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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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 Wheaton, Aisha 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.
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!