Old Ironsides / River City Saloon / River City Brewing / Streets of London Pub / Rubicon Brewing / Pangaea Café
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Due to Kjell's time restrictions, we were only able to dedicate one day and part of the next to SacBW festivities. It was a perfect amount of time, though. It gave me a good peek at the vibrant beer scene in Sacramento and left me wanting to return and explore more sometime.
We began right around 12:30pm on a perfect 63 degree Thursday at the California State Capitol building where I got some pictures, tried to imagine if I'd ever make it to D.C. for a UBH, and eyed the fruit on the orange trees. From here, it's about a mile to Old Ironsides. This is a cool old bar on the south side of downtown that is more of a music club now than anything. They are open early however, so stop in and check out some of the old photographs on the walls. You'll see that the inside hasn't changed all that much in about 60 years. The beer selection isn't outstanding, but they do have options suitable for beer drinkers with a conscience. I had an Anchor Steam and Kjell had a Sudwerk Pilsner.
Old Sacramento, which looks like an old west section of Disney world, but with more authenticity. At the River City Saloon we had a couple of Lost Coast Great Whites and chatted with the bartender. It was a quiet afternoon, but I bet this place gets pretty busy on weekend nights.
River City Brewing. The atmosphere is mall-ish and yuppified, but we really liked the beers and food we had there. Kjell stuck with the lighter stuff and had a Hefeweizen and a K Street Kolsch, I had a Vienna Alt beer and then a Gold Rush Amber that was on cask. This might have been my favorite beer of the day, but I hate making those choices.
Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, and into the Streets of London Pub. They were having a New Belgium night there, so we elected the Ranger IPA and bought a black & tan for my new friend Dave, who told me about Brew It Up, a you-brew place just around the corner. I really wanted to get over there and check it out (I love u-brew joints), but never made it. Next time!
From Streets of London, it's only a half-mile to Rubicon Brewing, the highlight of the hike, and the stop I was most looking forward to. The place was packed and there was no doubt that this was the heart of Sacramento Beer Week. There were simply too many things I wanted to try and I was damned full by now, but managed to fit in a Monkey Knife Fight Pale Ale -- probably the least exciting of Rubicon's offerings. I was OK with that because I had already decided to come back the next day (Firkin Friday) and spend more time there.
By this time our taxi had arrived (Kjell's mom) and we decided to come back tomorrow for lunch and lunch beers. This is a long hike, so if you don't make it all the way to Pangaea Café at the end, definitely try to get there before you leave town. And we did exactly that the next day.
Bear Republic APEX, a Rubicon IPA, and finished with a Ghiardelli Chocolate porter from Moylan's Brewing. They also have an impressive food menu and we enjoyed our sandwiches. For after lunch, I had Rubicon's Hop Sauce -- their best beer for my money.
When we left Rubicon, it was only raining a little -- certainly not enough to make me think twice about walking about 2 miles to Pangaea Cafe to finally taste some Water Witch. But we were not meant to stay dry that day (or even a little damp). The sky opened up on us about 20 minutes into the 45 minute walk and we arrived soaked but happy. At least I had a rain coat on, unlike my 100% cotton clad friend Kjell. Pangaea Café is a little out of the way place with a tremendous selection of Belgian beers. I examined my Odonata beer while Kjell had a couple of goblets of St. Bernardus Abt. 12, which made him a happier little monk than he normally is. With such a nice selection, it would have been nice to spend more time at Pangaea, but our taxi arrived again and this was to be the end of my time partaking in SacBW.
Final impressions: Downtown Sacramento is a very walker-friendly city. It was a really fun trip and I'm glad to have visited and explored a place that normally wouldn't be on my beer radar. I'd love to go back and walk around again sometime. I have no doubt that there are 6 or 7 places I missed. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear about them.
Mandatory stuff: Dear FTC, Kjell and I are not affiliated in any way with the businesses mentioned above and paid for everything we ate and drank with our own money.