Monterey brewery offers reason to roam

Derek Wolfgram/Special to the Town Crier
Alvarado Street Brewing’s sour ales offer a gentle introduction to a funky style. Their cherry, plum and black currant fruit elements provide acidic tartness without too much complexity.

Alvarado Street Brewery in Monterey opened in May 2014 and quickly caught the attention of craft beer aficionados in the Bay Area and across the country.

My first experience with its brews came at the February 2015 Meet the Brewers event at Hermitage Brewing during SF Beer Week, where Alvarado Street’s Citraveza hoppy Mexican lager was my favorite beer of the day.

'Galentine's Day' celebrates romance of truly great pals

Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Champagne Moutard Rosé de Cuvaison Brut screams “Valentine’s Day,” with pink bubbles fit for an evening with chocolate and loved ones.

I didn’t plan to have the incredible female friendships I have. As with many of life’s most wonderful things, my friends are an unplanned blessing. Now that I have these relationships, however, I plan a lot – to rely on my friends’ advice and trust their support, to attend weddings and baby showers of future adult children and, in our 80s, to make one another feel young and giddy.

Treat your valentine to a night in Lebanon

Blanche Shaheen/Special to the Town Crier
Layali Lubnan laces soft semolina custard with rose water and tops it off with whipped cream and pistachios.

My love affair with Layali Lubnan (Arabic for “Lebanese Nights”) began when I was 10 years old.

My mother brought me along with her to a bridal shower, and the endless conversations and gift opening of fine china bored me to tears.

Food Briefs

Los Altos writers share recipes

The Town Crier’s Food & Wine section only publishes once a month, but you can find recipes and inspiration from our food writers throughout the month at and on our columnists’ individual blogs.

• Food blogger Blanche Shaheen films gregarious YouTube cooking lessons in her Los Altos home. For her advice on cooking with a Middle Eastern twist, visit

Alpha Acid Brewing delivers intense flavors

Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
A visit to Alpha Acid’s Belmont taproom reveals that the young brewery has expanded beyond its initial speciality in India Pale Ales to craft farmhouse, stout and seasonal brews worth seeking out.

Kyle Bozicevic, co-owner of the Ale Arsenal craft beer bar in San Carlos, founded Alpha Acid Brewing Co. in late 2014.

For about a year, Alpha Acid’s beers were only available at a select group of craft beer bars in the Bay Area, but the owners opened their own taproom in early 2016 in a small space in a nondescript building in Belmont. Named after the compounds in hops that provide bitterness in beers, Alpha Acid unsurprisingly developed its initial reputation with hoppy beers, as well as some excellent stouts, but it has expanded its lineup to include a wide variety of styles.

King cakes search out Epiphany

Courtesy of Yuichi Sakuraba
A traditional French galette des rois.

After the trees come down and New Year’s Eve goes out with a bang, the story of the Nativity stretches on with a galette des rois, or king cake. Bakeries around the world stock a special cake starting this week that pays tribute to the Three Kings you’ve heard of in Christmas carols.

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