Beers I drink, Breweries

Cismontane Brewing Co. Date Night

When a local brewery, like Cismontane, gets together with a discount site, like Groupon, it’s like magic.  For the tidy sum of $20, the Old Man and I went out on a date and tried some really delicious beers in Santa Ana, CA.  I’m not sure how long Groupon will have this sale going on in cahoots with Cismontane Brewing Company so you better get your ass in gear and buy in.  There are several options to choose from depending on whether you have 2 or 4 folks in your party.  Honestly though, it doesn’t matter if you are 2 people and you buy the Groupon for 4.  That’s what I did and I didn’t get sent to hell.  It just makes better sense financially to buy in bulk, right?

 

DSC09469 (2)     It was a Tuesday night, aka “Cask Night,” at @Cisbrewco and SoHo Tacos food truck was there serving up the eats.  It was expectantly crowded when we walked in, almost all the tables were taken and most of the seats along the bar.

I mozied on up to the brewtender and showed her my Groupon.  She marked it as redeemed and gave me 2 slips of paper to write what brews we wanted in the 2 flights and then she handed over 4 wooden tokens to use when we wanted to get down to pint-guzzling.  DSC09459   I like that method a lot.  When I go wine tasting, I am always worried about how the host will remember what wine I had last.  I’m afraid she’ll forget one of the wines and I’ll get gyped.  But this way, you have physical tokens you are holding in your hands to turn in when you want.  The brewtender even told us we didn’t have to use all 4 of the tokens that night, we could use them another time if we wanted.  Super efficient!  I love it!

So here is a pic of the menu board.  There are a lot of choices.  At Cismontane, a flight consists of 5 4-oz. pours so you can try quite a few.

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In honor of Cask Night at Cismontane, I tried the Black & Blue for my first flight choice.  Black & Blue is an 8% Imperial Stout made with blueberries that is mild and pleasant tasting.  The blueberries were hard to discern on my palette but there was a slight sweetness to it that I know was because of the addition of fruit.  Next, I went with a Citizen lager.  How could I resist Beavis & Butthead?  The Citizen was a 6% lager trying to be an IPA with an IBU measurement of 45.  I liked it.  I was expecting something light but the hops were very prevalent.

My last three choices were all IPAs; starting with a Back That Thing Up, then a Hop Dumpster, and finishing with a Pretty Fly For A Light Guy.  The stats on the first two are impressive.  The Back That Thing Up was a floral, tasty IPA with an ABV of 8.3% and an IBU rating of 90.  The Hop Dumpster was an extremely palatable and smooth double IPA that comes in at 100 on the IBU scale and a solid 8% ABV.  I loved them both but I really loved Hop Dumpster.  I ended my flight with a Pretty Fly For A Light Guy.  It was only a 4.1% session IPA but I got it because of the connection to Offspring, a lil’ ol’ OC band that made it to the big time.  The IBU was 52 and the hoppy bitterness was there but just not enough for my tastes.  It’s a light brew and named appropriately.

The Old Man’s flight was pretty similar to mine but with 2 differences.  The Coulter IPA, with a 7.2% ABV and 60 IBUs, was extraordinairy.  The Strawberry Letter 23 tasted like candy it was so good.  It’s a strawberry blonde with a decent ABV of 5.5%.  Just a taste of the Letter 23 was all I needed, it is sweet and fruity.

We finished our flights and got ready to redeem some tokens.  For the first round, we both revisited the Hop Dumpster.  It’s an incredible beer and I would drink it again for sure.

The brewtender called “Last Call!” so we downed those Hop Dumpsters and ordered our second and last round of the night.  We both got the Coulter IPA and sat around drinking those and chatting with this guy about random stuff related to sound engineering until the brewtender was done cleaning.  Look at how spotless that bar is!DSC09463 (2)

Cismontane had a good selection of merch, like shirts and hats, but it runs on the pricey side.

 

 

There was only one complaint I had about my date night.  The temperature inside Cismontane was practically unbearable.  It was just another hot-as-fuck night in So Cal and there was only one industrial-sized, stationary fan blowing towards the bar.  The door was open which only let the heat get in instead of providing a way for a breeze to blow through the building.  Fan?  No help.  DSC09456_LI (2) Open door?  No help.  Christ!  Does someone have to die of heat stroke before they air condition that place?

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This sticker of our President as the Devil seemed like a good theme pic for the night since it was hot as Hell.

 

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Beers I drink, Breweries, Out on the town drunk

Checking up on All-American Ale Works

I had the unfortunate occasion to be at the Kaiser Permanente mega-complex in #Anaheim one night.  A sick mother-in-law is no good.  The Old Man and I hung out for a while bedside in the ER and then, hands wringing, left for the night hoping for the best within the next couple of days.

Since we were so far down on La Palma, we decided to hit up All-American Ale Works.  It is one of the newer breweries in Anaheim and one that I hadn’t been to since I wrote this review of them in the summer of 2017.

All-American Ale Works is the furthest brewery east on Lager Palma Brewlouvard.  It’s maybe 3 miles from Bottle Logic, Asylym, & Hoparazzi.  We were pleased when we pulled DSC08869 up and there was a sign letting patrons know that they had $3 Founding Father Pints on this night.  With a special like that going on, we were shocked when we walked inside and there was no one in there, except for the brewer Travis.  When I came in July, it was so packed that I was lucky to get a seat.  That was right after they opened so word was on the street about a new brewery in Anaheim.  This time, I had my choice so I picked the table with the best All-American Ale Works brand.  Hardcore.

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We asked Travis what the “Founding Father’s” pint special was all about and he told us it was all the “Year Round” beers on the menu, there were 5 choices with varying tastes and ABV’s.

Here’s a pretty focused shot of the menu.  The growler prices are cut off so you will just have to go there to find out the prices.

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Normally I would’ve gone for the Old School Mix Tape Session IPA but it was only a 4.7%.  I know it’s more about the taste of the beer but I happen to be an ABV nerd and it’s something I look for in a brew.  So I went with the Barefoot Blonde Lager which measured 5% and the Old Man had a Storm The Beach which is a red ale with coconut with an awesome 7% ABV.

DSC08854 We both really enjoyed our selections in the first round.  So much that we stayed for a second round and both had the Storm The Beach this time.  Again, the color was dark red with a good head and the coconut in the mix adds such a sweet, mellow flavor to the finish.  Here’s the Old Man hisself posing with his first 7%er:

 

 

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For about 10 minutes after we ordered our first round, no one was in there so we just talked to Travis.  He was personable and really on top of things coming up for All-American.  They are looking ahead to having distribution in local places and getting their name out on the craft brew festival circuit.  I mentioned the lack of crowds and Travis said the $3 pint on Monday night thing was new but let me know that they have a bunch of events going on throughout the week.  Here’s a pick of the weeklies:

 

 

Eventually, a group of 4 came in and sat at the bar so Travis turned his attention to them.  Now it was my chance to start snapping pictures and writing down the facts!  Another couple came in a little while later and then finally a lone guy but it got a little more crowded without being annoying.

 

There has been a hole in my heart since Backstreet Brewery quit hosting trivia night.  My interest was definitely piqued when I saw that All-American teams up with

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Geeks Who Drink for trivia on Tuesdays at 7:00pm.  Travis said the top prize is a $20 gift card.  I know a couple of Lag-A-Lots who could use a $20 gift card to pay for the $50 worth of beer we would all drink that night.  One of these nights I’m gonna get down Lager Palma east and play some trivia with my smart friends.  Can’t hardly wait!

 

 

 

Travis told us about some upcoming charity thing they are doing in conjunction with a local cat rescue.  For the life of me, I cannot remember the name but I wish I could give them a plug here.  Remember to spay and neuter your pets!

All-American Ale Works has improved and seem to be getting better than when I first tried them out.  Everything about the place is mostly the same as it was when they opened last year.  For example, they’ve got the Patch Wall and merchandise for sale still.

The art on the walls is still the same as well as the big screen tele’s on every wall broadcasting whatever game catches the fancy of the brewery patrons on any given night.

But they have a lot more beers on tap than they used to though and that’s great.  Travis said when they first opened they only had 9 or so choices on the menu and now the menu is extensive.  He said they have made over 35 different brews since they opened until now.

I got a few shots of the back area:

If you’ve never been to All-American Ale Works, I recommend checking it out.  If you’ve been once or twice last year, like I had, do yourself a favor and head back there.  Just don’t come on Tuesdays for trivia night because my team will devour you.

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Below the glowing neon sign (also lets you know you have arrived)

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This is their suite number, in case you miss the glowing neon sign

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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Cheers to Carie the birthday girl – Happy 40th!

 

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

 

 

 

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Beers I drink, Breweries, Uncategorized

Out on the Towne (Park Brewery)

September saw the opening of the newest brewery to join the other 13 breweries in Anaheim.  Towne Park Brewery & Taproom is located off Lincoln Avenue, right by the 5 freeway.  The only way they could be in a better location is if they popped up on Katella & Harbor or somewhere along “Lager Palma Brewlouvard” with their crowds.

I’ve been waiting a while for @TowneParkBrew to open.  I heard about their impending arrival onto Anaheim’s craft beer scene sometime around July.  I signed up for their newsletter and at that time their tentative opening was going to be in late August.  I never got one damned email from them and I wouldn’t have known they were in business except that I went to see a friend’s band at the Holiday Lounge in Costa Mesa and the Towne Park IPA was available on tap.  I tried it and I was impressed.  The hops provided a bitter shock to my palette that I have come to love in IPAs.

So one night, I happened to be in Towne Park’s neighborhood at the Doll Hut Studios

and needed a place to continue drinking after Chuy practice.  The Old Man and I headed over to Towne Park and were surprised to find that it was packed.  It was a Wednesday night around 9:30 and the only parking available was handicap.  Luckily I was the only handicap person there so I took that parking faster than Blac Chyna got knocked up by the only male heir to the Kardashian name.

DSC07833Their HQ is huge!  It’s the center of the Towne Park universe where all the brewing, canning, bottling, aging, and tasting happens.  Out in front they’ve got what appears to be a “company car” with this fun license plate.  It’s probably the owners.

 

I got a few pics of what it looks like behind the scenes in their production area.

Look at all those cans of delicious beer!  Of course, it was dark so the pics could be better but they can give you an idea of just how large their operation is.

Follow the next sign for a good time…

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There is a spacious outside seating area that is all lit up and inviting-looking to the outside world.  Inside is a bright, open tasting room with a bar against one wall and tables with chairs spread throughout.

The Menu Board…

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Towne Park offers 8 different beers as well as non-alcoholic beverages.  They also have apparel and glassware merchandise for sale.  They have pretty average prices for everything on the menu with the exception of the $8 IPA.  It only comes in at a 6.7% ABV and the going rate at most breweries for that level of alcohol is $6 ($7 if they’re bougie).

Since I had already tasted the IPA, I took the “doublemint” challenge and went with the Double IPA  DSC07847 that measures a whopping 9%.  I expected it to pack a hoppy punch but I was let down in the worse way.  It didn’t even taste like an IPA, much less a DIPA; it was much too sweet and malty.  I tried to drink it fast to get it over with and that left me feeling like I shouldn’t have another beer that night.  Damn 9%er’s!

So that’s a score of one to one with my Towne Park Brewery experiences.  I’m not sure how to think about them and they definitely deserve a third try.  I will taste their lighter content brews next time.

It could’ve been a bad night but I had such a good time on the outside patio watching all the pugs and pits play and demand attention from their millennial owners that it made up for the overly sweet brew.

There’s a brightly lit marquee sign that advertises the goings-on of the upcoming week.

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I like that they’ve got a Trivia night on Wednesday’s.  Wednesday is my traditional day for trivia competitions.  We used to play all the time at BackStreet Brewery until they just didn’t have it anymore.  Sometime I’ll check out Towne Park’s game.  And taco’s on Tuesday?  Who woulda’ thunk?  Wonder if there are veggie selections on the menu?

Overall, I am happy with this new brewery.  I just had a bad experience with the taste of one of their concoctions and I won’t let that stop me from going back and tasting what else they have to offer.  Welcome to Anaheim, #TowneParkBrew!

Cheers!

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The self-promoting selfie box (not free btw)

 

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New kid in Towne

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Beers I drink, Breweries, Game Night Drunk, road trip

Council Brewing Company Part Two

I like when breweries take chances and concoct new libations and that is exactly what Council Brewing Co. has been doing since I’ve been there last.  I was hop-stopping in San Diego last Saturday and happened to be in the neighborhood so I thought, “What the hell?”  My first time there was great so my anticipation was palpable.

So down Clairemont Mesa Blvd. we drove to the industrial park off Convoy St. where Council’s unassuming tasting room/brewery is located.  There was a small crowd so we easily got a table big enough to stretch out a long Timeline.

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I was pleased to see the changed-up menu offerings.  Even the selections from the Magic Factory had changed.  I remembered the Lickable Staves Sour that I had wanted to try but I didn’t see it up on the board so I might’ve missed my chance.   I saw on their website that Lickable Staves won Best In Show at the SD International Beer Competition!  Congratulations to them but now my regret is even greater that I never tasted it.  As the Old Man would say, “Bird in the hand and all…”

The first beer I tried was a hazy IPA called Hazeas Corpus.  It was a 6.7% and so citrusy with tropical juiciness.  Delicious.  Sean went with a new draft release called Miss Olivia that was a respectable 6.8%.  Carie got a Blonde called Lively Banter that was 5.5% ABV.   Ck stuck with the fruity theme of the night and got a 4.5% Guava Beatitude Tart Saison.  The Old Man and I also split a Bully Pulpit which we had both tried the first time we visited and wanted to experience again.

@Council has a well-rounded and extensive menu.  They have 2 NE-style IPA’s and 6 flavored Beatitude Saisons.  Just up on the main menu are 14 different beers plus 2 new releases on tap.  Then there’s the Magic Factory selections: 8 beers ranging in strength from 5.8% to 6.8% that are brewed at a different location.

 

Council has bottles to go and merchandise for sale.  Of course, the Old Man found the clearance bin.  DSC07495

Of course, I had to buy one of those clearance shirts since I love CBC so much.  You can also get growlers and crowlers filled.  Flights are $10 for 5 tasters which is a great option if you are trying to sample a selection from the menu rather than focusing on one or two pints.

The best part about ending the night at Council Brewing?  Our television star Pennywise!

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I went to the ladies room and this is what I saw:  It’s a sign from you-know-who.

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Happy Drinking!

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Beers I drink, Breweries, Game Night Drunk, road trip, Stuff i do when i drink

Societe Brewing Company

With good traffic, I can make it to #SanDiego in an hour and a half.  That’s the perfect amount of time to anticipate all that the south-most county in California has to offer.  With a plethora of breweries and map full of comic book shops there is always something to do.  I was in San Diego last weekend for a wedding and had a night to kill so I set my radar to find the coolest brewery I’d never been to so far and I came up with Societe Brewing Company.

It was around 6:00 on a Saturday night when I showed up with the Old Man, Ck, & Carie.  The tasting room was packed as well as almost every table outside.  We quick snagged an empty spot and contemplated the menu.

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@SocieteBrewing has four different styles of beer that they brew: Out West, Old World, Stygian, & Feral.  Sean and I went traditional with IPA selections from Out West.  I got the Publican, a 5.5% Small IPA and the Old Man tried the 6.9% Fiddler IPA.  We were happy with our choices and they were just hoppy enough.  They were both light in color but the flavors were developed and foremost.

Carie went with a 5.6% Belgian Blonde called Harlot from the Old World menu.  Ck wanted it fruity so he chose one of the Feral brews called Henchman, a 6.1% that was $10 for a 12 ounce pour.  It is also known as a fruited beer and it can be called feral, or “wild,” because a different type of bacteria is used in the fermentation that produces different flavors.

DSC07473  Societe doesn’t offer flights but you can get up to two samples if you are on the fence about what you want to try.  They have a great selection so deciding could be a problem.  There was one thing about Societe that I didn’t like.  That was their “full pours” being 12 ounces instead of 16.  Lame.  Don’t know why it bothers me but I kind of feel like I am getting gypped out of that extra 4 ounces.DSC07475

There are also bottles to go and growlers you can get filled at the bar.

Something that I always enjoy seeing are the brewery tours and Societe offers them on Saturday’s at 2:00 and 4:00 pm.  DSC07478

Dogs are just as welcome as people at Societe Brewing and they actually have merchandise for sale for the pooches.  Talk about a stylish puppy, wearing a Societe dog tee and munching on beer bones!

People-sized shirts for women are available for $17.

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The decor is old fashioned and whimsical.  I loved the black silhouettes on the wall with their steampunk-style lights in front of every one.

DSC07485  And the piano in the corner was cool.  A good selection of games lined the top but we had come prepared with our own cards to play.  We’ve been hooked on one called Timeline.  It’s addicting, fast, and fun and you only need 2 or more to play.  It’s perfect for a brewery.

Societe is great for a night of hanging out and trying different styles of brews.  The atmosphere is relaxed and the place is well-run.  There’s a menu board that lists what upcoming food trucks will be there and sometimes they have events.  They’ve got a charitable night with a dog rescue receiving the proceeds.  It was National Sour Day when we went so they had specials on their Feral selections.

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I’ll be back to Societe Brewing Co. and there’s not much that I think should change.  They’ve got this down.  I can’t wait to try some of their 7%+ IPA’s and I’m always ready for a game of Timeline.

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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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