I go to San Luis Obispo to leave California. You can never complain about the weather in SoCal but if you want to look for a little character, history and charm, you sometimes have to dig deep. Most cities in Southern California have their old towns but their hard to find and when you do find them you better not blink your eye or you just might find your self in 1950's suburbia or in a cookie cutter new tract development. San Luis Obispo is so non-California that, when I'm there, I always feel that I'm in Oregon..
I went to the SLO Brewing company maybe 15 or 20 years ago when it felt that craft brews were just getting their footing. I remember the big deal at the time was to have a yard of beer. They had to be drinking Bud because I'm not,nor could I chug a Craft beer that I respect too much. I stopped by there again and I guess the word was out and the place was over flowing, mostly, I'd say with Cal State SLO students. I needed to find some place new, quick and nearby as I had to head back to the OC headquarters fairly soon. SLO has an amazing downtown. Its seemed like a pub or restaurant was in every other shop which reminded me a lot of the pubs in Ireland. I headed toward the beautiful creek that runs behind Old Town and stumbled upon Underground Brewing Company, a newer brewery. The brewery was the last store front just before arriving at the creek and its location, which sits above the creek, couldn't have been more perfect..
The Brewery was modern in decor for sure, not as rustic or as laid back as many breweries that I enjoy. This establishment had a view of the lush green creek side that made me take a double take as I now thought I was back in Hawaii where I had lived for eight years. There were six people in the brewery including the owners and their son who seemed to be training to pour and inform guests of their latest creation. It was quiet, picturesque and I wasn't going straight for a pint this time as usual; I was going to taste and ordered a Flight of eight brews including 2 German style Grolsch, four IPA's a coffee stout and a Pomegranate cider. As well documented, I'm an IPA guy and they did not disappoint.. While they were mild and satisfying, I always attend to the one with the greatest hops and maltiness. The first IPA style beer that I ever feasted on was an original Samuel Adams with its saltiness just doing something for me.I 'm always searching for a great coffee stout and while the Undergrounds was solid, I want the java flavor balanced and lasting without being overwhelming and I felt this one gave out on me a little too soon.
I just watched Anthony Bourdain on Netflix, visiting a friend in Hamburg, Germany and drinking Kolsch in a style I found interesting. They drank it as if it were a shot of whiskey which apparently is the typical German tradition with this style.. I went for it on both and was not disappointed. I had visited Solvang, a town nearly completely decored in traditional Danish architecture earlier in the day and sampled a German brew. I sometimes find Germans beers lacking in punch but I admit I'm not an expert yet.As I encounter more, I'm beginning to find the best and I'm slowly warming up to them and The Underground presentation of Grolsch is keeping the momentum going for me.
This is a great place to visit to get away from it and relax if you don't want the crowds; but hurry, maybe word of the Underground hasn't made it to the rest of this college town as of yet.
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