Taking a day off work to go trolling for hoppy beers up the gut of Highway 101 is always a good thing but definitely not for the weak livered.
Farmer Bob, Rick, Sheila and myself decided that it would be a good idea to kick Friday work to the Curb and meet that Highway 101 challenge head on. We started in Healdsburg at Bear Republic Brewing Company (home of Racer 5) and found the beer that was in the process of winning a Gold Medal at the GABF. It's name is Ryevalry and it's officially an American-Belgo style double IPA. It drinks lighter than 8.2% abv and seems every bit full of the listed 70 IBU's. We grabbed a growler of it. They also had a single Hop beer called Rebellion that featured all glacier hops...very tasty.
We knew we had a long day ahead of us so we finished off our couple of pints and headed for lunch in Santa Rosa.
Our first stop in Santa Rosa was at the upscale, well upscale for me anyway, looking place called FLAVOR. We stopped in because we heard they served Moonlight Brewing Beers. They did, and we did and then we moved on. If you are looking for Moonlight beers that is definitely the destination for you. Looks like a great place for lunch but we had other aspirations....destinations and expectations .
We were quite hungry so we headed over to this one place in Santa Rosa that has this great pizza...and my favorite one there is even sorta named like me...it's a Mikey and with added jalapeño's it's quite a thin crust delight. Although I am there primarily for the pizza I can never quite pass up a few pints of their pretty decent beers. If I remember right the place is called Russian River Brewing or something like that. Oh ya...we filled 11 growlers there of something called 'Blind Pig IPA' and Pliny the something or other. Anyway...hope that stuff is good....we sure seemed to need a lot of that medicine.
After a fairly lengthy lunch stay in Santa Rosa we finally got back on the road and headed South straight down the gut of 101 until we found the Petaluma offramp where Lagunitas brewing can be found.
One of the most interesting brewing companies in America, Lagunitas also boasts a really cool beer garden and an even cooler sorta private upstairs employee lounge/living room/bar kinda place that we were lucky enough to stumble into and not be thrown out of.
The bar was manned by none other than "Mr Nice Guy" himself Don Chartier a longtime Lagunitas employee who we quickly learned lives up to his nickname and then some. Don welcomed us and offered us spots at the nearly empty bar and asked us what we wanted to drink. We settled on some Hop Stoopid and Maximus and soon noticed that there wasn't even a cash register in the place. Don and his boss (I so wish I could remember the guy's name who was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and referred to himself as one of the 'suits') regaled us with stories of undercover Government types and rumors of lame never to be forgotten pot busts. Mr Nice Guy even sent us home with a 6-pack of assorted goodies. I've added Lagunitas to my Xmas list.
By now we were really happy to have our sorta designated driver, a noted beer phiosopher who shall remain nameless and blameless. That driver took us immediately to Novato where we were quick to grab stools at the Moylans Brewing Bar where we naturally ordered copious amounts of Hopsickle...because of course we needed more really big beers at that point in our evening and Hopsickle is one of the biggest. Two more growlers filled, a plate of their excellent spicy chicken appetizer and we were off down the road again with visions of hop cones dancing in our heads..... was that U2 I heard in my dream? At least one of us can remember the chicken and Hopsickle.....right Bob?