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Where Nerds Eat: Pismo Beach

Where Nerds Eat: Pismo Beach Part 1
by Mike Quezada

We recently had the opportunity to vacation in Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo, after I (FINALLY!) convinced my wife to run a half marathon with me. This area is one of the best in southern California for beer tasting, and the half marathon was the perfect excuse to taste lots of beer – Recovery Carbs YAY!

We set off early Saturday morning in her Mazda MX-5 convertible - yes, her car is the fun car and I get the fam van. There’s nothing better than a top-down road trip in a zippy car when you have perfect 80 degree sunny days. (Full disclosure, my wife works for Mazda) Our first stop was at Barrelworks in Buellton, Firestone Breweries Sour-style location. They have a restaurant attached to the brewery that serves all Firestone beers, so after you have had your fill, you can grab some great bar style food and relax before you head off on your way.

Our tastes went as follows (beer descriptions taken from the Barrelworks menu):
1. FV COMPONENT THREE: ORANGE MUSCAT / WHEAT BASED BEER: This hybrid concoction exhibits aromas and flavors of orange blossom and honeysuckle, a hint of toasted oak, some tannins, and a nice grainy cereal foundation. ABV12%.

2. GESTALT - WILD HYBRID BEER / WINE: Bursting with fruit , esters a spectrum of funky aromas and flavors, gestalt finishes long and full on the palate with bright acidity. ABV5.2%

3. BRETTA DE ORO - WILD AMERICAN ALE FERMENTED WITH GOLDEN AND SUNSHINE RASPBERRIES. Raspberry flavors give way to green apple and fleeting flavors of Jolly Rancher watermelon and confectionary sugar, all punctuated by signature earthy funk and bright acidity. ABV 4.5%

4. 2015 KRIEKY BONES: The aroma is of cherry pie complete with pie crust and spicy notes. Vienna malt notes give way to an assertive acidity and a bright carbonation. ABV5.7%

5. LA PICCOLA VIRTUOSAA - DARK SAISON: Toasty malt and oak play with an earthy funk and a tease of raisins and stone fruit before a balanced acidity and bright carbonation wash over the palate. ABV5.9%

6. 2015 BRETTA ROSE: Crisp effervescent concoction, bursting with raspberry perfume and flavor, bracing acidity, underlying funk, and a clean refreshing finish. ABV5.4%

7. SOUR OPAL- AMERICAN "GUEUZE" STYLE ALE: (Gueuze is a type of lambic, a Belgian beer. It is made by blending young and old lambics, which is then bottled for a second fermentation.) Ocean mist and gusts of bright citrus swirl on the palate, anchored by a funky foundation. This complexity to a very satisfying, richness, quenching acidity a rounded mouthfeel. ABV6.8%

8. 2015 BARRELWORKS BRETTA WEISSE- BERLINER WEISSE STYLE: Firm estery notes of stone fruit and tropical fruit lead to funky, yeasty, citrus aromas. Soft cereal and Oak flavors are enveloped by a firm acidity and tartness. The finish is dry and crisp. (They were nice to enough to pour a full glass of this for us, they knew we were a couple of lushes and would gladly take it. It is the tall glass pictured) This is the beer that is the basis for many of the sours on their list.

After all that, we definitely needed some food, so we walked the 10 feet to the Firestone Brewery - there’s a very helpful connecting door - and got a table to enjoy some pub grub and some of Firestone’s beers. (Side note, you cannot buy Barrelworks beers at Firestone, however if you were to buy bottles or growlers from Barrelworks, they will gladly give you glasses to enjoy your beer that you purchased.) The taproom’s beer list is pretty impressive, but us already being full from tasting, a little buzzed and not liking of IPA's, we decided to share their OAKtoberfest Beer and split our meal

We ordered the Fried Calamari and the Giant Pretzel, both were good but the pretezl was the better of the two. Over all we had a great time, food and especially the beer were amazing. Service is what you expect from a pub, but there knowledge of the ingredients and the attention to detail on what pairs well with each beer takes them above and beyond what you would normally expect from a pub brewery. I give it 4.5 Nerd Eyeglasses out of 5.

After checking into our hotel room a couple ours later, and a long needed nap, we decided to carbo load at a local Italian restaurant Called Rosa's Italian Restaurant in Pismo Beach. Local's flock to it like moth's to the zapper, it's cozy, it's quiet, and service is quite good. With a staff comprised mostly of locals and college kids they really seem to know their clientele very well. That being said, they seem to not have changed their menu in awhile, the food style seemed a little dated, not authentic, just stuck about a decade to late. Like I said they know what their clientele likes and if it's not broke don't fix it. Service was great, and the wine list was nicely detailed. I had their Rosa's Pizza and the wife had the Ravioli in 4 cheese sauce and we shared a very plesant bottle of wine. After a long day of driving and already having a heavy lunch, this place was very nice. I would give it 3.5 Nerd Glasses out of 5. Service and wine selection saving most of the meal.

Mike Q
the Food Nerd

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