More California (Finally!)

Okay, I was distracted for the last few days by work, you know, the stuff that actually pays the mortgage. And also by Vietnam. And the Bismark. But before my northern and southern California trip becomes too much a fading memory, a couple of more posts on the subject, beginning with this one.

I participated in two beer fests while I was in the San Francisco Bay area, although neither was in San Francisco proper. Likewise, neither was what I thought would be a huge draw.

I was very wrong.

The Double IPA Festival at The Bistro in Hayward was a shockingly well-attended event, with the street outside the bar closed to traffic and 58 beers being poured. (Yes, you read that right, 58 so-called “double” IPAs, even if one or two would be better characterized as ordinary IPAs.) Having never been to The Bistro before, much less for one of its fests, I had no idea what to expect, but was still stunned by the crowds. At times, it was difficult to move through the crowds, they were so dense.

Two days later, having survived watching the Super Bowl with a crowd of bartenders, I attended an even more unlikely event, Sour Monday at Triple Rock and Jupiter in Berkeley, where a mere 55 sour beers were poured, 19 of them on tap. And again, while the crowds weren’t quite what they were at The Bistro, there were still a lot of people in attendance, to sample beers that a decade ago you would have trouble even giving away!

Such is the evolution of beer in northern California, that may you now draw big crowds for high test, highly hopped ales and a variety of brews inoculated with Brettanomyces and other wee beasties. I tell you, it does my heart proud!

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