Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson
You may not know about the backstory of this
column in DaBelly.
The Art of the Craft column grows out of my
exploration of local craft breweries. Several years ago I organized
a series of monthly visits to craft breweries I called Craft Brewery
Pilgrimages. A group of us would meet each month at a different
brewery, sample their beers, hold a conversation, and ask questions.
Over a couple of years we visited around 14
breweries throughout Southern California.
The Art of the Craft has drawn on those
visits in some of the conversations I have chronicled. I have also
continued my travels to visit breweries in California. For example,
I have written about
Brewery in Fullerton. One
month I wrote about following a Gold
Line Pub Crawl and another I
described where I would stop on my way up the coast
of California to Big Sur. A
visit to London in
the UK allowed me to discover the Mayflower.
I wrote about
a visit to Wick’s
Brewing in Riverside. One
month I described listing three breweries in Berkeley.
I have also described visits to a number of breweries in San
This month I took an opportunity to explore
another California venue for craft beer north of Big Sur. My most
recent craft brewery pilgrimage took me to Monterey.
Monterey Bay and the Monterey Peninsula
are in a beautiful part of the California coast between Big Sur and
Santa Cruz. While there we visited the Monterey
Bay Aquarium and the Point
Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific
Grove, as well as three craft brewing locations in the Monterey
Our first location was the Cannery
Row Brewing Company on Cannery
Row in the Historic District of Monterey.
We enjoyed our visit to the Cannery Row
Brewing Company. They had excellent food and a large variety of
beers on tap. I ate Ahi Poke and drank a Belching
Beaver PB Latte.
Some of my more astute readers might be
asking, but, if you were in Monterey, why were you drinking a San
Our server Kelly gave us some background
information. Cannery Row’s location in the historic district is
apparently both a blessing and a curse.
The owners who established Cannery Row
Brewing intended to brew their own beer in Monterey. Their location
means they face additional obstacles and regulations. They have made
several attempts to begin brewing their own beers but have not yet
been able to get started.
Cannery Row Brewing has found several
creative ways to provide excellent beer to their customers. They
contract with breweries around them to produce brews to which they
have special access. They also do a great job of curating an
impressive selection of beers from a variety of breweries. Cannery
Row pairs their delicious food with a good selection of craft beers
to serve locals and visitors to Monterey.
The second stop on our pilgrimage to
Monterey was the Alvarado
Street Brewery. Located in a
historically registered building, though not in the historic
district, Alvarado Street Brewing does brew its own beer.
We settled in for lunch and I enjoyed a
Vegan Impossible Burger and a flight of beers brewed at Alvarado
I dove into the hoppy end of the pool by
beginning with their Azacca Dependent, a West Coast IPA with 100%
Azacca hops. My second selection was their Single Cone, another West
Coast IPA brewed with California Ale yeast and Mosaic, Citra, and
Amarillo hops. Both of these IPAs were tasty and refreshing.
My third selection was their Imperial
International Style Juice a double IPA brewed in collaboration with Reuben’s
Brewery in Seattle,
Washington. This imperial version of last year’s collaboration is
gloriously hoppy with a fruity fermentation.
My fourth choice was their Local Shred Red,
a World Beer Cup gold medal winning Double Red Ale. My fifth and
final selection was their Blackbeard’s Delight, a smooth dark ale
with dark chocolate and espresso aromas and British roasted malts.
I had hoped to try their Best Part of Waking
Up , a nitro milk stout, but they ran out just before we arrived.
The third stop on my Monterey pilgrimage
Ales Brewery in Marina, a few
miles north of Monterey on Highway 1.
I have written before about the significance
British beers have played in my life. Visiting English Ales Brewing
was a great reminder of how important British beer is to me. They
brew their beers based on English recipes and use grains and hops
I ordered fish and chips and a flight of
My flight included their Big Sur Golden Ale,
a delicious light ale with a faint citrus flavor and their Monterey
Bay Wheat, which is an American clear wheat beer. I continued with
their Fat Lip Amber Ale, a smooth, rich amber ale which they
discovered by accident, and their Pendragon Strong Ale, a well
balanced, flavorful malty ale. My next selection was their 1066
English Pale Ale, a classic English pale ale. Next I sampled
their Dragonslayer IPA, an English style IPA, and their Bad Bobby
IPA, a West Coast session IPA. My next selections were
their Corkscrew Ale, a traditional Best Bitter, and their Monk’s
Brown Ale, a premium, malt forward, English style brown ale. I
completed my flight with their Black Prince Porter, an English style
porter with roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee flavors.
I strongly recommend you take your own craft
brewery pilgrimage to Monterey.
Greg Richardson is a spiritual leadership
coach and spiritual life mentor in Pasadena, California. He is
passionate about craft brewing, listening, and monks and monastic
life. Greg is a recovering attorney, executive, and university
professor. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com and
he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk.
You can email Greg atStrategicMonk@gmail.com,
and he writes a blog for the Contemplative channel