Breweries, Out on the town drunk

Catalina Island Brew House

Islands are generally small, as illustrated by the size of Santa Catalina Island.  So to be a successful business on an island, one needs to be good at more than one thing.  The Catalina Island Brew House personifies this island ethos brilliantly as they brew & bake for the tourists and locals all day, everyday.

My adventure started on the Catalina Flyer at 9:00 am.  I had 3 cans of Stella Artois on the boat so I was ready to party when we set foot on land.  My first stop was the Pancake Cottage for more beer and a side of fries.  It was happy hour in the morning, something I had never heard of….but definitely something I could get used to.

After fueling up, me and my group headed down Crescent Avenue to find another watering hole.  As you stroll by, the view will take your breath away.  The sights were ass-tounding to say the least!

DSC08319  A hanging sign lets you know you have reached the Catalina Island Brew House.  It is shoved alongside Steve’s Steakhouse and Maggie’s Blue Rose Mexican restaurant in a small and narrow space.

There was a line when we arrived but it went fast and we were able to order our brews.  CIBH is a nanobrewery and they only had 3 of their own beers available in addition to guest beers such as Four Sons & Bootleggers Breweries.

DSC08323 (2)

I was very happy they had an IPA on the menu so I got the Island Hop IPA with a 6.6% ABV.  It was full of flavor with a strong piney hop taste and a lighter malty sweetness.  I loved it…  DSC08325 I also loved how they give you fresh baked pretzel rolls with your beer order.  Way to go, Catalina Brew!  You impressed the hell out of me!

 

Like I said earlier, CIBH is good at more than one thing.  Not only do they brew great tasting beer, they brew coffee anyway you want it.

DSC08334 They’ve got a whole full-service coffee bar behind the counter and it makes me think they get very crowded in the early mornings when everyone needs their espresso.

The craft doesn’t stop at beer and coffee.  Catalina Brew has a small cafe menu featuring artisan flatbread pizzas and sandwiches.  There is a nice vegetarian selection of pizzas like the Islander.  It’s similar to a Hawaiian but without the ham.

 

DSC08332

CIBH also offers bakery items as displayed.  I tried the brownies with nuts on top and I was astonished at how delicious it was.  Probably the best brownie I have ever tasted that I didn’t make myself.  The next day, I went back and bought 2 brownies to take home.

 

There is merchandise for sale but it’s limited to t-shirts and stickers.

One of the major complaints people have about islands is how expensive they can be for food and drink.  I thought the Catalina Island Brew House was reasonably priced for beer and a little above average for a shirt.  Their food prices are the same as any cafe on the mainland.

Catalina is one of those places you don’t get to that often so I don’t know when I’ll be back to the Brew House.  But next time, I will stop in and have a beer and a brownie and maybe one of those Islander flatbreads.  I loved this brewery and highly recommend that you visit if you are on Catalina.

DSC08345

Cheers to Carie the birthday girl – Happy 40th!

 

DSC08351

And a big “Fuck You” to the world from all of us!

 

 

 

Advertisements
Standard
Beers I drink, Breweries, Game Night Drunk, Out on the town drunk, road trip, Stuff i do when i drink

Red Tandem Brewery

I’ve had my eye on Oxnard for a while.  I see in the news that the weather is perfect there which makes me want to retire in the nard of the Ox.  So when the Eichels invited us to the Oxnard Steampunk Fest I was more than eager to check out the town.

We got dressed up in our finest and paraded around Heritage Square for a couple

of hours and then, as per usual, spent more time at the bar than mixing with the crowd.  We got dinner and went back to our room to drink Heinekens.  All of a sudden, we had the whole night before us with no immediate plan.  So we decided to hit the town.

I chose Red Tandem Brewery because they were the closest one to our hotel and we wanted to Uber since we had been drinking for most of the day.  DSC07921  The brewery & tasting room is in a strip mall kind of area surrounded by nice beachy-type houses in the Oxnard Shores community.  We arrived early in the evening when it was still light outside and snapped this picture of one of the houses all decorated up for Halloween. Getting in the spirit…I love it!

 

DSC07922  There is a bright red sign letting you know you are exactly where you want to be… minutes from the beach on a mildly temperate evening in October about to get drunk on “nanobrew.”  Good times for the forecast!

 

 

The interior of @RedTandemBrews is on the small side but there is seating for at least 25 people.  The menu is also on the small side but that’s not a bad thing when they advertise on their website as a “nanobrewery.”  At least you know what to expect when you walk in.  There are only 7 different brews but everyone in my group got something unique so the limited selection wasn’t an issue.  The Old Man snapped this clear shot of the brew board.

DSC07927

I started off with my usual, a 6.4% IPA called C-Hag.  The hop level was just about perfect.  It has a measurement of 47 IBUs and was not shocking to my palette at all.  It was so good that I stuck with the C-Hag for the rest of the night, which ended up being about 3 beers long.  Sean got the Beach Blonde Ale with a high 5.9% ABV for a blonde.  He loved it but he also experimented with the Island Fox Red Ale and some of that C-Hag.  Everything we tried was a taste of perfection.  You can tell that the brewery really cares about what it is producing and takes the time and attention to detail that is necessary.

Red Tandem has some art on the walls (possibly for sale?), a chess board,

and a barrel set up with games to play.  We bought our own game of Timeline because we’re pretty good at this brewery thing; this wasn’t our first rodeo.  We met a nice guy named AJ.  He was just drinking and waiting for a friend so Ck asked him to join our game.  He caught on right away and we all had a great time.  I only won once but I’m glad about that one.  Every time I play I try to remember one card from the whole night.  Last month, I memorized the death of Billy the Kid as happening in 1881 and as fate would have it, I drew that card this time and stole the game!

As I was walking around the place taking pictures, the owner and brewer, Mark, asked if I wanted a tour.  I said yes right away because I love seeing all the equipment of the whole brewing process.  He was very friendly and quickly went over all the steps.

It was information overload during the tour and I don’t remember much of what Mark told me but he showed me the vats, the 55 lb bags of grain they use, the door to the temperature controlled fermenting room, and the refrigerated room where they keep the kegs and other ingredients.  All the brewing is done on site in the back.  It’s a small operation but extremely efficient.

I really liked Red Tandem Brewery.  From the location to the brews, they are tops in my opinion.  It’s too bad that I’m hardly ever in Oxnard because this is a place I would revisit again and again.  Maybe someday I will make it back there.  I hope Mark is behind the bar.  And I hope I get a better Uber driver than the crazy lady who picked us up at the end of the night.

Cheers!

 

Standard
Beers I drink, Breweries, Out on the town drunk

Bingo Wednesdays at Backstreet Brewery

It was just like putting on a familiar pair of jeans; getting back to Backstreet Brewery in Anaheim for game night.  It used to be trivia on Wednesday nights.  But times change.  The game changes.  Now it’s bingo.  DSC06735

 

 

The Old Man and I arrived at about 7:45 and we were the first group among many that had parked right after we did and walked up right after us.  Luckily we knew what we DSC06734  wanted so we just went right up and ordered at the bar.  The menu board was the same as Monday’s $3 pint night and our selections changed only slightly.

On our first round, I tried the Los Angeles IPA of Anaheim that had an ABV of 6.4% and a measurement of 55 on the IBU scale.  It was a dark IPA in such contrast to the golden color of the Old Man’s Set Sail IPA but not even close to being as dark as their Imperial Red Ale.  DSC06754  It had a smoky taste and the slightest of bitter notes.  I liked it a lot even though it has a kinda low ABV.

Before “last call” we ordered a last round of Tomahawk Double IPA’s.  We both had pints of this on Monday and we were glad to revisit.  The color is light but the taste is full.

We played 3 rounds of bingo.

DSC06753

The caller, the man in charge, told us they usually do 4 rounds.  They also usually start at 7:00 but on this night, they waited until more people showed up and they didn’t get started until about 7:30.  Since we got there a little late, we missed the first round.  A mistake we will never make again.

 

 

Bingo night is so stress-free at @BackstreetBrew.  I have gone to the church bingo nights with the serious old ladies and it is not fun.  The old ladies are aiming for complicated bingo patterns that make no sense.  Image result for old ladies playing bingo  At bingo night at Backstreet, we just played regular, not serious, bingo.  The kind where you win if you get five in a row.  The last game’s goal was to get the 4 corners to win.  But these are easy to understand.  The old ladies play shapes like the Confederate flag and shit like that.  When I went, I had to constantly ask the old lady next to me if I had a bingo yet.  As expected, she became annoyed and quit talking to me.

 

 

You get one card per round and a dabber.  DSC06752

It’s free to play and the guy provides everything.  Prizes are awarded after each successful round.  The table next to us was super lucky and the one lady, among four men, won twice.  The first time, she got a card valid for a growler.  Yeah, I was jealous but I was sure I could win one myself…ha!  God laughs at the plans I make.  She also won the grand prize at the end which was 2 Angels tickets.  I would’ve preferred another growler if I was her, but she was nice and gave her tix to her friend for his birthday.  Damn winning bitch.  I hope she burns in beer hell for her luck.

Our favorite brewtender, Renee, was serving tonight and we were so glad to see her smiling face.  She remembered us from trivia night and helped us right away with great service.

DSC06746

There was a food truck called MexItUp but they were shut down for the night.  I don’t know if they sold out of their wares or if they were too into bingo to serve food.  But the menu was on the outside and I noticed they had veggie tacos for $8.00.  DSC06747

Don’t veggies cost less than meat?  Shouldn’t veggie tacos be cheaper than meat tacos?  Just one vegetarian’s opinion.  I guess if you are eating off a food truck, you expect to pay a premium for the service and options.  I was just excited to know they had veggie tacos in the first place, never mind the price.

 

The crowd for bingo night was overwhelming.  The two tables inside were completely taken up.  By the time bingo had started, there were only two empty picnic tables left on the patio.

 

After bingo, the crowd dispersed somewhat.  The twice-winning woman got the heck out of there before we could strong arm her for her growler prize.  But we will be back again.  Maybe not every week but it is a great break in the middle of the work week.  You should try to make it to #Anaheim for bingo night at Backstreet Brewery.  It’s fun and drinks flow the whole night.

Get your drunk on and always remember to tip your brewtender!

Image result for bingo night

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Beers I drink, Breweries, Out on the town drunk

$3 Pint Night @BackstreetBrew

Monday is a day much maligned in our working-class culture.  But if you think about it, Monday’s not that bad.  I mean, you’ve got Preacher (spoiler alert) on AMC.  And then, to prep for Preacher,  you’ve got $3 pints at @BackStreetBrew.  Those two things alone are like the silver lining of Monday’s grey cloud.

I noticed a few things had changed right off the bat.  They have a giant new BSB sign on the front.  DSC06729  There was a note on the front door that welcomed and invited you to use the entrance on the left side.  Oh yeah, and to remind you to #drinklocalDSC06730

In the front window, on the floor, was also a wooden sign.  Maybe they don’t know it’s on the floor.  Someone should hang it back up.  It’s cool.

DSC06728

It was very crowded when we showed up around 8:00.                                                       DSC06743  Almost all the street parking was taken.  Which can also be said about all the outside seating.  There was one left for me & the Old Man in both instances.  The city has painted blocked out parking spots on Santa Cruz St..  I’m sure it’s in preparation for the shit-ton of crowds that are going to be coming here once all the condo’s go up in the vicinity.  You can see the gigantic eyesore of a parking structure in the background.  Yay.  Crowds.

I love how consistent Backstreet is with their menu but how they also always have something new to try.  DSC06734

This time, I noticed the Los Angeles IPA of Anaheim and I giggled to myself at the play on words for the Angels baseball team.  But…I ended up going with the Set Sail IPA.               DSC06737 It was stronger and I needed that.  Set Sail is a 7% with 70 IBU’s.  It’s a beautiful golden color and tastes so refreshing and with a hoppyness to last for days.  It’s delicious so I could not resist.  Neither could Sean, we both ended up drinking the same brews the whole night.  Once we killed our first round, we decided to hit hard and go for the Tomahawk Double IPA.  Tomahawk is a whopping 9.2% ABV with a score of 105 on the IBU scale.  I love it because it is so strong.  It’s bitter as hell at first but your palette adjusts accordingly and it goes down smooth after that.

There was a food truck there last Monday.   DSC06742It was called Bobup and people seemed to really like it.  I have friends who would be interested in bringing their food truck, HeadHunter, to Backstreet so it is good to know that they are having trucks come on a regular basis.

DSC06744

Bobup featured Korean food and put their menu’s on the tables.  I thought that was a brilliant move to show the folks what you have to offer without them having to awkwardly go up to the truck to look at the menu and think about what they want and then kinda slink off back to their seat to stew over which kind of protein they want.  Unfortunately there was nothing of substance that was vegetarian.  And they spelled steak wrong.

The Old Man and I caught up on trivia with the pages I totally missed from my trivia calendar.  The pages started on June 1st. and we got all the way to June 23rd.  We thought it was appropriate considering we used to come here for trivia on Wednesdays.  But they don’t have trivia anymore.

DSC06735

 

They’ve got bingo on Wednesday nights now but other than that, their Daily Specials are still the same as they were since the last time I was at BSB.  Again, I love the consistency.  Here’s a pic of their specials:

 

DSC06736

So that’s about it.  I’m getting back to Backstreet.  Tonight, I’m stopping by for a game of bingo and a Los Angeles IPA of Anaheim.  If you find that Monday has given you the blues, turn your frown upside down and get drunk with $3 pints at BackStreet Brewing.

Drink up & always remember to tip your brewtender!

DSC06727

 

Standard
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.

DSC06295

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.

Standard
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.

DSC04906

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.

DSC04909

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.

DSC04913

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.

DSC04918

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.

DSC04908

 

Standard
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.

DSC04244

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.

DSC04207

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!

DSC04209

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.

DSC04208

 

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.

 

 

Standard