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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Breweries, Stuff i do when i drink

Coronado Brewing Company

 

San Diego is pretty classy when it comes to breweries.  The Coronado Brewing Company is no exception.  @CoronadoBrewing has been around for 20 years and they have made a good name for themselves with locals and tourists alike.

There are a few locations around San Diego County in which to sample from their wares.  Last Sunday I visited the Tasting Room on Knoxville.  It was my first time so I did not know what to expect but I was immediately happy about their stellar selection.  It took me a little while to finally decide on a Punk’In Drublic at 8%.

This pumpkin ale has so much flavor and a spicy aftertaste.  Not the kind of spicy that makes your nose runny but the nutmeg/cinnamon combination prevalent in many Fall dessert creations.  It’s not too sweet…in fact, it’s perfect!

The old man and I have about the same tastes for beer so he went with the Punk’In Drublic too and he loved it.  Ck had the Parallel Pale Ale and Carie tried the Sea Breeze Lager.  They were both kind of light on the ABV which is why I didn’t try either of them but they looked beautifully golden in color.

Here is a shot of their extensive beer menu.  These are just some of the brews available.  There is another menu of the “staple” beers from Coronado and a tele screen with more listed.  It would take a long, drunk time to try each one of the brews on the board.  But I would take that challenge!

 

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The Meaning of Life

 

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We had just visited the Game Empire and bought some great games that we were eager to try.  Carie picked one out called Quiddler.  It’s a scrabble game with cards.  There are eight rounds and you get more cards in each successive round.  You have to try to make up words.  There were some creative ones but I think this one by Carie takes the cake.  Ck described it as a very 1980’s slang phrase.

Needless to say, Ck won the one game of Quiddler that we played and I came in 2nd place.

The tasting room is in the same big warehouse as the brewing vats and kettles as well as a bottling machine of some sort.  Possibly, maybe. Probably not.

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Coronado Brewing Co. has merch set up everywhere that you can take home with you.  You can buy cans & bottles to go if drinking alone is your thing. J/K!

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Or you can buy t-shirts, hoodies, key chains, and anything else you can put the CBC brand on.  They also sell Growlers in various sizes so get one filled and take it  home with you!

Not only is Coronado dog friendly, they have regular local dogs that come in all the time with their people.  I got to meet a few of them when I was there and it made my day.dsc02070

Something else that made my day was seeing the bunghole and getting to point it out with my own two fingers.

The bunghole is where the beer goes into a barrel where it stays to age and develop flavors.

TP for my bunghole.

Everything about Coronado Brewing Company is shiny and attractive and clean.  It wasn’t too crowded when we started drinking at 1:00 on Sunday but groups of people trickled in more and more as we stayed longer.  It’s the kind of place you don’t mind spending a couple of hours in.

Service is fast and friendly.  There is a food truck schedule posted for when you get the inevitable munchies.  A big hot dog was there serving weenies during the time we were there.  Unfortunately they had not bought their veggie dogs that day so they lost two sales.

 

I can’t wait to go back to Coronado Brewing Company!  It’s a fun and mellow place to hang out and drink.  You can bring your own card game to play or watch some balls on the tele behind the bar.

It’s in a great location, right off the 5 freeway near Sea World (boo).  The coastal breezes keep the weather all nice and cool so it never gets too hot in there.  The Coronado Brewing Co. definitely stands out among nearby breweries as one of the greats.  It was a pleasure going there and I will be back!

 

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