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JUNE/JULY 2005 | REGIONAL | WEST COAST

Hog Island Hosts North Coast Beers
By Tom Dalldorf

Brewer/owner Mark Ruedrich and Hog Island chef Jessica Boncutter. Photo by Tom Dalldorf

Hog Island Oyster Bar in San Francisco's newly remodeled Ferry Plaza at the foot of Market Street is not only home to the freshest and most succulent oysters in the city but also host to North Coast Brewing Company's extraordinary lineup of beers. Think of it as North Coast's urban tasting room.

Recently, the pride of Fort Bragg, Calif., sponsored a gathering of oyster and seafood lovers for a dinner tasting of Hog Island specialties paired with North Coast specialty beers. Mark Ruedrich, co-owner/brewer at North Coast, proved a gracious host, greeting guests and pouring samples of his beers. On arrival, guests were presented with a half-dozen oysters on the half shell accompanied by the zesty Blue Star Wheat and the richly flavored Old 38 Stout.

The second course was an arugula green salad with oranges and toasted almonds paired with the crisp Scrimshaw Pilsner. There are few wines that work with a vinegar-based salad, but the Pilsner proved a wonderful match — clean, refreshing and mouth-cleansing.

Then came the fragrant Manila clams with chorizo sausage and potatoes, nicely matched with the malty richness of Red Seal Ale, a classic red/amber ale that deserves more appreciation. The other hot entrée was baked sweet water oysters with herbs and garlic, nicely showcasing the spectacular new Anniversary Ale XV, celebrating the 15th year of the North Coast Brewery. The beer is very limited and only available in cork-finished magnum bottles. Not to be missed!

Dessert? Oh, why not. How about a flourless chocolate soufflé with praline gelato (unbelievable!) paired with the outstanding Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout.

It was a good thing that the BART station was several blocks away. I needed the exercise at that point.

Tom Dalldorf is publisher and editor of the Celebrator Beer News.

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