Saturday, May 10, 2014
Healthy Spirits (San Francisco, CA)
Last summer, we had the great pleasure of living for a week in the Castro while being tourists in San Francisco. Most of the brewpubs and bars we visited were closer to downtown and, locally, the bars nearest the house didn't offer a wide selection of drafts. However, Healthy Spirits was a very welcomed source of great beer that was a few blocks walk (or a short bus ride) up the hill.
I found it shortly after we arrived; unfortunately, it was after trying several other places. Minnesota friends happened to be in The City at the same time, and we had an impromptu barbecue at our apartment. The very friendly and knowledgeable help at Healthy Spirits allowed me to bring some very fine bottles to our group of beery friends. In short, it's the only beer store I've found that rivals, or surpasses, the Four Firkins. If spending any time in or near the Castro, this is the place to stock up.
Here's a sampling of the week:
Triple Voodoo Grand Cru. Healthy Spirits exclusive barrel aged version of the TV Grand Cru. Dave told me that he bottles from full barrels of bourbon to sell in the shop and then sends the barrels to local breweries. Honey, blue agave nectar, coriander and orange peel are added to this version. Burnished copper color with dark gold highlights and an off white head that falls quickly. Elegant nose with the above plus fig and some alcohol underneath. Smells a bit like a quad but lighter. Flavors meld well and flow over the tongue. Very good ale and a great first beer from this brewery.
Stone RuinTen. Unable to find this at home before leaving, I was so happy to buy a couple. Just awesome.
Knee Deep Brewing Hoptologist DIPA. Brash and harsh bite on the tongue. Good if you like a sharp hop bite. Almost white head over a shining amber gold ale. Enormous citrus nose and a light biscuit base. Sweet on the tongue followed by strong hop bite that has a burn that feeds the beast. Fun hop forward brew that I would enjoy more when more hydrated. Almost sweet finish and a lingering hop.
Knee Deep Simtra. Marmalade ale with a white head. Clean, singular hop nose. Slightly oily taste and some hop bite but the sweetness and the bitterness don't meld completely. Not as good as the Boneyard we had at Toronado this afternoon. Hop lingers nicely on he tongue.
Pretty Things Ale Project Fluffy White Rabbits. These guys can be hit or miss,and this one is a miss for me. Muddled nose with some clear spice from hop and yeast, but the balance just doesn't make it. Side of the bottle says floral, and it is that. But this hazy orange beer with a white head has a lot of promise and is clearly well crafted, it falls short for me.
Triple Voodoo barrel aged Inception. Bottle 244 of 432 made for Healthy Spirits by aging in a barrel provided by HS. hazy gold ale with circling white film from a head that barely forms. Spice, yeast and light pepper nose that seems muted compared to the straight Inception but nice. Fruitiness on the tongue that finishes dry nice but unusually like the straight better. Straight version of TV Inception rated a bit higher for me, though I love that HS does it's own specialty aging.