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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Here to Drink Beer's LiveJournal:

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007
8:40 am
The Beers of Guatemala
I just got back from Guatemala and I can tell you a few things about it. One, it is a small country in size but has a very varied landscape and lots of different micro-climates. It is beautiful at times, it is ugly in places. One of the ugliest things about the place is the rural poverty. Seeing them burn fields and hillsides was depressing. I'm not sure if they were preparing the ground for a new crop or what; it just looked, smelled and felt depressing.

And what do we do when we are depressed? We get even?! Nah, we drink and check out the world with the rose colored glasses. Well, that's what I like doing if the situation permits. So let's get on to the Guatemala beer scene.

First there is the country's truly macro beer: Gallo. Gallo is the Budweiser of Guatemala in that it has a mighty grip on ALL sporting events, billboards, and you-name-it in Guatemala. Gallo advertising is EVERYWHERE in Guatemala. And like Budweiser, they have a formula and are sticking to it because it is highly successful. As for the taste of the beer, well, it's a lot like Budweiser. I have to admit that I have lost my palate for differentiating macro beers in the U.S. but Guatemala helped me retool those "skills". Gallo is an easy drinking, unremarkable, thirt-quenching beer with all the personality of a secret service agent. Nice to have when you need it but otherwise non-descript.

I am not completely sure but I think Gallo also brews Brahva and Victoria beers. I tried Victoria once and it was akin in taste to a Bud Light. I was told that Brahva was even lighter in flavor which I should have tried because it would have been a miracle in the history of brewing beer to have something that had less taste than the Brahva. I glanced at their website and it mentions a Gallo Light but I NEVER saw or heard about it while I was giong all around Guatemala. It must have negative IBUs.

The other thing I am not completely sure about is why the bottles have a castle on them. If my Spanish was serving me correctly then it is because they are all bottled at the same place or by the same manufacturer of bottles.

The one beer in the country with any color is Moza, which is described as a bock bier on its label. It has a great deep, dark brown color, but with little head. It smells sweet and tastes fairly sweet with no real body or oomph to it. Think Michelob Dark on this one and you have it about nailed. I wouldn't call it a Bock but it is a great alternative to all the light lagers this country has to offer. I looked for it every time I was out eating/drinking and it was only available at about half of the places I went - whereas Gallo is definitely available everywhere.

Monte Carlo was a light lager with a bit of a hop punch at the end of it. It was well-balanced with some light malts and very drinkable while maintaining a unique, signature taste. I'm not saying this thing was Liberty Ale, I'm just saying you could easily distinguish a Monte Carlo from a Gallo. Thank you.

Cabro was similar to Monte Carlo in that it had it's own interesting flavor as well. I would say that the malts of this beer came through except that malts tasted a bit more like corn. Let me tell you right here, I love corn! And where other beers were 5.0% ABV, this came in at 5.3%, so you can see my heart starting to beat a bit for this beer. Then comes the label, it is of a ram (cabro) with head down ready to do some damage, with the word "Extra" underneath it. I was so enamored that I peeled a few labels off and am goin to mail them to my beer buddies out there. I may be splitting haris here (in a way that one who was comparing american macro beers would) but Cabro was my favorite Guatemalan beer. It was only available at about a third of the places I ventured into.

Dorado beer lived up to it's name in that it had a golden color but it tasted like Miller Genuine Draft Light. I mean exactly like it. Only had one of them. There was a Dorado Ice but life's too short to be that experimentational.

So, while exploring Guatemala was a great time, it is not the beer capitol of the world. You won't be disappointed in their beer if you think of them as all trying to be as inoccuous as possbile, like the big, mass-consumed beers of the US. And here is a handy guide to them all.

Gallo = Budweiser
Dorado = Miller Genuine Draft
Moza = Michelob Dark
Monte Carlo = Schaeffer's
Victoria = Olympia
Cabro = Schlitz & Stroh's hybrid
Saturday, March 24th, 2007
9:40 am
Mt. Pleasant still is
Last weekend I was in Portland and this time was a lot different than last time but I still I got in a little beer drinking.

One thing I found out is that the 22 oz. bottle of Alesmith's Speedway Stout is not as sharp as it is on draught at the brewhouse (see definition of "duh") but it is still a very tasty and perky little brew. Similarly, their Wee Heavy doesn't exactly exude the same fresh complexities but it is a great scotish ale.

Okay, now on to the stuff I tried for the first time.

Friday night we did in the Alesmith "gifts" that I brought so Saturday we loaded up on a late brekkie and then departed for the Multnomah Falls. There are many waterfalls along the old highway as well as a splendid lookout over the columbia river gorge. The M Falls are pretty spectacular themselves, especially at this time of year. As I watched that incredibly volume of water fall so swiftly and splash so intensely there were two things going through my mind: (a) hmm, do i need to take a leak? (b) mmm, i hope we go have beers after this.

As it turns out I was just having waterfall envy and did not actually need to relieve myself. However, I knew we were on our way to Walking Man brewpub in Stevenson, WA, and I was pretty damn excited. No, not that kind of excited - but almost.

Walking Man is an unassuming little brewpub in an unassuming little town. This would be the antithesis of the Stone Brewing Experience. A nice little patio with the kind of iron-grate furniture you might expect in the backyard of someone who didn't have enough room for a pool. Nice, but nothing novel. As I perused their beer list I was trying to decide between their Porter and their Pale Ale. I ordered last and since someone else had already ordered the pale ale I went with their Porter Porter which they listed as NEW.

Once I put my nose in the glass I could pick up really good chocolate malt notes and just a slight hint of sweetness. It was even better when I put my tongue in it :-) There were lots of deep roasted malt characteristics that flooded my palate and the taste was even drier than the initial scents hinted at. After a few more anxious gulps I noticed that there was a slight bitterness that hung around at the end. This wasn't a complex/hoppy brew, it was balls out on the malt with only slight hop notes. My kind of beer. And at 4.6% it wasn't stupifying my palate brain cells.

So, my next pint was the High Road Scotch Ale. Classic in its deep, well-balanced mix of caramel malt, smooth hops and high alkihol content. Scotch ales are my new breed of choice and this one didn't disappoint. With a nine percent alkihol content you can figure on a certain amount of sweetness but this certainly wasn't overly sweet. The High Road floated a bit more on the palate as compared to the more dense Wee Heavy, but that was just a ruse to make me want to have another. I didn't fall for it - this time. I had one more to taste and I wasn't gonna duplicate.

I figured I would go out with an IPA bang and since someone else ordered their namesake and most popular IPA, I went for their intimidating imperial IPA, Homo Erectus. Unlike New Old Lompoc's hop-infested C-Note, the Homo Erectus is not like drinking cold, distilled, hop tea. I found the Homo Erectus to have that fresh, on the vine, deep, hoppy nature but just short of that overwhelming, bludgeon your senses, alert the tongue morgue, whoever made this must smoke, alergy-inducing epileptic fit, hop frenzy that many Northwesterners crave. Perhaps is was having my second nine percent beer but I found the Homo amazingly drinkable. It was not a session beer but for a 9% Imperial IPA, I feel like I left the experience as the winner, rather than the sledgehammered guinea pig feeling that other such efforts leave me with.

Also, I sampled the beers of others at the table and thought that the Happy Feet espresso porter was good drinking, on par with the speedway stout, but not as heavy in its sweetness. If I were in college I would much rather drink Happy Feet than coffee . . . at night or in the morning. The Walking Man IPA was surprisingly light on hops. I think they may have actually aimed at balancing the hops with some of the other beer characteristics and have hit their target. At 7.2% alcohol this could only be a session beer in taste and theory alone. The alcohol never really makes its presence known until it is time to use the restrooms. Oh, it's funny because they have two restrooms, one for Dreamers and one for Readers. The Dreamers has paintings of clouds and sheep while the one for Readers has quotes.

In conclusion I would have to say that the stand out beers were their High Road Scotch Ale, Homo Erectus, and Knuckle Dragger. I only sampled the Knuckle Dragger but it had good caramel malt flavors and an overwhelming hop presence. Maybe not the crazed Northwesterner kind of hoppiness but it was enough that I am glad I didn't order it because it would have ruined my palate for any other tasting. Because of time constraints I didn't taste either of the barley wines they had on tap, the '06 Bourbon Barrel Stumblefoot or the '07 Old Stumblefoot, but man that barrel age bad boy would have been delicious, I just know it. And because I was not dying of thirst on a deserted island I also did not try their Lightfoot Lager (4.2% Helles style lager) or the Ramblin' Raspberry (4.8% wheat ale), but if that is your speed they probably do that well too.

Thanks Walking Man, you made my weekend.

We had dinner that night at Hedge House which is a New Old Lompoc place and I only had two beers there. First I had their Dagda Irish Red - which I felt I had to have since it was a specialty beer and it was St. Patrick's Day! I couldn't taste much red but there were plenty of hops to be had. It was like (insert the name of your favorite medium-bodied irish red style ale) meets a briefly steeped hop tea bag. It was good but at 7.5% it seemed like a cruel thing to do to those Irish revelers. Then, I was dying to have an LSD since I had been comparing so many things to it since having it on my last trip to Portland in early November. It wasn't the hop monster that I remembered it being but that could have been due to the slight deadening of my palette from the earlier beers. It was still very good drinking though. After that my beer drinking was done because I was too full to have it any other way.

Ah, Portland, thank you for just being you. See you again real soon. No, I mean it, I'll call you!
Thursday, March 8th, 2007
10:22 pm
San Diego - Day 3
Again I was up early running, but this time it was through, around, and back through Balboa Park. One lesson I learned from Day 2 was to eat more regularly. We had a late breakfast and made that last until dinner - bad idea if the only other thing you are doing is drinking beer. So we had the continental breakfast at our hotel and toured Balboa Park by foot before heading out to the Stone Brewing Experience.

Stone Brewing makes really good beer and in some ways I wish I hadn't visited their brewery/restaurant. This place made me think that the people who run Stone have a ton of money and their passion is making beer. I know, that is not a bad thing but the money they put into their restaurant seems a tad over the top. Everything at the brewery/restaurant looks expensive and top notch. I like that but it's not what I want from a hand-crafted, small batch brewer. It made me miss the small, cramped confines of Alesmith and Ballast Point.

Okay, the first beer I had was the Pale Ale. It is a smooth, easy drinking beer that I could use to help me through many a hot Sacramento day. Nothing spectacular but very drinkable. Next I had to go with their Smoked Porter. beer_retard assured me it wasn't overly smokey, like the Alaskan. He was right on, it was a solid porter with just a hint of smokeyness. Since these were pints and not little tasters that we were imbibing I could only have one more and I chose the Levitation Ale. Mmm, that was a damn tasty beer.

Our next stop was Pizzaport but before that we had to hit a quality beer store, and Churchill's for the Liar's Black IPA. I didn't have the Black IPA, just a sample of the Retard's but I can't tell you what I did have. I must pat myself on the back for not only being able to do all the driving required for this day but my internal homing device was ON, and I was finding our way to places I had never been before like I went to them everyday.

At Pizzaport I had three pints but I can't really go into them too much because I don't remember them that well. I think I started with the Cream Ale and it was light, creamy and good but nothing like the cream ale that Anderson's puts out - that beer is CREAMY! Next I had the Porto Pale Ale. It was a bit better than Stone's pale ale but not the best I have ever had. I finished my last bites of pizza with the Shark bite Red Ale. Good beer but not overwhelmingly the shit.

I had a couple of beers at the bar we went to to play pool but I can't recall them now. Maybe next time I should geek out and keep notes. By the time we got back to the room I was really full and really tired. It was a festive day of drinking and I was ready for the dream fairy to come.
Wednesday, March 7th, 2007
1:47 pm
San Diego - Day 2
One thing I didn't want to do is get weighed down by drinking too much and not eating or exercising enough. So, the first thing I did Saturday morning was go running along the beach boardwalk. It was a beautiful day in terms of the weather and the surfers and the early-rising shop-owners but the horizon had a horrible smog line to it. I knew about LA, smell-A, and its smog problems but I had no idea that San Diego suffered similarly. The worst part was that it was a breezy morning but that smog never budged from the horizon all weekend long. Ick.

Once I was back in the room all I could think about was drinking beer. But first we went to breakfast and then we set out for Alesmith. Alesmith is located in the middle of office park hell, hidden by strip mall hell, on Miramar Road, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. We arrived at 1225 and had to waste time in hell before Alesmith finally opened its doors at 1pm.

Alesmith was worth the wait. I started out with a taste (they only served 4 oz. tastes) of My Bloody Valentine Ale. It was full of unusual flavors and it really woke the taste buds up - what was that spice?! It was good but nothing I would go to as a regular. The same could be said of their Belgians, Lil' Devil, Horny Devil, and Grand Cru. Don't get me wrong, they were all very solid offerings, just not what pumps my turbines. The Nautical Nut Brown Ale wooed me a bit more than the others with its non-stop malty goodness. I could spend a weekend drinking a case of this by the ocean, writing and listening to early Who.

Their barleywine, Old Numbskull, was very tasty. If I wanted to completely forget my weekend, this would be the beer I packed. I would be eating cake after midnight and peeing off the deck for sure. However, it was the Wee Heavy that really hooked me. That's a beer I could sip, savor, and be seduced. It made me want to spank the brewer and kiss his mom - it was THAT good! Just writing about it makes me want to have some. I also tried the Alesmith IPA and felt it was a really good beer too but nothing was taking my mind off the Wee Heavy. The only beer I tasted that I was less than impressed with was the ESB. My advice to Alesmith is don't waste your time with the ordinary, keep pushing the boundaries with specialty ales, you are great!

Nine four-ounce samples really add up. But not wanting to miss our window of opportunity to sample Ballast Point, we headed straight there.

Once inside it is easy to see that this place started as a brewer's supply store and the brewery came about later because everythign in front is about brewing your own, and everything in the rear is about their beers. The Alesmith tasting area was located inside their brewery, to the rear, so it was pretty cramped quarters but Ballast Point outdoes them for awkward immobility. I liked feeling part of the brewing experience at Alesmith with their tight, cold tasting area but at Ballast Point it seems a bit more like I am standing in the way of shoppers and those trying to get to the taps. I know, this has nothing to do with the taste of the beers but I thought it was worth noting.

At Ballast Point I started with the Calico Amber Ale and it was just a straight-forward amber ale with nothing notable about it. It was good, sure, just not a shiver-me-timbers standout. Next I went with Yellowtail Pale Ale. Now this is a beer so pure and good at what it is meant to be that it is noteworthy. This defines a pale ale that would be excellent for a desert island stay, or just something to have a case of the next time you have two good friends come over for some session drinking. I highly recommend trying it at any cost.

After the Yellowtail I went for it and tried the barrel-aged Black Marlin Porter. Barrel-aged dark ales are all the rage these days and mostly for good reason. The interesting complexities that barrel aging adds is phenomenal. This is a stand up porter on its own but with barrel aging it becomes psychedelic on the tongue. A great beer to end the evening with by a fire. Mmm, pull after pull on the bottle would give great, swirling memories.

I had a couple more tastes at Ballast Point but one was so good that I have to hand it off to beer_retard because it had coffee in it, and the other was a combo that our new found friend, the bartender, had concocted for us. The Retard also had the IPAs, which I sipped generously on and they were real fighters, kicking butt with hops in hand. I left there needing water and food, badly.

We had a decent meal, stayed in a nice hotel, but there was no more drinking to be done this day. Who would have thought that a bunch of samples would have slayed me the way these did? It was a very good day of drinking though, maybe the best I ever had.
Tuesday, March 6th, 2007
11:04 am
San Diego
Day 1: We arrived in San Diego at almost 10pm and headed for our Mission Beach hotel. It was nice to find that it was located right on the beach. We dropped our gear in the room and headed straight for The Liar's Club. After a quick walk down a warm, partying Mission Boulevard we were there. The place was crowded but not wall to wall packed. Since it was Friday night the local beers were on special for 250 a pint. I read the beer list on the chalk board in total awe and ignorance. I read names but had no idea what they meant. I went with the Alesmith, Nautical Nut Brown Ale as my first pint.

I figured the Nut Brown would be tasty but not palate crushing, like an IPA might be. Alesmith's Nut Brown was a lot more flavorful than I was expecting. Silly me. I was expecting something like a Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale but instead I got the fullness of a Lost Coast Downtown Brown. It was rich in dark malt characteristics and had a nice, slightly bitter finish. After a pint of that I was well on my way to experiencing the strengths of San Diego brewering.

My next beer was a Lightning Baltic Porter. I was unfamiliar with the baltic porter before this beer and if this be the baltic porter, I say bring it on. It was like a regular porter mated with a barleywine. It had the dark porter color and aromas but the strength and complexity of this balitc porter was unlike anything I have had before. Semi-sweet, robust malts and soft hops danced on my tonuge as I lassoed it down my throat. Mmm, I knew the weekend had lots of promise of more beers with the craftiness of this one.

Last call came at 1130pm so we went to the local bottle shop on the way home and found a treasure chest of local brews available there. We decided upong the Green Flash, Trippel. What a great Belgian ale it was, the perfect way to end an auspicious beginning.
Friday, February 6th, 2004
10:59 am
Want to drink some FREE good beer?
well i have a reservation for 3 for the Anchor Brewery tour on Portrero Hill but I can't make it. before I call and cancel it I was wondering if anyone wanted to take my reservation and just say you are me. lemme know.
Friday, December 26th, 2003
2:35 pm
SF Brew Co. and onward
All right me and beer_retard are heading over to the San Francisco Brewing Company at 430pm today if anyone wants to meet up with us. We are gonna sample some beers and then move on to some pool. Call my cell if you are coming: 415 385-1765. Cheers!
Thursday, December 18th, 2003
4:31 pm
Drake's in San Leandro
In an effort to breathe some life into the corpse that is this community, I wanted to invite people to leave work early tomorrow and join me and neschek at Drake's in San Leandro. I can give you a few reasons to go:

1. They have beer. Several different kinds. I hear it's pretty good.

2. You'll be able to taste the beer for FREE from 4-7pm.

3. You'll be able to tour the facilities.


We're meeting up at the San Leandro BART station at 5pm. Anyone, anyone???
Wednesday, June 18th, 2003
1:59 pm
Happy hour at Sparky's?
Every time I've been to Sparky's (Church St. near Market), it's been after 2am and I've had a lot of beer in me. The middle of the night drunken feast of omelettes, hash browns and toast is something everyone should experience (and quite a few do if my hazy memories of the place being crowded are correct). But who would ever think of going there for happy hour?

In today's Guardian, the Bar & Clubs pullout section has a list of five bargain places to go for happy hour. Sparky's is one of them (the others were Dave's, The Phone Booth, The Tonga Room and Trax) and the reason why is $1 beers from 5-10pm!! I can't think of another place that has $1 beers in SF. $2 maybe, but not a buck. Please let me know if I'm wrong. I think Sparky's may be on the agenda the next time money is scarce. My sister recently told me about some place in DC that has 5 cent beers during happy hour. 5 freaking cents for a beer!!! Part of me is glad I don't live anywhere near a place like that because AA meetings might be in my future.

So what is everyone's favorite place for happy hour?
Thursday, May 29th, 2003
1:24 pm
Man, that beer train didn't move very fast but i sure did like it!
I have assurances from beer_retard that he will do a thorough post on our excursion last Friday on the Beer train but I wjust wanted to briefly note that it is for real! we only stopped in sunnyvale, mountain view and burlingame but man that sure was enough. i had a good heat after lunch, which was the second stop, and we just kept going. we hit the brewpubs as well as some side stops and it was all good. very good. next person to come through town will be taking the train with me because it was great fun!
Monday, May 19th, 2003
9:59 am
The Wild Side West
On Thursday after work, we'd planned to visit all three bars on Cortland in Bernal Heights. In the end, we only drank at one of them. We considered Skip's Tavern for its pool table and a reputation for unsavory clientele, but ultimately passed because there was some horrible band playing. We also passed on Charlie's Club because it was not the dive that it appeared to be from the outside. Inside it reminded me too much of the Lone Palm, a crowded yuppie hellhole on 22nd near Guerrero. So we did all of our drinking at what I now consider one of my favorite bars--the Wild Side West.

We arrived at the Wild Side in desperate need of a drink after witnessing a motorcyclist get smashed by a car while waiting for the 24 bus. It was truly horrific to see the poor guy lying in the middle of the intersection not moving. I hope he's still alive. Thinking about it once we were on the bus made me nauseous. My friend Jackson actually saw him fly off the bike. I'm glad I didn't see that much. When we finally got to the bar, I needed a beer and a smoke to get the whole thing off my mind. The Wild Side turned out to be the perfect place to unwind and distance myself from both the work day and the unpleasant images in my mind.

For those that don't know, the Wild Side is a lesbian bar. But it's unlike other lesbian bars in SF such as the Lexington because there seems to be a very mixed crowd and everyone is extremely friendly regardless of who you are. Within five minutes of getting our first beer and heading down to the garden out back, a group of people sat down with us, introduced themselves and offered us chips and medicinal smoking herbs. One member of the group was a vice president or something of the Cortland Merchants' Association and he told us some interesting stories about the bar and the area. Before it moved to Bernal Heights and became the Wild Side West, the bar was located in North Beach and called the Wild Side. We also learned that the pool table is the one from the original bar and, supposedly, Janis Joplin got busy on it. I'm not sure if that's true, but the stories were interesting.

The pool table is small, but in very good shape, the jukebox is decent (Pixies, Ramones, etc...) and the bartenders are very attentive if not overly friendly. But what sets the Wild Side apart is the garden (which is filled with all kinds of interesting nooks and artifacts and bird feeders which we got to see in action when we went back on Sunday afternoon) and the welcoming feeling and overall friendliness of the people that go there to drink. Even though it's a bit of a walk up the hill from where we live, I have a feeling I'll be heading back there regularly.

Coming this week if all goes well: slipkid and I ride the Peninsula Beer Train on Friday. Anyone else who has the day off is welcome to join us...
Friday, May 16th, 2003
3:42 pm
"the good is oft interred with their bones"
last night i met up with beer_retard and we went to Wild Side West in bernal heights. we were going to also visit Skip's and Charlie's but they weren't as appealing as WSW so after walking by and into the other places we returned to WSW. i won't go into the description of the bar or the colorful characters we met because the 'tard is going to do that. i call him the 'tard because the bas'tard beat me in pool. anyway, the reason for my post is just to say that it is unfortunate that no other people from the heretodrinkbeer group came out. i really hope we can get more of you out next time. i think after you read the 'tard's post you'll know that you really missed out and will come next time. peace.
Monday, May 12th, 2003
1:54 pm
golden pacific brewery
does anybody know what happened to the golden pacific brewery? i was trying to look up information online regarding their last friday of the month party and couldn't find their site so finally i called over there and the woman answering the phone said that they were no longer in the beer business. what's up?!
9:04 am
Bernal Heights this Thursday
We're tentatively planning a minor bar crawl for Thursday night. The neighborhood will be Bernal Heights. I did a bit of scouting of the area over the weekend and there are 3 bars: Charlie's Club, The Wild Side West and Skip's Tavern. All three are are sort of dive-y and two of them have pool tables. All three look like they have the potential to be interesting. The Wild Side West has what they call a "Magic Garden" out back. slipkid and I are going and I encourage anyone who's in town and not busy that night to come along. It should be a good time. All three bars are on Cortland and are directly on the 24 Divisadero line if you're taking public transit.
Monday, April 21st, 2003
9:24 am
It's no secret that I harbor an intense disdain for the Marina district of San Francisco. If slipkid didn't live there, I honestly don't think I'd end up in the area except maybe to take an out-of-towner down near the Golden Gate or to the Wave Organ. And maybe if I was uncharacteristically flush with cash, I'd head down to Fort Mason and eat a swanky vegetarian meal at Greens. Other than that, I think I'd avoid the neighborhood like the plague. Something to do with yuppies and pretension and a chip on my shoulder.

But since slipkid does make his home there, I've done my share of drinking at the area's bars. Mostly, we go to the Marina Lounge and the Horseshoe because they have pool tables. That's the only reason I can think of to go to either place...except maybe to see Sully, a very cool bartender at the Lounge. On Saturday, in between screenings at the SF Film Fest, Francesca and I took a long walk down Fillmore and ended up on Chestnut thirsty for an adult beverage. Both the Marina Lounge and the Horseshoe were crawling with loud, obnoxious Marina denizens and we had no intention of playing pool. So we ventured down Chestnut hoping Delaney's (2241 Chestnut St.) would be quieter.

I'd been to Delaney's a few times in the past, always on a crowded weekend evening. Not liking crowds and not liking the particular crowds you find in the Marina, I wasn't that keen on the place. But I always thought it could be alright under different circumstances...less crowded circumstances. I also remembered they had some good bartenders. One in particular was a real smart-ass (in a good way) and poured a mean Guinness (with the shamrock on top of the head and everything).

Turns out I was right. We were lucky enough to find the place practically empty and it was much more enjoyable that way. No Guinness-pouring pro at the bar, though. An Italian lady and her nephew were watching over the place, which seemed kind of odd. The lady was nice, but I doubted she would pour me a Guinness with the shamrock so I got something else. Francesca got on her good side by ordering Campari & soda. We stayed for about 30-40 minutes and it was pleasant. So I guess I can have a drink in the Marina without getting all angsty after all.
Thursday, April 17th, 2003
11:17 am
The Connecticut Yankee & Sadie's Flying Elephant
Went to a couple of bars with gordonzola and slipkid last night. The first was the Connecticut Yankee (100 Connecticut St.) in Potrero Hill. I'd actually been here once after a softball game. gordonzola's description of the place as the "least annoying sports bar in the city" is an apt one. Maybe the location has something to do with it. If you put the same bar in another part of town, say the marina, I'm sure it would be just like any other sports bar. One thing I did find annoying is the food menu's cutesy names for all their menu items (ex. the Ty Cobb salad, the Larry Birdger). But that's a minor quibble. They have a decent selection of beers on tap and they had the Giants-Astros game on the television. We had a couple beers and some fries and I gloated as the Astros came back from a 5-0 deficit to tie the game in the 5th inning. Then we headed up 17th to Potrero to our second and final stop of the evening.

I've been to Sadie's Flying Elephant (491 Potrero Ave.) at least half a dozen times. It's a great place, a little lively at times but still pretty mellow overall. A perfect hang-out kind of place. They have a good jukebox (with everything from the Minutemen to A Tribe Called Quest), 2 pool tables and the bartenders are usually very cool and down-to-earth. We played some pool, had a few more beers and watched the Astros end the Giants winning streak. The only negative about Sadie's is the location. It's not quite walking distance from my house (especially in the rain) which means it's a 2 bus trip that can be a pain in the ass. While waiting for the 22 at 16th and Potrero, we were joined by a drunk with a live chicken. The guy was drooling and mumbling something about Safeway having action figures. The chicken was impressive. When the drunk dropped his bottle and it shattered on the sidewalk, it didn't so much as flinch. I wondered aloud to slipkid if the guy had the chicken as a portable food supply. He didn't seem to think it was likely, but I'm not sure. The dude was a mess, but I wanted to give him some credit for ingenuity.
Sunday, April 13th, 2003
3:28 pm
brew tour
i tried to set up a tour of the anchor brewery for may 2 but it turns out they aren't having tours that week. i was also informed that groups of more than four should make reservations at least six weeks out. anyone want to take the tour the friday before memorial day?
Thursday, February 13th, 2003
6:13 pm
Finnegan's Wake
I went to this bar with Socialretard about two weeks ago and I think it says something that I haven't got around to posting my review of it until now. When i first got in there I noticed how naturally well-lit the place was, with an open backdoor to the patio and an open front door. one of the first things i noticed was the rather limited tap selection. and i don't mind small bars having to be eclectic about their selection of beers they carry on tap but if it is a small Irish bar it had better have a decent selection of Irish beers on tap. now, like i said, it has been awhile since my visit so i will rely on Socialretard to correct me, but i didn't see Harp and a selectoin that impressed me in anyway. it was adequate, in terms of having Guinness and a couple others that i like but nothing too special. actually, the special they did have was on black hook, from the Red Hook brewery. i think it wsa $2 a pint because it was starting to turn a bit sour but after two i didn't mind so much. but i gladly switched to Guinness after my third because Socialretard wasn't about to have another one.
I liked the pool table, it was a pretty true roll and relatively few marks and divots in the felt. the only down side of that is that SR was kicking my ass all over the table. i think it was only 75 cents a game which is nice, very nice. the cue sticks were on the haggered end of the spectrum but i couldn't really blame my game on them because i had the better of the two sticks. at times the wall gets in your way but that's not a recurring problem in every game.
so if i had to give Finnegan's Wake a rating between 1 and 7, with seven being the best (i.e. free beer, lots of the Jam on the jukebox and no yuppies in sight) i would have to say it was a three. it was all right but nothing special to make it better than most bars i would go to. i did go during the day (which for my purposes was better) so maybe they weren't at their best, but it wasn't much. the jukebox was mediocre. everything was kind of mediocre. that's why i give it a 3. now if James Joyce was sitting at the bar while i was writing in my journal waiting for SR, then that would have made it really really something (besides the fact he is dead) - but he didn't and it wasn't.
Monday, February 10th, 2003
8:53 am
brewery tours?
Hey folks,

For a while I've been angling to go on a tour of either Speakeasy or Anchor. Would anyone be interested in either of those?
Monday, February 3rd, 2003
11:19 am
*"We are here to drink beer... and (to) live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us"
I've lived in San Francisco for almost five years. In that time, I've visited my share of the city's bars. A few have become favorites, some have become places I'll go to if I'm in the neighborhood and others have become places I've vowed to never set foot in again. Conservatively speaking, I'd say I've been to around 70-80 bars total. Not much, considering how many there are. There are so many different neighborhoods in SF and each has its share of places to drink. slipkid and I plan on visting them all--or at least as many as we can without becoming full-blown alcoholics with no cash. A stupendous undertaking, to be sure. We probably can't do it on our own, so we welcome the contributions of our fellow SF/Bay Area residents. Go out and drink and write about it here. We'll do our best to make sure our musings are both entertaining and informative.

*The quote in the subject heading is by Charles Bukowski and provided the inspiration for the community's name.
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