Notes from CA, Part IV: More Beer

So yesterday I posted a less-than-hoped-for start to our california beering, but things got much better shortly.  We spent one night in Sebastopol which is a sleepy little town without much going on (although there is a brewpub called Hopmonk in the works which is not quite open yet–as Maxwell Smart would say, “missed it by that much”).  We did, however, do some shopping for picnic supplies at a whole foods and were thrilled with the amazing beer selection they had.  We started out with a good supply of Lagunitas brews.  Found ourselves late that night drinking Lagunitas’ “Lumpy Gravy” (happy to say that we got word that Lagunitas will be doing a celebration beer for each of Zappa’s albums in succession) in a hot tub under cold stars.  Two folks from San Francisco joined us and sang several Wilco/Billy Bragg tunes from “Mermaid Avenue” in incredible harmony.  Their slightly drunken version of “California Stars” was a real treat.  Lagunitas quickly became one of our favorite breweries on this trip.

The next day, after hiking in the redwoods at Anderson Grove, we worked our way up the coast to Fort Bragg (the place we discovered to stay is worth a posting all on its own–I’ll get to it later).  We did have a semi-sad experience at North Coast.  I was really looking forward to some Brother Thelonious on tap but the place was less-than-inviting.  There was no music and not much service.  We even asked if they had any music, and the waitress (MB ventured to say that the staff had all smoked a bit too much of the mendocino “medicinal” marijuana–not that we have any problem with that, at least if they’re fun about it which wasn’t really the case) said, “no, just the background music.”  Really, folks, there was no music anywhere, so I don’t know what she was hearing, but it sure made us listen a little differently.  Anyway, we had some fairly gross garlic fries and a sampler.  About half the beers were mediocre and half were pretty good.  I like the Rasputin, the Thelonious, and a saison La Merle.  I would have stayed and drank more, but really I felt like they wanted us out of there (perhaps if we all left, they could close early which, when we went back after dinner, we learned they had).

Their loss; our gain.  We went down the street to Piaci’s which I mentioned in an earlier post.  This place was amazing.  A cramped little packed place with great pizza and an amazing list.  We had Arrogant Bastard, Bear Republics, Lagunitas and others on tap and then we had a selection of Russian River belgians in bottles.   Oh, man, the Perdition was fabulous; nice and yeasty and malty sweet with a kick-ass pizza and friendly, beer-loving staff.  A little slice of heaven, indeed.

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