Friday, April 20, 2007

A TRIP TO LANESPLITTER AND THE DRINKING THAT ENSUED

In the course of my latter-day beer spelunking I’ve heard mention of a certain “pizza pub” in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area that served outstanding craft beer, and nothing but. Rumor had it that said pizza pub, LANESPLITTER, even had the elusive MOONLIGHT beers on tap, and you know if that’s true then these folks certainly have got a keen eye for beer, because you don’t get that liquid gold unless you know what you’re talking about, right? I decided to find out for myself. Turns out that Lanesplitter has three locations, and word is that some are better than others. My pal Mike said the Berkeley one was where it was at, so that’s where we went.

I give Lansplitter a standing O for atmosphere, service and beer breadth for sure – this is a great place I’d be happy to call my neighborhood pub if I had the opportunity. Pizza was edible, that is all I have to say on them matter. Check out this beer selection, though, whoa! RUSSIAN RIVER Pliny The Elder on cask. Two MOONLIGHT beers. RACER 5. Some wild cards from smaller breweries like IRON SPRINGS. And the three beers I’d like to tell you about now:

DRAKE’S HOP SALAD – OK, I wrote about this crazy hop bomb a few weeks ago, and gave it an 8/10. No reason to change the scoring. This is for you extreme beer freaks, as Hop Salad is an absolute firebreather, one of the strongest Double IPAs ever witnessed. I don’t know if it will ever make it into bottles, but I have a feeling the word of mouth on this might just force their hand it bring it to the people. It’s a real special beer, one that I suspect with generate an army of supporters in the months to come. I’m drinking one whenever and wherever I get the chance, because it’s damn good.

BEAR REPUBLIC RED ROCKET ALE – Very strong, very hoppy red/amber ale from the makers (Bear Republic) of one of the greats, RACER 5 IPA. Low carbonation, a little thin in spots, and redolent of caramel perhaps – but mostly it’s bitter, bitter hops. Easily as strong as an IPA, maybe more so. I thought it was a bit much, and pined for a nice, cooling Boont Amber instead, but I’ll probably give this another go at some point. 6.5/10.

IRON SPRINGS COFFEE PORTER – Probably my first coffee-infused beer since that disastrous Red Hook/Starbucks mash-up from the mid 1990s whose name I can’t recall (whew!). This Coffee Porter was a great nitecap, and shows that this ‘lil Fairfax, CA brewery are really starting to become a player in the crowded Bay Area beer game. Thankfully they did not overdo the coffee angle, and stuck with a somewhat tart, smooth, and fairly subdued porter that really went down easy, but not so much so that you didn’t notice that someone had his gameface on when they were brewing this one, and put in some ingredients that gave this some character, unlike that KWAK we talked about yesterday. 7/10.

2 comments:

Beer Retard said...

Sounds good. I'll pencil this place in for my early May jaunt to the Bay Area. I think I have 3-4 hours free on a Sunday afternoon before I fly out of Oakland.

Steven said...

That Red Rocket is suppose to be more in the mold of a Scottish Ale... and a slightly hopped (for bear republic) Scotch ale at that. Regardless of what beer you like overall better (boont vs. red rocket), I think there's quite a bit of separation between the styles.