Cross Fit & TheArtofBeer!

While facing some health issues earlier this year, I decided to take better control of my health.  Genetics are something I cannot control but I realized there were a lot of things that I can control that would help my quality of life.  Since distance running is no longer a real option for me, I was looking for something that I could feel a similar passion toward.   I am not really sure how Cross Fit appeared on my radar, but it did.  I watched videos and researched Cross Fit gyms in my area.  I finally found one that struck a chord with me; the atmosphere intense but balanced with a sense of acceptance for newbie’s like me.  Cross Fit requires a significant financial and time commitment.  For whatever reason, it felt like the right thing to do.  I had to put my money where my mouth is and that is where my journey began.

Cross Fit is very difficult, painful and at times masochistic.  My first session left me deflated and full of self-doubt.  I could barely grasp the basics and my brain hurt trying to register all the components.  I felt awkward and uncoordinated.  What happened to the athlete in me?  What happened to the girl that could blast through an icy downhill course with no fear?  Didn’t I used to haul ass doing 30+ mph on my bike during road races?  What about all those years running 25-50 miles per week?  I felt like a whale in ballet slippers that first day…Try getting that vision out of your mind now!

I am not a quitter — I showed back up and faced the pain.  I grunted, huffed, puffed and suffered.  I hurt in places I did not even know existed.  On day three, I could barely get in and out of my car without wincing from the pain.  The lactic acid was pouring from every muscle in my body.  I was in the Hurt Locker.   When I showed up at my session I had tears in my eyes and I was honestly ready to admit defeat but my trainer recognized the pain.  He had seen it before and he knew what had to be done.  For the next hour we focused on using a foam roller to stretch out the major muscles.  It was hard but I started feeling better.  I realized that I could do this.  I just needed to stay focused on that fact.

I diligently log my workouts and my food intake.  I have to remind myself to stay focused and paying attention to proper form is critical to making healthy progress.  It’s the hardest thing I have ever done but I am in love! The more I hurt, the more determined I become.  The first two weeks were just BRUTAL, but now I am rolling into week four and I feel great.  Instead of beating myself up for what I can’t do, I stay firmly focused on celebrating my progress.  I am taking baby steps but I see progress with every session.

Bear Crawl

The first time I tried to do a backward bear crawl, I felt like the ballet-dancing whale, but now I can make it the length of the gym floor.  Do I execute this with grace and ease?  No Way!  It’s hard as hell but I feel invincible at the other side.   My biggest challenge is learning to do squats the right way.  My right knee is a mess but I am getting the hang of it quickly and the muscles supporting my knees are getting much stronger.    Week one I could barely do straight-arm sit ups – now I can do them with ease and I am ready to move up to more difficult abdominal work.  I am still doing girl push-ups but I can feel my arms getting stronger with each day that passes.  I am learning to jump rope.  I now know what dead lifts and bench presses are and I am learning to do them safely.  I grunt, groan and at times I roar!  I feel empowered and satisfied…How cool is that?

For the time being I am drinking very little alcohol.  I went four weeks completely without to break the habit.  I am a pretty moderate person but I did realize I was consuming some type of alcohol almost daily.  Even if it was just one beer, the amount of calories this added to my diet was really what made me realize I needed to cut back.  With my hectic work schedule, travel and age, it is hard enough to stay healthy.  Alcohol is not a bad thing but it is easy to get in a habit of drinking too much.  For now, I have stopped coming home from work and using a beer or a glass of wine as my reward after a hard day.  I am saving my alcohol consumption for social occasions right now.  Do I miss my beer and wine?  Yes I do – I love craft beer with every ounce of my being, but… I am sleeping better and my stress level is significantly reduced as a result of reduced alcohol consumption.   That is far more important to me.   I was taking anti-anxiety and depression meds to cope with the effects of menopause and some other serious health issues.  I stopped taking them by gradually reducing the frequency.  I am completely drug-free in just four weeks.  My feelings of hopelessness are subsiding and for the first time in over a year I feel as if I want to fight the illness that plagues me.

As I finish up this post I am looking forward to brunch and some good beer or wine with my good friend Laurie.  You may know her as @100Beers30Days.   Laurie and I share a passion for craft beer and for wine.   We get together on Sundays to explore the complexities of exceptional craft beer or fabulous wine and we talk about the journey that is called life.  Today I feel strong and determined.

I know that I can do this!


The Art of Beer

Bear Republic – Racer 5 India Pale Ale

Bear Republic’s Racer 5 IPA is a staple beer in my home.  I like that it comes in 12 oz bottles.  I try to keep my beer consumption low on a weeknight so this is a perfect selection.  I don’t really like drinking beer from pint glasses.  My glass of choice is a tulip.  I like being able to hold the glass by the base.

Pours sunny tangerine, slightly hazy from suspended yeast, with medium carbonation and fine, off white head that dissipates fairly quickly.  Tiny bubbles continue to rise to the surface.  Nice lacing on the glass.  I get tropical and citrus notes on the nose with some subtle pine and sweet maltiness in the background. I love the way Racer 5 smells!  Racer 5 is 7% ABV and is beautifully hopped with Chinook, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial.

Citrus and floral up front on the taste but not overpowering and bitter. I also get a little pineapple.  The finish is a little malty but still has the hoppy bitterness I love.  Admittedly I am a hop head but I do not find Racer 5 to be a huge hop bomb.  There is a nice balance to this beer that makes it incredibly easy to drink.  Just remember that it is 7% — It does not taste like it so it can sneak up on you.

Bear Republic Brewing Company is a true family owned and operated brewery in Healdsburg, California.  The Norgrove family are just plain, good people with two generations at the helm and a third that, I suspect, will be active as soon as they are of age!  Their barrel-aged program is off the hook so if you ever have an opportunity to try something from it, jump at the chance.  They are very limited in availability so mostly only accessible in Northern CA at the brewery and special events.  I am hoping I luck into one or two this coming week when I am up there.  You can check them out at the website link below.

If you find yourself in Sonoma County be sure to visit Bear Republic in Healdsburg.

Cheers to Great Beer!


Live From Daryl’s House with Daryl Hall

The very first concert I went to that was unsupervised by adults was Hall & Oates in 1977 <if memory serves me right> in Allentown, Pennsylvania at the fairgrounds.  It was a REALLY big deal because my parents let me go back to visit a friend after we moved to West Virginia.  Hall & Oates were a pretty big thing back them and going to that concert is a fond memory.

Flash forward 35 years to 2012 and I found “Live From Daryl’s House” with Daryl Hall on television last night.  What a great show!  Grace Potter and the Nocturnal’s were guests on the episode I watched last night.  I am a HUGE Grace Potter fan and it was so cool listening to her perform with Daryl Hall.  The show was awesome and I will make it a point to tune in more often.  Daryl Hall has done an excellent job reinventing himself.  He is one talented man!

If you have not watched it — I highly recommend it.  You can watch the archived shows via the website and each episode lists the guest artist – Sweet!

Live From Daryl’s House with Daryl Hall :: Homepage.


Is Homeownership a Dream or an Entitlement? – The Loan Quota Rule –

Warning:  This post is politically charged.  Close immediately if you don’t like this side of me.  My feelings will not be hurt.

I was reading the Wall Street Journal early this morning and I found the article linked below on A 14 under the Review & Outlook column in the Opinion section.  Hopefully you can read the article without subscribing.  If you cannot and would like to; contact me and I will email the text to you.

“For the latest example of regulatory overreach, look no further than the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is pushing through a rule to support racial loan quotas a few months before the Supreme Court will rule on whether that’s legal.  The Obama Administration’s “fair housing” agenda, apparently, just can’t wait.”

via Review & Outlook: The Loan Quota Rule –

Loan’s should be made based on ability to pay them.  If you want to say this is discriminatory,  you can certainly do so but my parents lived most of their life as renters because they just didn’t make enough money to qualify for a loan.  Were they discriminated against because they were poor, foreign or beige?  No, they were not.  They simply could not afford a home and I never once heard them complain about it.  They managed to finally buy their first home in 1979. This was after my dad was diagnosed with Black Lung and lost his job of 25+ years because he could no longer work underground.  Did he receive workman’s compensation?  N,o he did not.  Did the United Mine Worker’s help him win an appeal for disability?  No, they did not.  He was forced to takeearly social security and my mother started a cleaning business in northern New Mexico when they relocated there.  The cost of living was really lowat the time.  They took their tiny life savings and bought the least expensive house they could find with 50% down so they could qualify for the loan.  The total cost of the home was $40k.  It was not a palace but they were proud to be homeowners.

Mortgage relief should go first, to those that put 20+% down through a legitimate, documented loan.  These were the rules — like it or not — and people had to play by them in order to buy a home.  Well…they did until quotas were placed on lenders.  Both political parties condoned this practice that goes back to Clinton days.  The lender’s started loaning money under a whole different set of rules for fear of not meeting the quotas imposed.  But the average American  still got slapped with PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) if they did qualify for a mortgage with less than a 20% down payment.  Look it up if you don’t believe me.  I had to pay it on my first condo and my next move-up buy to a slightly nicer place.  I was highly motivated to pay down my loan and increase my equity so it would go away.  It was an additional $200+ for me that was a complete waste of money but again, those were the rules.

Instead of being given bailouts, Mortgage companies should have been forced to reduce interest rates for people with conventional loans so that they were given a chance to recover from the huge declines in property value and loss of income due to unemployment.  It is complete discrimination to only help those that were in homes they could not afford to begin with.  This is exactly what is happening now with the “Making Homes Affordable Program”.  People who are working longer hours to recover wages from extended unemployment are penalized in this program.  For those of us who lived off retirement savings and continued trying to pay mortgages while unemployed, huge tax penalties applied.

If the money given to banks for mortgage bailouts were distributed to American’s with documented loans in which they invested the required 20% down payment, things would be much different today.  If the bank forecloses on a property, they can auction the property and write off the loss.  Why does the government reward the lender for selling a $800k foreclosed home at auction to a real estate bottom feeder for $275k?   Why aren’t lenders forced to offer the same terms to the person that has lived in the home for years and that paid their mortgage religiously?   Why can a lender accept a short-sale price from a stranger and not offer the same adjusted mortgage to the original homeowner?  Why is the homeowner the one that suffers the loss with no relief while the corporation is made whole by the US Government?  Does this sound like a “fair” system to you?

In my case the bank actually wanted to foreclose.  Their liability was far less than mine because I put so much down on my property.  I was forced into a very bad modification which raised my mortgage significantly and that did not lower my interest rate by even one tenth of a point.  My lender actually profits more in the long run.  I suffer.  Why did I not walk away you ask?  I put 30% down ($300k) on my place when I bought it.  It was every cent of savings I had and the result of equity gained from slowly pulling my way up .  I did not buy my home to speculate.  I bought it to live in.  If I walked away — I would have been walking away from all that I had saved over the past 20 years of my life.  So now over 60% of my net income goes to covering my mortgage and association dues and my home is still worth less than half of what I paid for it.  It is not a pleasant situation but it is what it is.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, once again, wants lenders to be forced into minority lending quota’s.  Lending should be available to all races, religions and sexual orientations based on the ability to qualify and pay the loan; period.  Owning a home is “The American Dream”NOT  “The American Entitlement” as it has been sold since the Clinton and Bush Administration and escalated by the Obama Administration.

The solution to affordable housing availability is to focus our attention on building affordable housing so that the housing needs of more American citizens can be met with a price tag people can afford.  Bureaucratic red tape needs to be slashed and fees need to be waived by greedy government agencies so that these projects can be built cost effectively, quickly and efficiently. Very few Americans actually realize how high the costs are for a builder before they even break ground on a new home.  It adds significant cost to home ownership.  Tax incentives should be given to building material suppliers that offer special pricing programs for construction supplies in affordable housing projects but sans the nightmare, red-tape ones that exist today.  The same holds true for the many companies that donate reclaimed materials that can also be utilized in construction.  Incentives should be there for doing the right things to solve this critical need.

Small grants should be available to architectural and engineering students to develop cost affective,  modular housing models that are clean, safe and energy efficient.   Take a look in Dwell Magazine for some of the incredible pre-fab homes being marketed.  Some of them are admittedly expensive but the concept is incredible and it makes me think about all the materials we throw away in our society that could be used to create homes.   I have posted a link below to give you an idea of the concept of using freight containers.  The possibilities are endless.  The City of San Diego has urban blighted property that could be utilized to build innovative pod-like communities with community gardens.  I am told you can buy a freight container here for $1500 and that includes delivery to the property.  How about an experiment in turning one of these lots into a modular community and in the same vein as that used by Habitat for Humanity?  Sweat equity in the project is part of the cost of ownership.  If a small urban home in a nicely landscaped community were available for $25-$30k – would people be interested?  I think so and I would be there to volunteer in the building of such a community.  I think I know a lot of other people that would join me.

The net affect of this type of focus not only brings affordable housing to market; it creates jobs in the process.  When you build a plan that creates something tangible, the economy benefits.  When you create programs and quotas you do little but create more layers of bureaucracy which then becomes the burden of American’s that work and pay taxes.

I will continue to challenge my thought process to be more outside of the box.  To those that criticize my rants, I say step up and offer up something that involves a solution instead of the “The Rich Must Pay More” mantra.  I don’t believe the 1% vs 99% rule.  I think its more like 1 % extreme wealth 70% hard working Americans and 29% who think the rest of us owe them a living.  Maybe I am wrong — I actually hope I am.   I stay planted firmly in the middle.  I am a Constitutionalist and a Libertarian.  I don’t like Democrats or Republicans in office today.  I want to eliminate big government.  I care about people that need a hand-up and I want to see less hand-outs.  I know there are people who genuinely need help and I support these people.  I refuse to support able-bodied people that do not work.  And for the record — I will pay my student loans until every dime I owe is paid…that is all.


Please excuse typos, spelling and context errors…I don’t have a proofreader 🙂

PrepKitchen – The Latest Hot Spot in Little Italy

My lucky star was shining above me tonight when I parked my car on India Street directly in front of the new PREPKITCHEN location in Little Italy. I left work early to make the trek home from my office in Irvine and my agenda was picking up dinner to bring home. When I got out of the car I noticed all signs of construction were gone at the highly anticipated location and I stopped to look at the menu posted in the window. A really nice guy appeared at the door and asked if I wanted to come in and have a drink while they tested out their service. Why yes thank you…that sounds perfect!

I walked up the stairs and was gobsmacked when I saw the space! The transformation from the bizarro water boutique to this absolutely stunning restaurant and lounge is incredible. Prepkitchen is the latest addition to the very popular Whisknladle Hospitality creation’s of Ryan Johnston and Arturo Kassel. These guys clearly have a formula for success. Reclaimed wood, eclectic details and fantastic lighting make for a warm and inviting space. I had no clue this place was so big based on appearance from the street but the architect really did a good job creating division so that it feels cozy in each of the defined areas.

The bar is stocked with great craft spirits. My heart fluttered when I spotted the Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve and the Family Reserve Rye! Holy Impressive Bourbon Selection Batman! The craft beer selection is also notable. They actually represent a diverse style range which encourages experimenting with food pairings. I love that they have Rodenbach on tap and I am hopeful that Prepkitchen Little Italy will consider some innovative “Craft Beer Cocktails” as an addition to the very interesting list of Craft Cocktails and Wine. The prices are, in my opinion, par for the high quality of the ingredients. Their concept is definitely Farm-to-Table and this definitely appeals to the ethical foodie in me. The staff was attentive, friendly and best of all — void of hipster attitude! Please don’t get me wrong — there are times when I enjoy a hipster vibe, but really…I like people who are nice and that take a few moments to engage in conversation. My server behind the bar, John, was awesome. His knowledge of the product was exceptional. It’s hard to believe they had just opened. He made mention of the fact that several people there came from PF Chang’s. This is impressive. Paul Fleming wrote the book on consistent, superior service and I have always had respect for the PF Chang’s culture.

I ordered the Bone Marrow appetizer and a Warm White Bean & Arugula Salad. My cocktail choice was a Manhattan made with Basil Hayden’s Small Batch Bourbon and Antica Formula Vermouth. Wow, wow and WOW! The Bone Marrow was cooked to buttery perfection; topped with red onion, parsley, lemon and served with what I would describe as a ranch-style toast. The Pesto-Tossed White Beans and Arugula were topped with shaved-Parmigiano-Reggiano and the combination was scrumptious. I was totally checking out what other people ordered and everything looked delicious. I have a feeling it will take many future visits to make it through the menu which incidentally, will change daily based on available, seasonal, local ingredients. Prepkitchen sources produce from Suzie’s Farm (My CSA Provider) and several other local farms. This is another great notch in San Diego’s already stellar belt Slow Food restaurants.

Warm White Bean Arugula Salad

Bone Marrow

The official opening is Monday, January 30th. I highly recommend you hustle over to PREPKITCHEN and be one of the early fans! This is a much welcomed addition to my beloved and vibrant Little Italy neighborhood.


You can check out their website for other locations and get an idea of their concept here ➙➙➙➙➙➙

Bourbon Inspires Greatness!

I struggle with cooking scallops at home.  I can never quite get them to sear the way they do in restaurants and I lament when I fail because they are so expensive. Water seems to pour from them despite the pan temp and this inhibits browning.    I bought some beautiful scallops on Saturday the Farmer’s Market from Poppa’s Fresh Fish.  I had never heard of fresh frozen “dry” scallops but my local seafood authority from Poppa’s Fresh Fish “splained” it to me.  Most scallops are injected with water before freezing to be transported.  This causes all the liquid to bleed when cooking.  The “dry” method does not use water; supposedly eliminating the runny liquid effect while cooking…

Saute 2 tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of garlic slowly over low heat.  Pat scallops dry to remove residual liquid and pepper to taste.  Add to pan when oil and garlic is hot and before allowing it to smoke.  Turn scallops when brown on first side  and squeeze juice of one half lemon.  Cook until second side is seared and scallops are at desired temp.  Remove scallops from pan and add about one shot of small batch bourbon( like Willett Small Pot Reserve) to pan to deglaze.  Pour resulting pan juices over scallops and ENJOY!

Bon Appetit!

Fresh Mussels!

I have eyed the Carlsbad Aqua Farm Fresh Mussels at my local Farmers Market, Little Italy Mercato, for months now.  I love mussels but I have never been brave enough to try making them at home.  I must have had a shot of courage in my coffee this morning because I decided to try it.  A bag full was only $8

The girls working at the farmer’s market were super friendly and helpful.  They showed me how to remove the little hairy bit that protrudes from the flat part of the shell; harder than it looked in their demo once home.  This was the most difficult part of the meal.  I solicited advice from the Twitter foodies for how to cook and this is what I came up with…

I sauteed garlic and shallots in 2 tablespoons of butter and olive oil.  I added 2.5 cups of Viognier, the only white wine I had in the wine fridge, and then added the well rinsed mussels, covered the pan and gently shook the pan a few times to distribute the liquid well.  I removed the open mussels one by one and put them aside in a bowl and discarded the few that did not open properly.  Next I popped them all back in the liquid and reduced it until about half .  I added 4 tablespoons of cream, salt, Pepper and about a 1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley; immediately removed pan from heat and transferred (carefully) the mussels into a bowl with liquid poured over them.

The result was delicious!  The only problem was that there was far more than I could finish.  My neighbors down the hall were happy about that 🙂

Cheers and don’t forget…Support Local Food and Products!


Climb Mount Kilimanjaro with TheArtofBeer 2015

Plans are taking shape for the mother of all Craft Beer Team Expeditions to summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2015!  My goal is to get 10 fellow craft beer evangelists on my team.  These people must be committed and dedicated.  I would like also like to make this a fundraiser for a Craft Beer charity.  Kili is not a big technical climb – it is a trek with the most technical part being the summit day.

This will be a professionally managed climb using a professional and respected operator like the one found in the link below.  The company must respect and properly compensate the native porters for their hard work and must also respect and protect the fragile ecosystem.  There are several companies that I have researched.  This is one possibility.

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro with The African Walking Company | the Best Guides on the Best Routes.

For budget purposes plan on about $3k for the actual expedition.  We will research airfare deals for best options but use $1k for a budget number.  It will be best to have a day or two there to get over jet lag before expedition begins.  It would also be great to spend a few days after to relax and explore Tanzania before returning home.  All told I will say that $5k is the budget figure to shoot for with savings goal.  If you start putting aside $40 per week you will save $5200 in 130 weeks – put it in a savings account and you will gain a bit of intrest as well.  You can also start your own fundraising efforts to help supplement your expenses.  Think of cheerleading camp fundraising in high school LOL!  Get your friends behind you so that you have support and a source of shame if you get lazy and quit!

While I am calling this TeamCraftBeerKiliClimb2015 — please know that during the climb, it is ill advised to drink alcohol because of altitude sickness and dehydration risk.  In other words, we are not doing this to drink beer every night.  We will however toast with a few sips of some highly “overrated” but highly loved CRAFT beer at the summit.  When we get back to lower ground, that’s when we will cut loose & CELEBRATE!!!!!

If you are truly interested in doing this then follow this blog and email me with you contact info and details about why you want to go.

More info soon my adventuresome friends!

Love and Respect


“The World is run by those who show up!”

Craft Beer in Oakland…

Oakland Amtrak Station     Jack London Square

Looking for a weekend getaway on the “left coast”?  I suggest Oakland.  That’s right — the place that often gets a bad rap for being thug central because of the Raider Nation.  The truth is that Oakland is a pretty cool place to visit if you like Craft Beer, Farm-to-Table Restaurants and an Urban Adventure.  If you live on the West Coast,  you can take Amtrak right into Jack London Square.  Otherwise fly into SFO or OAK and take BART (BayAreaRapidTransit) to the downtown Oakland City Center stop.  This post will highlight just a few places in Oakland that I frequent but there are several other great spots really close by.  The people here are friendly and fun.

I like to stay at the Waterfront Hotel at Jack London Square.  The Waterfront is part of the Joie de Vivre boutique, hotel chain which offers a different experience than the standard chain hotel and at affordable rates.
The Waterfront is a quirky little hotel right on the channel between Oakland and Alameda.  Some of the rooms have great views and there is a small, heated swimming pool and patio where you can chill out and soak up the sun on a nice day.  Miss Pearl’s Jam House is the on site restaurant that has a good selection of beer and a Slow Food approach to food.  Friend and Bison Brewing owner, Daniel DelGrande clued me into this place after my repeated gripes about the natty Courtyard Marriott in downtown Oakland.  Unlike the Courtyard, the Waterfront is clean, friendly and best of all; is just two blocks from Beer Revolution, my favorite place to enjoy beer in Oakland!

Beer Revolution is my kinda place.  Fraggle & Rebecca, the owners, are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. They have 47 rotating taps and they take pride in the fact that keep the lines meticulously clean.  Beer Rev has access to a lot of new releases and limited edition craft beers.  I savored a glass of Drake’s Brewing special barrel-aged  “Passionate Monkey” during a Tap Takeover event last year.  Last week, High Water Brewing (one of the newest breweries in the Bay Area)  “Aphotic Barrel Aged Baltic Porter” went on tap for the very first time and WOW was that a treat.  You get the picture…There are hundreds of bottles to choose from in the Beer Rev coolers as well.   It is not difficult to find something super special here and I always make it a point to ask the bartenders what the rare options are.  They do not serve food (yet) at Beer Rev but they do allow food from neighboring spots to be enjoyed on premise.  The Vegetarian spot on the corner is really good.  An expansion project is planned for Beer Rev later this year and it appears food will be part of it!
464 3rd Street
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 452-BEER (2337)

High Water Brewing

I fell in love the very first time I had dinner with friend Dan from Bison and Rock Star Chick Brewer, Alex from Drake’s Brewing in nearby San Leandro.  Chop Bar features seasonal, local ingredients when possible and they serve up some good craft beer and cocktails!  They have some great small plates that are perfect for sharing and I recommend doing just that when you visit Chop Bar.  One of the best things about restaurants committed to Slow Food concepts is a constantly changing menu.  You will never get bored because there is always something new to try.  Fresh ingredients that are in season and sustainably grow taste better.  That’s a fact!
Chop Bar
247 4th St Ste 111
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 834-2467

Drake's Barrel House

Drake’s Brewing Company (same ownership as Jupiter & Triple Rock in Berkeley) is about 10 miles from Jack London Square in Oakland and well worth the trip.  I am guessing a cab ride is about $20 but it is completely possible to take BART to the San Leandro Station and walk 1.25 miles to the brewery.
Visit the Beer By Bart website for details:
The Drake’s Barrel House opened last summer with 24 taps featuring the regular Drake’s line-up as well as seasonal choices and the incredible barrel-aged beers that they are now famous for.  You cannot get these special beers outside of the Bay Area “yet”, so this is your chance to see what all the buzz is about.  The Quaid’s Dream– Imperial Stout aged in Port Barrels with blackberries I sampled last week was brilliant but I must confess that I am still longing for another sample of Passionate Monkey!  Owners , John & Reid Martin, have the formula for success in brewing ventures as well as brew pubs.  Triple Rock & Jupiter are both Bay Area favorites within the Craft Beer Community.

It’s a bit hard to find Drake’s the first time. Look for the driveway to the right of Wal-Mart and the left of Sport’s Authority.  Drake’s is tucked back in the corner as you drive between the two buildings.
1933 Davis Street
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 568-BREW (2739)

Here are the links for a few other places in Oakland that deserve some props:

The Trappist
25 Taps & 100 Specialty Bottles
460 8th Street
Oakland, California

Luka’s Tap Room & Lounge
16 Taps & Specialty Bottles
Excellent Mussels!
2221 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612

Linden Street Brewery
95 Linden St
Oakland, CA

The Inn at Jack London Square is not a bad alternative

Do "NOT" stay at the Jack London Inn! Very Scary Place

Enjoy Oakland and let me know how you liked it!


Funding Options for Startup Breweries –

I read this very interesting article (See Link Below) this morning at SF Gate – the online site for the San Francisco Chronicle.   In the past year, I’ve seen more and more Crowd Funding” campaigns,  like Kickstarter,  for small start-up breweries.   I invested in one such venture  last summer for Wilderness Brewing Company in Kansas City.  They were successful in hitting their target using Friends, Family and Social Media.  I just got my t-shirt last week and I enjoy reading about the progress of these young entrepreneurs.

Crowd Funding is a great way to raise funds that make entrepreneurial dreams come true but it is not easy.  Investors are doing so for T-shirts, VIP memberships and other perks; not shares in the business.  There are laws that limit actual equity shares to a very small number of people.  Certified Investors are the only ones allowed by the SEC beyond this number.  This is the problem.

Read the article and learn a little about the possibilities and the challenges.   If you aspire to owning a brewery, brew pub, or craft beer bar;  this is a subject that should be of great interest.  I do hope to see the laws change so that I could consider actually investing for equity and the article suggests there is movement to do so.   I suspect I am not alone.  The Craft Beer Community supports the underdog in more way than one.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to see how many put their money on the line?

Here is the link to the article:

Crowd funding, an online path for small businesses

Here’s to New Breweries & Good Beer!