Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Beers #68-72: San Francisco Day #1

On Saturday, March 16, my wife and I caught a 6am flight from Pittsburgh to San Francisco for a three-day vacation.  The flight out is direct, but coming back you have to fly through Chicago (O'Hare) ... no idea why ... guess not enough people want to fly from San Fran to Pittsburgh?

Anyway, we enjoyed three days of sightseeing, walking, and enjoying a lot of great food and beer.  If you've never been, San Francisco is a GREAT beer city.  Tons of local breweries/brewpubs, and of course, access to a lot of West Coast products that never seem to quite make it back to Pennsylvania.

We arrived around 8:30 and caught the BART train to downtown.  After dropping of our luggage, we grabbed breakfast at The Grove.  Had a terrific steak & eggs dish similar to huevos rancheros with copious amounts of coffee.  From there, we walked up Market Street and watched the crowds gather for the St. Patrick's Day parade.  I bought some three-day travel passes while Dana held a place in line to catch the cable car over to Fisherman's Wharf.

We walked around some of the piers (not 39, however) and just sat by the ocean for a bit and enjoyed a sunny, albeit windy, late morning.  Great views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and downtown.  From there, we walked over to Chinatown and had lunch at House of Nanking, home to award-winning chef Peter Fang.  He waited on us, and suggested a tasting menu.  Kinda pricy for lunch, but a cool experience. And like many of the places we seemed to end up in SF, it was cash only.

We walked through the city, back to our hotel on Market and 4th, checked in and took a break.  Dana decided to have a nap, so I walked on over to City Beer, a superb beer bar and bottle shop on Folsom St.  In addition to a Russian River Salvation, I tried:

68/365: Local Option Dampf Loc - Neue Welt Hefe Gerste:
Mild grain and mash sweet notes, dusty and mealy. Very light hop character in the nose. Dark golden amber clear with medium haze, topped with thin off-white creamy lacing head. Medium watery body with medium carbonation. Starts nutty and sweet, with light mash flavors, alcohol, and some mild astringent woody parts. Easy drinking, fairly well balanced with smooth nutty-sweet finish and after.  Traditional Ale  70/100

69/365: Ölvisholt Lava:
(My first beer from Iceland) Nice rich smoky nose, with coffee, chocolate, juniper smoke and molasses. Alcohol sweetness. Dark black opaque with thin tan creamy head. Medium-heavy body with high carbonation. Light warming. Carbonic tang and fizzy. Starts medium sweet. Rich with licorice, juniper smoke, chocolate and molasses. Carbonic acidity, alcohol sweetness and good bitter finish. Smooth sweet finish with light smoky after.  Smoked  80/100 
After getting back to the hotel and hanging out for a bit, we decided to catch a bus and head out past Chinatown for dinner at La Trappe Cafe, a nice Belgian-themed gastropub with a nice beer selection.  Over curried mussels and frites, I tried:

70/365: Engelszell Gregorius Trappistenbier:
Very mild nose, plum and roasted malt. Sweet with a subtle richness. A hint of fruity red wine. Dark coppery amber clear with thin off-white lacing head. Medium-heavy body with medium carbonation. Light warming. Starts sweet, alcoholic. Plum, rich malt, sugary - leans towards a Chimay Bleu but not overly complex compared to other quads. Sweet after with light alcohol warming and fruity after.  Abt/Quadrupel  76/100

71/365: New Belgium Lips of Faith - Heavenly Feijoa Tripel:
Big fruity nose, kinda funky and tart, cheesy. Not bad. Dark golden clear with thin foamy-rocky white head. Medium body and carbonation. Starts fruity and tart with some apples and sour peach. A little funky and cheesy, with crisp fruity-tart finish and after. Not bad.  Abbey Tripel  72/100 

72/365: Baladin Wayan Sour Edition:
Sour nose with chardonnay and oak. Light acetic acid, fruity, light, and enjoyable. Golden dark clear with no head. Medium-light watery body with light carbonation. Starts mild, kinda sour with oak and chardonnay. A bit of sweetness in the finish and mild acetic character. Overall, a bit watery and not worth the price.  Sour Ale/Wild Ale  66/100
After dinner, we walked back to the hotel and called it a night.

Next ... San Francisco Day 2

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