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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Beers I drink, Stuff i do when i drink

Todos las cervezas de Mexico

Recently, I got my international drunk on in Mexico for a few days.  Most of the beer drinking I did was in the airports on the way there and back.  I’m not usually a cocktails kind of lady but I had more than my fair share of them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             DSC05270

The first day started off at the AeroMexico counter, waiting until they opened up at 4:30 in the damn morning.  The Old Man had heard AeroMexico offers free beers on their flights so I was excited to get on that plane and get me one.  But alas, alcohol is not served in flight before 11:00 am.  I was kinda hoping that as soon as we hit that time zone line where it went from 9:00 to 11:00, that they would break out the drink carts and it would be a big party flight all the way to Mexico City.  No such luck there.

We had about an hour to kill in the Mexico City airport after we had gone through customs.  So we found a joint called the Pizza Bar that was close to our gate.  Now we could finally have our first beers of vacation!  I got a Dos Equis and the Old Man scored with a 4.9% Bohemia.  Then we said “Adios!” to Mexico City.

On the next flight we had the unfortunate luck of being in the very back row.  By the time the drink cart got to us, all they had left was Corona Light.  Never one to scoff at a free brew, I graciously accepted that weak-ass 4.2% and drank it right up.

DSC05752We landed buzzed in Cancun and thought it was a good omen that the tower is sponsored by Corona.  Our next opportunity to drink came in the van ride to the hotel.  The driver had a cooler of Corona Extras and bottled waters up in the passenger’s seat.  We both had one of each and the drive went, well… less than smooth.  He took us around the little town called Puerto Morelos and then dropped us off at El Cid.

The rest of the night was devoted to serious drinking.  No more of that under 5% beer.  We started with champagne and ended with shots of tequila, spiced rum and vomit.  It was a steamy, sweaty, drunk night.  The right kind of start to a vacation of excess.

For the second day, we didn’t drink any beer at all.  What?  WTF, you say.  That’s right, no beer.  After I filled up on breakfast, I filled up on some champagne.  We were dying to go to the pool bar so we got changed and took the plunge.  We swam up and got our insulated cups filled to the top with Pina Coladas.

Throughout the day, we tried every single cocktail on the menu.  We had blended drinks, drinks on the rocks, sweet drinks, and fun colored drinks.  We tried Mai Tais, Daiquiris with fresh bananas, Pina Coladas, Blue Hawaiians (blue Pina Coladas), Margaritas (lime & strawberry), Mojitos, Jungle Juice, and a drink called the Cola de Iguana.  That translates to the Ass of the Iguana.  The drink was a bright green and tasted a lot better than iguana butt.  We had damn near everything.  But we barely got drunk.  We were able to maintain the whole day.  I guess that’s the result of watered down drinks.  Not that I minded, because I sure got a buzz going on that lasted all day and night.

DSC05508 (2) Our next full day was spent on the beach, in the pool, and in the town.  We found a spot right on the beach called Cancun Billy’s and sat there drinking Dos Equis out of bottles.  The view was spectacular.  The beers kept coming until we finally had to break away so we could get drunk somewhere else.

DSC05714  We walked around Puerto Morelos with our insulated cups filled with beer we had purchased at the Oxxo, it’s a convenience store like 7-11.  Everyone who knows me, knows how much I love 7-11 so of course I had to go visit it’s Mexican cousin.  The beer at Oxxo was $1.  You cannot beat that anywhere.  I had a Corona and Sean went for a Modelo.  By the time we were done with our beers, the sun was setting and it was time to taxi back to El Cid.

The last day was so sad, we didn’t want to leave.  So we started drinking early.  A banana daiquiri from the swim up bar was our first.  We packed and checked out, trying to remain buzzed for as long as we could.  For a variety of reason’s, we got to the airport in Cancun more than 3 hours early.  What a good opportunity to get even drunker!  And we did!

DSC05724  There was a little cafe called Guacamole that we sat at for a little while and drank a few Dos Equis each.  Then we went through security and found the Dos Equis Snack Bar near our gate.  It was a good place to make base until we had to board our flight.

I ordered 2 Dos Equis as soon as we sat down and when we were half way though drinking them, Sean noticed the “Super Size” Dos Equis!  A liter of Dos Equis!

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It was a huge ass bottle and I had a great time killing mine.  We got FOMO when it came time to board so Sean ran to the Convenience Store to grab our last Bohemias of the trip. We finished those on the tram ride to the plane.  We were 3 sheets by this time.  DSC05739

On the first flight back, we ordered Heinekens.  We enjoyed the beers of Mexico but we wanted something that was 5% ABV and nothing had been so far.  Yeah, we were happily drunk for a while and then it started to slowly wear off.  Sobriety started setting in.  And they weren’t serving anymore cervazas.  FML.

We couldn’t take drinking anymore on the second flight home, we couldn’t even get enough water.  They should give you a whole bottle, not just a few ounces pour.  What is it?  A tasting?  There is a fine line between drinking and drinking too much.  I got to that line and crossed it.

Not a big deal…lesson learned.  I will probably repeat it next time I fly so maybe my lesson isn’t really learned at all.  Hmmm.

I had a wonderful time drinking beers in Mexico.  It is one thing to have a Corona at a BBQ in Anaheim, but an experience to have a domestic beer of the country in which you are traveling.  I can’t wait to do it again!  Keep drinking!

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Beers I drink, Breweries

Fall Brewing Company

Saturday morning, we drove right past Fall Brewing Company and the door was open.  We circled around the block so we could park and check it out.  But when we got back, the door was closed.  We checked the hours and we were about 15 minutes too early.  Not ones to sit around and wait, we went somewhere else to conduct our drinking.  But later that night, in our final stop of a day of brewery-hopping, we ended up right back in front.

This time, there was no question about it being open.  DSC04288 It was packed.  It was after 5:00 so the crowd was not a big surprise.  We found an open table for five and then sent the men over to order.

The beer menu at Fall Brewing is varied.  There is something for everyone.  I’m pretty sure I had the Green Hat IPA because it was a 7.3%er.  I say “pretty sure” because somehow, I failed to collect any notes about this awesome brewery.  So there will be lots of pictures and less words this time.  You’ll love it.

 

Here’s a clear view of the brews that they offer.

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Art by Emily Connell

There was an art exhibit going on at the time I visited Fall Brewing called the #PlushRockArtShow.  I got a bunch of pics of the album cover art that this artist stitched together and the work is extraordinary.

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May I say who is calling?

 

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Where’s the Midol?

I got to observe some cute doggies.  I didn’t engage them because I was too far gone to make sense and I didn’t want to freak anyone out – dog or human.

 

Fall Brewing has some merchandise available too.

 

The best part about Fall Brewing Co. is the punk rock decor.  The boy’s room was covered with old fliers from shows more than 20 years ago.  That’s around the time all the millennials in the place were being born!  I’m old!

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Outside food is welcome at Fall and there was a food truck out in front on that Saturday night.  It was called Anthem and it was a 100% vegan food truck!  I could’ve shit my pants right there when I saw their vegan menu.  Everything looked so delicious but I was in between meals so I didn’t try anything.

 

Fall Brewing Company definitely fills a niche in the San Diego #craftbeer scene.  They are worth a visit to check out the brews as well as the cool wall-art.  Say, “Hi,” to this guy for me!

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Breweries

Council Brewing Company

If you are going to San Diego, you have many choices when it comes to drinking good #craftbeer.  There are a lot of breweries you can visit and they are each wonderful in their own ways.  But I believe Council Brewing Company is maybe a little more wonderful and definitely worth a stop.

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They are a self-described “nano-brewery” but the menu offers a diverse selection.  By the time I got to Council on that fine Saturday, I was already buzzed.  That may have clouded my vision and led me to order a 7.0% Make IPAs Clear Again.  Whatever it was, I was extremely pleased with my selection.  It had a strong number behind it but it didn’t taste like a typically overly hoppy west coast IPA.  It was a mellow IPA that was very drinkable.

The old man went with the award-winning Bully Pulpit that was a high 7.2% ABV.  DSC04199

I snapped this picture of him behind the cut-out.  The term comes from a speech by Teddy Roosevelt in which he refers to the White House as a “bully pulpit.”  The brew itself is another great IPA from Council.  Not too hoppy at all, very clean finish.  I can see why it was the medal winner.

Carie tried the Farmer’s Gold Belgian Saison and she liked the light 5.7% beer and Ck started off with a 5.2% Pilsner called Diamond In The Grain.

 

Neither of them could resist getting their pictures taken with the Bully Pulpit cut-out either.

 

Here is a nice, readable picture of the menu-board.  It’s surprisingly well-populated list of alcoholic delights.

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Council Brewing is like any other brewery, kid and dog-friendly.  Which is good in one way and bad in another, for me at least.  But I’m not complaining.  The kids in there were quiet and not running all over the place.  The parents had trained them well.  We were probably louder than the kids and we had just as much fun playing with the blocks.  I got to meet this sweetie too!

When it was time for our second round, we all tried something new.  Except Carie, who knows a good thing when she finds it.  She stuck with the Farmer’s Gold.  I got a 100% Maybe IPA that was lighter than my first and measured in at 6.3%.  Again, I was impressed with the flavor of their brews….delicious!

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Sean ordered a Questionable Advice IPA that was a 6.7% and Ck delighted his taste buds with a 3 Berry Beatitude Saison.  Even though it was a light 4.5% ABV, it was so tart & tasty.  We had Charlie join us for our second round and he went for the heaviest right away.  He got an 8% Royal Blood Imperial Red IPA that was dark in color and tasted like coffee.

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They have a special menu of sours that are brewed at another location called The Magic Factory.

 

One of them is called Lickable Staves and I was curious about what a “stave” was so I asked the brewtender.  He informed me that it is a plank of wood in a barrel.  So next time I go back, I definitely want to try the sour Likable Staves.

 

I liked Council Brewing Company a lot.  The only disadvantage is that it is tiny and not meant for crowds.  But the selection is extensive and the brews are good.  They brew truly craft beer and it is obvious once you try your first taste.

Go ahead and do yourself a favor.  Visit and enjoy Council Brew then check it off your list of things to do in #SanDiego.  Your drunk self will thank you.

 

 

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Breweries, Game Night Drunk, Stuff i do when i drink

Bay City Brewing Company

Last month I was lucky enough to try a new location of a previously-visited brewery, At Ease @ Barrel Harbor, and to experience a whole new brewery, AleSmith Brewing Company, while I was in San Diego for the weekend.  This month, I found myself in San Diego again with a lot of time and a lot of nothing to do.  So you know what I did?  I got drunk.

I started out the day right with a big breakfast and then a visit to the Villainous Lair where Ck picked up a new Munchkin game called MOOPS: Monster Mash-ups.  Then it was time to commence the drinking that I knew was going to happen all day long.

Our first stop was at Bay City Brewing Company.  It is located in an industrial area off the 8 freeway and close to Mission Bay (hence, the “bay” in “Bay City”).  Bay City is also about a two minute drive from Modern Times Beer.

Bay City is spacious and seemed even more so when we got there a little after it opened at noon because of the lack of people.  More folks eventually showed up and I got to meet two dogs during my time there.  Always the highlight!

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A well-behaved Frenchie

 

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The Pug that wandered in from the storm

Their menu isn’t extensive so I was able to pick out right away what I wanted to try.

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I went for the basically-named San Diego Pale Ale and the one with the highest ABV, 7.7%.

Sean tried a Power Play IPA that I told him to get because I wanted to try that one too and I knew he would like it.  It measured in with a 6.9% ABV.

Carie had the Vienna Lager, a mellow 5.0%, and Ck had the Dark Lager that came in at 5.3% ABV.

The Pale Ale & the IPA were very hoppy.  Very resinous tasting and mine killed my taste buds in such a way that I was able to enjoy the rest of my pint.  Otherwise, I would’ve been scowling with every sip.  I tried little sips of Ck’s & Carie’s lagers and they were so light in comparison.  They were delicious and worth a second visit.

We sat around a pallet table that was big enough for 8 people and played a game of Munchkin. It was so much fun because our group has been talking about doing it for about as long as we’ve been playing Munchkin, which is about 3 years.  Finally!  Our wish come true!

We didn’t have a game board but not to fear!  Ck had purchased each of us our own 10-siders that corresponded to our home-game Munchkin colors.  What a thoughtful guy!

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I languished around level 1 for so long as the rest of those munchkins rose up until Carie eventually claimed the win.

The brewtender who came to collect our empty glasses also asked if we wanted refills and the answer of course, was, “Yes, please!”  That was a nice touch of service and I will always remember Bay City as very customer-oriented.

A brew tour bus came through so it got a little crowded for about half an hour but then it cleared out and it was just our gang of four with a Frenchie guy and a couple other humans left over.

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A woman from the tour pissed everywhere around the toilet and nowhere in the toilet.  What, did she think she was in the men’s room?  Sidenote: Bitches please!  At least clean your piss up so I don’t have to if you can’t use a toilet seat the right way.  It’s your own damn piss.  Bitches. The bathrooms were nice and clean other than that little incident.

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Behind the scenes at Bay City Brewing Co.

The brew vats are set up off in the back.  They are lit up with cool blue lighting that goes with the silver of the tanks.  Cool design, owners!

There is a back patio area that I didn’t get to visit because I love sitting on my ass.  Next time I’m at Bay City Brewing, I will check it out.

I liked this brewery a lot.  It is roomy enough to deal with crowds and has some pretty tasty beer.  I would recommend starting with the light end of their spectrum and you won’t be disappointed.

The location is another great thing about Bay City that will definitely bring me back in.  Parking could be better but when I was there, parking wasn’t an issue so I won’t complain.  I’ll just say, I would hate to have to find close parking after 4:30 on most weekdays and all time during weekend nights.

Bay City Brewing Company is a must stop if you are in the Mission Bay area.  I had a great time there and will be back, for sure.

 

 

 

 

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