For the Love of California

So, why am I so excited about a trip to California? I am already quite clear that living in Iowa really makes no sense for us, but as I look ahead to this trip things only become clearer. It’s not like I don’t know what great beer and food riches exist outside of Iowa. I’ve lived in quite a few places over the years. Minneapolis for instance was a wonderful food and drink town. DC, another great food city. Even small town Brattleboro in Vermont was a beer mecca with Three Dollar Dewey’s morphing into McNeill’s Brewery. So it’s not like the drinking riches that exist outside Iowa is news to me. But sometimes it’s just all too clear that I’m in a wasteland. For instance, I figure the local pizza places are a great indicator of a food culture. See, for instance, Satchel’s in Gainesville. Or Pizza Luce in Minneapolis. Here in Cedar Rapids we do actually have some okay pizza. Zoey’s for instance is a fabulous deep dish experience. But here is their beer “menu”: Bud, Miller, Icehouse, Killian’s, Goose Island, Guinness, and Boddington’s. OK, I’m a Guinness fan and quite enjoy a Boddington’s once in awhile, but I’d hardly call it a beer menu. So, I’ve been checking places I might visit in California and I discover a little pizza place in Fort Bragg. This is not even considering the Brewpub experience I’m searching for, this is just the little pizza place up the coast. Here’s their current beer menu:

On Tap

20 oz Imperial Pints $4.25
10 oz 1/2 Pints $2.75

“Hoppy” Hour (Monday through Friday 4 pm – 6 pm)
$3.25 20 oz Imperial Pints
Widmer Hefeweizen 4.7% abv
Widmer Brothers Brewing Co., Portland, Oregon
brewmasters Rob and Kurt Widmer
www.widmer.com
Arrogant Bastard Ale 7.2% abv
Stone Brewing Company, Escondido, California
brewmaster Steve Wagner www.arrogantbastard.com
Kilt Lifter 8.0% abv
Moylan’s Brewery, Novato, California
brewmaster James Costa www.moylans.com
Poppy Jasper Amber Ale 5.3% abv
El Toro Brewing Company, Morgan Hill, California
brewmaster Geno Alevedo
Trumer Pilsner 5.0% abv
Trumer Brauerei, Berkeley, California
brewmaster Lars Larson www.trumerbrauerei.com
Death & Taxes Black Lager 5.0% abv
Moonlight Brewing Company, Windsor, California
brewmaster Brian Hunt www.moonlightbrewing.com
Hop Rod Rye 7.5% abv
Bear Republic Brewing Company, Healdsberg, California
brewmaster Joel Johnson www.bearrepublic.com
Old Rasputin Imperial Stout 8.9% abv
North Coast Brewing Company, Fort Bragg, California
brewmaster Mark Ruedrich
www.northcoastbrewing.com

“IPA of the Moment” – recent selections

Marin IPA 7.0% abv
Marin Brewing Company, Larkspur, California
Racer 5 7.0% abv
Bear Republic Brewing Company, Healdsberg, California
www.bearrepublic.com
Jamaican Sunset 7.0% abv
Mad River Brewing Company, Blue Lake, California
http://www.madriverbrewing.com

“Beer of the Moment” – recent selections

Purple Haze 4.2 % abv
Abita Brewing Company, Abita Springs, Louisiana
Full Sail Wassail  
Full Sail Brewing Company, Hood River, Oregon
www.fullsailbrewing.com
Moose Drool 4.2% abv
Big Sky Brewing Company, Missoula, Montana
www.bigskybrew.com
 
 

Belgian-style Beers

 

Allagash Brewing Co. Portland, Maine

  Grand Cru 25.4oz. 7.2% abv $8  
  deep golden color with a full, malty palate and gentle fruit spice aroma.
  Dubbel 25.4oz. 7.0% abv $8  
  dark mahogany color with complex malt and nutty taste; can develop port and sherry characteristic.
  Tripel 25.4oz. 9.0% abv $9  
  golden hued ale with a passion fruit and herbal aroma and suggestions of bananas and honey.
 

Brewery Ommegang Cooperstown, New York

  Ommegang 25.4oz. 8.5% abv $8  
  rich mahogany colored; a fruity, aromatic Burgundian brew.
 

Russian River Brewing Co. Santa Rosa, California

  Damnation 25.4oz. 7.0% abv $8  
  golden ale with banana and pear aroma and citrus, malt and earthy hop flavors.
 
  Salvation 25.4oz. 9.0% abv $11  
  dark brown ale with bananas and spice, subtle malt flavor and fruity characteristics.
 
  Temptation 12.7oz. 7.25% abv $10  
  blonde ale fermented in chardonnay barrels; intriguing, with a pleasant sourness.
 

Anderson Valley Brewing Co. Bonneville, California

  Brother David’s Double 22oz. 7.2% abv $7  
  abbey-style brown ale; malty, tangy and a little wild. Because man cannot live on bread alone.
 

Unibroue Brewery Chambly, Quebec

  Don De Dieu 25.4oz. 9.0% abv $10  
  triple-wheat beer with vanilla and fruit aroma; smooth and creamy, delicately spiced flavors.
 
  Maudite 25.4oz. 8.0% abv $10  
  strong red ale with light coriander spice and a hint of hops.
 
  Trois Pistoles 25.4oz. 9.0% abv $10  
  strong dark ale, dusky black, with wild fruit, chocolate and an aftertaste of port.
 

Hearty Ales

 

Bison Brewing Co. Berkeley, California

  Chocolate Stout 12oz. 6.0% abv $4  
  rich, roasty stout brewed with cocoa
 

Lagunitas Brewing Co., Petaluma, California

  Cappuccino Stout 22oz. 6.0% abv $7  
  ale brewed with Hardcore coffee from Sebastopol
 
  Gnarly Wine 22oz. 6.0% abv $7  
  a unique, vintage-dated barleywine
 
  Imperial Red 22oz. 7.6% abv $7  
  limited release, big malt, silky texture with plenty of hops
 

Rogue Brewing Co. Hood River, Oregon

  Imperial Pilsener 26oz. 8.8% abv $18  
  medium-bodied with malty aroma and crisp hop bitterness
 

St. Peters Brewery Co. Suffolk, United Kingdom

  Cream Stout 16.9oz. 5.0% abv $6  
  a strong dark chocolate cream stout with bittersweet aftertaste
 

Buckerfield’s Brewery at Swans Hotel Victoria, British Columbia

  Oatmeal Stout 22oz. 5.4% abv $8  
  rich, full-bodied stout with strong roasted character and creamy smooth finish

Now, I’m not saying this is the best list I’ve seen–not by far. But, come on, this is the little local pizza place. Arrogant Bastard, Hop Rod, and Old Rasputin on tap? Give me a break. Allagash and Russian River Belgian bombers? Once again, I ax myself: what am I doing in Iowa? Some days I really think I need to give up academia, find a nice town where people love good beer, and reignite my old dream of opening a brewpub. Then other days, I guess I’ll just settle for enjoying the fruits of others’ brewing dreams.

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3 Responses to “For the Love of California”

  1. Rogue Ales Says:

    I recommend you check out the listings on the Realbeer.com Brewtour, at http://www.realbeer.com/destinations/index.php
    I expect you’re going to find a lot of great beer on your trip. If you end up in San Francisco drop by our Rogue Ales Public House and try a beer sampler.
    By the way, we are not, nor have ever been located in Hood River Oregon. We have several locations but Newport Oregon is our home base. I think they were confusing us with Fullsail.

    Rogue Ales

  2. GJF Says:

    Hey, thanks for the input. And indeed I plan on stopping by the Rogue House. We spent a great evening at the Rogue House in Portland last summer. Good times and good beer!
    Cheers.

  3. cbdilger Says:

    You and Rice both. Last night he was harpin’ on that idea again. One of you should win the lottery or something.

    We enjoyed our visit to the Rogue brewery in Newport. Drool…

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