April 22, 2024

Broc Cellars Does Wine, Naturally

Since 2002, when winemaker Chris Brockway established Berkeley’s Broc Cellars, the focus has been on using organically grown grapes, fermented with the yeast that occurs naturally on them, resulting in a true natural wine. Brockway’s partner in life and business, Bridget Leary, recalled those early days. “Chris loves zinfandel, so...
music in the park san jose
September 22, 2023

Tenacious Focus

Spirited Stories
April 26, 2023

Spirited Stories

Not only do East Bay distilleries produce world-class spirits, but the stories behind their inceptions are beguiling. East Bay checked in with four of them. Absinthia and the Green Fairy Absinthe was illegal and banished from the world of...
The Punchdown co-owner DC Looney celebrates 12 years in the natural wine business.
December 23, 2022

The Punchdown

The owners of The Punchdown named their natural wine bar and bottle shop after a harvest term. During the process of fermentation, winery workers push the grapes down as they’re producing carbon dioxide. “Those are the little bubbles that push the grapes to the top,” explained DC Looney, one of the co-owners. Throughout the winemaking process, you need to push down on the mixture, ‘for a healthier fermentation.’”
St. George Spirits is a distiller of absinthe, aka the "green fairy."
May 1, 2022

Green Fairy

Absinthe, the signature drink of Belle Epoque France, also had a ritual based on delayed gratification, though one not nearly as complex as the jigsaw puzzle of women’s undergarments. The traditional way of drinking the moss-colored spirit—nicknamed “the green fairy” for the supposed buzz it brings—is to start by pouring an ounce of the potent potable in a glass. Next, perch on the rim, like a vulture hovering over your soon-to-be comatose self—a slotted spoon holding a sugar cube. Now, slowly pour ice water over the cube, which takes the sugar down into the glass, releases the oils of anise, fennel and wormwood, and turns the verdant elixir a cloudy white known as the louche. 
Spirits of the Times
March 1, 2022

Spirits of the Times

Local craft distilleries are in high demand, particularly in areas like the Bay Area, where people tend to be very interested in where the products they eat and drink come from and how they are made. They may even be in greater demand in the Bay Area than anywhere else in the state because there are so few craft distilleries compared to wineries and breweries. To wit, there are close to 4,000 wineries in California, but just under 150 distilleries—and fewer than a dozen of those are Bay Area craft distilleries that offer tasting experiences.
August 6, 2021

Here Be Beer

The Bay Area’s Fieldwork Brewing Company Legend has it that in ye olde days, people drank beer because it was safer than water. Albeit, this is a medieval-era myth, from an age of plagues and egregious class disparity....
February 5, 2021

Third Places: Eddie’s Drive In Liquors

Third places are the places we go for social connection, for a sense of belonging; they’re the spaces outside of our home and workplace, like temples, cafes, gyms and bookstores. There have been myriad television shows and...
September 22, 2020

Grind On

Photo by Nathan Dumlao. Pattern recognition 101: Jack London Square, early morning. The steely grays of the sky and water meet the steely grays of the Bay Bridge in a fog dense enough to spatter my shoulders like...