I took a little tour of San Fran and the surrounding islands and hamlets including the beautiful little seaside town of Oakland and the paradise that is the Alameda Naval Base. Amazingly, among the brownfields of that very same island we find St. George Spirits, a tiny distillery that makes a really mean brew.
We at CrunchGear enjoy our libations (as evidenced by our review of the 100 ounce beer tube) and so I can heartily recommend that if you are ever in the San Francisco area that you stop by the distillery. For $10 – a little extra if you want to try the absinthe (!!) – you get a glass. Said glass is then filled ten or more times by sassy, tattooed bartenders and, in this way, you taste ten high proof spirits at about noon on a Saturday morning.
We also went on a tour of the facility. There are three fermentation tanks, a few distilling systems, and bottling line, all in a hangar of about 7000 square feet. Their best product is Hangar 1 vodka which comes in multiple flavors including Keffir Lime and Buddha’s Hand lemon. They make the beverages using real fruit and bottle it all themselves right in the factory. They also make eau de vie out of pear and raspberries – essentially distilled fruit liquor – and absinthe. We’re talking real absinthe. The kind that causes you to go crazy and cut off your ear, provided you have undiagnosed mental illness and drink too much in general.
We visited the distillery just in time for the tour which lasted for about an hour. We learned how they make the various mashes for the vodkas – they actually use grain and grapes for the Hangar 1 base. While you’re tasting you can look out on the majestic skyline of San Fran and it bears noting that the kids from Mythbusters often come out to the proving grounds to run their larger scale tests.
You can buy the booze here but I recommend trying it first. It doesn’t cause a hangover but some of the flavors are quite rich and this is no Smirnoff. It has a flavor and a mouthfeel all its own and a trip out to the distillery is encouraged and highly enjoyable.