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San Francisco Beer Week: Celebrate and Taste with us!

San Francisco Beer Week starts this week, and we have a whole slew of free tastings scheduled at Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero to highlight our favorite local beers. Plus, we’re proud to be part of events with our neighbors at Cervecería de MateVeza, and our friends and pioneers in San Francisco organic beermakingThirstyBear Brewing. Join us to celebrate and taste phenomenal brews from the most innovative California producers.

Final One Color Magnolia Growler 4x5 inch plate 2014Friday, February 7, 4-6pm at Bi-Rite Divis
Magnolia Brewing: Promised Land Imperial IPA Tasting
FREE Event: RSVP here!
Kicking of SF Beer Week, Ian from Magnolia Brewing will pour Promised Land Imperial IPA! Enjoy it with perfect cheese pairings, hand-selected by Bi-Rite Cheesemongers. A Bi-Rite Exclusive: Ordinarily only available on draft, we will have Promised Land Imperial IPA available for sale in growlers! Quantities are limited!

anchor_print_logoSunday, February 9, 4-6pm at Bi-Rite Divis
Anchor Brewing Co. Tasting
FREE Event! Drop-in
Jack from Anchor Brewing will pour tastes of new beers, including their Anchor IPA and the Zymaster Series No. 5: Harvest One American Pale Ale, along with some old favorites!

AndersonValleyMonday, February 10, 4-6pm at Bi-Rite Divis
Anderson Valley Brewing Tasting
FREE Event! Drop-in
Seth from Anderson Valley Brewing will pour some favorites, including Boont Amber Ale and Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout.

CerveceriaTuesday, February 11, 2014, 5-9pm at Cervecería de MateVeza
Bi-Rite Salted Caramel Ale Release
FREE Event: Get more info here!
Our neighbors at Cervecería have brewed “Salted Caramel Ale,” an homage to Bi-Rite Creamery‘s signature Salted Caramel ice cream. Come try the beer side by side with the ice cream to see how they did. They’ll also be serving ice cream floats featuring Bi-Rite’s delicious creations.

TBLogoThursday, February 13, 2014, 6-9pm at ThirstyBear Brewing
Organic Orgy 2014—An Organic Beer and Food Tasting Event
Ticketed Event: Register here!
Taste an orgy of organic beers from California’s certified organic breweries! San Francisco’s only certified organic brewery, ThirstyBear, will host Bison, Butte Creek, Eel River, MataVeza, Napa Smith, Santa Cruz Mountain, Sierra Nevada, and Uncommon Brewers. Organic food pairings will be provided by Bi-Rite Catering. Unlimited beer tastings.

AlmanacLogoThursday, February 13, 4-6pm at Bi-Rite Divis
Almanac Beer Co. Tasting
FREE Event: Drop-in
Chris from Almanac Beer Co. will pour beers new and familiar, plus special brews for SF Beer Week.

Thursday, February 13, 6-9pm at 18 Reasons
18th Hour Cafe Celebrates SF Beer Week!

21stAmendmentSaturday, February 15, 4-6pm at Bi-Rite Divis
21st Amendment Brewery Tasting
FREE Event: Drop-in

Todd from 21st Amendment will be pouring the Sneak Attack Saison, Brew Free or Die IPA, and Lower De Boom, a new barleywine–a Bi-Rite Exclusive!

We look forward to seeing you!

Celebrating SF Made – Part II!

booze displayyyyyyyyyyyyyWith the Fancy Food Show in town, Raph took some time to tell you about some of the fantastic local, artisanal food products that he’s highlighting at our Markets. To accompany them, we’ve also got a wide selection of great spirits and beer that are proudly crafted right here in San Francisco. Here are a few that I’m particularly excited about this season.


Sutton Cellars Vermouth – A thicker-bodied, grapey vermouth that tastes beautiful all on its own over ice. Crafted from a base of Sonoma white wine and infused with botanicals, including rosemary from the bush near the winery.

No. 209 is a San Francisco gin distillery owned by the Rudd family (owners of Rudd Oakville Estate Winery and Dean & DeLuca). They pride No. 209 on being a “handcrafted, unique and intriguing spirit that is truly artisanal in quality”.

Junipero Gin, which was given the “Best Gin in Show” award at the 2012 NY World Wine and Spirits show, is made by hand  in a small distillery in the Potrero Hill section of San Francisco. Anchor Distilling Company, which produces Junipero Gin, also produces Anchor 18th Century Spirit Whiskey, hand-crafting from a mash of 100% rye malt.

Legendary San Francisco brewer Anchor Brewing, an affiliate of Anchor Distilling Company, produces Anchor Bock Beer, a fine seasonal offering that’s dark, strong, refreshing and perfect for the onset of spring in San Francisco.


Speakeasy Betrayal is a seasonal release from this San Francisco brewer. It’s an Imperial Red Ale with flavors of caramel and malt and hints of tropical fruits. With its rich mouthfeel and full body, it pairs well with stew steak.

Almanac Biere de Chocolat is a collaboration between nomadic farm-to-barrel San Francisco brewers Almanac and our friends at the phenomenal San Francisco chocolatier Dandelion Chocolate. The result is this rich, decadent, dark and smoky beer.

You can find all of these local products in our Made in SF display at Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero, and just ask for them at 18th Street and we’ll be happy to help you out. We hope you enjoy these products from our friends and neighbors as much as we do!

Cocktail of the Month: NOPA’s Sunshine Fix


In honor of our opening on Divisadero we asked Yanni Kehagiaras, who runs the bar program at NOPA next door (did you know that Jeff Hanak, co-owner of NOPA, was a high school buddy of Sam’s?) to share one of their cocktail recipes with us. Yanni chose the Sunshine Fix, one of the most popular cocktails on their menu.

Yanni says it’s “straightforward, easy, and delicious. The recipe is equal parts City of London Gin, Aperol, and fresh lemon juice, with a dash of Angostura Bitters…garnished with a grapefruit twist.  So in addition to being a solid cocktail, it’s super easy to make.”

Bonus: It was featured recently on 7×7’s “50 Drinks to Try Before You Die” list!



1oz City of London gin

1oz Aperol

1oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 dash Angostura bitters

Build all ingredients in a mixing glass, shake well with ice, and fine strain into your favorite glass. Express a grapefruit twist over the drink, and drop in. Serve immediately.




Register Recipe: Aziza’s Meyer Lemon Cocktail

farnoush portraitI feel lucky to live in the Outer Richmond. I know that with the constant fog and cool weather that may sound strange for some, but I love it here. I’m five minutes away from the beach, around the corner from a great Margarita at Tommy’s, nearby stinky tofu at Formosa café…but the best benefit has got to be living two blocks away from Aziza!

We all know about the wonderful Michelin-starred Moroccan food they offer, but what I love most is their wine and cocktail program headed by the talented Farnoush Deylamian. Farnoush’s cocktails revolve around seasonal muddled fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. Some ingredients may seem strange at first, like sugar snap pea or wild arugula, but they’re in balance and consistently delicious. I always start my evening there with her Meyer lemon cocktail, consisting of muddled Meyer lemon, brandy, and Cointreau, finished with Prosecco. It’s a great starter to a meal as an aperitif, or delicious with their couscous.  If you can’t make it over to 22nd and Geary to visit Aziza, here’s the recipe straight from Farnoush so you can replicate it at home!

single recipe card



Hooray for the Hoopla!

The holidays always make me thirsty for festive cocktails. The sound of a cocktail shaker clanging signals the start of a great party and brings the guests together.

So in preparing for the holidays this year, we asked our friend Jonny Raglin, co-owner of Comstock Saloon in North Beach, to come up with an amazing cocktail made with our exclusive Charles Neal Domaine d’Ognoas Armagnac (we’re the only store Charles has sent this to, and we’re offering it for $39.99–a crazy deal on a vintage Armagnac!)

Jonny came up with a twist on an old classic from the Savoy cocktail book called the Hoopla, substituting Armagnac for Cognac. The Hoopla is very similar to a Sidecar but with an addition of Lillet Blanc, a fortified wine, which adds a subtle floral dryness that softens the strong flavors of the Armagnac and lemon juice and really lightens the drink.

Here’s the recipe if you want to make it at home!

My Italian Wine Adventure

I just returned from a ten day wine adventure Italy, traveling with the amazing team from Oliver McCrum, a local importer of Italian wines. With a focus on volcanic soil, we made our way through the vineyards of Sicily and Southern Italy; I was amazed how varied the soils were from Sicily to Campania! It was also fascinating to learn that all the vines grown in volcanic soils didn’t need to be grafted onto American rootstock, since phylloxera can’t thrive in volcanic ash. I want to share three wineries from my trip, along with some photos. More to come in a future posting!

2010 Villa Dora Vesuvio Bianco-$12.99; 6 or more –> $11.70
Of course Mt. Vesuvius is infamous for that day in 79 AD when it violently erupted, destroying (yet preserving) the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. What it may be less known for is wine production! Villa Dora is literally located on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius, inside what is now a state park. The soil here is of course volcanic, and the small black rocks resemble Grape-Nuts! This black volcanic soil gives Villa Dora’s reds a light smoky quality and their white an aroma of struck flint. This Bianco bottling is made from two indigenous varietals, Coda di Volpe and Falanghina which are fermented and aged in stainless steel. A light, smoky flint quality is followed by aromas of white peach and flavors of herbs, and preserved lemon.

Perfect Pairing: Fresh pasta with olive oil, lemon, and grilled squash

2010 Paolo Cali Mandragola Frappato-$18.99; 6 or more –> $17.09

Paolo Cali’s vineyards are extremely unique in that they’re located on very sandy soil in southeastern Sicily. Imagine vines growing on a sandy beach and that’s exactly what Paolo’s vineyards look like. Because sand tends to hold moisture poorly, he has to irrigate to keep his vines healthy. The fact that his vines have to struggle a little to survive and really have to dig deep to root themselves translates into elegant wine with a lighter, floral quality. Paolo’s Mandragola Frappato is from some of his younger Frappato vines and has light aromas of orange peel, rose, and fennel. It’s light in body and maintains great acidity with a soft finish.

Perfect Pairing: Seared scallops over greens and heirloom tomatoes

2009 Grifalco ‘Gricos’ Aglianico del Vulture-$15.99, 6 or more –> $14.39

The Aglianico grape is best known for deep, robust, and heavy reds like those from Taurasi and Monte Vulture. Grifalco is located in Basilicata (think of the arch of the boot) near the now extinct volcano Monte Vulture, with vineyards located in now dry riverbeds. The combination of volcanic soils and river rocks creates wines with incredible depth and minerality. The winery is named after the Grifalco bird, an ancient and rare falcon once used for hunting by royals in the area. Their ‘Gricos’ bottling is a lighter style of Aglianico more approachable at a younger age then most others from the region. Aglianico can have a tendency to be bitter, but this bottling has certainly tamed the bitterness and tannins usually associated with this grape. Aromas of dark plums, smoke, and rosemary lead to a mid-weight body with a long, flavorful finish. Perfect for grilled dishes!

Perfect Pairing: Grilled flatbread with eggplant and olives   

Josh Adler: Wine Importer

Josh in his Bi-Rite days

If you’ve received our wine newsletter for more than than 3 years, you most likely joined the list because of the work of Josh Adler, former Bi-Rite wine buyer and current wine director at Spring Restaurant and Boutique in Paris. Despite his current locale, Josh is still a part of the Bi-Rite family and we’re beaming with pride to present his latest venture, wine importing! If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit Spring Boutique in Paris then you know about the incredible wine selection Josh has cultivated there, a virtual treasure trove of French wines including numerous producers currently unavailable in the US. Josh is trying to change that by taking matters into his own hands and importing a select few labels exclusively to Bi-Rite. His inaugural releases are a pair of wines from Clos Saint Fiacre in Orléans, a tiny appellation in the Loire Valley.

Clos Saint Fiacre is a small family domaine run by Bénédicte and Hubert Piel; Hubert is unusual among vignerons in that he is a self-confessed wine fanatic whose knowledge of wines outside of his own domaine is extensive. In fact, Hubert calls many of the top winemakers in France close friends. This connoisseurship is reflected in the impeccably made wines of Clos Saint Fiacre, easily the leading domaine in the Orléans AOC.

2011 Clos Saint Fiacre Orléans Chardonnay – $14.99  
Our love of un-oaked chardonnay is no secret, so when Josh tasted us on this crisp, clean white, it was a no-brainer. Filled with intense aromas of green mango, citrus, and chalk, this zesty chardonnay possesses flavors of tart tropical fruits, herbs, and minerals. If you’re a fan of old-school Chablis, you’ll love this refreshing chardonnay.
 Perfect Pairing:  Grilled sardines with lemon  

2010 Clos Saint Fiacre Orléans Pinot Meunier / Pinot Noir  –  $14.99 
Pinot Meunier is better known as the third grape of Champagne, often relegated to an afterthought next to the more celebrated Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. When vinified as a dry red wine, however, Pinot Meunier can be a fascinating experience for the adventurous wine drinker. A blend of 80% Pinot Meunier and 20% Pinot Noir, this light red has elegant aromas of red currants and herbs and flavors of spicy red fruits with soft tannins.
Perfect Pairing: Seared ahi tuna with ginger and scallions  


Announcing Sean Thackrey’s Cassiopeia Project Pre-Order

If you’ve ever delved a little bit deeper into the world of wine, you may have heard about various grape “clones” used in the winemaking process. Even for single varietal wines like Pinot Noir, viticulturalists choose from a dozen or more slightly different clones when planting a vineyard. The resulting wines are therefore blends of different clones which the winemaker assembles in various proportions depending on the characteristics sought in the final product.

Sean Thackrey, the winemaking maverick behind the popular Pleiades blend, wants to invite wine drinkers to explore this clonal selection process that was once privy only to winemakers or those lucky enough to attend a barrel tasting. His Cassiopeia Project is an ambitious 6-bottle set of Pinot Noirs showcasing individual clones from the River Block at Wentzel Vineyard, an organically farmed site in Anderson Valley. Included in the set are 4 bottles of different Pinot Noir clones and 2 bottles of the final Vineyard Blend. Though the Vineyard Blend will eventually be available individually, the only way to taste the clone bottlings is through this 6-pack. This is a fascinating and rare opportunity to explore the different clonal expressions of Pinot Noir and to get a peak into the inner workings of the winemaking process. Normally $50 per bottle, we’re offering this 6-pack for only $250. That’s getting one bottle for free! 

2010 Sean Thackrey “Cassiopeia” Pinot Noir 6 Pack  –  $250 + tax 

  • Clone 114
  • Clone 115
  • Clone 667
  • Clone 777
  • 2 bottles of the final Vineyard Blend

All four Dijon Clones were planted in the summer of 2001. Root stocks, trellising, soil composition, and cellar treatments were identical to maximize the individual expression of each clone. During our staff tasting, we were surprised by the differences apparent in each of the clonal bottlings. While each retained its identity as distinctly Pinot Noir, there were different levels of acidity, fruit presence, and other secondary nuances in all four clones. The tasting provoked a lively discussion among the wine team over our individual favorites in the lineup; we’d love to hear about your experiences once you’ve tasted through these amazing wines!

Cassiopeia 6-packs can be purchased any of the following ways:

1. Email me with your name, phone number, and number of 6-packs desired.

2. Call the store at 415.241.9760 and ask to speak with a member of the wine team.

3. Come visit us in person and order with a wine specialist.

All orders must be placed by Friday, July 20th and will be available for pick up after Wednesday, July 25th.  

Ryme Cellars – A Working Wine Marriage

Married life: all about compromise, right? Different sets of towels . . . putting up with the ugly picture hanging on the wall as long as you get to keep that mohair rug you loved in college . . . Italian tonight but only if you get Thai food tomorrow. Believe it or not, the need to compromise can extend beyond day-to-day life and into the vineyard – at least it does for husband and wife winemaking team Ryan and Megan Glaab of Ryme Cellars!

Ryan and Meghan first started making wine in 2007 with a single bottling of Anglianico.  They’ve since gradually expanded into producing a handful of other wines including the two we’re pleased to welcome to our shelves: their 2011 Vermentino and their 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. Both Ryan and Meghan have extensive winemaking backgrounds having worked for such places as Pax Cellars, Peay Vinyards, Sine Qua Non, Marcassin, and Wind Gap Winery where Ryan is currently assistant winemaker.  They agree on the approach of respecting California’s wonderful and varied terroir, sourcing only organic and sustainably grown grapes, and intervening minimally in the winemaking process by using native yeasts and not fining or filtering.

2011 Ryme Cellars Vermentino  –  $24.99 

While Ryan and Megan tend to agree on most things about winemaking, there was a big disagreement on how to approach making their Vermentino.  Having sourced grapes from Las Brisas Vineyard the Carneros AVA, Ryan wanted to make a richly textured orange wine (white wine with extended skin contact) and Megan wanted to create a clean and aromatic wine reminiscent of Vermentino from Sardinia. The only solution to please them both was to compromise and split the harvest in half.  Ryan made his orange wine with his half of the grapes and Megan bottled her white version with her half.  The result: “His” and “Hers” wines! We are carrying the “Hers” version which is aromatic with notes of pineapple, pear, and guava. The texture is light, crisp, and dry with a bit of a sea salt minerality.  This is definitely a fun white to have on hand for your summer barbeques!

2009 Ryme Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon  –  $37.99

The Cabernet comes from a vineyard in the Chalk Hill AVA of the Russian River Valley in Sonoma.  The area is named for the white and chalky volcanic ash in the soil, which lend a bit of volcanic minerality to the grapes as well as help restrain fast and vigorous vine growth.  The wine was fermented with about 25% of the grapes remaining whole clusters.  Fermenting grapes with the stems on can add a little extra depth and spicy grip to red wines.  The wine was then aged in neutral barrels for 22 months before being bottled.  It’s fairly aromatic with notes of dark cherries, violets, and cinnamon.  The texture is dense but elegant with dark juicy fruit, savory spice flavors, and long full tannins.  This bottle is drinking great right now but is certainly ageable. Try pairing this with grilled steak, caramelized onions, and porcini mushrooms!

Pyramid Valley Vineyards: New Zealand Beyond Sauv Blanc

New Zealand: home to Hobbits, Kiwi birds, and acres of Sauvignon Blanc vines! But did you know that New Zealand grows more than just Sauvignon Blanc? We’re excited to have three new (non-Sauv Blanc) wines from Pyramid Valley Vineyards in Marlborough, New Zealand.

Although the Marlborough region is iconic for Sauvignon Blanc, Pyramid Valley produces some spectacular wines made from Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Semillion.  The farming/winemaking team, Mike and Claudia Weersing, have a passion for terroir and natural winemaking.  Mike has studied and worked in Burgundy, Alsace, and Spain under well-known winemakers such as Hubert de Montille, Jean-Michel Diess, and Randall Grahm. Their approach is notable in that they farm entirely biodynamically, seek out vineyard sites with perfect soil conditions (mostly clay over limestone), use only native yeasts, do not fine or filter their wines, and use little to no added sulfur – natural winemaking at its best!

2007 Pyramid Valley Kerner Estate Vineyard Pinot Blanc  –  $24.99

Pyramid Valley’s Pinot Blanc vineyard is located in the cool climate of the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough.  This cooler region is perfect for growing Pinot Blanc, a grape native to the Alsace region of France.  The wine has stunning aromas of honey, caramelized apples, orange peel, and cinnamon.  The body is fairly lush with a mouth-coating quality and flavors of orange, custard, and honeyed apples that finishes with great acidity.  Since this wine is entirely unfined and unfiltered, don’t be put off by the light haze in its golden color.  Rather, think of it as a sign of quality, like the cream-top in Strauss non-homogenized milk. This wine is a perfect pairing for richer dishes such as apricot glazed pork tenderloins – a great alternative to Chardonnay!

2009 Pyramid Valley Cowley Family Vineyard Pinot Noir  –  $34.99 

Their Pinot Noir Vineyard is located in the hills above the Wairau Valley.  Again, a cool climate and perfect soil conditions lend themselves so well to growing Pinot Noir in this area.  The nose has aromas of wild spices, like fennel seed, cinammon, and star anise followed by scents of soft red fruits.  The body is mid-weight with similar dried herb flavors along with rhubarb and pomegranate fruit.  A beautiful and long texture makes this a more substantial Pinot Noir, and one that can certainly stand up to a range of dishes.  Try this paired with miso glazed salmon or a lightly spicy vegetable and ginger stir fry!

2009 Pyramid Valley Field of Fire Chardonnay  –  $49.99

This Chardonnay comes from a very small plot located on clay and limestone soils.  The clay and limestone are known to lend a great sense of minerality to Chardonnay, as is seen in the region of Chablis, France.  In fact this Chardonnay reminds us of really great Burgundy Chardonnay, like those from Chablis.  The nose smells of baked peaches, apples, and pastry dough.  The texture is lush but very focused, with flavors of peaches, almonds and lemon curd.  Great minerality and acidity make this a perfect pairing for some grilled fish, like halibut with peas and asparagus.