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Epicurean Ramblings - August 2013 Archives

Thoughts on Beer & Food, Home & Away

Experience Pure Michigan
Posted Friday, October 19th, 2012 by thewimperoo


A little Tool Man to start things off

This past weekend TheodorHerzl (Matt) and I took off for a weekend in Western MI.  We’ve been talking about making this trip for over 2 years and finally got our shit together to make it happen. 

This weekend would be a list of firsts for me as I hadn’t been to any of the places we were visiting.  First stop of the day was the Livery. 

I’ve had many a specialty beer from the Livery at Great Tastes though the years.  However, I’ve never really had anything from their more standard lineup.  Since there weren’t any real specialties on tap, this visit gave me a great opportunity to rectify that. 


Ginger Peach, I thought this was very nice.

Sampler…really enjoyed most of them.  String of Ponies , Bier Munro and Poor Freddy’s were probably the best.


The food here was also quite good.  I had the Spicy Pork Carnita sandwich.  Roasted pork, caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, spicy Thai slaw, chipotle cream on a pretzel roll. 


The atmosphere at the Livery was awesome.  The bar in a basement was cozy.  Mike, one of the owners, was manning the bar.  He was a stitch.  Tons of stories, knowledge and humor.  We could have stayed and chatted with him all day long.


Next stop was Bell’s.  The taplist at Bell’s was particularly awesome on this day.  Tons of choices.

Matt started with the Exp Hop 2012-4, hefeweizen.  This was a great hefe.  Crisp, refreshing. 


I rolled with a sampler

Highlights were This One Goes to 11, Kal-Haven and BA 9000.  The Ravissant was way too much lemon verbena and the other 2 were solid but not noteworthy. 

For a snack we ordered a pretzel plate.  Woof.  Nasty microwaved soft pretzel and some pretzel rods for like $5.  Not good.

Once we finished our beers we took a look around the General Store.

No, 750ml for sale, but they did have a new glass that I hadn’t seen before.  A high quality snifter for $7. 

From there we hit the road to Grand Rapids.  After a quick check into the hotel, we decided to make Perrin Brewing our next stop.  A bit of a drive from downtown GR, Perrin is up in Comstock Park not too far from the 5/3 ballpark.  Matt and I were surprised at the amount of cars in the parking lot for 5pm at a place only a month old in a location that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. 

Everything at Perrin seemed to be brand new.  23,000 square foot facility with the capacity to brew 20,000 barrels right out of the gate.  They said that the plan was to hit 5,000 barrels by the end of the year, despite only opening in September.  The brewery equipment was sparkling.  A kegging line and canning line were all in sight.  The back wall of the pub was clear glass so that you could see into the brewhouse.  Large wide open space with plenty of tables, a moderate sized bar considering the space of the room, a smaller loft area with seating for 20-30 people and a stationary food truck acting as the kitchen.   An impressive space indeed.

Onto the beer, which ended up being even more impressive than the space itself.   They had 10 beers on tap, structured in a similar fashion to Founders’ tiered approach.


We asked for a sampler of everything they had, and out came a wooden tray cut out into the Perrin crest holding 9 mini snifters.  These guys had really thought of everything. 

All of the beers were clean and well made.  A few stood out as exceptional.  The Extra Pale Ale, Imperial Stout and Double Raspberry.  The EPA was very similar to Founders All Day.  A citrusy, hoppy light bodied ale that you could just crush all night long.  The Imperial Stout was roasty and had a great mouthfeel.  The Double Raspberry was a less cloying version of New Glarus Raspberry Tart, a real winner. 

After we made quick work of the sampler tray, I ordered another EPA and a plate of naan & hummus.  The food was really good.  You could tell the hummus was made fresh and with tons of garlic.  The service was outstanding.  Attentive, knowledgeable and attractive.  Not much more you could ask for.  This was another spot where we could have spent a lot more time.  Unfortunately, since it was so far away from our hotel we could indulge for too long.  Maybe next time we go up there, we’ll get a hotel up that way for one night and then stay downtown another night. 


So from Perrin, we made our way back down to our hotel and caught a cab to Brewery Vivant for dinner and another round of drinking. 


As has been documented many times, Vivant is in an old chapel.  It was quite busy by the time we got there and had a 15 minute or so wait for a table.  As we were waiting around I walked around to take some pictures.  One of the hostesses walked up to me and asked if I would like her to take a few pictures of the place from the choir loft for me.  I said sure and she got a pretty nice one.

Not long after that we were seated.  The first beer I ordered was Blossom, a wood aged farmhouse.  They were working through all of the leftover beers from the Wood Aged beer festival that took place the weekend prior.

Matt ordered a sampler that included the Farmhouse, Triomphe IPA, Solitude Abbey and Big Red Coq.  The Farmhouse was the one that stood out the most.  Really enjoyed that one.

The food menu consisted of French, Belgian and German classics sourced from local farms.  I decided to go with the Moules Frites.  A very well done rendition, although a bit pricey as was everything on the menu.   Matt had the burger, which looked very good.

I ended the night with a sampler of Zaison, Escoffier, Ancho Rauchbier and Rye Porter.  The Rye Porter was really good.  Rauchbier was very smoky.  Zaison was not good, tons of nail polish.  Escoffier was unmemorable.  By the time we finished those beers we felt it was a good point to call it a night as we had a long day of drinking to come.

Where's that goddamn Red Shirt guy!


Saturday morning started as a wet dreary looking day.  We were up and moving relatively early.  For breakfast, we drove over to Marie Catrib’s.  Marie Catrib’s is a restaurant, deli and bakery.   There was about a 5 minute wait before we could get a seat at the counter, so I took a few pics of the baked goods and deli case. 

Just as I love to sit at the bar of drinking establishments, I really enjoy sitting at the counter/kitchen seats so that I can observe all of the action.  Our seats gave us a prime view of the juicing station.  Orange & Carrot Juice combo

Onto the food, I decided to go with the Hearty Miner’s Omelet.  Eggs, bacon, in-house made sausage, mushrooms, onions, cheese and potatoes.  Homemade Rye bread with honey butter and mixed berry compote.  So so good. 

Matt had the Rock the Hashbah, which was also great.  In-house made chorizo, diced potatoes, corn, onions, cayenne, cumin, peppers and eggs. 

After a highly enjoyable breakfast that set a good base it was time to get to business.  The plan for Saturday was to hit Founders and Hopcat.  No need to worry about driving anywhere as they were both within walking distance from our hotel.  We arrived at Founders right when they opened and there was a line of about 20 people waiting to get in.  It just happened to be Harvest Party day at the brewery so it was a bit busier than what I’d guess it normally would be. 

 Lots of hoppy beers on tap and a couple of malty ones


We started off with a pint of Harvest Ale

Oatmeal Stout on Nitro

Eventually we needed to get some food.  Founders has a wide variety of sandwiches.

I decided to go with the Castro…their take on a Cuban.  It was a decent rendition.

For my fifth and final beer, I needed to end with a Breakfast Stout straight from the source.  Such a great beer especially on a cool rainy day like it was.

From there we walked the half mile through the rain to Hopcat.  Hopcat was doing brisk business when we arrived around 3:45, but we were able to easily grab a couple of seats at the bar. 

Tons of interesting beers on tap, I decided to start off with some Hopcat beers. 

Hoppopotamus IPA was solid

Worked my way through a Short’s Huma, Hopcat Zugspite Weizen, Hopcat Dictator and a White Flame POP!.  We decided to peruse the bottle list and order a Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Mars.  This was excellent.  For some reason, Chicago didn’t get any bottle of this year’s vintage so it was nice to see this one available.

For food, we started with a free order of crack fries due to a fortuitous Foursquare check-in.  A decent selection of sandwiches to choose from, but I had to go with the Grand Royale.  Sloppy Joe, jalapenos, crack fries covered in beer cheese sauce on a brioche bun covered in more beer cheese sauce.  It was great. 

As the night got later and Hopcat got much busier, we decided to take off and head back to the hotel.  Since it was still only about 9 and we were completely hammered yet despite drinking for 10 hours already, we figured why not hit the hotel bar for a night cap.   Hard liquor…yes please

A couple of glasses of Basil Hayden’s later and it was time for bed. 

Woke up early again feeling like shit.  We checked out of the hotel and hit Cherie Inn for breakfast.  Quite an interesting spot.  A little restaurant that looked like it a bed and breakfast.  I had a grilled cheese, sausage and egg sandwich that was good.  They weren’t stingy with the butter as my sandwich and hash browns tasted like they were griddled in a generous amount of butter.  After breakfast we hit the road back home.  The initial plan was to stop at Greenbush on the way home.  Unfortunately, we left earlier than I figured we would so we were passing Sawyer about an hour earlier than Greenbush opened.  Additionally, I was really fucking hung over and more beer sounded awful anyways.   Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back that way to try them relatively soon. 

I bid Matt farewell so he could get back to Indy and I made a quick detour at Floyds to get a glass before heading home.  Final beer haul from a trip to Siciliano’s on Saturday morning.

It was a really great trip.  I loved everywhere we went and could have spent an entire day at just about all of them.  I can’t wait to see what Perrin does in the future.  They were easily the highlight of the trip.    

More pics here:



Great Taste Weekend Eats & More
Posted Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 by thewimperoo


My Great Taste weekend started on Wednesday.  I had some time to kill before my good buddy, Theodor Herzl, showed up at my house so I decided to check off one of my long time Chicago destinations Longman & Eagle. 

Started off with a Pride & Joy from Floyds

For food, I ordered the chicken and waffles with sweet potato hash and pork belly


This was an awesome dish.  The chicken was juicy.  The batter was light and crispy.  Waffle was perfect.  Can't go wrong with hash and pork belly.  

TheodorHerzl got to my house and we had a chill night opening up some good bottles.  Jester King Das Wunderkind, Russian River Temptation Batch 4 and Firestone Walker Double DBA.  All were excellent.  Really enjoyed the Temptation more than I had ever in the past.  We called it a relatively early night as we had a big day ahead.

Thursday started with breakfast at this place

I had the blueberry flapjacks with blueberry-lemon compote and blueberry butter.  They were real nice.  Matt had the Migas de puerco.  I had some solid dish envy on this.  

From there we hit the road to get into the City for some fun.  First stop was at the Lincoln Park Binny's.  It's always fun to peruse the selection there.  Next, we grabbed a couple of beers at Goose Clybourn.  We arrived right when they opened so there was no one else there for a while.  Nothing too outstanding in the beer department, but some solid choices.  

After that we headed to lunch at Pequod's.  Met up with Chip, PepperPete, Bakes and Rockzo.  Pizza was delicious as always.  The company was even better.  Thicklaugh was scaring people.  I thought Bakes might die from pizza orgasm. 

We took the quick walk over to Local Option after lunch.  Got a Morning Wood, which was delicous. Since I had a long night of drinking ahead and Matt had the drive up to Madison, we headed back home.  

Thursday night at Brac's has been well documented.  A great time had by all, and lots of excellent beer consumed.

In bed at 4 am, up at 6:45 to get up and go to breakfast with the kid before we drop her off at daycare and hit the road.  OOF

New Glarus was the first stop on Friday.  Grabbed Sour Ale bottles and walked around the beautiful grounds.

From there, we headed to Brasserie V for lunch.  Started with a Toppling Goliath Golden Nugget IPA.  Great stuff

Grilled veggie sandwich with goat cheese for me

BLT with avocado for the wife

Order of Frites to share

I really enjoy Brasserie V, just wish it was closer to the square.

From there we hit up a few stores, but nothing tickled my fancy.  We checked into the hotel and took a nap for a bit before we headed out for the pre-parties.  

We started at Madison's for the Goose party.  Free BCS can't be beat.  Ended up double fisting BCS and finishing it off with a Juliet and En Passant.  

After Madison's we were hoping to hit up The Tipsy Cow for dinner, but it was crazy busy as was everything else in the square.  Getting broken up from the group and not in shape to drive, I let the wife figure out what to eat.  We ended up at the Weary Traveler.  Hungarian Goulash for me.  Grilled Walleye Sandwich for the wife.  The food here was good.  It was dark and loud in here.  I'd like to check it out for brunch sometime.

After dinner, I made an appearance at the Brickhouse just in time for Exodus tapping.  The bar was a disaster zone and it took nearly 20 minutes to get a beer.  The whole scene was a bit too crazy for me so I cut out around 10:15 or so.

Early to bed, early to rise.  Started off Saturday morning with a trip to Greenbush Bakery.  Was able to get some giant apple fritters.  Score!

The apple fritters were for later so we made our way to the Square for breakfast.  Tradition states that Marigold Kitchen is the place to go on Saturday morning.

Duck Confit Hash was as delicious as always

My wife's french toast was tasty, but nothing compared to the hash.

A bit of a walk around the market to work off breakfast

The fest was awesome again. Outside of Thursday, my favorite part of the weekend.  So much good beer.  Can't wait for next year.

Pig in a Fur Coat was dinner on Saturday night.  We really enjoyed the place.  The food was tasty, service was solid and vibe was good.  

First course - Dates with chorizo and piquillo pepper

Second Course - Duck Egg Ravioli with bacon and brown butter sauce

Third Course - Beets with goat cheese and walnuts and balsamic

Fourth Course - Pork Belly with eggplant, pine nuts, tomatoes and sunflower seeds

Fifth Course - Trout with potato, pattypans and fennel

After dinner, we went over to the Brickhouse.  I always enjoy Brickhouse much more on Saturday night just because it's a lot more relaxed and chill.  Such a good time hanging out, although we did retire before all of the "real fun" began.

Sunday morning breakfast at the Old Fashioned is also tradition.  Food was good like always, but the service was brutal. 

Cheese Curds

Steak, mushroom and swiss cheese scrambler

Ham and Eggs

With that we made our way back home.  Final beer and glass haul from the past 3 days


Great food, beer and friends.  Already looking forward to next year.  Cheers!


Come Along and Ride on a Fantastic Voyage
Posted Friday, July 20th, 2012 by thewimperoo

Dave and I decided to have a little fun with this recap and do a blended recollection of the trip through each of our own eyes.  

Dan: Time to hit the road…

Dave: 6 am start, means 5 am for me... and a bit sooner for dan.  Dan arrived at 5 to 6 and we were on the road at 6:02... awesome. That being said, had we not made a ridiculous stop. I love the americana, it's part of why i like the travel and as we're passing along the long flat of I55, we see not the worst antique shop with pink elephants, ufo, large ice cream shaped trailer and large bicycle that i've ever seen, but a pretty gooden. I ask dan if he's game to get off and backtrack a bit to get to this place and he says yeah, with no reluctance i might add. So we see what there is to see.

There's a muffler man here... he doesn't have his axe, but it's a muffler man.

I think most of you can guess who this most reminds us of, and as he's taking a break from tbs at the moment due to projects and other stuff whilst hoarding sours, he shouldn't see this for a bit.

We also went into the antiques shop and as i find there's always creepy shit to shoot, i am usually well rewarded. Old stuff can be unintentionally creepy... (sorry bakes)

Dan: We’re cruising down 55 making really good time.  After passing an innumerable amount of billboards for antique shops, Dave spots a giant bearded man statue.  Asks if we should grab the next exit and photograph it for memorabilia-sake.  I’m fine with it.  So we head back and pull into the gravel parking lot to take some pics.  A giant pink elephant, green ufo, giant tricycle and ice cream cone shaped stand covered all of the outside attractions.  Once we’re done with pics, Dave says since we’re here we may as well double down and check out what’s inside.  I somewhat reluctantly agree in hopes that us “city” folk don’t get kidnapped and trapped in the basement.  We’re greeted by this guy.

As we make our way through the shop, it’s just an insane amount of junk.  Like junk on top of junk on top of junk.  Glass cabinets with old guns, pocket knives, dishes.  You name it, it was probably in this place. 

After wandering around for about 10 minutes, I say let’s go before we get sucked in and are stuck here for hours.  Dave agrees and we get back to the road.  But not before a little bit of cheese.

Dave: With that out of the way, we weren't that far from st. louis and our first stop which was the wine and cheese place. I really liked the layout and selection, but due to fun construction, and lots of fun one ways due to this being by a college, we weren't in the best of moods as we initally felt the stl was against us. I grabbed beer from here... a helles from urban chestnut, crabtree's peach saison, and something else... also grabbed some billy goat chips which happened to be one of the two staples at all of the craft beer joints we'll cover in this write up.

But the inside was a lotta cold doors of craft with a good handful of warm imports. Locals given the cooler treatment is sign of respect imo, they may not be as pricey as some of the imports, but the store's taking care of the locals. The wine and cheese place also had surprisingly... wine and cheese, more wine than cheese, but a nice cold counter of cold cheeses... it's worth your time to stop at and seek out stuffs.

Dan: As we get to within minutes of the grand ole’ Mississippi, traffic comes to a screeching halt.  Road construction as soon as you cross into Missouri stranded us in traffic for longer than we wanted.  Finally we’re able to pass and are on our way to check out the top local beer store, the Wine & Cheese Place in Clayton. Dave’s GPS is leading the way, unfortunately we run into a closed street, the GPS doesn’t react well to detours we made and we’re driving in circles getting frustrated.  Eventually we arrive at the destination.

Very unassuming from the outside and with no cars in the parking lot I thought the place might be closed even though the website said they opened at 9.  We walk in with no problems though.  Very nice selection.  I realize that outside of the hyper local stuff from 2nd Shift, Civil Life, Perennial, Schlafly, etc there really isn’t anything that we can’t get here at home.  I was interested in the 2nd Shift bottles, but they weren’t dated. I didn’t feel like playing freshness roulette with them so I passed.  Nothing else really tickled my fancy so I left empty handed.  

Dave: From there we wanted to get our drink on, and leaving the itinerary up to dan, next stop urban chestnut with lunch options, pappys bbq and a pizza joint called the good pie which was a nice surprise beerwise i must say.

Urban chestnut is, after you look at it a time or two, an old service station converted into a brewery. Garage doors and all that good stuff... i asked about the doors and keeping temp and the bartender let me know, they got the doors replaced with something more efficent for keeping in and out hot or cold ass weather, it's st. louis for gods sake...

The beerlist at urban chestnut is quirky and fun... To have someone tell you that on the left is "non traditional" styles that our brewer just felt like tinkering with and giving a go and the right is traditional styles following the standard guidelines for style is awesome. It's hard not to like a place that'll break rules for fun and for experiments sake. I enjoyed the vaclav pils and the maximillian and the hopfen gets a nod... all the beers i tried were clean and good, the bourbon beer they had on was obnoxious in it's bourbon character, but not bad persay. While sitting there, it was mentioned to other patrons that food could be ordered and delivered and or brought in... so we went in search of food to bring back and enjoy with their beer.

Dan: As time led up to this trip, Dave and I had been talking about where we wanted to go.  We both had some suggestions of places we’d heard of and researched on STLHops.  Dave left the itinerary up to me so I mapped out a few spots in what seemed like a logical geographic order with regards to our hotel.   Not wanting to lead us into shitty times, I felt a bit of pressure to not screw it up.  First drinking stop was Urban Chestnut.  It was conveniently located to two eating spots that I really wanted to try out.  Plus, it was about lunch time and I figured if we were going to be drinking all day we should probably get a good base of food.  We certainly did, but that’s getting a bit ahead. 

Urban Chestnut is in a rustic looking old garage.  Just a really great space inside, as well as a giant beer garden outside.  Although with St. Louis weather it’s probably only good in March and October. 

A super knowledgeable bartender explained the very interesting shtick of UCBC.  The Revolution Series is their take on various styles, and the Renaissance Series is their take at sticking to the traditional style guidelines.  15 beers on tap were way more than I expected.

We both decided to order a sampler.  Not at all stingy with their samples we each received probably 4 5-6 oz samples for $5 each.

Thrale’s Bourbon Barrel Aged RIS, STLIPA, BAP Kolsch and Schnickelfritz Hefe were my choices.  Dave went with the Vaclav Pils, Maximillion Weizenbock, Hopfen Bavarian IPA and Struisselspalt single hop IPA.  My favorites were the Kolsch, Maximillion and Struisselspalt. After hanging out for about an hour or so we decided we were hungry so we took off in search of food.  

Dave: Enter pappys. (turn down your speaker volume before you click, one of those music websites)

I got 10 oz of pork, a potato and corn. Dan got a half slab of ribs, brisket and coleslaw and pasta salad. I loved my pork and dan loved his ribs. Now here's the rub (see what i did there)... Pappy's is one of those joints that gets a massively long line, dan knew this going in, and he also has no patience for waiting as is his multitasking personality... i couldn't give a shit either way... the burning stench of sweet pig had me in it's spell. But dan had a point... we could be drinking while waiting for our food, so... we called in our order from the parking lot of pappy's and went to check out the pizza joint across the street while waiting for our food to get finished... 20 min was our wait and for the line they had, i'll take it.

Dan: I presented Dave with the choice between BBQ and pizza.  He preferred BBQ, so we rolled up on Pappy’s.  We walk around the corner and expect to see a big line, there isn’t one so I get a little excited.  But then we get around to the back of the building and there the line is.  I see people tailgating in the parking lot and realize this could take a while.  There’s a Pappy’s employee standing outside selling water bottles and pop, another sign we’re in for the big wait. I ask him how long he thinks the line will take from where we are, he says about 45 minutes.  I give a bit of a cringe, but Dave says let’s wait it out and see how fast it moves.  I go inside to check out a menu and see how long the line actually is.  Come back out with the menu and we start to salivate over the options.  After about 10 minutes of waiting in line, Dave can tell I’m getting antsy and wonders if we can just order the food to go.  So he calls the number on the menu, they say 20 minutes and take our order.  Score!  We walk around the corner and see that Buffalo Brewing Company is connected to Pappy’s.  I had heard some bad things about the place so it wasn’t on the radar, but we figured since we’re already here we may as well give it a shot.  Dave orders a sample of a Saison.  He takes a couple of sips of it and hands it to me and walks away saying he has to go to the bathroom.  I finish off the glass and realize what he meant.  “Let’s get the hell out of here!”  Really terrible. So we walk across the street to the Good Pie to wait for our BBQ.  

Dave:  So we went to the pizza joint and to my surprise and dans research... 10 solid taps with a firkin option awaited us... Firkin option was schafly ipa. Yes please. And we were bestowed with good conversation as we drank our beers in a pizza joint with nipple busting air conditioning even with a fire pizza oven to my leftish... i liked the bikes on the wall, the ambiance was pretty good, it'd be a good second if i didn't know the glory of pappys. Dan was on the fence about ordering something, but i talked him out of it and lucky i did... 20 min expired, the food was ready and back to the chestnut we went.

Dan: We walk inside and are greeted by a really nice beer menu and a super tempting menu of classic Neapolitan style pizza.  

Dave orders a cask Schlafly ipa and I order the 2nd Shift Hibiscus Wit.  Both were really tasty.  I was really tempted to order a pizza.  The wood burning oven was calling my name, but Dave wisely rebuffed the idea with words of BBQ.  One beer and our time was up.  Walked back across the street to Pappy’s, saw that the people in front of us in line were still 8 people away from ordering and laughed.  Took our food back to Urban Chestnut and enjoyed some more beer.  

Dave: Dan and i both got a beer and realized upon our return to urban chestnut we had no silverware or napkins... (bbq without these things makes you look primitive and sloppy) so we begged off some napkins from the bar and ate like mad and by the time we were done, dan and i were full. Crap. One stop and we were full... that's no good. 

Dan:  As we’re unpacking our food at the table, just about every single person asked us if that was Pappy’s.  We sheepishly confirmed and looked back at our food so not to make eye contact with them as jealous stares burned holes into the back of our heads from all of the other patrons.  Onto the food.  I feel that I’m a pretty tough critic of BBQ and have to say that the ribs and pulled pork from Pappy’s were top notch.  The brisket left a lot to be desired, no bark and cut too thin.  They gave us 2 sauces that weren’t needed but we sampled them both.  One was disgustingly sweet and the other a solid rendition.  Sides we tried were meh.  Cole slaw was overdressed and not vinegary enough.  Potato salad was bland.  Fried corn was dry.  Stick with the meats.  Food porn time

After eating all of that food and drinking another beer (zwickel for me & winged nut for Dave), both of us were ready to explode.  We decided to take a bit of a break from drinking and ride off to check into the hotel.  This little detour gave our stomachs a bit of time to digest and recover.  After that we hit up the Schlafly Tap Room.

Dave: The next stop was schlafly, so it would be a one beer and some samples stop...with a painless sidecar to the hotel for check in as it's easier go drinking when you know where you're going to crash.

Schlafly is the standard in st. louis. It's the goose island clybourn of chicago in metaphor. I had been to the bottleworks and was sorta turnt off by that place, the bar felt too small... the other location the one we went to on locust st. is much more to my liking. Dan and i commented if there were ever a tbs event or get together in st louis, that renting the upstairs bar at schlafly would be the way to go... Being fat and happy, i wasn't in the mood for imperial or double whatever and schlafly's taplist was all about the 5.6ish percent beer that day... smart people at that joint as you can consume more low alcohol in that heat. Belgian singel for me, with samples of the cream ale, yakima wheat and 80/- (scotch ale).

Walking around the joint, food was big, spaces were open and comfy, and it was an overall really nice place to sit have beer, or lunch and beer at that time of day. It's big too. Secondary bar is a little more hipster, so family and hipster are differenciated, tho the main bar doesn't feel plasticky like a rock bottom where it's one of those for all audiences kind of feel. Pool table in the other room as well so you can throw down in the mortal kombat of beer games whilst you drink like mad... beer is cheap in the stl if you play your drinking days right... Dan shot around inside the place and then we went off to our next location. Which happened to be a quick stop into the soulard farmers market. I'd been here before and i was using it as a walk around spot to process beer out of my bladder. We did that for a bit and then moved on to 4 hands...

Dan: As Dave said, Schlafly is an institution in St. Louis.  I wasn’t all that excited for the beer, but figured we had to go to check it out just to see the spot.  Draft list was full of easy drinking options which went well with the blisteringly hot weather. I drank my favorite Schlafly beer, the AIPA.  An excellent version of an IPA, super citrusy and delicious.  I walked around for a bit and checked the place out.  Took some pictures and we were on our way to the next stop. 

Dave: Now a quick epithet about my gps... it is handicapped in st. louis. Telling us to go left when right was right, very sad... think it's time for a new one. But that being said.

Dan: I messed up the directions to 4 Hands and we missed the street to turn on.  GPS got us turned around and Dave noticed that the Soulard Farmer’s Market was right there.  Still full, I figured a little bit of walking around wouldn’t hurt.  It was towards the end of the market so a lot of the stalls were already closed up and it was hot.  We did get a funny picture from one of the butcher stalls.

Dave: Swung into 4 hands. Really great vibe. Nice 15 person bar with a great open view onto the brewery. Foozball table as well. Cool bike art antlers.

The place had a lot going for it... a guy i know who used to work at goose now works at 4 hands... but sat down, ordered a berliner weiss and just took the place in. Asked the bartender if will was working and he said no... told him who i was and what my deal was and he nodded... upon my second berliner, he let me know will was coming down and he'd be there in a few. I was surprised and glad to see him... lotsa changes since i last saw him. He's where he needs to be, very chill and in control. Good times...

4 hands beers were solid, i wanted to find something wrong with them, but will and his crew are doing clean, awesome, tasty ass beer that pulls no punches and gives no quarter. This place, tho a bit hard to find is worth seeking out in the stl...

There's a new bottler coming and more tanks for more capacity, so... more for the stl, good for you ya bastards.

Dan: 4 Hands was the next stop on the list.  Dave had a hookup here; a former colleague at Goose is the head brewer.  We posted up at the bar and both ordered their Berliner Weiss, Prussia.

Dave chatted up the bartender and asked if his buddy Will as there.  I went to go explore the space and snap some pics.  

I sat back down, finished up the Prussia, and the bartender came back to let Dave know Will was on his way over.  Will showed up and offered to give us a tour of the facilities.  I grabbed the camera and went to town as Will gave us the treatment.  A really good space with room for growth, some barrels full of goodies, a hidden office for thinking & inspiration.

After getting the tour we sat down at the bar for additional conversations with Will and I sampled the rest of their selection.  I really enjoyed the Rye IPA. 

I also noticed a treasure trove behind the bar. Quite a collection.

I was hoping that they might still have some bottles of Prunus, Pyrus or Prussia but unfortunately nothing was available.  Maybe next time they come out.  Perennial was the next stop.

Dave: The third to last place that we hit was perennial...

Phil, another goose brewer, turnt brewery owner, was good to see again. He's running a topnotch joint in a really great space with a ton of room for expansion... Innovative is the word most associated with perennial and i'm hard pressed to disagree only cause i cant. The beers are good, they're fun and off the beaten path...

It's really funny that both will and phil both did berliners in the same stretch... the peach berliner, of which phil offered a taste of out of the tank was awesome. And again i bow to the hospitality of both brewers, both will and phil were very generous with their patience and beer.

Phil was giving a walkthru of his place to some folks and dan and i tagged along, they had the atypical questions you'd expect on those that have been on 2-3 brewery tours... So my questions would have seemed out of place so i saved them for when the tour was over, made more sense to me. Meeting phil's weekend guy, Jim, an amateur brewer phil met at a pro am comp. and hired on to run the shop on weekends, chatted us up and walked us thru giving a taste of something awesome that is in progress so that's all i'll say bout that... it's going to be great me thinks, so down the road i'll gloat.

Luckily i asked about swag and there was swag to be had... phil had some savant beersel workshirts... in large and 3x... #### yeah!! FORTHEWIN!

I think of all the spaces that we visited, perennial was the most chill... dan didn't want to leave, but i wanted to hit I-tap and our final destination which turnt out to be the dope spot... so i dragged him to the car, vowing that 4 hands and perennial were on the short list for a revisit when next we darkened the stl.

Dan: As soon as we arrived at Perennial, we were warmly greeted by Phil.  The friendliness and hospitality was off the charts from the start. Phil immediately took us to the bar and grabbed us a beer.  Tulips of Fantastic Voyage for the both of us.  I really enjoyed this beer.  I thought I wouldn’t like it as I’m not a fan of coconut, but the coconut was more of a background ingredient that added sweetness rather than coconut flavor.  

Next, Phil had a couple of out of town friends that he was giving a tour to so we piggy backed on that. He showed us the brew house and then down below in the cellar are the fermentation tanks, barrels and cooler.  We were also able to taste a sample of the Peach Berliner that is just in the beginning stages of fermentation.  It was really peachy at that point, but you can tell it’s going to be something special.  In 2 or 3 weeks when it’s ready I’m hoping to get a bottle somehow. 

Phil needed to leave so he gave us free reign to check things out on our own.  Leaving us around all of these barrels and beer is like leaving an unsupervised fat kid in a candy shop.  Let’s just say we showed a lot more restraint than the hypothetical fat kid would.

Jim was still there and was friendly enough to chat us up for a bit as he finished his work.  His story is crazy.  Basically the ultimate goal for most anyone that homebrews.  Get noticed by a brewery and get asked if you’d like to be the R&D department has to be a dream come true.  Since it’s already out there in the interwebs, I’ll gloat about getting to try Jim’s Ginger Gruit blend with Southside Blonde.  If you like ginger you’ll absolutely love this.  Tart, refreshing, so so delicious.  Another one of Jim’s creations was IPA #3.  A light hoppy session IPA.  This stands toe to toe with All Day IPA.  We really should have tried to con a sixtel of it out of them.  Every Thursday, Perennial releases a new beer and most of them have been from Jim’s arsenal.  After Jim had to take off we were left to our own devices.  We imbibed on a couple more beers.  I really enjoyed our time at Perennial.  I mean who doesn’t like getting VIP treatment and drinking for free.  The beers were all excellent but the people were even better.  

Dave: After that it was a quick trip to the other liquor store... Dan was the champ of navigation, or i just foisted that upon him, but he hunted around and found a place that wasn't bad, but i came up short on buying stuff sans some fitz sodas, but he came away with some nice perennial beers... So it worked out even tho I did almost get us kilt by cutting two lanes to get to said liquor store... but that's neither here nor there. From there it was off to I-tap...

Dan: Dave asked me to find a decent store in between Perennial & iTap. Randall’s on Jefferson seemed like a decent choice.  They had most of the usuals that we saw at the TW&CP and a bigger selection of Perennial.  I grabbed a bottle of Violet and Plan B. 

Dave: I-tap was good for a saturday and right across the street from soulard market, not packed, but full... Noticed the mondays 8-11, all drafts, 3 dollars... holy #### that place must bump on mondays... sundays had all local missouri beers... Shit was tight... economic for the craft drinker on a budget.

Went for a pale and dan went for el mucho hoppo... too bitter for his tastes and too sweet for mine we switched beers... bitter as #### and tasty to me, so win for dave... that's all i need. Had i but known it's bitterness, i'da bought some bottles, the bottle art was killin me tho... luchador with hop mask... no really.

The vibe of the place was like somebody's awesome basement bar with too much time and money into it... kinda if deco and nflmvp were to fuse into one being and then just spend the shit outta some money getting about 14 craft beer cold doors and 40 or so taps and a bunch of subtle swag to add on and not give a rats ass about what it costs just caring whether it got drank, that'd be soulard i-tap. Dark enough even in brightest day to feel comfy... dark bars rule.

Dan and i were getting hungry enough to say one beer here and lets hit the food...

Dan: iTap is the behemoth of beer bars in St. Louis.  40 taps and tons of bottles for here or to go.  Tap list was a bit lacking imo on the night we were there, but sometimes that’s the hand you’re dealt.  Plenty of interesting things to drink, but nothing really got me too excited.  

I ended up ordering the Charleville El Mucho Hoppo.  Way too bitter and nowhere near enough citrus for my taste buds.  Dave offered to trade me his Civil Life Pale so we drank each other’s beers.  Tap list in the menu book differed from the list on the wall or what we saw in the cooler so I kept asking questions about availability.  I think that annoyed the bartender because our service took a sharp dive to the negative soon after.  We were 1 and done and on our way to get some food.  

Dave:  Bailey's range. Bow the #### down.  It's kitchy, the prices for beer can't be beat, food is great. splooge. I really liked it, you need to go.

I had the american burger w/fried mac and cheese patty with cheddar sauce and bacon. And a milkshake next to my berliner from 4 hands. What??

I was so full i couldn't finish my fries... had we gone to this place first. It's a first stop to an awesome day in st. louis... can't recommend it more. Words really do fail. For a while I was convincing myself it's name should not be spoken... and should hoard it for all time... but then I thought... MADNESS!

After that it was the hotel and bed and the sleep.

Dan: Last stop of the night, Bailey’s Range.  I was pretty hungry by this point so it was a much needed stop.  In addition to a seriously good list of burgers, the tap list was what I had been looking for at iTap.  Tons of local beers, and a lot of the ones I had been looking for all day.

I started my drinking off with a 2nd Shift Katy.  I really enjoyed this saison.  Utterly delicious.  

For burger, I rolled with the Smoke & Fire Burger w/Fries & Siracha Ketchup

Smoked patty, cheddar, grilled onions, poblano sour cream and jalapenos cooked medium rare.  ####ing bonar inducing.  Finished off the night with short pours of 4 Hands Contact High and 2nd Shift El Gato Grande.  Perennial Violet blew as soon as I ordered it as I was hoping to get a taste before having to open my bottle.  Both of the beers I got were very good.  I probably could have drank for a while longer, but the prudent thing to do was head to bed 

Dave: And then the rooster, for breakfast, which was good. Went with the pbnj of breakfasts. OJ, Pancakes, and sausage... it was tasty, and i'd go back... worth recommending.

There is a diversion on the way back to destihl, but i won't recount that... i'll leave that one to dan. The ride back is always faster... cruised back with little delay on sunday.

Dan: I woke up early, like 5:30 early.  For some reason I sleep like complete shit after drinking.  I pass out for a couple of hours and then wake up every 30 minutes or so.  Sucks big time.  So I just chilled and waited for Dave to wake up.  We didn’t really have any plans for Sunday besides breakfast so there was no rush to get moving.  We still were up and out of the hotel before 9:30. Rooster was a place we had both heard a lot about so I had some high expectations for breakfast.  Their specialty is crepes so that’s what I had to get.  I went with the breakfast sausage crepe.  The sausage was tasty, but overall it was just ok.  Not sure what I was expecting, but I wasn’t wowed.  I’d come back and try something else.

After breakfast, we hit the road to return home with a lunch stop at Destihl in Normal.  Destihl is located behind the mall in Normal.  Dave made an ominous observation in that in all of his travels the success rate of breweries in malls is quite low.  Having had quite a few of Destihl’s beers at events in the past I figured all couldn’t be bad.

After the Spanish Inquisition into whether we could handle a sour beer, we finally get served.  First sip and I knew something was off.  This didn’t taste like any of the St. Dekkera series beers I’d been served in the past.  This one didn’t have much of a description so we asked the bartender for some details.  He didn’t offer much outside of the fact that the beer was only 11 months old.  Dave’s experienced brewer’s palate noted a pedio issue.  All in all it was a disappointment.  An order of cheese curds and sampler was next up.  

Curds were fine.  Even lower quality fried cheese is still decent.  The sampler…oof.  Small beer, Hopweizen, Hoperation DIPA, Oatmeal Espresso Stout and Antiquity Rye Wine.  Small beer was the only decent one. The rest were hot garbage.  Overall, the place had the atmosphere of a TGI Friday’s and the beer was lacking.  I’ll stick to trying samples at fests but I wouldn’t waste my time stopping here again. From there we cruised home in short order ending a fun 2 day stretch of drinking and conversing.

Dave: Rock on... next writeup for me is the summer beer fest in michigan and detroit...

Dan: We covered a lot of ground this past weekend, but I feel like there was more to see.  Next time we’ll have to hit Civil Life, maybe take the long drive out to 2nd Shift, definitely eat at the Good Pie [dave: and more pappys] and partake in some pinball on the Illinois side. [dave: six row as well]

Dave: Full set of pics:

Dan: Full set of pics:



Beer, Goat & More Beer
Posted Monday, July 2nd, 2012 by thewimperoo

Many months ago, I asked my wife where she wanted to go out for her birthday knowing that many of the places that she'd be likely to select would need a reservation made at that time.  Her choice was Girl and the Goat.  A trendy restaurant located in the West Loop on Randolph St.  Girl and the Goat is most noticeably famous for its "celebrity" chef.  Top Chef Season 4 winner, Stephanie Izard.  Even prior to Top Chef, Stephanie was putting out remarkable food at now shuttered Scylla.  Her style of cooking is rustic, mixing together many ingredients that you wouldn't think of putting together.  Enough background, this past Saturday was the night and here's a recap.

With traffic what it can be, we left home a bit earlier than usual to head down into the City.  Surprisingly it wasn't as bad as expected so we had a little bit of time before our reservation to relax.  Considering Haymarket is mere steps from G&tG, it made for a a nice place to have a beer or two before dinner.  A rare treat was on tap, Indignant; a Templeton Rye barrel aged Imperial Stout.  The base beer had been sitting in barrels for the past 7 months.  The beer was quite barrel forward in its aroma and flavor.  A definite sipper for sure, paired well with the 90+ degree weather.  A few other tastes were imbibed.  An all Cascade IPA (very citrusy, highly drinkable), a Porter (solid, if nothing else) and the always delicious Mathias (Citra bomb of a DIPA).  After those drinks were consumed it was time to eat.

The G&tG menu consists for 3 main sections, V, F, M as well as a special for rotating goat dishes.  Everything is small plates meant for sharing.


The beer and cocktail list are solid.  Only 4 draft choices, but at least 1 is usually a Floyds product.  Bottle list is interesting, but overpriced as most restaurant lists are.  I figured on a hot night, I'd stick with an easy drinker that pairs well with most anything.  Gumballhead


You order all of the dishes that you plan to eat right at the start, and then the kitchen paces the meal from there. They recommend 2-3 dishes per person. Since we've been there before we know that it's better to lean towards the lower side as they are not stingy with the portion sizes.

First course that they brought out was Ham Frites.  These are standard Belgian style frites, dusted with a Ham Salt and served with two dipping sauces.  One a smoked tomato aioli and the other a beer cheddar sauce.  I'm a sucker for frites/fries of almost any persuasion.  Top them with ham salt and well, let's just say it wasn't a tough choice.  The smoked tomato aioli was killer.  One thing I'd say is that while the frites were delicious, I wouldn't ever order them again unless I was with a much bigger group.  The amount they serve you is huge.  We only ate the frites down to where the top of the bowl started and felt like that was more than enough.

Next course was grilled goat loin on top of a ratatouille of zucchini, summer squash, onions and tomatoes with a tarragon sauce.  The goat was cooked to a perfect rare/med rare.  Very tender with excellent "goaty" flavor.  

The third course was one that we debated back and forth when trying to decide what to select.  It was between a crispy braised pork shank & wood grilled chicken with fried pickles and naan.  The wife finally made the final decision to go with the chicken.  Even though chicken is such a common item, when done well it can be a real delight.  This dish was just that.  Half a chicken grilled over a wood fire, with a sauce of Asian flavors. Simple, but bursting with flavor.  The naan was a great utensil for sopping up all of the delicious juices and sauce.  A complement to the dish was tempura fried pickles with a yuzu harissa and scallion aioli.  Really enjoyed the bright flavor of the harissa.  

The fourth and final savory dish of the night was grilled broccoli with Rogue's Creamery Smokey Bleu and spiced crispies.  I was a big fan of the vegetable dishes that we had in my previous visit so we wanted to get a different one this time and the broccoli didn't disappoint.  I'm not a huge bleu cheese fan, but this preparation made for a milder flavor that complemented the broccoli quite well.  

After these dishes, we were feeling quite good. So we decided to select a dessert.  The most interesting item was a zucchini cake with eggplant, lemon mascarpone and a dried tomato caramel powder.  A combination of ingredients that sound a bit weird, but really came together.  I'm not huge on dessert, but something like this that isn't super sweet or heavy is what I lean towards every time.  

I would be remiss if I didn't mention a couple of other dishes that, in my opinion, are most order plates for your first visit.  The Cauliflower dish (grilled cauliflower, pine nuts, pickled peppers and mint) and Pig Face (roasted pig face, sunny side up egg, tamarind maple sauce, and potato stix).  

To conclude the night, we drove up to the taproom in the new Revolution Brewery on Kedzie.  A really nice space, walled and chain link fenced off from the brewery.  The wood of the long bar looks similar to the one at the brewpub.  The stools are comfy leather backed chairs.  Only problem was that I overlooked the fact that since this is in a giant brewery warehouse, there was no air conditioning.  This meant a much shorter stop than anticipated.  A glass of Double Fist and a few samplers and we were on our way.  For now I'll continue to frequent the brewpub as often as possible, but when the weather cools down, I'll definitely be back.  

I'll probably blog the StL trip that Dave and I are taking in a couple of weeks, and then Great Taste.  Looking forward to both.  Thanks for reading!


Whirlwind SF Trip Recap
Posted Sunday, May 13th, 2012 by thewimperoo


Photos and rambling recap of my 6 days in the Bay Area


Day 1 in SF (Sunday)

Snuck out of the conference schmoozing event and hit up ChurchKey.  A real chill place, that had a decent tap list.  They had just done a Heretic event so most of their taps were taken over by them.  The red and DIPA were pretty good, porter not bad.  Stellar, the bartender, was punk rock, pink hair, tats and piercings.  Really cool.  A bunch of drunk ass regulars.  Nice introduction to the SF bar scene.


Day 2 (Monday)

Had the conference all day and then an event at night, but afterwards I grabbed a cab to Toronado.  Not too busy, was able to easily grab a seat at the bar.  Started out with a Blind Pig.  Gruff, but competent service from the bartender.  Worked my way to a Bombay by Boat on cask.  Wanting something sour, but still working my way to asking for Cable Car, I ordered a Jacobins Rouge.  Finished the short pour in no time.  Asked for a Cable Car, but was quickly rejected.  Finished out the night with a High Water Hop Riot, really enjoyed that beer.   


Day 3 (Tuesday)

Conference got done around 2, made my way to my new hotel, checked in and then armed with my camera, I hoofed it to get some lunch.  Fatted Calf was the spot.  Awesome butcher shop, just made me wish I had a kitchen there and could cook all night long.  Lamb sandwich was long gone by the time I arrived, so I had to decide between the Pulled Pork and Meatball.  Rolled with the Pulled Pork.  Delicious and filling.



After lunch, I had about 3 hours to kill until I needed to meet my wife at the airport.  Due to its proximity to the BART, I walked to Monk’s Kettle.  A tiny spot with a bunch of taps and a wall of glassware.  I knew this would be good.  Started off with a Sculpin. Worked my way through their Moonlight beers…Reality Czeck, Death & Taxes and Misspent Youth. Checked the vintage list hoping they’d still have bottles of batch 2 Beatification, but woe is me it listed no such thing. Next choice was a Reef Rye from Ballast Point, a brown ale with rye, never heard of it before but it was solid. Pliny keg blew and it was replaced with Happy Hops.  It was an awesome way to end the drinking session.  Really enjoyed my time at Monk’s Kettle.  Prices were a bit high compared to the other spots I hit up, but the service and proper glassware pours made up for it imo.



Bewbs and she wasn’t afraid to show them off


After getting the wife safely to the hotel, we headed out to dinner at Zero Zero.  Heard really good things about the pizza here so we had high expectations.


Before the pizza, we looked over the small plates for a precursor.  Pork belly and poached egg rarely steers me wrong, so that was the choice.


Money Shot


Fillmore Pizza - Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, Leeks, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Pecorino, Fontina, Garlic, Thyme


Food was excellent and stood up to the tall expectations.  And with that it was bedtime as we had a long day of eating and drinking to come.  



Day 4 in SF (Wednesday)

The day started off by waking up early and catching the bus down to Dynamo Donuts for breakfast.  The selection was diverse, and difficult to narrow down.


Decided on 4

Apricot Cardamom

Strawberry Earl Grey

Maple Glazed Apple Bacon

Sticky Bun


If I had to rank the 4 donuts, I’d say: Strawberry Earl Gray, Sticky Bun, Maple Glazed Apple Bacon and Apricot Cardamom.  The Strawberry Earl Gray was most excellent, loved the combination of flavors as well as the more cake-like texture of the donut.  


Full of donuts we public trans’d our way up to Golden Gate Park to wander around until the California Academy of Sciences opened up.  


Great scenery


Old Asians doing yoga, tai chi, whatever


Time to get our knowledge on


Greeted by some dino bones


A lot of good animal exhibits…albino alligator, turtle, penguins, sting rays, lots of fish


Planetarium was real cool, and the living rain forest was also nice.  It was a good place to spend a few hours.  After walking around the museum it was time to get some lunch and Alembic was the spot.


Beer list was a little lacking on this day as they had a bunch of empty taps at the time, but the Almanac was calling my name.


Food menu mainly consists of snacks and small plates for sharing.  We decided on a few dishes and they were all delicious.

Shishito peppers with house smoked salt

Pork Belly Slider with kimchee

Baby Back ribs, smoked maple glaze, celery root-apple slaw, pickled jalapeno


With the beer selection lacking, but an insane amount of spirits, I asked for the bartender to make me a drink of his choosing.  He made me an excellent version of a sazarac



Sated and happy it was time to move on.  Just continued walking down Haight to Magnolia.


Magnolia was a nice spot, lot of beer on tap, relaxed vibe for some afternoon day drinking.  


Started off with a Cole Porter on cask.  Nice


Proving Ground IPA was next.  Solid West Coast IPA


Last beer was a gruit.  Never had one before so I figured I had to try it.  It was interesting and tasty.


After chilling at Magnolia for a few hours, we walked to Nopa for dinner.  Bar seating for walk-ins was the only way we were getting in so we arrived right as they opened.  Prime seats at the end of the bar right next to the kitchen was better than sitting in the dining area anyways.


Rotisserie chickens were very tempting, but alas we passed

Cute bartender making drinks


First course: Fried asparagus with garlic aioli


Second course:  Goat cheese bread pudding with pickled beets


Third course: Roasted cauliflower, kalamata olives and blood oranges


Fourth course: Burger w/ Aged Cheddar, Bacon, Pickled Onions and Chipotle Aioli


Fifth course: Grilled Pork Chop, Roasted Carrots, Snap Peas and Watercress


An absolutely phenomenal meal.  Every dish was great.  I couldn’t recommend this place more.  Would love to go back and eat all of the other dishes that we missed.


Completely full it was time to make a return effort to Toronado and give the Cable Car one more shot.


Long story shot, fail boat express on the Cable Car, but still another good night of drinking some good beers on tap.  Around 9, the wife gave the look that we all know, so it was time to call it a night and head back to the hotel.  



Day 5 in SF (Thursday)

The day started off with a walk to Dottie’s True Blue Café for breakfast.  It’s not in the best area of San Francisco, but it made for some nice people watching at 7 in the morning while we waited for Dottie’s to open.  Crack heads hanging out on the corner, pimps and hoes walking down the street…good times.  Anyways on to the food.


A vast menu with lot of choices in addition to a specials board with fresh baked good made for tough choices, but I managed.

Pulled Pork, Roasted Onion and Jack Cheese Scramble with Home Fries


Fresh baked Buttermilk Dill Toast that was a really great flavor combination


Wife went boring and just rolled with pancakes, although the added cinnamon and ginger in the batter did add a nice hit of flavor


After breakfast we made our way to the rental car spot.  Ended up with a Yaris, which got the job done for $15 a day.  Hit the road north, drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, and were in Santa Rosa by the time Russian River opened at 11.  


Orange signs on the door nearly gave me a heart attack, but thankfully it was just to say that only the kitchen was closed on that day not the whole place.  Crisis averted.  Time to get down.  First things first was assessing the Beatification situation.  They only had a few bottles remaining when I first arrived, so I said give them all to me.


However, a little bit later the reserve supply arrived from the brewery, so a case was available for purchase.


With that bit of business taken care of it was time get the drink on.  Checked out the selection available for drinking


Pub only beers seemed like the smart thing to do

Russian River IPA to start


Nice coaster to mark your territory


Moved onto the Russian River Porter. This was excellent


Enough waiting around, let’s get to the Beat


And to round it out, a Supplication



In addition to the great beer, the brewpub is a pretty cool place to hang.  Sure there’s some out of towners like we were on this day, 3 other people from Chicago were also visiting while we were there, but the place really is a spot for Something I love when it comes to a drinking establishment.  Kitschy memorabilia gave it a real homey feel.


Really wanted to get this shirt for P, but they didn’t have any big enough  :(


In addition to great beer, also Jew friendly  :lol:



Hungry, we decided to call it an afternoon at Russian River and head back down towards Petaluma to enjoy Lagunitas. Quick pit stop at In-n-Out burger for food.  Figured we had to do it since neither of us had partaken before.  Double Double animal style with fries.  Burger was in the upper tier of fast food, but really nothing I need to eat again.  Fries were turrible.  I thought you couldn’t go wrong with fresh cut, but these proved me wrong.  Not double frying was the problem.  


Ready to partake in some more drinking, we arrived at Lagunitas around 3.


In addition to the tap room, they have an awesome outdoor beer garden.  Covered by a clear roof to keep the rain out, but let light in.  Could see spending many a days here if I lived nearby


Walking into the tap room, we were greeted by this sight.  Even the wife said it needed to be documented 


Beer list, lots of interesting choices


Decided on a taster, awesome value at $5.50

The BA Gnarlywine and Waldo were great, BA Imperial Stout was quite good, while the Gueuze was not that good.


Some pics of the scene


Had to get a full glass of the Waldo since it was so good


Also partook in a hand pull of the Lucky 13.alt


5 o’clock rolled around and we decided to jump into the tour.  Cute girl leading and all, why not.  Turns out she’s from the Chicagoland area, so she might move back to work at the new brewery.  


Very much under construction as you would imagine, but we were still given pretty good access to all areas of the brewery, so it was nice to explore and take some pics.


You can see some barrels hiding back there


Full set of pics from Lagunitas: http://"


All in all a really cool place, maybe my favorite of the entire trip.  I’d love to live nearby and hang out in that beer garden on a regular basis.


Left Lagunitas, drove back up to Santa Rosa to check into our hotel and decide what we wanted to do for dinner.  After some menu consultations, the wife agreed to Flavor Bistro as the spot.  Excited about this as I had heard plenty of good things about the place.


The Official Unofficial home of Moonlight beer, had to get a Misspent Youth


Wife went with the Duck Ravioli with Gorgonzola-Walnut Sauce.  The few bites I could swipe, were delicious


I ordered the Beef Short Ribs with Butternut Risotto.  Whoa flavor in the short ribs, risotto was “on point” as a d-bag from Santa Rosa once said.


Would recommend as a great eatery.


Since the night was still young, we decided to swing back to Russian River for a sample tray.  Unfortunately, 2 taps short of a full boat


Thought about another Beatification, but it was late so I passed.  Good judgment, maybe.


Day 6 in SF (Friday)

Not much in the way of beer happenings on this final day.  So if you're only here for the beer, you can stop now.  
Early breakfast in Santa Rosa at Dierk's Parkside Cafe, so that we could get back to SF in reasonable time.
Despite the lowly diner look, the menu was full of more uspcale offerings
Fry Bread to share
Duck Confit with Hash Browns, Scrambled Eggs and Warm Apples
Breakfast Burrito filled with Grilled Chicken, Cheddar Cheese, Black Beans and Red Rice.  Topped with fresh salsa
The duck confit was awesome.  Right up there with the confit hash at Marigold Kitchen in Madison.  Really enjoyed the food here, definitely a good spot to hit for breakfast.
Looking to do a little bit of photoing, we stopped at the Marin Headlands on the way back down.  Just an absolutely gorgeous place.  Lots of great views of the ocean, hills and Golden Gate Bridge.  Got some ok shots, probably would have benefitted from a UV filter, as the haze washed out a lot of the color of the bridge even though it was only about 9 in the morning.  
After taking in all of the natural beauty, we took care of some more boring tasks like boxing up the Russian River haul, dropping off at Fedex and returning the rental car.  During that time we did make a quick stop at City Beer Store. Wasn't able to sit down and partake in the bar section, but the to-go store had some decent choices.  Wish bottles of Framboise for the Cure would have been available, but thems the breaks sometimes.
Once the rental car was returned and we checked back into our hotel in SF, we made our way to AT&T park for a Giants game.  Heard good things about the Public House connected to the park.  We arrived a couple of hours before the game and it was already a madhouse so there was nowhere to sit.  The tap selection was pretty solid and nicely priced. I had an Old Rasputin on Nitro.  We ate some tacos from the Mexican restaurant connected to the Public House.  Pretty mediocre and expensive.  
Pics of the stadium
Game was decent.  Linecum kind of sucked for the first couple of innings.  Giants lost, but fans in our section didn't seem to care to much about the game anyways.  
This brought an effective end to our trip.  We caught our flight home the next morning.  Could have used another week to hit all of the beer spots and food spots in the area, but I guess that will have to be for next time.  
Thanks for reading if you actually made it this far. 



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