There it is – my first-ever iPhone photo, taken with my brand-new phone. Right there, to your left. Nope, not a picture of my son, nor my wife, nor the tops of my shoes, but a snap of CRAFTMAN BREWING’s HEAVENLY HEFE beer, taken last week at a fantastic bar/restaurant called THE NEIGHBORHOOD in downtown San Diego (technically in a slice of downtown called, get this, “the East Village”). Before I talk about the beer, let me give some big kudos for the bar.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD is a clean, light-filled oasis in the middle of downtown, with a drop-dead fantastic beer selection. The bartender, a young woman covered shoulder-to-fingertips in tattoos, was about the sweetest, most helpful bartender I’ve had serve me all year. She poured me tastes of wonderful elixirs like ALESMITH SPEEDWAY STOUT; advised me well on good local beers; and broke the rules and served me half-pints (so I could taste more beers). All this while I was wearing a ridiculous monkey suit jacket & shiny shoes, having just come from a work outing that more or less required me to wear them. Talk about great first impressions – THE NEIGHBORHOOD is a must-visit in San Diego.
CRAFTSMAN BREWING have been on my must-try list as well. They’re the only Los Angeles-based brewery I can even think of right now, and beer lovers of all stripes have been loudly singing their praises this past year. Their HEAVENLY HEFE is a silky, golden wheat ale. It has all the hallmarks of a classic hefeweizen: banana undertones, spicy clove taste, and this one’s even slightly astringent as times. It really smoothes out as it warms – not that I gave it much time to before gulping it all. Another good first impression, I have to say, though the one I really want to try from these guys is called TRIPLE WHITE SAGE. 7.5/10 for the hefe.