Shaken or Stirred?

Cocktails with local flair

Bartenders around the region have provided us with their best bets for holiday cocktails featuring gin, rye and bourbon — spirits that are now being produced locally by craft distillers.

Dec 5, 2014 Shannon Haslinger
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Drop by Drop

After 81 years, microdistillers are gaining ground against Prohibition-era laws

In a makeshift distillery tucked  into a Rancho Cordova business park, Greg Baughman mashes and ferments batches of his Wheel House American Dry Gin using a still he designed and built himself, a gleaming vision of stainless steel and copper. But actually sell you a bottle? For that he needs to hire a middleman due to regulatory hurdles dating back to Prohibition.

Dec 5, 2014 Michelle Locke
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Speed Isn’t Everything

Snail of Approval Awards celebrate local business and the slow food movement

Sacramento is America’s Farm-to Fork capital for many reasons: fresh, seasonal food available year-round, almost 8,000 acres of boutique farms, and the largest Certified Farmers’ Market in California. Last month, Slow Food Sacramento recognized seven local businesses for their commitment to providing products and services that use regionally grown seasonal produce, honoring them with the Snail of Approval award and decal.

Nov 19, 2014 Shannon Haslinger

How Do You Brew?

Make sure you get the best out of every beer festival

Pick your poison, find a pairing, and let us know your favorite local brewery in the Capital Region. 

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Oct 30, 2014 Lily Therens
Berryessa Brewing Co. is as much a community center as it is a taproom. Patrons can regularly find fresh produce for sale near the food truck and pickup Wiffle ball games.

Winters Brew

Berryessa Brewing Co. reaps the benefits of committed regulars but may soon face growing pains

On hot summer weekends, a 20-barrel brewery west of Winters overflows with patrons. They flood the taproom and crowd around shaded picnic tables, sipping beer while soaking in live music. A few kids play baseball in the gravel lot. Others pull wooden blocks from an oversized Jenga set by the food truck. Some are locals, but many come from Davis, Sacramento and beyond to get a taste of whatever Berryessa Brewing Co. has on tap for the week.

Oct 20, 2014 Russell Nichols
Todo un Poco co-owner Marie Mertz is an art lover and collector. All of the restaurant’s paintings are original works she commissioned.

A Little Bit of Everything

Delightful global fusion in a faceless Elk Grove bistro

Todo un poco means “a little bit of everything,” and that’s exactly how co-owner Marie Mertz describes her strategy. She runs the bistro’s operations, cooks, builds menus, chooses the daily specials, buys fresh produce, trains staff, handles community relations and hand-selects her wines. She’s proud of being in business for so many years, but “who’s counting when you’re having fun?” she says.

Sep 9, 2014 Laura Coyne Steel
Summer hops and amber malt

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Go Brew Yourself

Video: How to make homemade beer away from home

The whole DIY video tutorial trend might be good if you want to concoct a hair conditioner with condiments, practice putting on lipstick with crayons or make pencils float in midair. But if you’re trying to brew your own beer at home, you’re going to need a bit more than a six-minute YouTube clip.

Aug 12, 2014 Russell Nichols

Tapped Out

Is Sac's craft beer bubble on the verge of bursting?

When downtown Sacramento’s Brew It Up poured its last beer in 2011, owner Michael Costello lost more than his business. “I lost everything,” he says. “Nobody really knows the whole breadth of it. It’s not an easy thing to go through.”

Jul 1, 2014 Russell Nichols
Wise Villa Winery

Wine Winner

How Dr. Grover Lee went from the pharmacy to the vineyard

Imagine you’re a successful businessman, but what you really want to be is a professional baseball player. You’re so sure of yourself that you begin spending nights and weekends studying and training as if Major League Baseball will soon be calling. And then they actually do, and at your first at-bat,  you clear the bases.

That’s pretty much how things happened when Granite Bay pharmacist Dr. Grover Lee decided to become an award-winning winemaker.

Jun 1, 2014 Michelle Locke

The Wine on Miracle Mile

Sacramento sommelier Paul Marsh joins Stockton’s business renaissance

For the past 10 years, Paul Marsh has pledged himself to the pursuit of wine. In Chico, he learned the intricacies of its fruit by planting and harvesting a vineyard. With Kendall Jackson, he learned to sell. At The Firehouse Restaurant in Old Sacramento, he was educated on the finer points of building a wine collection in a hospitality setting, and he became a certified sommelier.

May 1, 2014 Douglas Curley
Sheana Davis, owner, The Epicurean Connection

Have Cheese Will Travel

A ‘choose your own adventure' map to NorCal's finest fromagers

In the past two decades, bucolic Sonoma and Marin counties have been at the center of a cheese renaissance that has seen the rise of dozens of artisan and farmstead products, including cheese made from the milk of sheep, goat and water buffalo. With nearly 30 cheesemakers and creameries opening their doors to visitors, exploring curd culture has never been easier.

Mar 1, 2014 Michelle Locke