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Journal

Head West Marketplace

Head West Marketplace

Delicious adult beverages, shopping and epic views of San Francisco - what could be more fun on a Saturday!

We'll be popping up with a fantastic array of artisans and makers on October 19th for the Head West Marketplace at Hangar 1 Vodka Distillery in Alameda.

We'll be offering a festive array of our products for 25% off! Other vendors include Common Shade, EIGHT + SAND, Tumbleweed Tienda, Revive Kombucha and Dirty Mermaid Beauty. 

Now is the time to get a jump on holiday shopping, plus this neighborhood has a lot to offer...

Hangar 1 Vodka
As its name suggests, this Alameda native pays homage to the city's history as a naval hub with aviation-themed details, a model propeller plane, and light streaming through the OG hangar windows. The distillery has grabbed headlines recently with its limited-edition Fog Point vodka made with Karl the Fog himself, but its recently revamped tasting room and visitors' center is the real draw. Discover all that goes into distilling your favorite spirits during a guided tour of the 60,000-square-foot facility, then head to the vintage-inspired, foliage-filled tasting room to sample six vodkas, including the popular Buddha's Hand Citron. // 2505 Monarch St.

Rock Wall Wine Company
Father-daughter duo Kent and Shauna Rosenblum are heavy hitters in the Bay Area winemaking scene, with Shauna having grown up at Rosenblum Cellars, the winery Kent ran until 2008. Today, the two operate Rock Wall in a converted hangar with Shauna as head winemaker. Stop in for samples in the tasting room or a glass on the back deck where views stretch across the Bay to SF. // 2301 Monarch St.

Scolari's at the Point
Adjacent to Rock Wall Winery at the Alameda Naval Air Station—and a roving Airstream food truck. Order fried chicken (choose white or dark meat) with Nashville hot sauce, pork belly collard greens, and biscuits. // 2301 Monarch St.

Faction Brewing
"Come for the beer, stay for the view." This repurposed airplane hangar's slogan rings true, with 20-plus original brews and a spacious front patio where crowds often spill out for the stellar vista of San Francisco's skyline. Wacky murals dominate the interior, and the tasting room stays busy serving pints and flights—locals love the island-exclusive A-Town pale ale. // 2501 Monarch St.

St. George Spirits
Long before Monarch Street was christened Spirits Alley, St. George stood alone as the sole liquor producer at Alameda Point—the distillery has been crafting whiskey, gin, brandy, and the like in Alameda since 2004. Tour the sprawling industrial space to get a behind-the-scenes look at the old-timey copper pot stills, or book time at the tasting room to sample six St. George classics, such as the California citrus vodka and absinthe verde. // 2601 Monarch St.

Building 43 Winery
Husband-and-wife team Tod Hickman and Meredith Coghlan craft their wine varietals using California-grown grapes. Go for $10 tastings, karaoke nights, and live music at the dog-friendly urban winery. // 2440 Monarch St.

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4th Brumaire

4th Brumaire

A woman walks into a bar…

Yes, it’s me and I’d waited a year to do so! What gives? I’d read a boisterous SF Chronicle article last March about the natural wine smackdown, Brumaire, a raucous, sold out fest that spotlights some of the best and brightest natural winemakers from around the globe...and with no knowledge of natural wine at all, this feature made me feel bad that I’d missed out. I knew wine that’s farmed organically or biodynamically and made without adding or removing anything in the ‘cellar’ sounded like my kind of thing. So I made a calendar note and bought tickets before they sold out for the 4th annual event this past weekend in Oakland...

I boned up a little over 2018, following along with Marissa Ross and buying some bottles from Ordinaire, a pretty place with French cafe vibes and the most comprehensive offerings bar none in the Bay Area for au natural wine (and the team behind Brumaire). Mind you, I still have no clue what’s truly going on, so when I showed up at the Starline Social Club I felt pretty intimidated and bewildered because my expertise was rock bottom and the atmosphere was akin to a mosh pit.

It’s a very free flowing event, but I think brouhaha might be a better term, what I envision Burning Man was like in 1993, a bunch of cool people doing their thing...there are two rooms, vendors scattered about and throngs of people holding out their glasses for a pour, and if they're lucky a little chit chat with the maker. Once I started organically jamming myself into tables for tasting after tasting, it all was super chill and fun. While every wine wasn’t for me and some were murkier than others, quite a few really popped and I savored speaking to the purveyors; they all loved what they were doing and there was a deep sense of community. I heard many stories like “friends gave me their excess grapes so we made this” and “a property near me had too many apples so we got a big haul and made cider.” This was a refreshing break from preciousness, legacy and mass market appeal, a few of the traditional hallmarks of the wine trade. You know how I love my let’s not be perfect and make good with what we have soap box, so I was really in my element…

There was a bit of a celebrity appeal for me too, I spotted Marissa Ross, happily meandering about, basking in the glow and glad handing her crew. Actually everyone was, just us tasters and makers enjoying the good life. In the end I couldn’t get to everyone, partly because it was getting more packed by the minute, partly because I was getting buzzed and partly because there was some fried chicken with my name on it at Hopscotch down the street. All in all, it was definitely worth the wait and I know I'll be drinking a lot less sulfites this year...

Some of my faves included:

 Photo credit - Bon Appétit

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