My California Beercation: Dear Diary 2

Day 5:

photo 4(2)Ouch. A coffee and a walk along the pier to cure this hangover is needed. Big fat seals lay everywhere while I step around seagull shit.  I think of Scott and John Wurth.  Today is Russian River and San Francisco.  It’s going to be a long day.  Santa Rosa is a 2.5 hour drive from Santa Cruz and the temperature climbs the whole drive.  We got there around noon, grabbed a seat outside the bar and started ordering beers.  For a Monday afternoon, the place was packed as hell:

Compunction– An American Wild Ale brewed with pluots.  I don’t know what a pluot is. Great beer.

Sanctification– Golden Ale with Brett.  Great with wingies.

Pliny the Elder– Nothing fresher.  Still solid and lives up to the hype.

Happy Hops– A light and little hoppy beer. Meh. Not a session, not a good one.

Ales for ALS– IPA benefiting ALS with Citra, Mosaic, and HBC 291 hops.

photo 2(6)Even though Russian River is out-of-the-way, it is always a must visit.  Great beer and a great experience every time I’ve been there.  With Lagunitas being closed, we made a quick stop in Beer Craft  to have some samples and peruse the bottles.  As soon as I walked in the door, the feathers caught my eye and I ran over to check out the ATG bottles in California.  My jaw dropped as I saw most of them ranged from $18-21 per bottle.  Shipping and distribution add up.

I settled with a Cellarmaker “Are you Afraid of the Dank” IPA and started purchasing some California goodies to send home.  California is not cheap.  A quick nap in the car led me to awaken driving across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Skipping Toronado for a sub-par (I laugh as I type this because it wasn’t bad) beer list, we hit up City Beer Store.  For those familiar, I walked down the stairs and saw a couple enjoying a McFanny Baw.  I burst out in laughter and walked over to the couple, introduced myself and asked what they thought about the beer (they liked it).  Oh the places you will go and still can’t get away from KY.  Bird and I shared a Hoppy Birthday by Alpine and a Saphir Du Boise by Tahoe (butter bomb) before we decided we should head back to Santa Cruz.  We nightcapped with a Hill Farmstead Arthur & Genealogy of Morals.  Vacation with a fellow beer buddy is good shit 3(5)


Exercise is needed.  I ending up pooping in the woods mid-run. I hoped a bear mauling didn’t await me during the act.  California has a bear on its flag for god’s sake.  Well, 10 a.m., time to go back to Sante Adairus and meet the owners and start drinking.

Both Tim and Adair (the owners) were hanging out powerwashing the new foeders.  I talked to them about my travels, what I do, barrels, and just basically talked beer for a while.  Great, great people.  They opened up two new releases, Cellar Pallet and Lucy Blue.  Both these beers were fantastic.  SARA is a combination of three (maybe 4) buildings in an office complex in an industrial district.  It certainly doesn’t look like a brewery from up front. A handshake and a “I hope our paths meet” comment and we were off.

photo 2(7)It’s not even noon and a buzz in already in the books before the World Cop game. Soccer! I know nothing about soccer!  We decided to grill up enough food for about 20 people for a party of 10.  Food babies commenced along with a SARA Saison Bernice and Tahoe Mountain Recolte Du Bois Peach and Apricot.  I needed a nap something fierce, but we found ourselves back at SARA for a beer tasting.  Here’s the damage:

Splint Gold by Troegs, Gose by Lost Nation Brewing, Resolute by 3 Brothers Brewing, Saison du Fermier by Side Project, BA Everett by Hill Farmstead, Golden Doesjel (2012) by 3 Fonteinen, BA Abraxas by Perennial , Bourbon County 2009, Fou Foune 13, Catherines Resentment from Swamp Head.

photo 1(7)As expected, the BA Abraxas stood above the rest with 2009 BC following closely behind.  The Abraxas was a nice mix of barrel and cinnamon and it makes sense why it’s so sought after.  Also, nothing says ending the night drinking world-class beers and Taco Bell. It’s klassy with a K people.

Day 7:

Goodbye Santa Cruz.  You’ve been fun.

Note: If hungover, do not drive the 1 down the coast.

I drove the 1 down the coast.  Beautiful and scary as shit the whole time.  I headed for Big Sur to run some trails (see also: run straight up and down through the forest) and then detour to Paso Robles.  I don’t think I got the car to over 40 mph for a 3 hour drive.  Hairpin turns and cliffs falling to the battering ocean below.  On the plus side, I did happen upon an Elephant Seal mating ground.  I miss Scott and 5(1)








photo 2(8)


Cutting across the state to Paso Robles brings you surrounded by vast mountains and then wineries.  A beautiful site unlike the potential death that was the 1.  Firestone Walker is its own campus.  It’s huge.  I was a little disappointed that nothing really special was on in the taproom or the tasting room minus Surly’s Darkness.  I never thought I’d tick that off my list in California.  With LA traffic ahead of me, it was time to head out.

I arrived outside LA at abruptly 5 pm. Perfect timing, King.  I found myself ended up at Beachwood BBQ and Brewery to sample their touted IPAs Melrose and Thrillseeker.  Next to me was a dude whose wife went to Ballard. Go figure. Go Cards.  I snagged a bottle of their System of a Stout and hit the road.  I was exhausted.  Too much beer, if you can ever say that sort of thing.

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