Sauerkraut, Sausage, and Les Claypool’s Fine Wine

Claypool Cellars, now CC Pachyderm, hosted their 3rd Annual Sauerkraut Party in Sebastopol, which was bigger and better than ever.

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The Kind and the Colonel keeping it real.
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Primus head honcho Les Claypool invited fans to party down with his CC Pachyderm wine making team for the 3rd Annual Sauerkraut Party held the last weekend in March at their caboose in Sebastopol.
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Because of the limited amount of wine produced, The Fancy Booze Caboose has recently gone to reservation only, but the best time to visit is during one of the CC Pachyderm events.
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Just a few of The Pachydermettes all gussied up in their finest Polish wear, standing at the front of the caboose.
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Upon entry to the sold-out event, "passengers" were handed a boarding pass, good for one nifty etched souvenir wine glass to take home, after getting it filled twice at the event, in addition to a bowl of amazing sauerkraut as well.
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Ziggy (Eschliman) the Wine Gal, Contessa of Cocktails, greeted visitors with their first pour in their new glass.
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The glasses had the new CC Pachyderm logo etched into one side, and Polish national coat of arms on the other side.
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CC Pachyderm event regulars Matt and Bethany Carlson are greeted by Ziggy the Wine Gal and Chaney Claypool.
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Starting off the night was the delicious 2011 Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley, Hurst Vineyard.
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Les Claypool was at the party early, mingling with the music and wine fans.
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Chaney and Les Claypool's partners in CC Pachyderm are Monika and Slawek Michalak, who come from Poland and introduced the Claypools to this delicious sauerkraut recipe.
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Heather Van Doorn (right) had one of the best outfits of the night, most of which she says was thrown together with a quickness before the party.
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At a Claypool Cellars event a few years ago, San Franciscian Kristina Pollak put a few purple pachyderm temporary tattoos on her face. At each subsequent party, the configuration of the marching elephants has gotten more fun and creative.
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For the third year in a row, renowned Moldovan accordion player Nikolai Prisikar roamed the party playing tunes to the delight of party goers.
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This year, instead of having the party in the booths in front of the caboose, the fine folks from CC Pachyderm opened up Coffee Catz to party goers, where the second pouring station was.
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The CC Pachyderm 2011 Fancy Blend from Lake County was on tap for glass number two. The Fancy Blend is 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah. Rumors are production on the Fancy Blend won't continue from here on out, so if you are a fan you might want to stock up before someone else does.
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The Fancy line.
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Maureen Mroczek Morris, member of the Polish Society of California, holds up book she put together about the 130-plus year-old group.
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The sauerkraut dish, technically called Bigos in Poland, was cooked with sausage and undoubtedly a bunch of other ingredients, creating a tasty bowl full of food, served with bread.
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Past and future Sauerkraut Kings (more on that later).
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Nikolai Prisikar making the rounds.
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Since the beginning, Claypool Cellars events at the caboose have always been family friendly, with kids of all ages seen here or there. This time around, three-month old Elizabeth Dezember chilled with her folks Ted and Ashley who were in town from Seattle, WA.
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While Les Claypool, self-proclaimed germaphobe, isn't too keen on shaking hands, preferring instead the "hot Potato" fist bump/tap, he's usually happy to make the rounds chatting with people and posing for photos.
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Waiting for some lucky customers.
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Sebastopol's Steve Sidner, last year's illustrious Sauerkraut King.
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While hand-to-hand contact might be rare, cheek to cheek (or forehead) didn't seem to be an uncommon occurrence.
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Some might say these guys were the real sauerkraut kings of the night, slinging the tasty stuff all night long, with Slawek bringing in a fresh batch.
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Time for the Colonel to take a taste. ("Bread? Nah, that stuff'll kill you," said Claypool after being asked if he wanted a slice with the dish.)
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Les takes a whiff before diving in.
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Renowned Moldovan accordion player Nikolai Prisikar making the rounds.
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With the party at the side of the caboose, instead of in front of it, there was much more room for people to spread out and still be in the middle of it. Especially with Nikolai making the rounds with the squeeze box.
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With the added space from Gravenstein Station neighbor Coffee Catz, there were nearly twice as many people at this Sauerkraut Party compared to the first two.
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Info on the "League of Extraordinary Slurpers" (L.E.S.) wine club. Club members get first dibs on tickets to CC Pachyderm events, like the annual Pre-Turkey Day Bonanza show at the Hopmonk.
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"I know Wynona was a race car driver," said Amy Berger (right) when defending her knowledge of Primus, to the delight of Ryan "Frump" Mankin (center in blue) and Sean Faulkner (next to Jenna Benson), two local die-hard Primus fans who can be found front and center at most Bay Area Claypool shows.
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CC Pachyderm Co-Owner Slawek Michalak (center) has a laugh. Without Slawek and wife Monika, there would be no sauerkraut to plan a party around.
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Many people bought a bottle (or two) to uncork during the event, and perhaps a few more to take home.
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When we first arrived, we saw Nikolai standing outside by his car. When I said hello he told me he was waiting for AAA because he had locked his keys in his car, with his accordion inside. Luckily there was a piano inside Coffee Catz, so he was still able to tickle the ivories before the tow truck showed up.
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Children weren't the only little ones at the party.
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Since CC Pachyderm is a boutique label, the caboose is about the only place you can get bottles. But, if you can't make an appointment to check out the train car for yourself, you can still buy bottles and merch from their website and have them shipped to you (depending on alcohol shipping laws).
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Kristina Pollak's herd of purple pachyderm snaked down from her ear to... who knows where?
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On the right, the original Sauerkraut King Steve Sidner, crowned at last year's party, gives the international look of a man about to leave office. Next to Sidner, the new King pre-crowning.
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Long-time CC Pachyderm fans Bim Pinot and Lisa Hutchinson embrace for a pic.
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10 year-old Benjamin, from Santa Rosa, has been a Les Claypool fan for half of his life. He got Les to sign his Primus and the Chocolate Factory NYE t-shirt, and ended up with some more goodies later.
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Les took the mic to thank people for showing up to a party.
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CC Pachyderm co-founder Slawek Michalak is the real mastermind behind the Sauerkraut Party, as it was his recipe that first surprised Les with how tasty the dish could be.
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The motley crew.
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Les then introduced Steve Sidner, last year's Sauerkraut King.
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Steve made a statement about his past administration, and welcomed the next regime.
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Sidner then took one last drink as King...
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...and the new King was introduced.
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Sidner graciously handed over the crown of flowers, and passed the giant glass.
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Randy, from Arcata, CA, won tickets at the Hopmonk show to come to the Sauerkraut Party. Little did he know he would be crowned King!
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All Hail the new Sauerkraut King!!!
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First order of business: circling parade of Pachydermettes. It's good to be the King.
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At first, Randy was a bit timid, and had no interest in getting in front of the group. He actually said his name was "Hermit." But, I think by this time he had settled into his new position as King, even getting a raise of the glass from Mr. Claypool.
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Might next year's King be in this photo?
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After the coronation, Slawek and Monika raffled off some prizes, like a t-shirt, hoodie, and wine club membership.
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DJ Dmitri played some polka on vinyl at the party, this one is titled "Na Drowie," which is Polish for "to your health," or "Cheers!"
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Not only did ten year-old Benjamin, from Santa Rosa, get to meet Les and get an autograph, when the raffle was over, he had a t-shirt and a hoodie too! Unforgettable night, I'm sure.
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From what I understand, the big winner of the night was this guy, who either lives in Rome, or is from Rome. Either way, he is the newest Silver Slurper in the L.E.S. wine club.
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These two were both celebrating their birthday at the party. Coincidentally, they are both named Chris, and one was turning 43 and the other 44.
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Behind the caboose shenanigans.
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Now that the king has passed his thrown, its time to get gangster.
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Packed house in the caboose.
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The Pachydermettes are all smiles.
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Birthday boy Chris raises his glass with the Colonel.
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Shutterbug Bim Pinot and I doing a photographer's standoff.
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Gravenstein Station in Sebastopol was filled with people, music and wine lovers.
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Wesley November (right) drove up from L.A. with his buddy Trevor Page for the party.
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Wes' company The Factory Red cranks out super cool custom-made wooden boxes for bottles of CC Pachyderm to live in.
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Perhaps inspired by the CC Pachyderm Fancy Blend, Wesley November had "Fancy" tattooed on his right pinky, perfect for moments just like this.
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(Left to right) Ryan Mankin, Sean Faulkner and Jenna Benson; wine fans for a night, music fans for life.
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DJ Dmitri at the turntable.
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There was nothing stopping this party from rolling well into the night. After the wine had been drank and the food had been eaten, the dance party was where it was at.
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Lisa Hutchinson and Steve Sidner
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An awesome gift from a fan.
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To get more info about CC Pachyderm wine, look here: http://claypoolcellars.com/
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I caught Bim's Pachy trying to join the heard running down Kristina's neck.
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The fleet
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Robert and Ewelina dancing the night away, the Polish contingency out in full force.
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That's a wrap. Not just another fun Sauerkraut party, but the most fun Sauerkraut party yet... until next year, that is.
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