San Francisco Profile: City Beer

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Just-Grapes (being me) has successfully relocated to our new temporary home in Berkeley, California. For the next 18 weeks I will be posting all my notes and updates from this great wine state, starting with a type of place one would never see in Canada: a retail beer store and beer bar merged into one. City Beer is a great beer-geek space where all the bottles sold for retail are also available to drink at the store for $1 more. The atmosphere is friendly and fun, and the $1 corkage is no impediment. I was impressed with the number of serious beer geeks in the store, both male and female, and the owners were very friendly, knowledgable, but not over the top in the beer geekdom. I had two beers there on a sunny Saturday afternoon. There’s nothing like a 16 degree (celsius) and sunny January day.

Beer #1: Rodenbach Belgian Flemmish Red Ale

Classic balanced tartness with rich fermented raisins and apricots coming trough. This has a great mouthfeel With a very nice balance, this is the sort of beer that a wine geek will love: 25% aged in oak casks, 75% fresh beer.


$5 a bottle at City Beer

Beer #2: Goose Island Beer Company Bourbon County Brand Stout 2008

This is a seriously serious stout, smashing in with 13% abv that demands slow sipping. However, this is one killer Bourbon-intense dark as night brew, with a super-intense nose of rich vanilla and oak. The palate expands to include tobacco and tar notes that make this a perfect after-dinner beer that will probably go well with cigars. Amazingly, this is drinking well now and is very smooth and silky in the mouth. A wonderful beer. Stout lovers will be blown away.

$6 a bottle at City Beer
So that conclude my first experience at perhaps the best beer store I’ve been to. There are more updates to come from California!


  1. Joe
    January 11, 2009

    sounds awesome – I nearly moved the blog (ok, me) to Toronto just a few weeks ago. But staying put now…Enjoy California!

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