On April 15-16, one of Mill Valley’s iconic events returns as a pair of one-hour virtual tastings – one for the latest craft beers, one for ultra-premium wines and with an array of gourmet food for both. As always, it’s sponsored by Mill Valley Market with proceeds supporting the Mill Valley Chamber and Kiddo!.
Each tasting is led by expert moderators and cutting-edge winemakers and brewers to make for an entertaining, educational and delicious event. Each ticket buyer will receive a reusable tote with 2 bottles of fine wine or 7 cans of artisan beer and an array of delicious food bites. Shareable-size totes full of goodies will be available for pickup on April 8-10 (1-4pm), April 13-14 (1-5pm) at the MV Chamber office, 85 Throckmorton Ave.
Local Mill Valley brewers Rob Lightner and Paul Liszewski of East Brother Beer Co. and Justin Catalana of Fort Point Beer Co. will talk about their popular brews and beer making. Moderator Jamison Kester of Almanac Beer Co. will lead the discussion.
Partner up (or not): 3 cans East Brother’s – Bo Pils, new release Maibock, Oatmeal Stout + 1 can Almanac’s Love Hazy + 3 cans Fort Point – Sfizio Italian Pils, Dipper Double IPA, Strawberry Darling + specialty snacks – $39.
Catalana, at top left, is co-founder and CEO of Fort Point Beer Company—an independent San-Francisco brewery known for making unconventional, yet easy-to-enjoy beers. Prior to Fort Point, Justin abandoned a career in bioengineering to found Mill Valley Beerworks, a restaurant and taproom in his hometown of Mill Valley. Raised by a general contractor and a nurse, Justin is motivated by a restless desire to take things apart and put them back together. He approaches beer and business with the eye of an engineer, thinking through each challenge from first-principles and making things from scratch wherever he sees room for improvement. After just 6 years in business, Fort Point is now sold in San Francisco’s most celebrated restaurants, as well as its most humble corner stores and Justin couldn’t be more proud. He continues to lead the company with ambitious plans for growth and a simple conviction—”good beer for everyone.”
East Brother Beer founders and Mill Valley neighbors Chris Coomber and Rob Lightner, at top right, have a long tradition of drinking beer together, but it was in 2009 when the serious brewing began. Chris has that effortless charm and charisma that makes you believe he could do most anything he sets his mind to, and he’s a man of many self-taught talents. Hang gliding (with trepidation), trumpet playing (with mixed reviews), horse-back riding, but the first batch of Cream Ale, crafted in his kitchen, received critical acclaim from Rob and others. Soon a hobby became an obsession. Over the next seven years the two worked to perfect their palates and process, exploring classic styles and flavors and adhering to tradition. It’s in Chris’s kitchen where the “aha” moment and consensus occurred; beer is their beacon.
Almanac Beer Co.’s Jamison Kester, who serves as our moderator, has been a beer, wine, and spirits professional since moving to the Bay Area 12 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With time spent both in national and regional alcohol sales markets, behind the bar making cocktails at several Oakland establishments, or touring the US playing heavy metal, Kester says he’s excited to host the brewery portion of the 39th Mill Valley Wine, Beer & Gourmet Beer Tasting.
Acclaimed winemakers Michael McNeil of Hanzell Vineyards and Anthony Filberti of Anthill Farms Winery will be joined by Matt Straus of Saturday Wine to discuss and field questions about their award-winning wines.
Invite another couple (or not): 1 bottle of 2018 Hanzell Sonoma Valley Chardonnay + 1 bottle of 2019 Anthill Farms Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir + specialty snacks $99
On a personal quest to produce significant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Michael McNeill has spent many years and worked with dozens of vineyards throughout California and Oregon. In his early winemaking days, McNeill honed his talent and skill at Chalone Vineyard. His appointment as Winemaker at Hanzell in 2008 brought him full circle in working with the great California pioneers. At Hanzell, informed by tradition, he seeks to produce wines that best express the special and unique qualities of this place. Outside of Hanzell, McNeill enjoys live music, working in his garden, skiing in his beloved Tahoe and riding in the annual “Bring Your Own Big-Wheel” race in San Francisco.
Anthony Filiberti (at top left), David Low and Webster Marquez started Anthill Farms with the 2004 vintage, making eight-and-a-half barrels of wine their first year. They now make eight single-vineyard Pinots and two appellation wines every year; depending on the vintage, we’ll also produce two or three Syrahs and a Chardonnay. From the beginning ours has been a hands-on approach to farming grapes and raising wines, allowing each site to succeed in its ecology and in the bottle. Filiberti grew up locally in Sonoma County. Halfway through high school he began working harvest in the afternoons at small wineries. His enjoyment of this work led to studying Viticulture and continuing cellar work through school. In 1996 a move to Oregon put him in the cellar of Rex Hill where he met longtime friend Josh Bergstrom. In the next two years they would work together again starting the Bergstrom Winery. Oregon was an invaluable time of learning in the vineyards and cellars with the small and open Oregon wine community. It was also during this time in 1999 that he joined the groups Biodynamic Oregon and Slow Food Oregon and gained a broadened holistic perspective to wine, food and farming.
In 2003 after moving back to Sonoma, he began working with Dave and Web at William Selyem Winery and this connection led to the forming of Anthill. Over the last 17 years he has continued farming biodynamically and crafting wines for others, wineries such Knez in Anderson Valley and Hirsch Vineyards on the Sonoma Coast, as well as leading the farming and
production at Anthill Farms.
Straus, who serves as the wine tasting moderator, is is an award-winning sommelier and chef. Heirloom Café, his wine-driven, California cuisine-focused restaurant in San Francisco, will celebrate its 11th anniversary this spring. Saturday Wine is the brainchild of the team at Heirloom Café, born in quarantine but ready for prime time. Two bottles are available each week for pick-up at Heirloom or for shipping—destined for group tasting and guided explication during a live Saturday evening Zoomcast, often with the company of a special guest winemaker. WBGF 2021 is modeled after Saturday Wine.