Yesterday I went to the other side of the pond (not the Atlantic…the San Francisco Bay) to see the Berkeley Kite Festival (it ends today, 1-Aug-2010, but next year you can check it out at the end of July). I’ve never seen anything like it…I guess the closest thing I can remember is a ballooning festival in Vermont that I went to, once. My wife posted a photo on her photo blog. One of my pictures from the event is on the right.
After that, we went to St. George Spirits in Alameda, CA, home of the Hangar 1 brand of vodkas and a truly mind-boggling array of other spirits, including their own single-malt whiskey. Besides St. George, we are blessed with a number of active distillers in the San Francisco Bay Area: Anchor Distilling, Charbay, Distillery No. 209, Germain-Robin, and probably others I’m forgetting.
The tasting room at St. George offers over a dozen spirits for $15 (this flight includes Absinthe), or about a dozen for $10 (no Absinthe). BTW: Don’t even think about it…get the Absinthe. Yesterday we got a couple bonus tastes from the friendly staff that resulted in us getting 14 or 15 tastes for $15 (I was trying to take pictures of each one, but I think I missed one). My wife and I shared the tastes, and that was definitely the right way to go for us, because 1) I was driving and could only taste tiny samples, and 2) I would have hated wasting good liquor!
If you are in the Bay Area, I strongly recommend visiting St. George. They offer tours on every Saturday at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. local time, and on Sundays at 1:00 p.m. Sadly, they are closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Their tasting room and distillery store open at noon the rest of the week. Closing time on Wednesday through Saturday is 7:00 p.m., and they close at 6:00 p.m. on Sundays.
p.s. Their infused vodkas were a revelation.