CITY BEER in San Francisco is a beer store first and foremost, and would probably love to be a full-blown beer snob bar as well, but due to some archaic alcohol laws, he’s only allowed to pour beer from taps into 8-oz glasses – no pints, no chalices, etc. Sure, you can open up a 22-oz. bottle on the premises (Craig charges a ridiculously low $1 “corkage fee”) and quaff it down, but when you want to drink from his five rotating taps, you need to go small, and then go back often. This works for me, as it’s a great way to try new beers out without having to commit to a full pint. Craig also puts some crazy stuff on tap, only for a week at a time. The other day he even got Russian River’s hallowed PLINY THE YOUNGER, which I’ve never even had, and I couldn’t make it over there in time. The hoards had already descended and pounced.
Last week I sauntered in for my usual bi-weekly beer run, and met a nice fella there who actually reads this here blog. He gave me the good word on an English beer Craig had on tap called OLD SPECKLED HEN. I’ve heard of that one before, not a name you easily forget, but in 8 short ounces I was pretty knocked out by how great it was. It’s an English pale ale, from England even, bottled and canned for the US and international market by the MORLAND BREWERY in the UK. I love how smoothly it went down, and rather than that being its only discernable quality outside of the typical English beer “mm, that’s OK, isn’t it”, OLD SPECKLED HEN rocked me with some interesting front-facing hops, and a refreshing sweetness that mingled well with the bittering agents. Whoa. And then to surf on over to Beer Advocate and see it taking a moderate beating from the beeristocracy – hunh, just what was in the glass I had? Loved it, can’t wait to try it again. 9/10.