Bicycles and Beer Coming to Marin

Every September and October beer lovers get a chance to indulge their Bavarian roots during an onslaught of Oktoberfest festivities. Some events go the traditional route with liters of Märzen, Schweinebraten and prancing Lederhosen, while others stray far from the Germanic tree to become their own spectacle. This is what you’ll find when Biketoberfest returns to Marin.

The brewfest and bicycle expo will take place at FairAnselm Plaza in downtown Fairfax on September 25 from 11am to 6pm. You can expect “celebrity rides, live music, food, family activities, a Cargo Bike Jubilee, dozens of bicycle component, nutrition and athletic attire vendors, and 25 West Coast brewers serving over 40 beers.”

The event serves as a fundraiser for the hosts, the Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) and Access4Bikes (A4B). The MBC advocates for improved and expanded bikeways, promotes cycling rights, conducts education and would like to see 20% of all trips in Marin be made by walking or biking by 2020. A4B is a non-profit political organization that “seeks to establish equitable access for mountain biking on the public trails of Marin County.”

Admission to the event is free, but if you want to do some tasting it will cost you $25 in advance or $30 day-of (unlimited tastings). For more information go to

Here’s the current list of participating breweries:

21st Amendment
Anchor Brewing
Anderson Valley Brewing
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Beltane Brewing Company
Bison Brewing
Broken Drum Brewery
Clif Family Winery & Farm
Deschutes Brewing
Iron Springs Pub & Brewery
Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Lucky Hand Brewing
Marin Brewing Co.
Moonlight Brewing

New Belgium Brewing
Ninkasi Brewing
Peloton Cellars
Petaluma Hills Brewing Co.
Pine Street Brewery
Pizza Orgasmica
Santa Cruz Ale Works
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Tieton Cider Works
Triple Rock
Van Houten Brewing Co.
Weed Ales and Lagers

North Coast Brewing Releases Grand Cru & Chats with Bay Area Craft Beer


Photo © Fred Abercrombie

I was lucky enough to not only try the brand-spankin’ new Grand Cru but to talk to North Coast President and Brewmaster himself, Mark E. Ruedrich. Below are highlights about the new agave-tinged release, where they see themselves within the Bay Area craft beer community, and what to expect in the near future. Cheers!

• •

As the first new release from you guys in many moons (barring special vintages of Old Stock Ale) how did you settle on putting out a Grand Cru?

The Grand Cru grew out of our 20th anniversary beer. The genesis of that beer got us intrigued with acidity balancing maltiness … we found that under certain circumstances, these yeast strains produce substantial amounts of acidity. So you get a beer with very low bitterness BUT with a nice acidity balancing things out; like the La Merle with its tangy finish.

What led to agave in the concoction? I’m imagining a wild trip to the border or a stumble home from the taqueria.

Actually the 20th Anniversary Ale had this same agave process and aged in oak. Now on our 23rd year, we don’t have an experimental line of beers or skunkworks. So when we come across something interesting [like this] it’s “duly noted”. The Grand Cru will be an every year release.

Any notes on aging the Grand Cru?

Based on experience with the now 3-yr-old 20th Anniversary Beer, Grand Cru holds up really well. The particular yeast strain [the same Belgian yeast we use to ferment La Merle] creates a very, very stable beer. It holds up really well. You don’t actually get an improvement, per se, but there’s a certain stability there.

Speaking of aging, can we expect another barrel-aged run of Old Rasputin?

Last year we sold so much Rasputin to distribution (we’re growing at 25% clip) they didn’t have any left over to do a barrel age run. But we’ve increased our barrel aging production, so there’ll be more of those releases. Before, the biggest BA run was about 2500-3000 cases, same with this year’s Grand Cru, or 150 barrels. Now we can fit 450 barrels. So this year will be the last small release of Rasputin (it ages for a year in Bourbon, Old Stock ages 18 months).

“More of those releases…”? 

They’re working on a vertical (5 vintages, odd years/ even years) of Old Stock as a gift box for the holidays. Just a couple hundred boxes.

Very cool. One last question. Being nestled up the Mendocino Coast in Fort Bragg, do you guys view yourselves as part of the Bay Area craft beer scene or more just Norther Cal?

We’ve got distribution all over the country but Sonoma and the Bay Area is our home market. You guys are our backyard!

• • 

Look for Grand Cru on shelves around the Bay and beyond.
Visit North Coast online:


Calendar of Events

The days are getting shorter, fall beer is hitting the shelves and Oktoberfest celebrations are in the works. Sadly, summer is over, but we have a calendar full of fun for your consideration. This month brings a few big annual events such as Brews on the Bay and Biktoberfest.  Sprinkled in-between those two festivities you’ll find some great brewery nights at local bars and events geared towards foodies. Throughout the month keep tabs in our main calendar since new parties are sure to pop up at the last moment.

September 1, Thursday

Thirsty Thursdays: Belukus Premium Imports from Belgium, England and Germany
4:00pm – 7:00pm, Artisan Wine Depot, 400 A Villa St., Mountan View. (map)

“This is a walk-around tasting event, you may come by anytime between 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Early Bird Ticket Price: $15.70 (Early Bird pricing ends at 2:00PM on September 1st). Regular Ticket Price: $20.32 (if space permits)”

Brewery Night: Crispin Cider
6:00pm, Petaluma Taps, 205 Kentucky Street, Petaluma. (map)

Pint Night: Uinta Brewing
6:00pm, Harry’s Hofbrau, 390 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose. (map)

Featuring: TBD. Pay for what you drink with an opportunity to keep the brewery branded pint glass.

September 2, Friday

Drake’s First Friday
4:00pm – 8:00pm, Drake’s Brewing Barrel House, 1933 Davis Street, San Leandro. (map)

“Drake’s First Friday is here again! To kick off the Labor Day weekend right we decided to have a good ole’ fashioned BBQ. What could be better than to send off what’s been a pretty damn awesome summer than with smoked meat, Drake’s beer and good friends? Answer: to send off summer with smoked meat, Drake’s beer and good friends for a great local cause.
This month we are hosting the San Leandro Scholarship Foundation, which works to provide graduating high-school seniors with the scholarships they need to put higher education within reach.

So, come out this Friday and join us with a pint, some pork and some friends to have a great time and help the students while we’re at it.
– $5 per person voluntary donation, to the non-profit organization we are supporting, at the gate. (Children with their parents free)
– $15 for a Drake’s tasting glass and 3 tokens for 3 full pours. Additional tokens can be purchased separately ($3.50 each, with net proceeds going to the non-profit)

Eric’s Choice Beer Tasting: Featuring Deschutes’ Stoic
6:30pm – 8:30pm, Jug Shop, 1590 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco. (map)

“Join us tomorrow night as we sample a dozen new beers including Deschutes’ new Stoic Quad, Speakeasy’s new Butchertown Black Ale and Stone’s 2011 Vertical Epic. Those who purchase their tickets by 8pm this evening can take advantage of the pre-sale price of $12. See you all tomorrow.”

September 6,  Tuesday

Stone Brewing 15th Anniversary Party
6:00pm, Toad in the Hole, 116 5th St., Santa Rosa. (map)

September 7, Wednesday

6:00pm – 10:00pm, Shotwell’s Bar, 3349 20th Street, San Francisco. (map)

Presented by Sodacraft with food from Wise Sons Deli, Good Foods Catering, and Bryan Ostler. No RSVP required and it’s cash only. More details at the link.

September 8, Thursday

Brewery Night: Highwater Brewing
6:00pm, Petaluma Taps, 205 Kentucky Street, Petaluma. (map)

Pint Night: The Bruery
6:00pm, Harry’s Hofbrau,390 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose. (map)

Featuring: TBD. Pay for what you drink with an opportunity to keep the brewery branded pint glass.

September 10, Saturday

Nor Cal Craft Beer Tour (3 breweries, 7 hours)!
9:30am – 4:30pm, San Francisco, CA

“Come hop on our bus and experience the San Francisco craft beer movement with us. We’ll show you some of the best breweries in San Francisco. We’ve crafted a special brewery bus tour that visits three breweries that include: Thirsty Bear, Social Kitchen & Brewery, and Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant.
We pick up at the civic center at 1:00 p.m. and drop you off at 5:00p.m.
The tour includes round-trip transportation, beer samples at each brewery, a behind-the-scenes brewery tour, a specialized (and ridiculously fun!) tour guide, and an experience you won’t forget! Tickets are $54.99.”

Brews on the Bay, hosted by the San Francisco Brewers Guild
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien, Pier 45, San Francisco. (map)

SOLD OUT. Join the San Francisco Brewers Guild on the deck of the historic SS Jeremiah O’Brian for the 8th annual Brews on the Bay! It’s a day of great beer, food, music, and fun on one of the most unique settings around for a beer festival. The O’Brien is one of the last remaining World War II Liberty Ships and is docked at Pier 45 near Fisherman’s Wharf. Joining us dockside this year are food trucks from Off the Grid!

Ticket price includes unlimited tastes from all 8 of San Francisco’s craft breweries:

21st Amendment Brewery
Anchor Brewing
Beach Chalet
Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant
Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery
Social Kitchen & Brewery
Speakeasy Ales and Lagers
Thirsty Bear Brewing Company
Plus: live music, food trucks, and brewery merch for sale!
Advance online sales only – no tickets available at the gate.”

Beer in the Plaza
3:00pm – 7:00pm. Healdsburg Plaza, Healdsburg. (map)

Organized by Soroptimist International of Healdsburg. See link for details.

Octoberfest Party
4:00pm, Gourmet Haus Staudt, 2615 Broadway, Redwood City. (map)

September 12, Monday

Ballast Point Beer Dinner
Time: N/A, Monk’s Kettle, 3141 16th Street, San Francisco. (map)

“Join Monk’s Kettle on Monday, September 12 in hosting a Beer Pairing Dinner with San Diego’s famed Ballast Point Brewing. Featured Beers include: Sour Wench, Smoke Screen, Even Keel, Sculpin, Black Marlin, and Victory At Sea. $95 per person.”

September 13, Tuesday

Brewery Night: Lagunitas Brewing
6:00pm, Toad in the Hole, 116 5th St., Santa Rosa. (map)

September 15, Thursday

Brewery Night: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
6:00pm, Petaluma Taps, 205 Kentucky St., Petaluma. (map)

September 17, Saturday

Zwanze Day 2011
Time: N/A, Russian River Brewing Co., 725 4th St, Santa Rosa. (map)

Cal Brewers Festival
1:00pm – 5:00pm, Discovery Park, Sacramento. (map)

September 18, Sunday

11:30am – 2:30pm, Public House, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco. (map)

“MateVeza & Friends cordially request your presence at Beerunch, a beer and food pairing brunch featuring MateVeza and other morning-friendly brews.

Featured Beers (may be subject to change):

MateVeza & Mill Valley Beerworks – Morpho
Dogfish Head & Sierra Nevada – Life & Limb
Iron Springs – Fairfax Coffee Porter
The Bruery – Autumn Maple
Stillwater Artisanal Ales – Stateside Saison
Ballast Point – Sculpin IPA
MateVeza – Black Lager

Pre-sale $39 per person, regular $49.”

September 20, Tuesday

Brewery Night: Grand Teton Brewing
6:00pm, Toad in the Hole, 116 5th St., Santa Rosa. (map)

September 21, Wednesday

SF Brewer’s Guild Meet the Brewers
6:00pm – 9:00pm, City Beer Store, 1168 Folsom St Suite 101, San Francisco. (map)

It’s always nice to put faces to names, especially those that craft the beer you drink. Raise a pint or two with local artisan brewers and learn more about San Francisco craft beer.”

September 22, Thursday

Brewery Night: Hofbräuhaus
6:00pm, Petaluma Taps, 205 Kentucky St., Petaluma. (map)

September 23, Friday

Drake’s Flocktoberfest
6:00pm – 9:30pm, Drake’s Brewing Barrel House, 1933 Davis Street, Building 177, San Leandro. (map)

“This year in honor of the annual Bavarian Festival, we are throwing an Oktoberfest Haus Fest in our very own Barrel House (or Barrel Haus if you will) on Friday, September 23 from 6pm- 9:30pm.

Tickets are $55 and include:

Happy Hour: 6pm- 7pm- Open Taps (excludes Barrel-aged beers)

Authentic German fare from Speisekammer in Alameda including: Bratwurst, Sauerkraut, German Potato Salad, Bavarian Pretzels with Mustard, Variety of German Salads, Cheese Spätzle, and Apple Strudel.

Drake’s Flocktoberfest T-shirt (Sweet logo up top on the back. $20 value)

Three beer tickets to use for Barrel-aged beers during happy hour and any beer afterwards (cash bar available after).”

September 24, Saturday

New Belgium Brewing Tour de Fat
Details TBD. Check link.

Eat Real Fest: Something’s a-Brewin Contest
12:00pm, Jack London Square,Oakland. (map)

“Live to brew? Show off your best homebrew in our second annual Eat Real Homebrew Competition. A panel of professional brewers will select the gold, silver, and bronze brews, so come and BYOHB – bring your own homebrew! Each person or group must submit 60 oz of bottled beer. Every bottle must be in brown or green glass, and free of any brand name labeling on the glass or bottle cap. Limit two entries per category. Make sure you follow the guidelines above!

Categories:Farmhouse beer

Hoppy beer
Strong beer
Session beer
Best Doggone beer (best hot dog beer)”

September 25, Sunday

Biketoberfest Marin 2011
11:00am – 6:00pm, Fair-Anselm Plaza, 765 Center Blvd, Fairfax. (map)

“A highly-anticipated annual festival, Biketoberfest Marin attracts cyclists and West Coast brewers alike in a combined bicycle expo and stellar brewfest! Held in Fairfax—the birthplace of the mountain bike—Biketoberfest is not only Marin County’s premier bicycle event but is also a fundraiser for and presented by the Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) and Access4Bikes (A4B). Last year the event drew over 5,000 beer and cycling enthusiasts from all over Northern California and raised $20,000 for MCBC and A4B. Biketoberfest will be held at FairAnselm Plaza in downtown Fairfax, one of the most popular gathering places for both on and off-road cycling in Marin County and the home of MCBC and Iron Springs Pub and Brewery. The event takes place Sunday, September 25, 2011 from 11am to 6pm and will feature celebrity rides, live music, great food, family activities, a Cargo Bike Jubilee, dozens of bicycle, component, nutrition and athletic attire vendors, and 25 West Coast brewers serving over 40 beers! It’s a great way to have fun while helping a good cause. The fee for the tasting is $25 in advance ($30 day) of and includes a commemorative Biketoberfest 8oz. glass.

Biketoberfest Events:

Celebrity Ride with “Fast” Freddie Rodriguez
Cargo Bike Jubilee
Live Music from noon to 6pm: WTJ Squared, Miracle Mule, Beso Negro and Tom Finch Group
Family Activities
Celebrity women’s mountain bike skills clinic with Team LUNA Chix’s Catharine PendrelThe Biketoberfest beer tasting features over 30 beers from 20 West Coast brewers.

Full List of Participating Brewers (as of 8.21.11):

21st Amendment
Anchor Brewing
Anderson Valley Brewing
Bear Republic
Bison Brewing
Broken Drum
Deschutes Brewing
Iron Springs Brewing
Lagunitas Brewing
Luckyhand Brewing Company
Marin Brew Co
Santa Cruz Ale Works
Sierra Nevada
Triple Rock
Weed Ale
Pizza Orgasmica
Moonlight Brewing Company
Petaluma Hills Brewing Co.
Beltane Brewing Company
Van Houten Brewing Company
New Belgium
Pine Street Brewery
Tieton Cider Works
Peloton Cellars (WINE)
Clif Family Winery”

September 27, Tuesday

Oktoberfest Showdown
6:00pm, Toad in the Hole, 116 5th St., Santa Rosa. (map)

September 29, Thursday

6:00pm, Petaluma Taps, 205 Kentucky St., Petaluma. (map)