Wednesday, January 28, 2009


…or as we used to call it back in the early 1990s, “The North American Club” – a place where a Latino was likely last seen in the 1970s. Of course around 1992 I’d walk past the bar at 22nd & Valencia and never even peek in, mostly because I reckoned that my pasty white face wasn’t wanted there. Little did I know (until later) that there were legions of lipsticked Mission district hotties and craft beer-swilling hipsters all over the bar. Because of their very solid tap list and the general vibe of the place (not too loud, not too tame, more clean than most bars but also more of a dive – in all the right ways - than most as well), I frequented the place quite a bit in the 90s. That said, until the other night I think I’d been there once in the last ten years, having since moved on to bars/pubs where the beer is the main event, and not the “vibe” nor the attractiveness of the female patrons. In fact going to a regular bar, one without a killer tap list, often throws up such an internal quandary that I have to constantly provide myself with advice & counsel to not stress so much about what’s on tap, and to worry more about my companions & having a good time & all that. It’s hard, folks. I’m sure you know what I mean.

Anyway, my wife and I ducked into the LATIN AMERICAN CLUB the other night whilst on a “date”, and I ended up reacquainting myself with the place, as well as with two fresh-&-impressive craft beers. The place hasn’t changed a bit since ’95, man. There’s still about 8 or 9 beers on draft, with a couple of curveballs every time, nearly always from Northern California. I started off with MARIN BREWING IPA, which I’ve never tried before. I’ve had their WHITE KNUCKLE double IPA – and loved it – and hey, this one is pretty solid as well. It’s got a nice sweet maltiness to offset the liberal, bittering hops, and definitely trends more to the “grapefruit” side of the IPA spectrum than the “piney” side. It’s got a good fresh taste, and reminds me of a slightly lesser BEAR REPUBLIC RACER 5. But only slightly. 7.5/10 on this one.

I followed that with a beer that I think the Latin American has likely had on tap since 1995, and that’s LOST COAST DOWNTOWN BROWN. It’s a classic, at least for a brown ale, which is arguably the hardest beer to write anything about since the English pale ale. I was drinking this thing regularly back then, and I liked how it has a little more zing and more hoppiness than your typical brown ale. At least it did on tap the other night; mostly it’s a lightly-carbonated, malty brown ale, like all of ‘em are. I gave it a 7/10 and swore I wouldn’t wait eight years to drink it next time. That’s it, folks – just another night of intelligence-gathering to help you make informed decisions on where and what to drink. Glad I could help!

No comments: