By Brewmaster Ed Heethuis
Well, hello there!
I don’t believe we’ve met. My name is Ed and I’m your new beer columnist here at CV Weekly. Forgive me, but I haven’t occupied the business end of a keyboard in a writing capacity in quite some time, so for your sake and mine, let’s both hope that this is just like riding a bicycle.
Honestly, there are so many beery adventures to take you on…I’m nearly bursting at the seams. At the same time, this brand-spanking clean slate of a column is a wee bit daunting. You see, I can’t wait to describe for you the magnificence that is the nearly 80-year-old Anchor brewhouse in San Francisco; ground zero for the birth of the American Craft Beer movement. Together we will examine the German made copper kettles, the open fermenters of Steam Beer lovingly cooled by the fog rolling in off the bay, and the many secrets hidden within the oldest brewery in California.
We will also make a run to Chicago and explore The Hopleaf in all of its Belgian-inspired glory. Good luck finding better Pomme Frites or Bitterballen than their authentic presentation. Next, I’ll buy you a pint at The Map Room; a hidden gem in the suburbs where you will fall in love with the owner, the staff, and most importantly, the common, hard-nosed men and women who work hard and play hard in the City of Big Shoulders.
Between these long-distance excursions we will explore the Coachella Valley, neighboring cities, and surrounding counties. We will expose the myriad of chop houses, gastropubs, burger joints, and brewers who make this one of the finest places to live in terms of combining cuisine and the world’s earliest alcoholic beverage. You will be introduced to Chefs, Brewers, and the rest of the industry people who take immeasurable pride in not only satisfying our appetites, but do so with a passion and dedication that turns the mere act of eating into an all-inclusive fine dining experience.
I’ve traveled this Ale Trail for almost thirty years now and its high time to share not only my past experiences, but for us to mutually explore our bountiful back yard. Admittedly, beer is at the top of my many passions, but I like to think that I’m multi-dimensional as well. If you toss in a love of live music, road cycling, hockey, and fishing, my idea of a good time becomes pretty clear. With the possible exception of patio dining during a Nor’easter, I’m happiest while doing something outdoors or within the friendly confines of a brewery.
Once Covid restrictions are lifted, we will stroll hand-in-hand through beer festivals held on many different levels. We will attend home-grown events, meander into Orange County for the Brew HaHa, and venture up to Mammoth for Bluesapalooza, a three day / five-star event featuring the best the Blues have to offer while complimented by 80 different brewers. Heck, we will even hit The Granddaddy of Them All, The Great American Beer Festival in Denver, although this year’s event will look a little different because of the lingering pandemic.
While beer is the central theme of the column, it’s really the cast of dedicated people who keep the suds flowing that make all of this worthwhile. I will introduce you to industry legends such as Fritz Maytag of the aforementioned Anchor Brewery as well as cult favorites like Vinnie Cilurzo and his wonderful wife Natalie who own and operate Russian River Brewing up in Santa Rosa. We will collectively meet and discover what inspires our local brewers and brewery employees to labor daily; putting fresh, tasty local beer on your table.
Well, that’s my side of the equation and it’s time for me to ask some questions. What would you like to see in this space? What would you like to learn about beer? Where would you like to go? Who would you like to meet? Communication is key and I cannot stress enough that I would love for these pages to become a two-way street. My email address is located at the end of the column and I absolutely love hearing from our readers.
Hmmm. That ought to take care of introductions for now. Finally meeting you is certainly my pleasure and I can’t wait to see where this all leads. Until next time, be safe, seize the day, and please be good humans.
(When Ed Heethuis isn’t brewing at Spotlight 29 Casino for 29 Brews, you will find the Certified Cicerone / Brewmaster out on his road bike, plotting a Beer Dinner with one of the Valley’s many acclaimed Chefs, or talking beer with the patrons at Taproom 29. He may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or wherever beer may be found in the wild.)