Friday, July 29, 2016

Calicraft opens taproom in Walnut Creek (CA)

After a four-year wait, as a work-in-progress, Calicraft Brewing Company has finally opened the doors to its taproom in Walnut Creek.

The taproom was opened to the general public with a soft opening on July 29th.

When I got there, half an hour after opening, the line snaked through the room, and when I left a couple of hours later it was still to the door, with a steady stream of new visitors coming in.

Throughout it all, owner and head brewer, Blaine Landberg, circulated, greeting guests, distributing samples, and helping everyone feel welcome.

The beer was certainly very good, as was to be expected from a brewer with so strong a presence in the local market and beyond.

Of course, Calicraft's flagship brews -Buzzerkley, Oaktown, The City, Cali Coast-- were well-represented on the tap list. However, there were also a number of other treats, including a fruit-infused version of Buzzerkley, and a whiskey barrel-aged edition of Oaktown.

Particularly nice were a special sour beer fermented in a zinfandel barrel, and Zero Anniversary, a pale ale brewed specially for opening weekend.

According to Blaine's parents, who were also on hand, there are long-range plans of adding a deck out front, with maybe a bocce ball court. Food options are still under evaluation.

Calicraft Brewing Co.
2700-B Mitchell Dr
Walnut Creek, CA

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Barranco Beer Company (Lima, Peru)

Opened in 2014, Barranco Beer Company's brewpub has been a resounding success.  From selling 50 liters of beer on their first night, beer sales are now in the range of 20 bbl per month, with weekend sales reaching s/. 7000, according to Rommel, one of the managers

The initial lineup of beers has been expanded and refined.   Some favorites, like the "Presidente" heffeweizen" --renamed" Jefe Weiss"-- have been retained, others -like the dunkel-- have been dropped.   In their place are new recipes for pale ales, IPA, and lagers.

Two years ago I lamented the absence of "heavier", "chewier" beers in their lineup.  I must not have been the only one asking for them, as Barranco now offers at least one porter and has just released "Saca Tu Machete", an excellent 8.7% abv / 42 IBU imperial stout made with aji limo, cacao, and algarrobina.

Another beer that is worth mentioning, and one I hope they make part of their regular lineup, even if only seasonally, is the Pepino Punch saison.  Made with pepino fruit, Pepino Punch is easily one of the best fruited beers I've ever tasted.

Barranco Beer Company
Av Almirante Miguel Grau 308
Barranco, Lima

Saturday, July 9, 2016

BarBarian (Lima, Peru)

Lima's newest addition to the growing Peruvian craft beer scene is Cerveceria Barbarian's taproom in Miraflores: BarBarian.

Located half a block from Miraflores' main park, on Calle Bonilla, BarBarian taproom has been open only since March, and already it is a popular, standing-room-only, joint late into a Friday night.  It has a friendly, open atmosphere, and the back portion is dominated by a colorful mural and a wall display of several hundred beer bottles collected over seven years by the owners.

The twety-three taps offer a mix of Barbarian's own brews and guest beers from other Peruvian craft brewers such as Nuevo Mundo, La Magdalena, Cumbres, and Sierra Andina.  All are available in 100-ml tasters, or in 200-ml and 400-ml pours.  

In addition, there is a selection of bottled Peruvian craft and import beers available for consumption on the spot or to go (currently at a 30% discount relative to the in-house price!).

There is also a kitchen, offering burgers, chicken wings, and other pub-type fare, making  this a good place for lunch, dinner, or a late night snack, washed down with quality beer.

Calle Manuel Bonilla 108
Miraflores, Lima

Monday, July 4, 2016

Lima Beer Spots: The "Superba" Bar

Long known for its cocktails and sandwiches prepared with house-made ham, the Superba has been one of Lima's favorite "old-school" haunts since its opening in 1938. (As for the name, many believe that it was originally "Superbar" and that the final "r" was dropped, but it has actually always been just "Superba".)

A couple of years ago, the original owner retired, and passed the management to his children. They've kept the place intact, while quietly turning it into one Lima's best spots for craft beer. 

A sign on the bar states that they have 90 beers on hand , but the staff told me it is more than that.  All of them are bottled (draught beer is not very common here yet), and while they may have a cooler in back somewhere, it looks like most are just kept on the shelves or counters at room temperature.

The beer geek draw however, is the couple of display fridges in the dining room, both of which are well-stocked with a pick of imported (mostly Belgian and Spanish) beers, and lots of Peruvian craft beers.

Just in the one, I counted beers from Cumbres, Sierra Andina, Beer Stache, Nuevo Mundo, Invictus, and a few others.

If one is in need of a good beer in the Limce/San Isidro area, the Superba is a go-to spot.  Their traditional Peruvian mixed drinks are good as well, as are their sandwiches, of course.

Av. Petit Thouars 2884
San Isidro
Lima, Peru