Reunion is over so more time for beer now...

It was the second last evening of the Lake Tahoe trip. After drinking my way through a load of beer in the fridge as well as the local breweries I remembered I had brought two 650ml bottles with me. The first night I had Ruination IPA from stone. Now I was cooking a BBQ and shared this with my (wife's) cousin who is in to beer himself. He would want to be living in San Francisco near the Haight district. Anyway I did not take notes but there is no need. This beer is outstanding and gets better as it warms from the heat of the BBQ. If you like your IPA especially the doubles then you have to drink this. You might think from the name that this beer is so monstrous that it will ruin you but the reality is that it is so perfectly balanced and smooth that it is not even that bitter despite being over 100IBU. Absolute ambrosia from start (cold) to finish (warm).

The next evening was the last one before we checked out. We were to be out of the cabin by 10 so not a major drinking session. I had a whole bottle of Speakeasy Payback Porter. I am a big fan of big daddy so I had high hopes for this and I was not let down. It is a little thinner than expected but incredibly smooth. It is a beer I had no problem finishing 650ml of.
Well that was it from Lake Tahoe. We left early the next morning, had breakfast at Ihop as a family one last time before people from out of state went home. We also said goodbye to the two remaining Californians as we were heading to Chico for the night.

Chico, known for two things from what I can tell. As a great college party destination * and as home to one of the best known Craft breweries in the world and with good reason.

The Sierra Nevada Brewery as a company may be as old as me (30 years) but the building it is in now is a little newer being built in 1989 I believe.

It was just after two in the afternoon so we had lunch in the tap room first. Obviously they have a lot of beer from a certain brewery on tap.

My wife went with the Kellerweisse which I have had in the bottle before. It was pretty great on tap and had a real German feel. I went with something a little lower in ABV because I still had to drive in to Chico to our hotel. I went with the 4.5% Best Bitter, well they call it bitter but since it was served from a keg and not cask then technically it is a pale ale but who cares? Anyway it was a good attempt at an English Bitter and was perfect for quenching my thirst but not leaving me over the limit (not that they check in the US unless you are weaving like a drunk person). Nothing to praise about it and compared to the likes of Landlord it was boring but a good beer none the less.

When we were done we left and walked down to the gift shop where the tour area begins. Tours are free and unguided, although there is a guided tour at 2.30pm, well Monday to Friday that is but all day Saturday.

I was curious how you could have an unguided brewery tour but the reality became a slight disappointment when I found it was a very small walkway upstairs from the gift shop that you could walk around and look through glass at stuff.

There are a load of glass cases like this filled with old bottles, many of which are not around any more.

They mill (at the back) their own grain here and send it to the mashtun (at the front).

Oooh a shiny copper kettle, this is beginning to look like a museum though.

Ah the Fermenters. I wonder how much homebrew I could fit in one of them?
Well here is where I start to be a little negative. Sierra Nevada I love you guys. I love the beer and I love what you stand for. I love that you grow your own hops at the brewery and I love that you are trying to be sustainable and use Solar power etc but, and this is only a minor gripe... the Tour is pretty rubbish to be honest. OK perhaps it would be a little better with a guide but even still what you see is very short and not interactive. Compare to the Jelly Belly factory tour I took this was about as interesting as looking at the brewing equipment in a small brewpub. A single video screen is about as close to interactive as it came, that and I believe three cups containing hops and grains.
Gripe aside, I love Sierra Nevada. Had I realised how quickly I would be finished I would not have booked a hotel and headed back to the bay area.

Well we stayed as the hotel was prepaid. Once checked in we set out to explore downtown. There was a large market being set up which seems to be a Thursday thing in Chico. We walked and we saw a cold stone and made a big mistake. We ordered large ice creams which were bigger than my head I think, needless to say we could not finish and we were quite full when we left.

Nearby we came across The Banshee which at first I thought would be an Irish pub but on looking inside I saw a big beer list so in we went.


Here was the special beer list which I did not notice until after I had my Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in hand.

Then my eyes adjusted and I could see the full beer menu in the distance.

I ordered a Stone Levitation Ale which was surprising. It is only 4.4% but it was in my face hop bitterness. Maybe it was the ice-cream but I found it disappointing. I had heard and read that it should be more balanced and have some sweetness but I got nothing of the kind. This is one to revisit when I am not bloated on Dairy.

My wife ordered the Sierra Nevada Old Chico which is a Crystal Wheat beer. I sort of prodded her as she was not very excited about trying it but I did not want to order it and I knew she would like it. This beer is only available in Chico by the way, or so the spiel goes but I reckon you can get it elsewhere since it is bottled as well. I found it was like a nice refreshing blonde ale.

And lastly, just to stick it in somewhere here is one of my favourite beers that I had been drinking since I arrived in California. Lagunitas IPA is perfect example of a West coast IPA and is balanced perfectly with it leaning a little more to bitter than sweet but not harsh. It is very drinkable. There will be more on Lagunitas later on.

Anyway we left Chico the next morning and headed back to the Bay where more beer awaited it seems.

* My San Francisco cousin is a train engineer (driver) said he used to drive trains through Chico and they (college students) would leave mannequins or dolls or something on the tracks. He also said one time there was a body on the tracks and they have to try and stop the train but this was actually a person with his head on one of the rails. The train stopped but not after going past the body so they figured he was a goner. They got out to check and this drunk college kid stumbles in to view and said "hey man you almost hit me".

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Belly,1,prague,1,preview,1,primator dark,1,prize old ale,1,Proclamation Porter,1,proper job,1,pure gold,1,pure ubu,1,purgatory,1,purity,1,purity brewing company,1,quaff,1,queboid,1,racer 5,1,rader,1,radical brew,1,radikale,1,Raftman,1,Raison D'être,1,rakau,1,random everything ipa,1,random summer sunshine,1,random waffle,1,rant,3,rascal's,1,ratebeer,1,Rauchbier,1,raven,1,Raven Vintage Stout,1,razzamataz,1,rch brewery,1,re-brew,1,reality bytes,1,rebrew,1,recession dinner,1,recipe,1,recycle,1,red ale,1,red eye flight,1,red frog ale,1,red horse,1,red shield,1,redoak,1,revelation cat,1,revolution,1,Reykjavik,1,rhetoric,1,ridgeway,1,Rince Cochon,1,rip tide,1,riptide,1,rising sons,1,road dog,1,roadtrip,1,rochefort,1,Rochefort 10,2,Rodenbach,1,rogue beer,1,róisin,1,rome,1,rooie dop,1,rook and vuur,1,root canal,1,Rosé de Gambrinus,1,rosey nosey,1,round-up,2,roundup,2,ruddles,1,rugby,4,Russian imperial,1,russian river,1,rye river,2,saint bidgets porter,1,saint paul,1,Saint 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Pacific Pale Ale,1,southern pecan,1,southern tier,2,Southwold Dark Ale,1,spain,2,spaten,1,speakeasy brewery,1,speakeasy payback porter,1,Special London ale,1,spelt saison,1,spindrift,1,St Bernardus,1,st bernardus 12,1,st eriks,1,St Idesbald,1,St Lupulin,1,st martin,1,St Peter's Cream Stout,1,st stefanus,1,stag saor,1,starr hill,1,stateline,1,Steen Brugge,1,Steep Trail,1,stella artois,1,steve wellington,1,stevens point,2,stewart brewing,1,stinger,1,Stone and wood,1,stone barrel,1,stone brewing company,2,stone ruination ipa,1,stonewell,1,stoneybatter,1,story,1,stout,4,stout face off,1,straffe hendrick,1,Streaky,1,stumptown tart,1,sublimely self righteous ale,1,Sullivan's,1,summer,1,Summer IPA,1,summer lightning,1,summerwine,1,sunburnt Irish red,1,suntory,1,supervalu,1,sur amarillo,1,surrender to the void,1,survey,1,sushi,2,sweden,1,Swedish beer,1,sweetwater,1,sweetwater brewery,1,sydney,6,Syvturys,1,t-shirts,1,T' Pakhuis,1,tactical nuclear penguin,1,tally-ho,1,tangle foot,1,Tankovna,1,Tap X,1,tapster,1,taste test,2,tasting,1,tasting session,1,tawny 05,1,tayberry,1,tea,1,teeling,1,tempest,1,temple bar chocolate festival,1,terrible beer,3,tesco,1,thanks to the big boys,2,the banshee,1,the beast,1,the beer moment,1,The Big Lunch Beer Challenge,1,the black sheep,1,The Brewrey Tap,1,the end of history,1,the fearless,1,the force,1,The Golden Pints Beer Awards 2010,1,The Great divide,3,the haka,1,The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,1,The Late Night Levy,1,The little Brewing Company,1,the lord nelson,1,The Matt Brewing Company,1,the old stand,1,the oslo,4,the perfect publican,1,the rev james,1,The Rogue Hop,1,the salthouse,1,the session,39,the white hag,1,theakston,1,Thieving Bastards,1,thirsty bear,1,Thornbridge,6,three notched,1,thwaites,3,Thwaites double century,1,Tig Bhric,1,Tig Neachtain,1,timothy taylor,1,tis the saison,1,titan ipa,1,To Øl,3,tojo,1,tokyo*,1,tommyknocker,2,Tongerlo,1,toronado,1,torpedo,1,tralee,1,trappist beer,2,Traquair ale,1,Traquair House,1,trashy blonde,1,travel,30,Tripple FFF,1,Trois Pistoles,1,Trouble Brewing,3,truck stop honey,1,tsar,1,Turbo Yeast Utter Abhorrence from Beyond the Ninth Level of Hades III,1,twiglets,1,twitter,2,two hearted ale,1,Unertl,1,Unibroue,1,untappd,1,urbock,1,valentins,1,vandeoirsprong,1,Vapeur Cochonne,1,ventnor,1,versa,1,vertical tasting,1,very nutty black,1,vg noster,1,victory,1,Victory Golden Monkey,1,victory hop devil,1,victory hop wallop,1,victory storm king,1,video post,3,viginia,1,vintage ale,1,Vitesse Noir,1,vrienden,1,wainwright,1,warrior ipa,1,water shortage,1,website,1,Weihenstephan,1,Weihenstephaner,1,Weißenoher,1,Weisser Bock,1,wells and youngs,1,Wells Banana bread beer,1,West Cork,1,western herd,1,westvleteren 12,2,wetherspoons,1,What Ales Ye?,1,what beer means to me,1,what's the matter lagerboy?,1,wheat beer,4,wheat wacker,1,wheat wine,1,Wheaty Goodness,2,whiplash,1,white gypsy,1,white gypsy vintage,1,White Island Wheaten Ale,1,White rabbit,1,white shield,1,whitewater,1,whychwood,1,wicked elf,1,wicklow brewery,1,wicklow wolf,2,widmer,1,wildcat,1,williams brothers brewery,8,windsor and eton,1,wine,1,winter ale,1,Winter Ales and Cask festival,3,winter lager,1,winter solstice,1,winter spirit,1,Wit,1,witty fella,2,wj kavanagh.,1,wobbly boot,1,woolpack,4,woolpacker,1,wordpress,1,world beer awards,1,world market,1,worlds best beers,1,wort,1,worthingtons,2,wrasslers,1,wynkoop,1,xx bitter,1,xx strong ale,1,yamamori,1,yardsman,2,yeti,1,york,1,young's,2,your local,1,yule ól,1,zero degrees,1,zeus,1,Zlatý Bažant,1,Zunbeltz,1,
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The Tale Of The Ale: Reunion is over so more time for beer now...
Reunion is over so more time for beer now...
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The Tale Of The Ale
http://www.taleofale.com/2010/07/reunion-is-over-so-more-time-for-beer.html
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