Friday, March 28, 2008

Kris Goes on a Work Trip

This being an unusually easy work trips (read: NO 12+ hour days on my feet in heels) I had a chance to fit a little beer-ing in. Wednesday after flying into Los Angeles and getting work out of the way I proceeded to check out Bonaventure Brewing, conveniently located on the 4th floor of my hotel, the Westin Bonaventure. They are reportedly an independent operation so I was hopeful. However upon entering the uninspired and decidedly un-brewpubish d├ęcor I started to wonder. Their sampler included 4 of their own brews and 1 guest, Stone Smoked Porter. Of their own, the Golden Ale was the star as far as my mouth was concerned although my head wondered about the name as it tastes like a pale ale (of which they also had). The Blond was your standard light lager and the Strawberry Blond, well she tasted pretty fake. Feeling unmotivated to venture further, I decided that was enough of the LA beer scene for me and called it a night.

The next morning it was off to San Francisco to check out another potential property for work. One that part of the day was wrapped up I was on a mission to visit both of the brewpubs within walking distance from my hotel. My 1st stop was the Thirsty Bear, which Mag had been to before and therefore my expectations weren’t particularly high. While they did have 8 beers on tap, only 2 really stood out in a good way – Aged Cherry Ale and Meyer ESB. As 1 of their 2 seasonals the Cherry was very well done for a fruit beer and not overly alcoholic although it might be higher in alcohol than one would think (but they didn’t list the ABVs so that’s only a guess). No surprise that the ESB just plain made my mouth happy! The stinker of the bunch was their Golden Vanilla, which the Canadian sitting next to me agreed shouldn’t even be called beer. The rest of the bunch fell in varying degrees between the stars and the stinker.

Next up I ambled down to the 21st Amendment to meet up with my brother. Being a Thursday night and clearly a popular joint (even though pints were $5.50 during what I would have expected to be happy hour) it was packed! I didn’t bother asking about a sampler, instead starting out with their Bitter American. They claim this is only 3.6% ABV and if that’s true it’s nothing short of magic how they pack so much wonderful hop flavor into it. At 40 IBUs this is a very drinkable bitter. Continuing down the hop path my next pint was their 21A IPA which from its stats – 7.2% ABV and 78 IBUs gives you a clue this is a BIG, HOPPY boy. While big and strong it is one not to be missed! The rest of their line up (South Park Blond, Watermelon Wheat, St. Patrick O’Sullivan’s Irish Red, Repeal Rye and General Pippo’s Porter) didn’t spark enough interest in me to warrant a full pint so I switched to their guest beer. The Pomegranate Cider made by Two Rivers was amazing! Had I not known the name I probably would have guessed it was cranberry instead of pomegranate due to its tartness. This would definitely fall into the dangerous category for me as it goes down WAY too easily. It was a good thing I only ended up having time for a pint of it before Justin and Jeff returned me to my hotel. Since I was flying out early Friday morning that had to conclude my California beer adventures for this trip. Next time I have to try to find time to make it over to Anchor.

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