Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More Adventures of the Frisco Kid

You didn't seriously think I would let you off with only two days of vacation stories, did you? OR maybe you thought all the bedbugs from the Travelodge weighed my arms down too much to type anymore. Sorry if I got your hopes up, but local beer news is slow (though Marble has an oatmeal stout aged in Woodford barrels with vanilla bean added on tap right now) so I am revisiting day 3 of the trip. You're welcome.

What do you know? Another rainy, miserable day in San Francisco. The day brightened with a visit to Healthy Spirits, an awesome beer store in some hilly (go figure) part of the city with no parking. The ten trips around the neighborhood were worth it for the sheer geeky selection and beer conversation going on in the store. Healthy Spirits gets in all the rare stuff you could want and the folks there will be more than happy to point you towards a beer you will love. We walked out with some Midnight Sun Treat Imperial Pumpkin Porter and HeBrew Vertical Jewbilation, a blend of all their previous anniversary beers.

We had to do some touristy stuff, so we braved the light rain and walked around Fisherman's Wharf. The place is part outdoor mall shops, part Atlantic City style boardwalk junk shops, but with fewer Puerto Ricans. There was an amazing exhibition of working arcade games from the past 100 years on display, and we killed an hour or so there. It was truly an amazing experience, from being awed at the craftsmanship of the early games to playing Battlezone like I used to at the mall. And still sucking at it and getting pissed that I spent a quarter on it.

After my Pac Man fever had subsided, it was late afternoon and we still didn't have a room for the night. We went online and did the good old name your own price on Priceline. Why, why do I do this?? Because I'm a cheap bastard for one, and stupid to boot. MY stupidity was rewarded with a night booked at the Hotel Carlton, a "Boutique" hotel. Anyone go back with me to the Chicago trip of 2009, when I was also put in a crappy boutique hotel? That place really sucked, but this one was ok. We were apprehensive enough just from the word "boutique" that we were just going to eat the cost of the hotel and get another place without even checking out the Carlton, but we gave it a try. Not too bad. They had a free wine happy hour in the lobby and the room was clean. No heat fans, which is always a nice touch.

We spent little time in the room and hailed a cab for the Mission District, home of The Monk's Kettle, a yuppie-ish bar with seriously good beers and bartenders who knew their stuff. They were heavy on the Imperial Stouts that night, so I was too. We had some Firestone Walker 2009 Black Xantus, Oskar Blues 2009 Ten Fidy, and Old Rasputin served on nitro. We then headed a couple of doors down to Gestalt for Ninkasi Tricerahops DIPA on tap. Finished the night with a stroll (kidding, I don't stroll. I strut.) down 16th St, where we saw some live jazz in a dark club called Amnesia. Bartender there was really cool and we had Hop Stoopid and HeBrew Lenny's RIPA on tap. Cool cats though we were, we had to go back to the hotel eventually, but at least I don't remember too much of it after all the beer. And look, we are almost done with the vacation tales! You can actually start paying attention again soon!

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