Last week, Kelsey Laverne, of Wingtip’s Bank Of Wine And Spirits, opened the first pop-up for her barware company Highbar. Highbar is aimed at creating unique and custom bar remedies for the home and on the go.
Last month, Wingtip’s very own Brandon Bigalke competed in Bombay Sapphire’s Regional Finals for the 9th Annual “World’s Most Imaginative Bartender” competition. Held at the of-the-moment Mission bar Forgery, the event was the last stop on the tour, pitting six bartenders against each other to find out who would represent San Francisco at the North American Finals.
Starting my journey at the marina where San Pablo Bay and the Petaluma River meet, I rode up Lakeville Hwy from the Hwy 37 Junction. The countryside has farms with cows, sheep, goats, horses and a miniature horse ranch. Among all this are vineyards. These are winegrowers who work intelligently with the terroir to provide the best material for winemakers to work with.
Anchor is America’s first and oldest craft brewery, with roots dating back to the California gold rush. Even with the efficient beer production technologies of today, Anchor still handcrafts its beers from an all-malt mash in its traditional copper brewhouse in Portrero Hill. Walking into Anchor’s facility transports you back to 1965 when Fritz Maytag, of the clothes washer fame, purchased the failing brewery. There is the original bar where customers could buy beer directly from the brewery. The smell of malted, heated cereal fills the air. Even the name, Anchor Steam, evokes a different time and approach to beer.
The Club at Wingtip is pleased to announce a vast expansion of the wines by-the-glass program in the club. Our new Wine Directors, Michael Hildbold and Adam Ono, have created the Wingtip Cellar Collection. Twenty-plus rare, old, or otherwise prestigious wines to pour by the taste and by the glass using the Coravin wine preservation system. This system perfectly preserves the wines, allowing Wingtip to offer such an incredible range. The Wingtip Cellar Collection will be offered Tuesday through Friday nights, poured tableside by our sommeliers.
The Oakland Urban Wine Xperience is an annual event put on by the East Bay Vintners Alliance. The 19 East Bay wineries represented are housed primarily in renovated warehouses, with grapes sourced from Oregon, Sonoma, Napa, Amador County, and the central coast of California. While many similar events focus on one varietal of grape and draw a crowd that has a uniform persona, the Oakland Vintners work with a variety of grapes and blends that reflects Oakland’s wide variety of people and styles, all of which were present.
Four stories below the City View room at the Metreon, where the Pinot Days Grand Festival Tasting was held, a stage in a grassy park was set for a Brazilian band. The sound crew tinkered with the system while the musicians tested their instruments: conga drums, an electronic harpsichord, and electric guitars. About 100 different wineries were then preparing their own instruments: decanters, stemware, and the stars– bottles of pinot noir. Similar to the band, these winemakers melded a variety of contributing influences into a personal style, their personal takes on common themes or grapes.
The thank you list of people who were generous, hospitable, kind, open, and honest is long indeed. I know this: These brands and these whiskies will forever be near and dear to me after the time I spent there.
4:30 AM Wake up. Perform the Triple-S. 5:00 Kiss my wife and baby goodbye. 5:01 Kyle [GM of Wingtip’s Bank of Wine & Spirits] picks me up and we drive to the airport. 5:30 Eat crappy breakfast food in the international terminal, even though we are only flying to PDX. I guess Oregon is another country.
We’re always looking for new ways to ratchet up our home bar techniques a notch. For presentation, we like the look of a gold cocktail pick skewering a brandied cherry in a rust-colored Manhattan. And for pure drama, we’re strong proponents of the saber, but we also enjoy the sound and fury of a three-prong ice pick shredding a berg of ice. More ideas after the jump.