Beer 511

Exploring the Craft Beer and Homebrew Scenes in Peru (Country Code 51) and the USA (Country Code 1)

Category: Brewpubs (Page 1 of 2)

Monterey Coast Brewing Co. (Salinas, CA)

Monterey Coast Brewing Co., is located about 10 miles inland, in downtown Salinas, and has been around for at least a dozen years. Until recently it was Salinas’ only brew-on-premises establishment open to the public. (Monterey’s Alvarado Street Brewery now has a production facility in Salinas with an attached tap room.) The brewpub is actually located in what was originally a bank, and later was a gun smith’s and armory, below the studios of a now long-defunct public radio station that I worked at while in high school. Thus, I have a fondness for the place, and have lunched there on several occasions.

The restaurant has a simple, old-fashioned wood bar with a over a dozen taps, backed up by what looks like four or five 10-bbl fermenters.

A curious detail I noticed on my latest visit is that the mash tun has two manways. It appears that the orientation of the original one must not have allowed enough space for comfortably removing the spent grain given its proximity to the nearby wall, and thus a second manway was cut into the tun.

I’ve always enjoyed the food there, and when they say on their website that it is “where the locals eat”, it is no mere marketing or exaggeration.

Of course, the main reason I chose to dine there when I’m in Salinas is to support a local, independent brewer.  Which, brings us to the beer:

Monterey Coast Brewing has a modest lineup of eight house beers, ranging from a pale ale to a stout. Given that they only sell the beer on premises ($7 32-oz growler refill on Thursdays!), it is probably prudent that they keep the number manageable.

From L to R: Scottish Red, IPA, Belgian Ale

On this visit, I ordered a flight for the first time, tasting five of their beers. This horizontal sampling allowed me to discern a notably similar character in their brews.  I expect that the brew staff has perhaps been harvesting  the yeast from one brew for use in the next, and that, over time, it may have evolved into “house” strain.

I’ve never found their beers to be outstanding, but always enjoyable, albeit with a few allowances –for example, the IPA doesn’t fully deliver on the “heavily hopped…intense and complex” character promised in the description.  One’s most solid bets, I think, are the pale ale, the porter, and the stout.

 

Monterey Coast Brewing Company
165 Main St.
Salinas, California

montereycoastbrewing.com

Danville Brewing Company

Last Tuesday, the Danville Brewing Company opened the doors to its taproom and brewpub in downtown Danville, and lines have been around the block to get in since day one.

The location the pub -Danville’s first brewery- prime and the space is large, but friendly. The owners have done a very nice job in designing the place. There is a variety of seating options, including at the cool horseshoe-shaped bar with the wrap-around beer tap column.

I had a chance to view some project images for it when the pub was still in its design stages, and if it looked cool then, it is even cooler in person.

The food is good and nicely presented.  The wait staff knows their stuff, and one thing that we particularly appreciated was that our server had a list handy of all the menu items that were gluten-free.

Despite the crowds, the food was delivered promptly.  The restaurant is designed with an open kitchen as well as an open brewery.  What that means, in fact, is that the brewery is behind a glass wall, and is fully viewable by the public.

The brewery runs on a 10 barrel system, where head brewer Matt Sager has already begun to produce the pubs’ first run of on-site produced beers (what is being served now was contract brewed for opening day in accordance to Sager’s recipes and specifications).

Of the five beers on tap right now, most noteworthy are the CHUX Double IPA and the Coconut Stout.   The stout is smooth, and very subtly flavored with coconut, which makes it a very nice either-way stout -it has something for regular stout drinkers and for those who like flavoured beers.

The CHUX, despite being a DIPA, does not hit one in the face with hop bitterness, although it is definitely there, as befits an IPA.  Matt has done a nice job at crafting a recipe that packs a lot of hop aroma, flavor. and character in a tidy, smooth package. The servers are selling it as a beer that “will change your view of double IPAs.”  It’s marketting, but for the average beer drinker it may well be true.

For me the bottom line came when I was tasting the flight, and I exclaimed that the beers were “nice”, and immediately thought to myself “duh, of course they’re good. They’re Matt’s beers!”

 

 

Danville Brewing Company
200 Railroad Ave Suite A
Danville, CA 94526

www.danvillebrewing.com 

Another opening: Loma Brewing in Los Gatos (CA)

Loma Brewing Co. has announced the opening of its brewery and pub in downtown Los Gatos on Thursday, August 18th.

Details can be found at  the brewery’s website: www.lomabrew.com

Barranco Beer Company (Lima, Peru)

 

 

Opened in 2014, Barranco Beer Company’s brewpub has been a resounding success.  From selling 50 liters of beer on their first night, beer sales are now in the range of 20 bbl per month, with weekend sales reaching s/. 7000, according to Rommel, one of the managers

 

The initial lineup of beers has been expanded and refined.   Some favorites, like the “Presidente” heffeweizen” –renamed” Jefe Weiss”– have been retained, others -like the dunkel– have been dropped.   In their place are new recipes for pale ales, IPA, and lagers.
Two years ago I lamented the absence of “heavier”, “chewier” beers in their lineup.  I must not have been the only one asking for them, as Barranco now offers at least one porter and has just released “Saca Tu Machete”, an excellent 8.7% abv / 42 IBU imperial stout made with aji limo, cacao, and algarrobina.

 

 

 

Another beer that is worth mentioning, and one I hope they make part of their regular lineup, even if only seasonally, is the Pepino Punch saison.  Made with pepino fruit, Pepino Punch is easily one of the best fruited beers I’ve ever tasted.

Barranco Beer Company
Av Almirante Miguel Grau 308
Barranco, Lima
Peru

www.barrancobeer.com

Southern Pacific Brewing

Finding myself  in San Francisco on a chilly April Sunday, I went in search of lunch and a good beer. Tucked away into a quiet corner of the Mission District, on Treat Ave, Southern Pacific Brewing was a welcome and pleasant discovery. 
The brewery and bar and grill all occupy a large warehouse space whose large windows, lots of skylights and high ceiling provide lots of light and give a sense openness.  There is enough light in fact to support a couple of trees growing in the restaurant area.  Despite the name, the decor and ambience is not particularly train-oriented –which could be a relief to some, and a disappointment to others.
I found the beer I had to be quite good.  Of the two I specially enjoyed the Belgian Blonde.  It had a nice Belgian character without being overly fruity or spicy.   I also tried the Barrel Aged Blend. It was not particularly oaky or sour, which is kind of what I had been expecting, but I did enjoy it as well.  I think they told me it was aged in a Chardonnay barrel, but I may be wrong about that.  
I wish I had tried some of the other beers to get a fuller picture of their brews –as it turned out the Belgian Blonde was a major part of what went into the barrel, so the flavor profile of both beers I tried was pretty similar– but being alone and facing a long drive home I had to limit myself.
In any case, it would certainly be worth a return trip when in the neighborhood.

Southern Pacific Brewing Co.
620 Treat Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94110

www.southernpacificbrewing.com

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