West Coast Bias: San Francisco – City Beer Store
Within no time, we arrived at City Beer Store (big thanks to thirstyrob for the ride!). The event started at 6; we knew City Beer Store was not big at all, so we decided to arrive early, around 5. I was a little worried as there was a line outside the store already, about 15 people deep, and it was already at one in, one out capacity. While in line, Tim Clifford came out to say hi and thanked everyone for coming out for the event. Fears about being shutout were unfounded, though, as most of the people in the store were there for a previous tasting. I was let in well before the Sante Adairius event started.
Thirstyrob had some friends in there already at a table, so I was able to at least have a place to set down my beer and chat with everyone. Thirstyrob was also kind enough to purchase of bottle of Cantillon St. Lamvinus, so we sipped on that until the Sante Adairius pours started.
This event featured a rare opportunity to try some Sante Adairius Rustic Ales on tap outside of the brewery. Since the brewery is so small, they would only be pouring four beers, but those four were heavy hitters.
While sipping on the St. Lamvinus, I looked around to see how many people were present. Upon scanning, I saw that Tim and Adair Paterno (co-owners of Sante Adairius) were standing right next to us, chatting with some attendees. Being the only two from Sante Adairius that I had not met yet, I jumped at the chance to converse with them. As was the case at the brewery staff, both Tim and Adair were congenial, approachable, and eager to talk beer with anyone. It was a pleasure to meet and talk with them.
The place steadily became more and more congested, and, by the time I realized the beers were soon to be tapped, a fairly long line had already formed. Thankfully, one of our group was in line and was more than willing to share portions of their beer. Thanks to this generosity, I was able to try all four beers with little trouble, which I was appreciative of, as both Appreciation and Cask 200 kicked fairly quickly.
While sipping on these (as well as Chavez and Cellarman), I was, unbeknownst to me, singing along with the music being played. I was pleasantly surprised to be hearing Jeff Mangum and Neutral Milk Hotel playing over the sound system (which I later found out was chosen by Tim and Adair, along with Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation). While not a measure of how well an event was run, I obviously really liked this small touch of letting the brewers picking the music for the event.
As for the beers, Cellarman was the standout beer from Sante Adairius there. A wine barrel aged saison brewed in collaboration with Triple Rock Brewery, Cellarman is tart and crisp with a very dry and satisfying finish. Cask 200 and Appreciation were great as well, but Cellarman stole the show in my opinion.
After trying all four offerings (and some twice, because, heck, I’d probably never get a chance like this in Chicago) and meeting up with people I had traded with or met at other bars previously, I was eager to go to Cellarmaker (right down the block) and try things there. Some of my group was going so I decided to go as well.
Despite being a small place with both a bar and bottle shop, City Beer Store did an admirable job of hosting this event and getting the beers to the attendees. After the initial surge, both the Sante Adairius and rest of the taps were available anywhere along the bar. The bartenders did a great job of serving everyone, and Tim and Adair were a joy and pleasure to talk with. I hope to get the opportunity to attend similar events in the future.