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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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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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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Breweries, Stuff i do when i drink

@TiogaSequoia Brewing Company

The spacious Tioga Sequoia Brewing Company’s Beer Garden was my second stop on a #roadtrip up to Oakhurst, California.  Tioga Sequoia is located in #Fresno close to the Chuckchansi Park and in the middle of two freeways.  It’s easy to get to and BIG! There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the fare!  It’s a relaxed environment, to say the least.

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As evidenced by the populated menu board, you have your choices wide open.  The first beer I went with was the FireFall Red.  It is a 5.5% red that is also available at the other brewery that’s ten minutes away.  Regular readers will remember my review from last week and new readers will just have to catch the fuck up!

The FireFall Red is named after a phenomena in the nearby Yosemite Valley in which Horsetail Falls is lit up by the setting sun in such a way as to make it look like liquid fire is falling down from the mountain.  This event only happens a couple days out of the entire year so if you are ever lucky enough to see it, consider yourself enlightened.  The beer version of FireFall is wonderful.  It has a brick red coloring to it, especially if you hold it up to the light.  It tastes mellow and malty and smooth.  It went down easy and got me ready for my next pint.

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There are two General Sherman IPA’s available and they are both 7.5%.  The difference is that one is double dry-hopped.  According to the Tioga Sequoia website, double dry hopping lends extra flavor and aroma to a beer.  It increases the bitterness also and there is a difference of almost 20 IBU’s between the original and the DDH version.  So I tried both of them, expecting there to be a big taste difference but it was very hard to tell.  The DDH General Sherman is obviously more hoppy tasting than the original but both of them are excellent beers.  Hoppy at it’s bittery best!

I was here on a Friday night and there was no food truck.  I was glad I had eaten at the other place so I could get my drink on with a full belly.  The address is 745 Fulton but the taproom is more off of Inyo St.  You can see Chuckchansi Park right across the street from the outside seating area.

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Here is a crappy picture of the view towards Chuckchansi Park with the sun setting…how inspirational.

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I love this brewery.  I prefer it over other ones because it is spacious enough to where you can sit anywhere you want.  It is more about the beer and gathering experience than about the food.  They’ve got a pub quiz night on Wednesday’s and an events board up to let you know the exciting happs.

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They have a contest going on right now that you can enter on Tioga Sequoia’s website.  It asks you to snap a picture or a video of you and your craft and post it on social media with the hashtag #CraftOutLoud.  Sounds awesome, maybe I will enter…

This was the second time I had been here and I enjoyed it this time better because the weather was fairer.  The big, open warehouse and outside seating area are not good in the extremes of weather that Fresno goes through.  That is really the only complaint I have about visiting Tioga Sequoia Brewing Co. and that’s nothing they have any control over.

I travel up to Oakhurst a couple times a year and I will definitely be back for more beers at @TiogaSequoia.  I ended up polishing off two pints and grabbed some 22 oz. bottles to take home with me and share with my friends.  I can’t wait to go back for more!

 

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