Before checking out, I finish off the beer I won’t be taking home with me.
Grant’s Bohemian Sommerbier is the perfect breakfast drink: tasty, but not too overpowering. Sets me up nicely for the day.
Bags dumped at the hotel, I dawdle downhill downtown-wards. A couple of possible destinations in mind. Fortunately ones that open before lunch. Beer Co is my first choice.
Beer Company was my first choice. I don’t quite make it all the way there. The Local tempts me in with its gypsy eyes. And a row of tap handles. I’m a fickle fucker. Time for introductions. “My gut - meet the bar.” They embrace like old friends. Which I suppose they are.
Almost fucky-off time. Time to reflect. Let the good times roll, as Jimmie said.
Did I mention I once, several seeming lifetimes ago, I lived in the US? I must have bored you with that. “Shut up, dad. Yes, you lived in New York. Not interesting. Can I have 10 euros?”
This is a weird as a weird stick platter doused in weird sauce. A thought so weird I’m going to have to lay it down on the pavement, walk away and consider it from a safe distance.
I can imagine living in the US again. I never thought I’d say that. Never going to happen. Family knots, work bondage, age. Age, that’s the one. Too old for that crap.
Alpine Nelson (IPA) 7% ABV, $8
Hazy shit. Man. Not quite sludge, but pretty thick. Mmm . . . Tastes better than it looks. Tropical fruit on the nose, very bitter at the back end. Better than the hue would suggest.
Looks very new, this place. Barn-like with loads of TVs. The toilets are very nice. Very clean. Though the pictures of muscly wrestlers on the walls are a bit disconcerting. I wonder what’s on the walls of the ladies?
They seem part way through installing a brewery at the back. At least if the packing crates are anything to go by. Very handy for the tram here. The one line that they seem to have.
I didn’t really plan coming here. I was walking by and in a fair need of a piss. I blame the growler of Sommerbier I drank before checking out of my hotel. A day of damp, stinky kecks or an unscheduled comfort break? No choice at all, really.
Mexico yesterday was super, super cool. Grant’s a grand bloke and he introduced me to some great people. I can’t remember when I last had a meal as good as lunch. Top, top nosh.
How’s the trip been? The main event was a total fucking disaster. Especially considering how long it had been in the planning. On the other hand, I got to meet old friends, have some great chats, flog a few books, see Mexico and San Francisco. Overall positive, I’d say.
I should maybe eat soon. Not eaten yet today and it’s 12:15. Though I did eat a load in Mexico yesterday. It’s odd, now I think about it, that I didn’t get the full fingerprint thing on the border coming back in.
Now I’m getting further down my pint it has some of the weird shit I didn’t like in a Mosaic-hopped beer.
Just ordered a short rib burger. Meant to eat at the next stop, but hunger got the better of me. Or was it good sense?
Mission El Conquistador Session IPA 4.8% ABV, $7
Not quite so murky, this one Washing up liquid in the gob. Pretty bitter on the finish. And won’t have me falling over too soon.
They have malt vinegar. Brilliant! Put some of that on my chips. Saturday in San Diego. My belly is full and I’ve a fair buzz on. And there's malt vinegar. Things could be so much worse.
Another pretty murky one. Citrussy nose, caramelly gob I wonder what the ears and hair will be like? This is a heavy beer. As pot-bellied as the glass What’s the phrase? I couldn’t drink six pints of it Quite a pleasant tangy orangey finish.
I’m surprised at how many cocktails they’re serving. I suppose it is early afternoon.
I’m watching England play Mexico in the women’s World Cup. Another punter is complaining about the lack of goal-mouth action. He has a point. But international football is all about tension, not action.
BNS Revolver (IPA) 6.5% ABV, $8
Yippie! One that’s clear. Almost. Can’t be that trendy a beer, then. Pretty run of the mill IPA.
I’m chatting a bit with Jemma, the barmaid. She’s married to an English bloke from Chester. And doing a pretty good job with the bartending, keeping everyone’s glass nicely filled. I appreciate that sort of thing, impatient pisshead that I am.
The Bud anti-craft ad is on. Showing on a TV above a row of craft taps. Surreal.
I need to move on. The guy next to me just said “propane barbecue” and I first heard it as “cocaine barbecue”. I suppose that’s al fresco cooking for rock bands and film stars.
I stumble out into the sunshine and the short distance down the street to Beer Company. It’s not all how I imagined it. It’s a bit dark and old-fashioned looking. I’d expected something more like The Local.
Elimination IPA 7% ABV, $6
This is suspiciously too clear. God I’m a contrary bastard. Moaning all day about my beer being too cloudy then complaining when I get a crystal clear one. Sparkling pale amber, no head. The aroma is pretty good, fruity-wise. Am I turning into an IPA drinker? OK, I suppose. Elimination IPA, I mean. Not me turning into an IPA drinker. That’s definitely not OK.
Glad I spent most of the day in The Local. Nicer atmosphere, though the beer is a bit cheaper here.
Broadway Brown 5.4% ABV, $6
Has the harsh roast taste all American dark beers seem to share. Why is that? Because they don’t use sugar? I’d like me some sweetness in a Brown Ale.
I’m still feeling a little peckish so I order some onion rings. I won’t be fed on my flight. I need to fill up now.
There are two types of traveller. The I’m going to turn up 5 minutes before I have to – just to prove I can – type. And me. Exercise is, generally, a good thing. A thrombie threatening sprint to the gate, I’m not so sure about. Done it a few times. Rather stay on this side of premature death. That’s why I get to San Diego airport with plenty of time to spare.
Enough for me to have a drink in the Stone Pub airside. An Enjoy By IPA. No need to get a bourbon, too. There will be whisky galore on the plane. I’m travelling first class again.
Stone Enjoy By IPA 9.4% ABV $7.70
Lovely fruity smell. Yum, yum. A really nice IPA. Wonder how much it’s going to cost me? There are no prices on the menu. Oh yes there are. 11 bucks*? I should have looked more closely. I suppose I’ll make it last. I should do, really. I’m slightly wobbly. Could the mescal I had instead of breakfast be the reason? No, that’s just silly talk.
It’s getting quite late by the time I check into my hotel, almost 10 PM. I’m staying more centrally than before, but there don’t seem to be a bunch of pub options nearby. There’s Café de la Presse, which seems to be part of my hotel. But that’s not very pub like. Not somewhere I want to drink at all. What to do?
I spot a liquor store up Bush Street. Where I invest in a small bottle of bourbon. Looks like I’ll be partying in my room. Or something like that. It’s a slightly anticlimactic end to my last evening in California.
* That was for 23 oz. (a size weirdly popular in airport bars). My 16 oz. serving was a reasonable $7.70.
1065 4th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
Open 11:00 am – 12:00 am
San Diego, CA 92101
Terminal 2, San Diego International Airport
Excuse me for being an idiot. I should be reminding you to purchase my excellent book. Every copy signed*:
The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer
* potentially - I'll sign any copy presented to me.
Craft Beer at Sensible Prices - No I don't mean the Counting House in Glasgow, though you certainly can get it there, nor do I mean Drygate Brewery in Glasgow where you can also get it -...
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