Beers I drink, Breweries, road trip

Central Coast Brewing Company

Tucked in between the hills of San Luis Obispo is a small, unassuming building that houses the Central Coast Brewing Company.  There’s a sign you can see from the street that advertises the wares within.  Stef's pics 8-7-17 041

The tiny parking lot is usually filled with cars.  There are always bikes cruising by and getting locked up while the rider has a brew (or two).  Such is a typical night in SLO on Monterey Street.

In July, I was lucky enough to spend a few days in SLO and I wrote the @ccbrewSLO on my schedule in permanent black sharpie.  I like to visit breweries in every town I visit but certain towns have particular breweries that I especially love and Central Coast Brewing is one of them.

Previous visits to CCBC have been less inviting due to the crowds but it was practically empty when I strolled in on a Sunday night.  There were about 7 people inside and 3 people out on the deck outside.  We weren’t graced with the presence of a canine but I noticed a bowl of water on the floor so they are definitely dog-friendly.

Their menu is so extensive, I had to break it up into 3 shots to be able to make it blind-lady sized.  15 original beers on draft! Had I died and gone to hop heaven?  I love me some Pale Ale and there were 5 different flavors to sample.

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I decided to sip the International IPA called Citrusogalactic at 6.6%.  The Old Man went with a Moonbuggy which measures 8.0% and is a New England style IPA.

 

When I went to pay, I expected my total to be $14.  But the brewtender charged me $8 and change.  I was so stunned that I forgot to say anything like, “Hey, is that the happy hour special or what?”  It would’ve been nice to know.

We got a seat outside on the deck.  It was a nice night and the sun was in the process of setting as we sat and drank.  We watched the shadows on the hills in front of us grow longer and a chill came to the air.  In fucking July.  A chill.  I love SLO.

The citrus was bright tasting and lived up to it’s name.  It was very sour with bitter grapefruit notes.  Sean’s Moonbuggy was resinous & juicy af with the unfiltered haze of a NE IPA.  Both brews were hopped just right.

Stef's pics 8-7-17 024 I love the little details about Central Coast that make it so cozy feeling.

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They’ve got a wall full of different bottles of beer that I could not stop staring at the first time I visited.  This trip was the first time I’ve been able to sit outside so I had never noticed before but the railing is made up up staves from old barrels.  Recycling in action!

I did notice one new thing about CCBC and that is the 2 new bathrooms inside the building.  Now you don’t have to leave your beer out of sight if you are afraid of getting drugged….haha, J/K, that doesn’t happen in SLO!  But seriously, the bathrooms used to be up several steps and down the hall of the building complex next door.  The addition of in-house pissers is convenient and good news to report.

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Central Coast has their own food truck.  It’s something I have seen at a small number of breweries.  They had closed up for the night right before we got there so I didn’t get to see what was on the menu.  But I got this pic…check it out!

You can get merch and beer to go from Central Coast Brew Co.  I like to advertise!

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We talked for a while and then decided to order another round.  Here is what I remember:   Stef's pics 8-7-17 043

It was delicious and I took a nice picture of it.  But I learned an important lesson.  And that is to write stuff down so that I remember when I end up writing the brewbroadblog.

Maybe as soon as November, I will visit Central Coast again.  But it may not be until next year during spring.  I never know where the seasons will take me and what new brews I get to sample.  But I will keep taking pictures and writing about it!

 

 

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Beers I drink, Breweries, road trip

Oceanside Brewing Company

I had a family event looming on my horizon in #Oceanside so I wanted to check out some local breweries while I was there.  I had more than an hour to kill before I had to be somewhere and the closest brewery was also the one that would’ve been my first choice: Oceanside Brewing Company.  I like when the town is in the name.

DSC06293    A little sign above the door and a  “BEER HERE” sandwich chalk board  DSC06288  let you know you have arrived at the Oceanside Brewing Company.  There isn’t much parking but we got a place up front.  TGFHP.  That’s Thank God For Handicap Parking.

DSC06289  A couple with two kids walked in as we were getting out of the car so I knew OBC was kid-friendly right off the bat (you should see the disgusted look on my face as I type that).  I could also see the wagging tail and rear end of a dog so I knew they were dog-friendly as well.  DSC06306

Here’s a pic of the awesome fur baby I got to meet.  I will take dogs over kids any day of the week, lol.

 

@oceansidebrewingco has an extensive menu board with no less than 22 brews on tap.  There is literally something for everyone.

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There were a couple of beers I wanted to try but I was drawn to the New England style Desert Storm IPA which measured 6.7% ABV.  It was delicious with a citrus, grapefruit taste and stuffed with hops.  The Old Man tried a Corps IPA that came in at 6.8%.  It was interesting.  The Corps tasted more like a brown ale when we first sipped it but then the mellow hoppyness came forward and it tasted more like the American IPA it was billed as.

I complemented the brewtender/brewer on the Desert Storm and he told me a funny anecdote.  As regular readers will remember in my review of House of Pendragon, the New England or hazy style IPA is a fairly new type of craft beer to hit the market.  He said that the NE IPA is kind of a little joke among brewers who usually work very hard on getting clear, filtered beer.  And then some guy from Maine comes out with this “hazy,” unfiltered beer and it’s all the rage.  The brewer liked it because it shaved a couple of weeks off the brewing process by not having to filter out all the remnants.  And he said it was a popular choice so the general public seems to approve.

We wanted to go drink al fresco because the breeze was so nice & cooling but both entrances to the back patio were chained off.  As we stood there, contemplating the chain, the brewtender told us beers weren’t allowed out back and hadn’t been for six months as they battled with the ABC about the zoning.  The ABC are a bunch of dicks.  They were on the verge of having it all worked out and he said the back would be open for drinking in just a week.

OBC has a few games to play as well as some brew-crafting reading material.  The large wooden chess set was attractive and looked inviting if you are smart enough to know the game.  I’m not.

There are t-shirts for sale but I think they’re a bit overpriced at $25.  DSC06308

 

 

 

 

 

I left the Oceanside Brew Co. wanting more.  It’s a #roadtrip there but not too far from #Anaheim so I am sure I will be back.  There are more brews to sample and some outback patio fresh air & sunshine to soak up.  I love California.

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Breweries, road trip

HoP: The Dragon’s Lair

I had such a blah experience with House of Pendragon that I wasn’t even going to write about it.  I hate saying mean things in print and out loud.  So I was just going to lock this visit in my vault, give them the benefit of the doubt and return another time to get a better taste of what HoP has to offer.

But the research department of my huge blog happened to have given me an article from the Fresno Bee that was dated March 22, 2017.  I didn’t get a chance to read it until the night I got home from my #roadtrip, which happened to be about 8 hours after my visit to The Dragon’s Lair.

Robert Rodriguez, a reporter for the Bee,  wrote about this new trend in brewing called New England or Northeast IPA’s.  He describes them as “juicy, hazy” and as I read, I remembered what the brewtender at The Dragon’s Lair said about their Qui Gon Jinn & Juice when Sean asked what an “NE Style IPA” was.  She used those exact words.  So it took me a second but I finally realized we had tried something new and innovative at The Dragon’s Lair without even grasping that.  Maybe a short review of HoP was in order, I thought.  I can be really nice when I’m trying to be.

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Bad picture of the menu board

I guess I should start with why I had a shitty time.  First, there is major construction in the immediate area of the brewery that made getting there a bitch.  Then, there was no parking.  Their lot was full so we had to park a little ways down the street.  Next, there was a huge line just to get in when we first walked up.  Then, there were a ton of unsupervised kids running amok.  Also, it was freezing that day and the wind was blowing through the warehouse. And the Old Man had a bad time at first because he got a 12 oz. pour instead of a 16 oz. like I did.  Whew!  That’s a lot of negative stuff, sorry.

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About that line…I stood in the outside one while Sean went inside to see what the other line was all about.  The outside line was to get tickets and a wristband to drink.

After reading this chalkboard sign, it was apparent they were having some kind of special event.  It was their 4th year anniversary and they had a commemorative 14.5 oz glass you could get with a pour for $12.50.  Otherwise, you could get a taster ticket for a 5 oz pour for $3.00 or a 12 oz or 16 oz pour for $5.75.  And they charged tax.  Hmmmph.  And they were using plastic cups.  I heard Mother Nature cry a little.

About that second line….it went pretty quick.  Like I mentioned before, we had a question about the Jinn & Juice.  The brewtender was knowledgeable and told us what we wanted to know.  I ordered the Lancelot IPA which was a 7% and Sean was the brave one who went with the 8% Qui Gon Jinn & Juice IPA.  The Lancelot was nice and flavorful and I liked the amount of hops, not too bitter.

The Old Man was immediately unhappy with his choice.  Not because of the taste.  He said it was indeed juicy & fruity more than bitter and it was a pretty hazy yellow color.  It was an all-around great beer.  But he didn’t realize when he ordered that it came in a 12 oz cup.

 Anybody who knows my man, knows he does not stand for shit like that.  He was pissed and drank his Jinn & Juice so fast he could barely enjoy the taste.

I advised him to get another one that came in a 16 oz cup and he would feel better.  He left me for a few minutes and came back with a 16 oz cup full of  Red Wedding Cake Red Ale.  It was a deep red and tasted sweet, not at all like a 7% ale.  He relished his second beer at a slower pace and went from Hulk to Banner by the time it was finished.

The Dragon’s Lair is the brewery and tasting room that House of Pendragon Brewing Company calls home.  HoP has another location in Clovis that seems to be popular but we wanted the brewery experience so we drove the extra bit out of our way to visit them.

They use kegs and sacks of grain for seating and there is a lot of it.  We were lucky to find seating right away considering the crowd that was there.  I was tickled that their theme is the Arthurian legends.

There were two food trucks. One was a gourmet popcorn truck  DSC05057and the other was a hot dog cart.  The hot dog cart offered veggie dogs but it was extra to substitute one.  It started to sprinkle while we were there and the popcorn people moved inside with their table of free samples.

Damn free samples!  Sean had some and that made me want some so I ended up filling a couple of handfuls of popcorn & chowing down.  Well, the kids also liked the free samples and all the little “adorable shitheads” started hanging around the popcorn table.  Luckily we were close to leaving so it wasn’t too annoying but I will never understand why it is popular for breweries to be kid friendly.

I said it in the beginning and I’ll repeat it: House of Pendragon deserves a second visit.  I feel in a way like it is unfair to judge them based on this one experience.  There was enough cool stuff about them to outweigh the negatives.  This summer when I can spend more time exploring the newer breweries in Fresno and the surrounding areas, I will stop in at the Clovis location and maybe even The Dragon’s Lair again.  I’ll take better pictures, I’ll have more than one beer, I’ll take notes while I’m there.  Everything about my subsequent call to HoP will be better.  All you have to do is sit back and wait.

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Beers I drink, Breweries, road trip

Sequoia Brewing Company

The Sequoia Brewing Company is an old standard of mine in Fresno, CA.  I’m there practically every April on the way to Oakhurst for some much needed R&R.

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We have been to Sequoia Brewing so many times that we are both very familiar with the beers.  Neither of us agreed out loud that we wanted to try something different but it seemed to be the unspoken consensuses.  Thanks to the “Specials” board out in front, we found what we were looking for;  two new brews that we were eager to sample.

I started off with the “So You Like IPA’s” Series #1 because I loved the high 7.4%.  It was delicious.  The taste was more malty than hoppy but the hops did creep up on me.  The bitterness was slight and it went down smooth.  I seem to remember that the IPA’s that Sequoia and Tioga Sequoia offer are not as hoppy as IPA’s available in Southern California.  The Old Man tried the Spring Bock which measured 7.2%.  It was a golden colored lager with a smoky aftertaste.

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In German, “bock” means “goat” and it is used to show a particular beer has a kick to it.  The Spring Bock indeed had a kick.  I tried some of Sean’s and liked it so much I ordered it for beers #2 and #3.  I got Sean’s original choice and he got mine for his second round.  He was as impressed with the IPA as I was.  There are a total of 3 varieties in the “So You Like IPA’s” series and we are excited to come back and try them.

Sequoia Brewing has specials for Happy Hour and we were hungry after our 4 hours just spent on the road.  We’ve had the pizza here before and it leaves something to be desired.  So we opted for the pretzel bites and we were not disappointed.

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The pretzel bites are small pieces of a larger soft pretzel that is deep fried to perfection and then salted and served with a side of stone ground mustard.  We ate that shit up fast! It was such a needed snack that ended up being our dinner.  Sequoia has a limited selection for vegetarians and I really wish they would offer a veggie burger.  They do have a veggie sandwich that sounds appetizing so I commend them for that effort.

Happy hour was coming to an end so we quickly ordered our third and last round.  I stayed with the  Spring Bock and Sean went back to the traditional menu to sample a Garage Sale Rye Pale Ale.  In the past, the Old Man has enjoyed rye IPA’s so he figured the rye pale ale would be just as good.  Coming in at a 6.0%, it was flavorful and crisp.  It had a nice dark red color.

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When it came time to pay the man, we were giggling with delight at the price of our beers.  I had to take a picture of my receipt to show off just how cheap the craft brewed beers are during happy hour.  $3.47!  $3.47?  Hell yeah!

Sequoia Brewing Company could teach other breweries a lesson about pricing.  Lately, I have been paying $6 and $7 for pints at local breweries.  They were no better and no less ABV than the $3.47 beers at Sequoia.  At a brewery, you cut out the middle man.  Where do some of them get off charging more than $5 for a pint?  I guess it’s the greedy American way.  The prices at SBC are refreshing and make me want to go drink and drink some more.

I probably won’t be back to Sequoia Brewing Co. until next Spring break.  If I was a local, I’d drink there more often but it’s just another one of those great stops on a #roadtrip. It’s nice to know I have a place to sit and enjoy some beers and unwind from the long drive.

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Breweries, road trip, Stuff i do when i drink

At Ease @ Barrel Harbor

Barrel Harbor is a San Diego brewery with a great reputation and a decent local distribution.  Their original location, 2575 Pioneer Ave. #104, Vista CA , attracts all types of people.  From hipster beer-snobs, like the two pictured here, dsc03959

to casual one-pinters, it seems everyone likes Barrel Harbor.  And now there is a whole new plethora of reasons to like them.

In January of 2017, @BarrelHarbor opened a new location.  They collaborated with At Ease Games and popped up right next door, which gave way to one of the greatest tap rooms ever: At Ease @ Barrel Harbor.

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So the brewery is connected to a game shop, which i thought was really cool.  What goes together better than beer and games?  I looked around At Ease Games for a little while and my friends ended up buying some Munchkin card packs and a new Cthulhu game.  When we were done there, we headed next door to begin our Sunday of brewery-hopping.

The new location is huge.  Located at 8990 Miramar Rd., San Diego CA, they’ve got 16 taps and so many different delicious choices, I could’ve spent all day there.  Here is a picture of their menu board & current offerings:

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It was close to noon when I walked into At Ease @ Barrel Harbor and it was empty, save for the lone brewtender.  I wanted to start with something light so I tried the South Island Pilsner with a 5.2% ABV.  The beer was served in a tall, kinda skinny pint glass that made it seem really fancy.  dsc03941The Old Man tried the Barrel Harbor Red Ale with the same ABV.  Ck had what I had and Carie had a Blunderbuss Belgian Blonde that charts at 6.5%.

My pilsner was a golden color and it was cold and not flat.  In fact, there were so many bubbles coming off the bottom that it looked like champagne.  It tasted crisp and a bit citrusy.  I liked it a lot.

Everybody else enjoyed their choices as well.  When it was time for a second round, I wanted something harder so I sent Sean up to the bar with the explicit instruction to find me something “strong and good.”  When he came back with my Little Nugget IPA, I was not disappointed.  It was 7.4% and didn’t taste overwhelmingly hoppy.  It went down smooth and had a clean finish.  I wasn’t paying attention to what everyone ordered for their second beer so I can only say that the two I tried were top notch, tasty, & full of flavor.

dsc03953There is an area in the middle of the place where you can buy merchandise like shirts and pint glasses engraved with the Barrel Harbor logo.

They have demo games available at that counter too.  You can choose any game you want to play and if you like it enough, you can go next door and buy it.

At the rear is the game room.  This is where the experienced role-players go.  There are gaming tables set up so you can spread out and conduct a real adventure with your friends.


The longer we sat drinking, the more people showed up and headed to the back.  The game room is a popular addition to this brewery.

 

Since At Ease @ Barrel Harbor is located near a military base, they offer discounts for the service, police, & firefighters.

There are specials  listed on the menu outside like the BOGO 50% on Tuesdays.dsc03946

Like most breweries, Barrel Harbor allows pets and children.  The pets part I like; don’t get me started on the kids.

 

 

 

 

 

I loved how this location is so large.  I should’ve looked to see what the max capacity is.  It seems like it could never get too crowded and there are plenty of places to sit.

 

I’ve been to a lot of breweries but I have to say that At Ease @ Barrel Harbor is the one of my favorites.  The very concept of a game store connected to a brewery is genius.  This is the kind of brewery I will go back to whenever I am in #SanDiego.  It’s fun to exercise your brain with games while also killing those same brain cells with alcohol.  The circle of life.

 

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Breweries, road trip

Temblor Brewing Company

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The Temblor Brewing Company in Bakersfield is less than a year old and they are already making into the BrewBroadBlog!  TBC is a fantastic new brewery that happens to be right off #BuckOwensBlvd.  On the drive there, I saw the famous “Bakersfield” sign.  It was dark of course, so I didn’t see all those oldsters under the sign though!

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The brewery is in a big, modern style warehouse but the décor is inviting and friendly.  Lots of chairs, tables, couches, and stools to choose from.  There is an outside patio but who wants to put up with Bakersfield heat on an August night?  I guess smokers will put up with that, but they’re the only crazy ones.

When you walk in, you get one of two views:

The left is the bar area with the brewing vats in the background and on the right is the seating area.

There are games available to play at your table while you get drunk.

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The foursome of gals at the table next to us was enjoying a lively game of Guess Who?  They thought they were so funny and clever but really, they were drunk and slurry.  Not fair, I wanted to be that way!

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Behind the bar was the merchandise they sold, at least just a few examples of it.  They offer shirts, hoodies, hats, and more.  The old man wanted to buy a shirt but the shitty $5 extra for his size made him say no.  He has his principles.

Temblor was the last part in a two-part pub crawl of Bakersfield, just passing through edition.  We were hungry and needed food.

There are two separate places to order beer and to order food.  We first got in the beer line if that tells you where our priorities are.  A quick once-over of the menu revealed a veggie burger to be had.  In Bakersfield?  Wait, where was I again?

Sean got the veggie burger and I got an order of pretzel bites.  We drank our beers as we waited for our food to be bought out to our table.

I had the Streets of Bakersfield IPA because it was the strongest available and the name is a nod to the late, great Buck Owens.  Sean had a Rhapsody in Red which measured in at 6% ABV.

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The veggie burger and pretzel bites were delicious.  It just might be the best veggie burger in Bakersfield because it could very well be the only!

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Here I am, enjoying my Streets of Bakersfield with the brew vats behind me.  It was pretty packed and we were there on a Saturday night.

Temblor Brewing Co. is a welcome addition to Bakersfield’s growing #craftbeer scene.  The fact that they offer a veggie burger on the menu makes this the best god-damned place to eat and drink in Bakersfield.  Vive el Temblor!

 

 

 

 

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Out on the town drunk, road trip

Bakersfield’s Craft Tap House

The 99 freeway is my main evacuation route when I retreat to the serenity of pine trees that is #Oakhurst, California.  I take it through towns like Bakersfield and Delano and Traver all the way to Fresno, where I promptly merge onto the 41 freeway and head north.

But on the way up, I almost always stop in #Bakersfield.  A quick stop to gas up and eat or just to stretch your legs after the Tejon Pass.  Either way, people come and go through here all the time.

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I have been a fan of the Bakersfield #craftbeer scene for a couple of years but I mostly had just heard of Lenghtwise Brewing Co.  I only get to town here about 3 times a year but we always try to check out a brewery.  This time, when I searched, I found a shit ton of newer places that have opened up in the last couple of years or so.  The Craft Tap House was one I had to check out, preferably first.

The Craft Tap House is unique.  I’ve heard of places with similar concepts but this was my first time going to one.  The idea is simple….

When you walk in, you exchange your ID for a swipe card.  You get a chilled glass from the cooler and you get to choose what beer you want and how much to pour.  It took me five or ten minutes to walk around and read all the taps.  If I wasn’t so bedazzled by the sheer amount of taps, I could’ve looked up and read the tap menu that runs on a screen above everyone’s heads.

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You are charged per ounce and the prices are related to the ABV.  Now you’re talking my kind of numbers!  The “cheaper” beers go for around $0.36 and the average ABV is 5%.  The “better” beers will run you about $0.61 an ounce and are in the 7% range and higher.  The highest beer I saw was $0.70 per ounce and it had a 13% ABV.  I like that…a lot!

So I finally decided to have some Tioga Sequoia IPA.  You just put your card on the screen behind the tap and pour.  The card keeps track of how many ounces you pour and how much each ounce costs so you know your total throughout the night.

I started off with half a beer because I wanted to try so many and because  I got over half foam on my pour.

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The foam eventually fizzed down to the 7.8 ounces I paid for.   I get very competitive sometimes and my nature just started coming out at the Craft Tap House.  They have 50 different beers on tap so it’s not an easy job picking your first!

They have some major California breweries represented in the offerings.  Like Stone, Pizza Port,

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Firestone Walker, Bootleggers, Modern Times Beer, and Karl Strauss.  There were also some smaller breweries like Mother Earth and Mad River.  From yellow to black, the beers come in all colors and flavors.

Greasy fried food and meat dishes make up the menu.  Their food is very “California Cuisine.”  The BLT is an ABLT with the A standing for avocado.  They have a pretty extensive menu but didn’t offer a veggie burger so we didn’t get anything to eat.

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The Craft Tap House also sells merchandise.  I only saw that they had Pizza Port from San Clemente in stock but I know the other breweries have shirts that could be sold there too.

There is a “real” bar inside the Craft Tap House that serves mixed drinks.  In case you’re into that sort of thing, there’s a live bartender you can really tip who will pour you your drink.

Sean’s second beer was 4 ounces of foam.  He didn’t expect a comp or anything but he just wanted to tell the supervisor that the keg was tapped out.  So what did the supervisor do?  He gave Sean a free 12 ounce pour of a decent tasting beer to make up for it. We never did get the name of that beer though.  And then, when the keg had been changed, the supervisor bought a 4 ounce pour of the original beer Sean had wanted in the first place to our table.  We were impressed, to say the least.  That kind of customer service brings people back in and you can count on Sean and I going back.

My second beer was this huge, epic thing.  While I was helping the old man down his comped brew, I saw on the menu screen that there was a Stone beer I have only heard about in legend.  It was the Stone Farking Wheaton wOOtstout 2.0

This is a collaboration between Stone Brewery, Wil WheatonAisha Tyler and some Farking guy named Drew Curtis.  I had to try it.  For purely scientific reasons, of course!

Here is a succession of pictures that shows me in the three stages of discovery.  Before, notice the smiling and eager face about to try a new brew.  Then during; drink it up, brewbroad, drink it all up!  And then climaxing with my disgusted face for the after-shot.

It is an Imperial Stout so I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with it.  I don’t generally like Imperial Stouts but I knew what I was getting into.  And it was worse than I expected.  It was thick and sugary sweet.  I couldn’t get any coffee tastes in it and it was a chore to finish it.  All I said was that I had to try it.  I didn’t say I’d have to like it.

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I love the concept of the Craft Tap House.  You pour your own so there is no one to tip at the end of the night.  The selection is outstanding.  All the California brews you can drink, without having to go to the actual brewery.

 

I will be back here next time I’m in Bakersfield for sure!  Pourin my sorrows into a glass!

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