I had a very nice time in San Francisco recently, thanks in large part to the many people I was able to visit and hang out with. That said, without the guidance of the New School and It’s Pub Night blogs (and the respective authors pointing things out for me) my trip would have lacked and I thank them for their pointers.
My adventure started at the Magnolia, where I had their Brant Hill ESB. It was difficult to get nose off the beer because of the malt being boiled somewhere. Doors were opened but the entire pub was steamed windows and a muggy atmosphere as steam billowed from a grate nearby.
I loved it. It was old and new blended in a way that only older cities insist upon and the beer was good enough that the nose didn’t matter. Plus, the food was really good.
Later, we walked to the 21st Amendment where I had the Babyhorse belgian tripel. It was too sweet for the sweetie but I felt there was enough caramel and a touch of dryness makes it work. The Red Dwarf IPA tho was a hit with both of us and
the Amber Waves and Repeal Day IPA were also very good. Why can’t I get THOSE in a can, instead of Hell or High Watermellon?
The next day, I hit the Beach Chalet, trying their sampler of 8 (whoa) beers. I was not expecting that many but no complaints. Of them I dug the brown that looked like a golden but still tasted like a brown, the imperial red, the Presidio IPA and V.F.W. Light. Nothing was bad but the smoky flavor in the stout was a surprise and it wasn’t an entirely pleasant one. I also thought that the California Kind was a solid beer that probably was being overshadowed by all the other choices.
I also overheard a brief conversation at the bar-that I gently wormed into-about Oregon beers and the OBF! It was a pretty light conversation but I always dig on serendipitous moments like that.
Finally, I spent a little time at the Zeitgeist bar, which was near my hotel. While a pretty neat space–one that would fit just fine in Portland, with it’s punk rock attitude and decor–it failed in one critical way: data.
The big board that tells customers what’s on tap told me the style of beer and the name and that is all. To anyone who loves beer, this isn’t nearly enough information and when the board misrepresents things (I ordered an Allies Win The War! which was listed under IPAs) the customer is left at a loss. That’s a design problem and the biggest thing I felt standing in the way of that bar becoming a great one.