Thursday, August 2, 2012

Beer Store Review - Little Vine

About a year ago, a little boutique grocery store, Little Vine, opened up just around the corner from the Barbary Coast Brewery. Not much bigger than a walk-in closet, they specialize in wine, artisan cheeses, meats, and specialty groceries; they also sells sandwiches and pastries.
They also carry a few craft beers. Their first were from Almanac, a new local artisan brewery. Currently they stock maybe a dozen beers. The last time I was in there (this past Saturday), they had some of the local craft beers you would expect in the Bay Area (Racer 5 IPA from Bear Republic, La Merle Belgian from North Coast), plus some more unusual ones (Anchor Small Beer), some rarities you'd only see at a really good beer store (Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast, Jolly Pumpkin La Roja Oak-Aged Amber), and one I've never seen before (Fantome Saison, from Belgium).

I picked up the later 3, as well as a good-looking bottle of Normandy cider, and then chatted a bit with one of the owners, Jay, who was working the register. Naturally I turned the conversation to the facts that a) I live right 'round the corner, and b) I'm a homebrewer, and when he showed interest, I popped back home to fetch him a couple of my current bottles--oak-aged double pale, and lavender saison. When he said he was going to open them and try them on the spot, I bid farewell, not wanting to bias his opinion. I came back a couple of days later, and he declared himself impressed, stating that, if I had that kind of beer around the house, why would I need to buy any?

(He also asked me if I sold my beer. Sigh. He also also told me that he'd been visited by another North Beach homebrewer who styled himself Telegraph Hill Brewing (making me glad I forewent that name), who apparently had a fancy website and everything. I haven't been able to find a trace of him, though, so if anyone knows who he is, please let me know!)

Anyway, for that little bit of flattery alone, if you're in the neighborhood, especially if you're packing a little picnic (or if you're looking for a gift to bring to the Barbary Coast Brewery), I recommend that you drop in for a look. Their stuff's not cheap, but it's highest quality, and you'll have trouble finding it anywhere else.

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