The last few days I’ve been doing responsible purchasing seminars for various California governments.
The first one was in Fairfield, near Sacramento, where I squeezed in visits to the River City Brewing Company and Brew It Up. River City was a friendly, comfortable place with some decent beers, although their Belgian White tasted much more like an American Wheat (a style which doesn’t do much for me). Unfortunately, the pub is located in a Disney-fied shopping plaza. I suppose its a good thing that at least there is one locally-owned business that makes its primary product on site, to serve as a counterpoint to the cookie-cutter crass chain stores surrounding it.
Brew It Up was a bit more interesting and they had no fewer than 21 of their own house beers on tap including at least 3 or 4 pale ales and countless others. The bartender was friendly and sitting at the bar was great – happy hour is a flight of 8 tasters and a half priced appetizer menu that was so cheap I have already forgotten how much it was. Ironically, we missed Sacramento’s Pyramid Alehouse which happens to be situated inside the government office building where our conference hosts actually work! My dream is to one day work above a brewpub – only I want to own it too.
Yesterday I stayed in Manhattan Beach, a laid back beach community on the southern side of Los Angeles. My colleague, friend and host was extremely hospitable and, sharing an interest in good beer, chauffered us to the Manhattan Beach Brewing Company, a cozy place where the plank salmon dinner special was delicious but the watron was somewhat lacking in skills. First my hefeweizen was served with a lemon wedged into the glass, which seems to be more common in California than it is in DC, but which I dislike wherever I am. Then I got an IPA that looked and tasted like it had been sitting in a pitcher for a couple hours. I sent it back and got one that was so remarkably different in appearance that I had a hard time understanding how the waitress could have not noticed how off the first one was. Anyway, she was polite and smiled and made good with a new pint even as she swooped in and removed a half-finished glass of porter one of my colleagues was drinking. We finished our dinner and sought better beer service elsewhere. Namely, a brewpub tourist attraction type joint called the Union Cattle Co., which is home to a real live, I mean dead, mechanical bull. We missed the Mexican wrestler pictured here.
Now I’m in Santa Monica staying at the historic art deco Georgian Hotel. From my window I see the beach where they filmed Bay Watch, and then there is just endless ocean disappearing into a vague foggy haze.
My happy hour destination is the Library Alehouse, a Santa Monica Certified Green Business. Coincidentally, this morning one of my favorite bloggers, greenLAgirl, showed me the actual Santa Monica Public Library – not the one that sells beer – which is located in a LEED Gold certified green building. But about the Alehouse, I was disappointed to see that the beer list on their web site doesn’t include any organic beers but it does have mostly craft beers, including some from Anderson Valley and New Belgium, both of which have implemented many sustainable business practices. I read on the Santa Monica Green Business website that they incorporate organic ingredients throughout their menu and compost their kitchen waste. Strange that their own website doesn’t mention any of this. I’ll just have to go check it out for myself to see if The Library is really the place to go for some green beer.