New on tap

A north Chico beer bar is in the works, and the New York Seltzer is back

There's a familiar scene that has been playing out in Bob James' parking lot for some time, and it's led him to brew up a new business venture.

As the owner of Wine Time, James often sees a pick-up truck stop in front of his restaurant at Lost Dutchman Drive and then, moments later, a woman jumps out of the vehicle and the driver head backs out.

It's been a different truck and a different woman every time, but one day James stopped a driver and asked what he was doing. “Dropping my wife off for ladies' night,” was the response.

It was a light-bulb moment that has propelled James to open Lost Dutchman Taproom, just steps away from Wine Time. “We've found that some people prefer beer to wine, and now, for those husbands who were dropping their wives off, instead of just leaving, they can come and taste some beers,” James said.

Lost Dutchman Taproom is set to open mid-November, with renovations currently underway.

James said his vision is for the taproom to complement Wine Time, which, as the name implies, focuses its menu predominantly on wines.

The taproom will have 18 beer taps, and James is hoping to highlight small craft microbreweries around the country. His thought is to feature all Bend brewers one month, and perhaps the next, feature brewers in Walla Walla, and so forth.

Aside from beer, sandwiches and paninis will also be served. The new taproom is tentatively slated to be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., allowing for a lunch crowd—a great addition, as Wine Time doesn't open until 3 p.m.

Making a comeback. As a child of the '80s, there is no greater drink in my mind than Original New York Seltzer. That's why I was excited earlier this year when news dropped that the brand was going to be relaunched after folding in the 1990s.

It's been a long two decades of sipping subpar seltzers. But now I'm seeing the carbonated soft drink pop up all over Chico, and it's like Christmas in October. I first saw samples of the drink at Taste of Chico last month and used all my drink tickets at the booth. Since then, I've noticed a few local businesses with the seltzer in stock. New downtown restaurant Momona is serving New York Seltzer—the Vanilla Cream pairs perfectly with their Pork Belly Bao—and it's available at Spike's Bottle Shop and Winco, too, if you want to stock your fridge. Cheers!