings from over 50 breweries.

A panel of judges – including yours truly – will be on site to rate the food and drink and award winners in select categories.

The first wave of breweries was recently announced, including South Bay locals:

  • Golden State Brewery
  • Red Branch Cider Company
  • Strike Brewing Co.
  • Umunhum Brewing
  • Wildcide Hard Cider (Aurum Cider Co.)

Additional breweries include:

  • Anchor Brewing
  • Anderson Valley
  • Ballast Point
  • Carneros Brewing
  • Coronado Brewing
  • Devil’s Canyon Brewing
  • Firestone Walker
  • High Water Brewing
  • Hop Valley Brewing
  • Knee Deep Brewing
  • Lagunitas
  • Lost Coast Brewery
  • Mother Earth Brew Co.
  • New Bohemia Brewing
  • Oskar Blues
  • South City Ciderworks
  • Sonoma Springs Brewing
  • Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
  • T.W. Pitchers’ Brewing
  • Uinta Brewing
  • Working Man Brewing Co.

Recently announced restaurants:

  • Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas
  • Armadillo Willy’s BBQ
  • Cal Coast Kettle Corn
  • Cross Hatch Eatery
  • D’maize Restaurant
  • Fattoria e Mare
  • Faultline
  • Habana Cuba Restaurant
  • Hey Hey Gourmet
  • Izzy’s Cheesesteaks
  • Jerky Hut
  • Kindred Cooks
  • Nom Burger
  • Nousa’s Cakes & Sweets
  • Sammy G’s Pizzeria
  • Sweetdragon Baking Company
  • Tres Truck

In addition to unlimited sampling, guests can enjoy giant Jenga, a photo booth and bungee run, as well as brand themselves with bacon and beer-inspired tattoos, compete in a bacon eating contest and more.

The first-place winner of the bacon eating contest will take home a year of Hormel Black Label bacon; the second-place winner will take home a Duff Goldman gift basket from Tylina Foods.

Tickets for Bacon and Beer Classic

Guests can attend the afternoon (1-4pm) or evening (7-10pm) session on Saturday, Feb. 25.

For the first time, a Power Hour ticket is being offered along with General Admission, Early Access, and VIP tickets. Early Access ticket holders enter half an hour early, while Power Hour and VIP ticket holders enter a full hour early.

In addition to their early entrance, VIPs can enjoy a private lounge on the 50-yard line, stadium tours, special guest appearances, beer cocktails, exclusive food tastings and more.

General Admission tickets are currently selling at $69 and VIP tickets are selling at $129.

All tickets include a commemorative tasting glass and access to the Bacon and Beer Classic mobile app for vendor information, special partner discounts, a stadium map and more.

15% Off Discount Code

Use discount code CHEERS for 15% off current ticket prices. Direct link to tickets: http://www.baconandbeerclassic.com/santa-clara-bacon-and-beer-classic-2017-tickets/

Check out my photos from previous local Bacon and Beer Classics:

About Bacon and Beer Classic

Hosted in sports stadiums across the country, the Bacon and Beer Classic will travel to over seven destinations in 2017, including NYC’s Citi Field, Seattle’s Safeco Field, and Denver’s Mile High Stadium. Cannonball Productions works hard to make this national festival feel unique to each city.

Along with a variety of charitable organizations, Cannonball Productions is partnering with a local food recovery program to save and donate leftover food.

For more information about the festival, visit: www.baconandbeerclassic.com

Direct link to tickets: www.baconandbeerclassic.com/santa-clara-bacon-and-beer-classic-2017-tickets/

Facebook: facebook.com/bandbclassic
Twitter: @bandbclassic
Instagram: @bandbclassic
Hashtag: #bandbclassic



Scenes from Scott’s Seafood Fall Beer Dinner Featuring Hermitage Brewing Company

Scott’s Seafood in downtown San Jose held another successful beer dinner last week. It was their best one yet in my opinion, a sentiment shared by several others who had also attended previous beer dinners there.

Many aspects were stellar – the organization and service, the outdoor space, the views from the sixth floor, the company, the weather, the informative previews of each course by the restaurant and brewery reps and the food-and-beer pairings themselves.

The sold-out dinner – 55 attendees – showcased a seafood-centric menu and a variety of beer styles courtesy of the featured brewery Hermitage Brewing Company. The beer styles included IPA, Scotch Ale, Sour, Session IPA and Saison.

Below are some pictures and notes from the memorable evening.

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Hermitage Brewing Company Citra Single Hop IPA.

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Hermitage Brewing Company brand manager Nicole Marquez, Scott’s Seafood marketing director Joann Vaega, Hermitage Brewing Company head brewer and cellarmaster Greg Filippi.

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Some of the sold-out crowd, including friends Mike and Lisa Pitsker (front and center).

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Welcome and introductions from Nicole, Joann and Scott’s Seafood Food and Beverage Director Sammy Reyes.

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Opening Reception: Oysters on the half shell with blood orange champagne foam, paired with Hermitage Brewing Citra Single Hop IPA.

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The citrus notes – plus hints of caramel – from the beer nicely complemented the foam while the hoppiness cut through the fresh, buttery oysters.

Scott’s Seafood managing partner Dave Buhagiar topping off glasses with more Citra IPA.

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Greg and Victoria Hatch enjoying the dinner.

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Scott’s Seafood public relations manager Trinidad Pena and Joann.

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Greg and Victoria.

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Course One: Classic Greek salad tossed in a lemon vinaigrette dressing, paired with Hermitage Brewing Maltopia Scotch Ale.

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The malty notes of toasted grain and caramel coming from Maltopia complemented the fresh salad and dressing.

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Next up: Hermitage Brewing Strawberry Rhubarb Sour.

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Course Two: Blackened Red Snapper Tacos with strawberry slaw and housemade potato chips, paired with Hermitage Brewing Strawberry Rhubarb Sour.

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The tart and sour notes – along with hints of of strawberry and wood from the barrel aging – from Strawberry Rhubarb Sour provided varying contrasts to the spicy red snapper, strawberry and cantaloupe slaw and the chips.

Greg sharing a bit of his vast knowledge of sour beers and their production while introducing Strawberry Rhubarb Sour.

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Hermitage Brewing 408 Session IPA from the tap.

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Course Three: Mahi Mahi with a tropical relish, new potatoes, spinach and champagne sauce, paired with Hermitage Brewing 408 Session IPA.

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The hoppy, tropical fruit notes – guava, in particular – of 408 Session IPA matched the mango and kiwi relish, while the flavors plus the body of the beer held up well to the meaty Mahi Mahi.

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Friends Noreen and Jim Helvie.

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Course Four: Poached “Myles Perry” Pear with French Vanilla ice cream, paired with Hermitage Brewing Myles Perry Saison.

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There was only a mild sweetness from the Saison, enabling the beer to stand up well to the dessert course.

Newfound friends – siblings Z and Susan were awesome tablemates.

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The last pic of the night: Wifey Andrea, Victoria, Greg, Nicole and Jim.

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Scott’s Seafood San Jose Presents Fall Beer Dinner Featuring Hermitage Brewing Company

Previous beer dinners at Scott’s Seafood in downtown San Jose (185 Park Ave.) have been successful endeavors filled with excellent food, beer and service, all the more elevated <ahem> by the picturesque backdrop provided by the spacious, outdoor rooftop patio located on the sixth floor of the City View Plaza.

I’ve been eagerly waiting for any news about their next beer dinner. Thanks to a recent announcement, the wait is over.

Scott’s Seafood presents their fall beer dinner Monday, Nov. 7 starting at 6pm, featuring offerings from nearby Hermitage Brewing Company (1627 S. 7th St.).

The dinner will be a truly local, San Jose affair. The featured beers from Hermitage Brewing will have been crafted at the brewery just 2 1/2 miles south of Scott’s Seafood.

Food and beverage director Sammy Reyes and the culinary team have created a special, five-course dinner menu – including oysters on the half shell, grilled blackened red snapper tacos and Mahi Mahi – to complement the variety of Hermitage Brewing’s offerings, including IPA, Scotch Ale, Sour and Pear Saison.

The Menu

  • Opening Reception: Oysters on the half shell, served with blood orange champagne foam.
    • Beer Pairing: Citra Single Hop IPA
  • First Course: Classic Greek Salad, Cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, red onions, tossed in a lemon vinaigrette dressing.
    • Beer Pairing: Maltopia Scotch Ale
  • Second Course: Grilled Blackened Red Snapper tacos with Strawberry Slaw and Housemade potato chips
    • Beer Pairing: Strawberry Rhubarb Sour
  • Third Course: Mahi Mahi with a tropical relish with new potatoes, warm spinach salad, and a champagne sauce.
    • Beer Pairing: 408 Session IPA
  • Dessert: Poached “Myles Perry” Pear, Served with French Vanilla ice cream and blackberries.
    • Beer Pairing: Myles Perry Saison

Dinner Tickets

Tickets for the dinner are $45 dollars per person available for purchase at the dinner’s Eventbright page. Consider getting tickets sooner than later as previous beer dinners sold out.

As is the case with any good beer dinner, brewery representatives – including head brewer and cellarmaster Greg Filippi and territory manager Nicole Marquez – will be on hand to answer any questions about Hermitage Brewing and their beers.

About Scott’s Seafood

Scott’s Seafood San Jose is a Bay Area tradition in the heart of Downtown San Jose since 1986, offering a diverse dining destination in both cuisine and setting. Experience a friendly and relaxed environment to enjoy an intimate meal or a group gathering. With their modern lounge, stunning patio views, unique menu, and true hospitality, their American regional cuisine features the freshest seafood, pasta, chicken dishes, and USDA prime, aged steaks. Scott’s Seafood offers parking validation for its guests.



Michael Mina’s Bourbon Pub Hosts Beer Dinner Featuring Strike Brewing Company

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The next Hops & Harvest beer dinner event at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Pub – located at Levi’s Stadium (4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way, Santa Clara) – is set for Thursday, October 13 beginning at 6pm.

The 6-course beer dinner will showcase offerings from San Jose’s Strike Brewing Company. Strike represents the second local brewery in a row to be featured in Bourbon Pub’s beer dinner series.

Executive chef Steven Gotham has crafted an intriguing menu that highlights the various aspects of beer that make it such a versatile beverage when used to pair with food. Below is a sneak peek of the beer dinner menu:

Six-Course Menu

First Course
Hamachi Crudo Tostada with Classic Dot Blonde Ale

Second Course
Heirloom Kale, Pumpkin Seed, Dried Cranberry, Ginger Dressing with Horn Rounder IPA

Third Course
Roasted Butternut Squash, Spaetzle, Brown Butter, Speck with Hunt for Oktoberfest

Fourth Course
Beer Can Chicken, Roasted Marble Potatoes, Caramelized Shallot with Lumber Buster American Brown Ale

Fifth Course
Tapioca, Citrus Granita, Chamomile Foam with Lucky Bullet Belgian Wheat

Sixth Course
Mango Upside Down Cake, Crème Fraiche Sherbet with Screaming Hand Imperial Amber Ale

Tickets

Tickets for the beer dinner are $65 per person (not including tax and gratuity). Seating is limited, and reservations can be made by calling 408-579-4460 or emailing nanthony@bourbonsteak.com.

Representatives from Strike will be on hand to answer any questions about the brewery and their beers. There’ll also be raffles held throughout the dinner with chances to win prizes courtesy of Strike and the 49ers.

The beer dinner is the fourth such dinner in Bourbon Pub’s ongoing Hops & Harvest beer dinner series, which started earlier this year. The upcoming beer dinner follows a very successful beer dinner held in August featuring Santa Clara’s Golden State Brewery, which I had the good fortune to attend and write about.



Taco and Beer Pairing Event at Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant

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Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant in downtown Mountain View is hosting a special Taco & Beer Pairing event Wednesday, September 21 starting at 5:30pm.

This tasty pairing event is a first for Steins and features 3 tacos paired with 3 craft brews for $15.

Bar manager Ryan Hummel has just finalized the beers for the pairings:

  • Pollo (chicken) – traditional chicken tinga paired with Stillwater Artisan Ales Fear of Ghosts (smoked, sour saison)
  • Carnitas (pork) – spiced rubbed pork butt, marinated for 2 days and cooked for 3 hours paired with Modern Times Fortunate Islands with Grapefruit Zest (hoppy wheat)
  • Carne Asada (beef) – 3-day jalapeno and herbs marinade paired with Berryessa Brewing La Fuerza Borracho (Mexican pale lager)

The corn tortilla will be hand made, and there will be a salsa bar available as well.

And as a reminder, Steins is also co-hosting Mountain View’s 4th Annual Oktoberfest, which is set for the weekend of October 1 and 2, from 11am to 7pm both days.

Folks are welcome to bring their steins from previous years, but no worries – there will be plenty of steins plus drink tickets available for purchase at the festival. Prost!

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New Whole Foods Market and Tap Room Opens in Santa Clara

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A new 50,000 square-foot Whole Foods Market – built from the ground up – opened last month, July 26, in Santa Clara at 2732 Augustine Drive.

Located at the bustling corner of Scott Boulevard and Bowers Avenue, it’s the first Whole Foods store in Santa Clara and – for those keeping track – the 44th in Northern California.

The store also features its own Tap Room, which I recently had the chance to visit.

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Jamie Silvestrini working in the Tap Room bar

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The Tap Room is bright, open and inviting, with indoor seating for about 60 guests. The cushioned benches lining the walls are comfortable and a particularly nice touch.

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There’s also a great outdoor space right next to the Tap Room that can seat 40 guests.

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I met up with Wesley Miller, the specialty associate coordinator for Northern California, and we discussed some of the highlights of the Tap Room and the store.

The Tap Room bar has 19 taps dedicated to craft beer, plus two taps for wine and a tap for maple cold brew coffee on nitro made in-house.

Tap specialist Art Escobar – having previously been at the Whole Foods Market in Fremont – has been busily procuring and maintaining the draft beers, setting up events and training bartenders.

The store has digital kiosk and self-serve stations, the first of their kinds in Northern CA. There are also wide and varied food options, including a sushi, ramen and bao (savory steamed buns) station and a special menu created just for the Tap Room by Top Chef finalist (from season 12) Melissa King.

Some of Melissa’s appetizer, hamburger and skewer creations include spinach sesame salad, kimchi summer squash, chicken karaage, lemongrass meatballs, Tokyo burger (served with shiitake mushrooms, greens, caramelized onions, yuzu miso aioli), Seoul burger (served with kimchi, arugula, sesame-gochujang aioli), chicken thigh and green onion skewer with yakitori glaze, enoki mushroom skewer wrapped in bacon with togarashi and simple zucchini skewer.

Wesley noted that Melissa’s exclusive menu items pair well with beer and wine and are meant to be shared and enjoyed in small bites.

Wesley also noted that specialty food items throughout the store will be featured at the Tap Room. For instance, look for cheese and chocolate pairing events to take place on an ongoing basis.

The opening of the Tap Room at the Santa Clara store continues Whole Foods’ contributions – especially with regards to fresh draft beer options – to the local beer scene.

The new Tap Room follows the opening of the Tap Room at the San Jose store on Blossom Hill Road this past October, the December 2014 opening of the Mission Creek Brewing Company and tap room at the SanJose Whole Foods on The Alameda and the opening of the Brew Hub tap room in the Cupertino store also in December 2014.

Below are some additional photos from my visit.

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Fries with Citrus Miso Aioli
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Skewers of Enoki Bacon and Shiitake Mushrooms
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Tokyo Burger, served with shiitake mushrooms, greens, caramelized onions, yuzu miso aioli

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Beer Flight
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Wesley Miller, Specialty Associate Coordinator of Northern California

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Scenes from Bourbon Pub’s Beer Pairing Dinner Featuring Golden State Brewery

I was very fortunate to have attended a special beer pairing dinner last week hosted by Michael Mina’s Bourbon Pub at Levi’s Stadium featuring Golden State Brewery. The dinner was truly a local event, as both the restaurant and Golden State Brewery are located in Santa Clara.

The beer dinner was the third such dinner in Bourbon Pub’s ongoing Hops & Harvest beer dinner series. The dinners – which take place every two months – feature a brewery and a carefully crafted, multi-course menu.

Each course is created to complement a particular beer from the featured brewery, taking into account the paired beer’s aroma and flavor profiles.

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The dinner was held in the spacious lower-level Tailgate area next to Bourbon Pub. There were close to 60 guests in attendance for the beer dinner.

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After an opening welcome,  Bourbon Steak & Pub manager Giancarlo DiTullio shared – among other items – that this year marked the 70th anniversary of the 49ers.

As a Bay Area sports fan, I appreciated the tie-in. I’ve been following the Niners ever since the ’80s, back when my dad, brother and I would watch them play on TV. I think I’m close to getting over the Billy “White Shoes” Johnson play from the ’83 season, but I digress…

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Giancarlo introduced Golden State Brewery representative Ryan Blake, pastry chef Amy Lee and executive chef Steve Gotham. Chef Steve recently joined Bourbon Steak and Bourbon Pub in June, following 6 years as the chef de cuisine at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

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Ryan took his turn to welcome the guests and invited all of us to come out and visit the brewery, mentioning among other things Golden State Brewery’s close proximity to Levi’s Stadium and that the brewery is located at a former Memorex building. Ryan did a good job with engaging the guests when he introduced each beer and during multiple table visits throughout the dinner.

Before long, the first course had arrived.

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First Course

  • Golden Watermelon, Blistered Shishito Peppers, Yuzu Vinaigrette
  • Pairing: Bay Area Blonde

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The crisp and sweet watermelon provided the right amount of counterbalance for the spicy shishito peppers. The Bay Area Blonde – with its light melon notes – paired very well with the spicy yet refreshing dish.

The successful first course was an auspicious start to the dinner, and our table told chef Steve just that as he was making the rounds.

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Second Course

  • Tenbrink Farms Tomato Salad, Red Curry, Thai Basil
  • Pairing: Heritage Honey Ale

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The tomatoes were farm fresh and bursting with flavor, matching well with the slightly spicy, lemongrass curry and Thai basil. The Heritage Honey Ale offered a harmonious pairing with the tomato salad.

Third Course

  • Crispy Shrimp Lettuce Cup, Sweet and Spicy Sauce, Lime
  • Pairing: Poppy Pale Ale

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The battered shrimp, sauce, lime and lettuce tasted fresh and paired perfectly with the light floral, well-balanced Poppy Pale Ale.

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Giancarlo took a moment to preview the raffle prizes for the evening, which included an authenticated game-worn football pants that belonged to Justin Smith. I hope whoever won appreciated this prize given how great and valuable a player #94 was.

Fourth Course

  • Braised Pork Belly, Green Papaya Salad
  • Pairing: Golden Gate Red Ale

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The crunchy, fresh green papaya salad helped cut through the richness of the huge portion of braised pork belly. The peppery notes from the Golden Gate Red Ale nicely complemented the combination of the fresh papaya salad and the pork belly.

Though some at our table noted the hard crusts of their pork belly, mine was crisped to delicate perfection, reminding me of the pieces of delectable skin from the Schweinehaxe enjoyed in Germany earlier this summer.

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Fifth Course

  • Ancho Chile Crusted Flank Steak, Guacamole, Crispy Tortilla
  • Pairing: Cold Brew Coffee Stout

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This course elicited plenty of oohs and ahs from folks around me. The Cold Brew Coffee Stout paired wonderfully with the creamy, slightly citrusy guacamole, coffee grounds and buttery steak.

For some, the Stout was an unexpected pairing for the main course, but the subtle coffee bitterness in the Stout handily balanced the heartiness of the steak and the richness of the guacamole.

Sixth Course

  • Citrus Tart, Crème Fraiche Sherbert, Grapefruit Foam
  • Pairing: Eureka! IPA

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The dessert course was also a winner, though some were surprised by the pairing of an IPA with dessert. Those who expressed surprise soon realized how well the grapefruit aroma and the hoppy, citrus flavors of the Eureka! IPA matched the citrus tart and grapefruit foam.

I had a great time meeting a number of folks at our table, including beer enthusiasts and those new to the world of beer and its versatility, especially when paired with stellar food.

The pairings were creative and well executed. The service was excellent, and the vibe was festive. And I’m so grateful to have enjoyed all this with Andrea.

Bourbon Pub’s next beer dinner is set to take place Thursday, October 13, and will feature San Jose’s Strike Brewing Company.

Below are additional pictures from the evening.

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