My employment with the Alameda County Fair has offered many opportunities to expand my horizons. It would be here that I worked with Tom Dalldorf; of the Celebrator Beer News, on the homebrew and wine competitions. Both he and Bill Owens, founder of Buffalo Bill’s Brewery, have had a tremendous influence on my love of quality beer. Fortunately, my understanding husband has been supportive of this passion and for my birthday treated me to the 62nd Annual Brew Angels Pub Crawl. The Brew Angels Homebrew Club is the sponsor of the Amador County Fair Homebrew Competition.
Troy and I boarded the full size tour bus with our fellow Brew Angels on Saturday morning. We were headed out to four Sacramento / Auburn area breweries. After loading a jockey box and a few ice chests – beer cups were available to taste several of the homebrews. There were two different Kolsch brews to taste, and a variety of other purchased brews. As the bus headed north on Hwy 99, I decided to save my taste buds for the brews ahead.
Brew Angels founder and Prez Rick Stanton
First stop was the Auburn Ale House. The brewmaster, Brian Ford, gave us a very informative tour of the small but impressive brewing facility. Upstairs, he shared with us his blend of 2009 / 2010 Barleywine, ABV 10%. This beer, not yet bottled, was aged in Mt. Vernon Winery’s port barrels. We picked up a bottle of the PU240 Imperial IPA, ABV 8%. PU240 was recommended in the most recent Celebrator for hop-heads.
Brian Ford, brewmaster, Auburn Ale House
and Samie Watson, Brew Angels matriarch
Next stop was the Sudwerk Riverside, located in Folsom along the American River. The large picture windows showed off the fall colors along the river, Rainbow Bridge and Lake Natoma Crossing. I ordered a sampler of both beers and appetizers. The beer sampler included a Pilsner, Lager, Hefe Weizen, Marzen and an IPA. Of these, I found the Marzen to be the most flavorful. The appetizer sampler included an avocado egg roll, calamari, onion rings, and mini crab cakes accompanied with Ranch, sweet chili sauce, and Aioli dipping sauces.
The queen with her sampler sudwerk
Our lunch stop was at Hoppy Brewing in Sacramento. We walked in to find our table set up and appetizers of hot wings, French fries and mozzarella sticks delivered as soon as we sat down. These French fries were the best I have had in years – golden with bits of skin left on crunchy on the outside, tender inside. Pitchers of water and beer followed close behind. Every plate of food that came out looked delicious! Most popular at our table was the Rueben Sandwich. I ordered the Grilled Portabello Sandwich on Focaccia with house made chips. My lunch was very filling (or could it have been the fries?) so I took some home for dinner. I was getting a bit “beered out” but tasted both the HOPPY CLAUS, ABV 7.8% and the Big Swinging D.IPA #2, ABV 8%. I preferred the hoppy flavor of the D.IPA.
The final leg of the pub crawl was at Rubicon Brewing in Sacramento. This VERY popular brewery in mid-town Sacramento was packed. They were doing a special pouring of Sierra Nevada Brewery’s 30th anniversary beers. Sierra Nevada was delicious, but because of the special tasting we did not get to try any Rubicon Brew. Rubicon Brewing has won several gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival for their IPA Flagship Ale. Next time!
As we headed home, it was unanimous that the Auburn Ale House was by far the best! Not only were they welcoming but offered us an educational experience. Every beer we tasted was to character and tasty. Troy and I can’t wait to go back and try their food. The chefs were busy preparing for the day and it smelled delicious! This is the 2nd Pub crawl Troy and I attended with the Brew Angels. Should you have the opportunity to go on a Pub Crawl – just do it!
“A quart of ale is a dish for a king.” – William Shakespeare
“A quart of IPA is a dish for a queen!” – Susie Calhoun