December 27, 2008

Santas Cruz & Claus

One last blog post to cap '08 and to wish you all a merry Christmas, happy Hanukah, wonderful winter solstice or festive festivus.

Having been preoccupied with a big move and the holidays, I'm 10 days delayed in writing about a killer event down in Santa Cruz. Huge thanks to Janet at Capitola Book Cafe for inviting me, for hooking up some great press and radio and best of all, beer-love from the local brewpub, Seabright Brewery!

So Half Pint and I hopped in my ride and headed down the 101 to the 85 to the 17 to Hwy 1. Since we were there, we got in a little air hockey at the Boardwalk and some of my hands-down favorite ice cream c/o Marianne's. 72 flavors from Irish coffee chip and Mexican chocolate to Horchata and Cardamom. Alas, I was too full to take up Janet on her offer of a Bavarian feast (brats, red cabbage...) at the cafe portion of Capitola Book Cafe, served in honor of a beer book reading! I did, however, quaff a pint of Seabright's Pale Ale, c/o Jason the brewmaster and Charlie, the owner. It wasn't my first time drinking their beer, as I found my way to the brewpub back in April after running the Santa Cruz half marathon, since I only run so that I can drink more beer.

Over 50 chairs had been set up for the reading and each one was occupied when Janet announced me after some upcoming author events including Nicolette Hahn Niman (as in, Niman Ranch) in support of her forthcoming, Righteous Porkchop. All I know is, everyone who bought my book at the store got free beer. If attendees at Niman's event get porkchops, I'm there!

So I took the stage, offered a toast to all who raised and didn't raise their cups, and generally enjoyed one of my best events yet. The terrific audience included everyone from college kids just starting their own beer odysseys (including Banana Slugs from UCSC and a pair of fellow Gauchos from UCSB) to homebrewers in the Central Coast Zymurgeeks club to Charlie Meehan, the who went from young homebrewer to seasoned brewery owner, as he's the guy who founded Seabright 20 years ago.

The Central Coast is vying to become a formidble player in the California brewing scene. There were already a few breweries in Santa Cruz County, and in the past couple of years, I know of a couple more than sprang up including Uncommon Brewers (whose Siamese Twin Ale--the first beer I know of to employ lemongrass--was going to be paired with Thai food, but its still in my beer-chiller for some reason) and Santa Cruz Ale Works.* The latter only has a few beers out (I remember picking up the Hefe last time I was in town) but has a couple more on the way. I know because the brewer, Marc, who started the brewery back in '07, offered me a bottle of his new Oatmeal Stout. Paired with my mom's chocolate chip pumpkin bread, it's an exceptional stout--creamy and rich--and makes me look forward to his next beer, which is currently aging in bourbon barrels!

Thanks again to Janet & everyone at Capitola Book Cafe and all the many cool beer people who came out.

*That asterisk above? Consider this a trailer or coming attraction for an upcoming post about the aforementioned beer chiller (thanks to Santa in the form of my aunt Terri) and my overall new living situation. Prepare for Beeradise.

No comments: