To celebrate the blessed combination of Friday and Redding Beer Week, I did a wicked trifecta that consisted of Firkin Friday at the Alehouse, then Pints on the Patio at CR Gibbs, then finished the night with live tunes and Lagunitas at Vintage.
First up - Alehouse Pub, where three casks lay on the bar: Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada, the Wildcard Double IPA, and the Lip Ripa Triple IPA from Fall River Brewery. At 4:30, the crowd was already gathering and the casks were draining. I started with my favorite beer of the week, the Lip Ripa. It starts out with a strong piney hop blast, then finishes so mellow that you forget that it’s a 13%. Then it was back to the bar for a dessert-y, chocolate-tinged Narwhal Imperial Stout (another 13% ABV beast), then a quick stagger across the street to grab some dinner.
After the high-ABV appetizers, we walked over to CR Gibbs American Grille, where Fall River Brewing Co. was throwing down the Pints on the Patio party. The patio was jam-packed with partygoers, servers, live music, and the Fall River tent, which was serving up four of their best beers: Pitville Porter, NorCal Blonde, Hexagenia IPA, and the Kilty Pleasure Scotch Ale. I stuck with three rounds of the Kilty Pleasure. The beer was excellent, of course, so the food had a lot to live up to. Fortunately, CR Gibbs’ pairing menu showed that the chefs were up to the challenge. The Mediterranean Plate, Drunken ‘Shrooms, Avocado Eggrolls, Ribeye Skewers, Tempura Prawns, and Mini Ahi Tacos (with wasabi guacamole!) more than held their own against the excellent beers with which they were paired. We ate, drank, reveled in the fresh air and live music, then snagged a ride to cap off the night downtown.
Note: the decreasing quality of the photography may represent the photographer’s growing inebriation.
By the time we got to Vintage Wine Bar & Restaurant we were too late for the Beer’d Contest, but we were just in time to enjoy the Lagunitas on tap. The bar was as lively as ever, with the band jumping, the room and patio loaded with people, and the staff hustling to get drinks in empty hands. I started out with a Lagunitas Sucks and, thanks to the hoppy start and smooth malty finish, I stuck with it for the remainder of the night. I wandered back and forth, stopping to chat with the friends that had packed the place out. It could have been the seven beers of varying alcohol volume, but by the time I was finishing out my second Sucks, I had a revelation: drinking great beer, eating delicious food and having a great time with old and new friends - this is what Redding Beer Week is all about. It’s an opportunity to get out and enjoy the best of the North State: the best breweries, the best restaurants, and the best people. And it looks like we as a community made the most out of that opportunity.
Well done, Redding. Cheers!