Posts Tagged ventura
I hope everybody had a very merry Christmas. I certainly did. I got to try out a new place in my hometown. It is called Barrelhouse 101 and the 101 is meant to indicate that they have over one hundred beers…on tap! I thought this was great news and I had to try it.
As you can see, the outside resembles a firehouse or something on a dock. It’s also colored a little like a funhouse, with very bright blue and yellow walls, with an all but neon-colored door. Walking in, the interior gave a very industrial vibe as well, with high I-beam rafters and big halogen lights you might find in a factory hanging from the ceiling. The bar area felt a bit cluttered and crowded with tables fairly close together, not to mention close to the bar itself. I appreciated it, though, as most brewhouses are cavernous warehouses of equipment with just a tasting room. Of course, this place does not brew its own beer, so that may have something to do with the layout…
The kitchen area to the left was cool, with a red studded leather wall to separate it from the main dining area. It gave it a kind of retro diner feel, though I don’t know that is what they were aiming for. At least it was festively decorated, with all of their stockings hung along the length of it. The patio area, on the other hand, wasn’t much to look at: fairly small and narrow, with not much to look at but the street. At least it had heaters to help cut the beach wind chill.
They have pretty great food, but who cares about that, right? The beer selection was enough boggle the mind and confuse the eye. I was able to pick one out of the crowd, though: Institution Ale Company Restraint Maple Brown Ale. I thought it appropriate for the holiday weekend I had just celebrated. It poured a deep red-brown color, with a sudsy white head that really stuck to the glass. It had mild aromas of roasted malt and chocolate. Despite the name, no maple came through on the smell. The taste was also mild and smooth. It started with the roasted malts, moving to bitter chocolate. The finish was equally mild as the chocolate lingered.
Despite my hope for a semi-sweet holiday beer, this one underwhelmed a bit:
I was going to stop there, but I was getting on a train home in an hour, so I figured I’d have another look through the prodigious selection. I am very glad I did, as I found a beer Ninkasi let me (and the rest of their followers) know about on Instagram and it was called The Devil Went Down to Oregon Imperial Dark Rye. This is a collab Ninkasi did with Devils Backbone Brewing and it is far more appropriate for the holidays. It poured dark red with medium white head. It smelled sour, with hints of malts and a very slight sugary smell. There was also some spice to make things interesting. The taste was smooth, which surprised me for a rye. The malts came through in the beginning, with the rye spice showing up toward the middle. Medium carbonation helped break up that spice, but it came right back. It finished smooth, with the spice persisting afterward.
I enjoyed this one, despite the spiciness. Call it my Ninkasi bias:
A great place to check out if you are in the Ventura, CA area.
So, every year there comes the most wondrous event in the beer world: California Beer Festival. With over 100 beers on tap, lots of food and entertainment, this is pretty much a beer lover’s dream. This is an annual traveling series of street fair-style events put on in cities up and down the state (this year there were 4) that embrace the craft brewing culture. I will admit this is my first visit to this particular event. Last year, I went to the Microbrew Fest in Two Harbors on Catalina Island. That was a very pleasant surprise, as I and the people I was with at the time had not a shred of awareness it was going on beforehand, since we were on the island on other business (bachelor party). It was much smaller than the upcoming one in Ventura, but still I couldn’t have had more fun out there. I expect the CBF will be even more fun, with more beer, more people and more beer! (Did I mention more beer?) I’ll post some pictures of the event next week. In the meantime, let me know in the comments below about some cool beer events you have gone to.
Until then, cheers!