Thursday, February 13, 2014

Beer #179-194 / Day #37-38: Confessions Of A Male Beer Model

Are they trying to say I'm easy?
Last Friday started out wonderfully beery when The Mrs sent me a link to the tap takeover page for our favorite beer locale in Koreatown, Beer Belly.  We visited them for the first time maybe three years ago. At the time they weren't too busy & we hung out with the owner & his wife.  She was taking some photos to use for promotion on their website. They asked if we were OK with being photographed & included on their site. Naturally, we obliged. I checked their site a few times afterwards and never saw any pics of us from that day.  Dang!
Jump ahead several years, and there we are. I say "we" because my wife is the blurry one behind the text. But it's mostly me, a few years back, cheersing the owner.  Toasty.  Pleased.  And with a much shorter beard.
Wow, how cool. 
Full of octopus and proud of it
Then it occurs to me.  There's a pic of my face with the phrase "One Night Stand 2014" next to it.  Of course, it's Beer Belly's euphemism for monthly tap takeovers. But just the wording itself is the perfect analogy of my Big Year... being a complete beer whore for the duration of the year. Sippin' anything within arms reach, but refusing to go back for more. Like a goddamn tramp. My pal Sean Casey said it's a very '70s pic.  I'm just missing gold chains and a wider collared shirt.  Loose, drunk, and on the prowl for ladies to satisfy.  I've never been mistaken for a gigolo. Not once.  But for this one and only time, I enjoy the double entendre.
Cheers to Beer Belly!

Later Friday nite, we hit Honda-Ya in Little Tokyo with our friends Jim Gascon & Lily Thai, known from here on out as the celebrity couple GasThai.  This Japanese standby has been around for a while on the 3rd Floor of the shabby, dated, and mildly-depressing Little Tokyo Galleria Market. GasThai are regulars to this downtown LA spot, but it was our first time.  Seriously, one of the best dinners in recent memory, despite the lengthy wait.  Not an incredible beer selection, but a truly incredible food selection... raw wasabi octopus, deep fried octopus balls, skewers of beef tongue, pork belly, chicken heart... insanely, ridiculously delicious.  We'll definitely be back, as often as possible.
Even better, the restaurant was only one block away from Angel City Brewery.  This brewery is an enigma.  Since I moved to LA in 2001, I've been aware of Angel City, and I've randomly run across their beers in downtown restaurants & bars, but only in recent years did they open their doors, and only in the past year did they finally start bottling a handful of their brews.  Their tasting room is based out of a funky, industrial warehouse space downtown, the exact room that Jim Gascon's mom ironically worked out of, only a few years ago.  It's a large space, beer only, yet still comfortable and inviting.  I bought us a couple flights so we could sample everything.  Of course, flights are the best way to rack up numbers on one's Big Year, and Ms. Thai is just now starting hers.  No better place to kick it off.  Great beer across the board, friendly service, and they even pour a rare session IPA, their All Night IPA. Delicious & comparable to the other rare session IPAs I know & love, like Drake's Alpha.
Cuteness and beer, my two favorite things

After finishing pints of our favorites from the flights (mine was the All Night IPA, theirs was the Schwarzbier), we stumbled down to 3rd St, aka Hipster Central.  There's a semi-hip, but still down to earth bar / restaurant down the block from the eternally crowded Wurstkuche... we wrapped up our evening of over-indulgence at Americano. We were overly full from dinner, but the wafting of food smelled incredible.  Their tap & bottle list is very impressive.  Not crazy extensive, but just enough to cover all bases, and "exclusive" enough to please any serious beer nerd.  We all ordered something different & passed our braus around for tasting, like the faux-hipsters we claim not to be, but actually are. We drank, laughed, drank, and laughed even harder at the fact that our server graduated high school in 2008 and could easily have been our kid.
Downtown LA is The Shit.  But we decided to wrap it up, head home for rest & prepare for the coming manic weekend.

The tally from Thurs 2/6. Opening some bottles at home:
*RIO GRANDE DESERT PILSNER - Beer #179, picked this up in Reno. Great label, OK pilsner. 
*BOULDER BEER COMPANY HAZED AND INFUSED - Beer #180, mild pale ale, simple.
*IRON FIST VELVET GLOVE IMPERIAL STOUT - Beer #181, liked but didn't love this big boy.

The tally from Fri 2/7 downtown:
*SAPPORO DRAFT BEER - Beer #182, does its job. Average brew, non-intrusive, easy drinking and a decent companion to Japanese food.
*ANGEL CITY BREWERY GOLD LINE PILSNER - Beer #185, refreshing, straight forward
*ANGEL CITY BREWERY WHITE NITE- Beer #186, the biggest surprise of the evening, a "golden stout". Looks like a witbier, tastes like a box of cocoa nibs
*ANGEL CITY BREWERY SCHWARZBIER - Beer #187, the first choice of my other three companions 
*ANGEL CITY BREWERY BERLINER WEISSE - Beer #188, oddest sour I've tried, but not too acidic or punishing
*ANGEL CITY BREWERY ALL NIGHT IPA - Beer #189, my personal favorite on the Angel City roster, awesome session IPA
*BROUWERIJ WEST SAISON EXTRA - Beer #190, great one from a West Coast brouwerij that doesn't disappoint.
*ABITA BREWING HOP GATOR - Beer #191, hoppy pale, not bad
*TRUMER PILS - Beer #192, I'm not the biggest pilsner fan, but after hundreds of years, this Euro implant to Berkeley is a tried & true favorite
*BLACK MARKET BREWING BAVARIAN STYLE HEFEWEIZEN - Beer #193, light, tasty, good for a summer's day by the pool
*ALESMITH BREWING GRAND CRU - Beer #194, a darker Belgian style treat with yeast obtained from a Trappist monastery.  All I know is I want to trap this in my stomach as often as possible.

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