Thursday, January 23, 2014
Don’t Fruit My Beer, Bro
Lost Coast Brewing Company
617 4th St.
I pride myself on being an adventurous beer connoisseur.
That’s why I was excited to check out Lost Coast Brewing Company way, way up the California Coast in the marijuana capital of America, Eureka, California.
Not that I had much choice in the matter.
Lost Coast was the only non-fast food place open for dinner I could find in the entire city.
Huh? I thought smoking pot made you hungry?
Apparently it must make you want to stay home.
I’ll have to check with Suit420 on that one.
If you are hungry in Eureka, California after 8pm you are either going through a drive-through or coming here.
The joint was packed with a diverse crowd of local beer drinkers.
I was already familiar with this obscure little brewery on the far edge of the continent because of Lost Coast’s famous winter beer, Winterbraun.
Winterbraun is supposed to be a rich, heavy, flavorful dark brew with a warming alcohol kick, perfect for riding out Northern California’s fierce winter storms by a roaring fire.
To be honest, I’ve always found Winterbraun to be kinda boring -- especially compared to kick ass winter beers like Sierra Nevada Celebration and Southern Tier Old Man Winter.
So I was looking forward checking out Lost Coast’s more interesting selections.
Damn. What a let-down.
It turns out that Lost Coast does brew up some unusual concoctions -- just none I would ever dream of ordering.
We’re talking fruit beers.
Tangerine. Raspberry. Strawberry. Apricot.
Yuck. Don’t fruit my beer, bro!
I haven’t voluntarily eaten a piece of fruit since the Reagan Administration. Don’t start putting it in my beer!
The giant menu board of beers read like the produce section of Whole Foods.
I thought I came to a brewery -- not a farmers’ market.
The Eight Ball Stout was a basic stout.
The Indica IPA offered nothing memorable.
I wrapped up with Lost Coast’s Downtown Brown which was thin and bland.
Okay. I get it. Not every microbrewery is going to do imperial porters and double IPAs.
But I was still disappointed.
Unfortunately, the food wasn’t much better than the beer.
The clam chowder was mostly potatoes, far inferior to the chowders I’ve sampled further north up the Pacific Coast Highway in Oregon.
I have to give credit to the generous portion of pulled pork on the pork nachos, but the chips were an epic fail.
Half the chips were kind of soggy and limp. The other half were hardened like a piece of petrified bark -- like they had been microwaved, a cardinal sin of nachodom.
Look. I am a nacho connoisseur.
Sure, a generous portion of meat piled on top is vital, but the chips play an important role too. They are the offensive linemen of nachos -- you don’t give them much thought until they screw the whole thing up.
I ordered the Hot Brown Sandwich as my entre.
No, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the famous Kentucky Hot Brown originated at the Brown Hotel in Louisville.
It was a sandwich featuring roast beef simmered in Lost Coast Downtown Brown Ale. Unfortunately, it was bland and boring just like the beer it was cooked in.
The cheap bacon, cheese and ranch dressing didn’t do much to revive this sandwich. The toasted sourdough bread was probably its best component.
Oh well. Not every microbrewery can offer up food and beer as exciting as Dogfish Head or Russian River Brewing.
That’s what makes finding those places so much fun.
It’s the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. That’s what this traveling life is all about.
I’m a big boy. I can handle the occasional defeat.
Just don’t fruit my beer.
Rating: Wouldn’t Wear Shirt if You Paid Me.