First, Pacific Coast Brewing, since I went there first. Many small brewpubs, I’ve come to realize, brew a standard roster of beer: one IPA, one stout, one pilsner, one questionable seasonal. Usually standard, often watery (as we learned at the Los Gatos Brewery last week). But at Pacific Coast, they have some really amazing brews. The Gray Whale Ale IPA seemed to be an all-around favorite, very drinkable at 4.6% alcohol and not bitter at all. The Old Oakland was good too, a little malty and rich, and I also liked their Mariner’s Mild, which is on cask right now too. Some beers don’t do well on cask (or maybe it’s the pubs that don’t do them well) but the Mariner’s was mild and flavorful, not weirdly watery like many cask ales. The food is decent too, better than most brewpubs, which is average by California’s standards.
We’ve been hearing about The Trappist for months and I finally got to go with some of my old coworkers. I started off with a St. Bernardus 12 on tap - at 10% alcohol, it’s a great way to begin the night. It’s a tiny place, and you get fast service. As my coworkers were at least a third of a the clientele (ordering bottle after bottle of DeuS Brut des Flandres, which I’ve never been a huge fan of) it’s hard for me to judge the atmosphere. But there are all kinds of amazing Belgian and local beers on tap and in the bottle – my next purchase was a 750 ml bottle of Lost Abbey blonde for $12. I definitely plan to go back again during a quieter time – hopefully with Joe tagging along.