January 24, 2014

January 24, 2014
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Fogbelt Brewing Company will open in Santa Rosa this February. Photo courtesy of Fogbelt Brewing Co.

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Would you drink broccoli tea? Numi Organic Teas thinks you will. Photo courtesy of Numi.

By 707 correspondent Heather Irwin. Sign up for the BiteClub Newsletter.

Beer insiders have been chomping on yet another brewery opening in Santa Rosa this winter: ~FOGBELT BREWING~. Housed in the Cleveland Avenue “Urban Winery Village” complex, which several years ago begat ~HERITAGE PUBLIC HOUSE~, Fogbelt has soft launched but officially opens in February.

To whet the whistles of local beer drinkers, Heritage Public House (1901 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa) will host a launch party on Thursday January 30th to celebrate Fogbelt’s first releases, Hyperion Red Ale and Lost Monarch Wit Beer, which is infused with fresh cilantro and kaffir lime. Both beers are made exclusively with California hops, and Heritage is actively growing its own specialized estate hops. Upcoming releases include Atlas Blonde, Del Norte IPA (natch), and Armstrong Stout.

Fogbelt Brewing is the brainchild of Paul Hawley and Remy Martin, both Wine Country natives who spent their formative years in vineyards and began brewing beer together in 2004. Hours at the 1305 Cleveland Ave. tasting room are still sporadic, but keep up with the latest news online.

Are mushrooms the next big thing? Mushrooms are having their moment. At the 2014 SF Fancy Food Show, where the world comes to see what’s new in food, fungi was, well, everywhere. From ~FLAVO{U}R 21’S~ decadent umami paste to Vosges reishi mushroom chocolate bars to porcini mushroom powder from Napa’s Whole Spice and Wine Forest’s dried chanterelles, mushrooms are being added to both sweet and savory foods.

Other fun trends: teas are branching out in all directions. High caffeine boosters (Republic of Tea), dessert teas (salted caramel, mojito, hazelnut truffle), and savory teas in flavors like Numi’s spinach chive, beet cabbage, or broccoli cilantro.

Popcorn is the new potato chip: lower in fat, gluten-free, and flavor neutral, enhanced popcorn is a huge new market. We saw blue cheese, smoked gouda, chai caramel, nori sesame, and Thai curry to name just a few of the standout flavors.

Other healthier snacks included dragon fruit chips from Novato’s Navitas, rice chips, quinoa chips, sprouted watermelon seeds, and lots of chia. Lots and lots of chia.

Drinking vinegar is also becoming more recognized. Portland’s Pok Pok has a line, along with Sonoma Spirits. Typically the flavored vinegars are mixed with soda water or spirits for a sweet-sour drink.