Friday, October 31, 2014

Finding Craft Beer Around Disneyland

Recently my wife and I celebrated our (lucky) 13th anniversary by taking a trip to Disneyland in California.  We did our honeymoon at Disneyworld in Florida, but this was my first time in CA.  I could write a book on our adventures in and around the parks, but since this is a beer blog, I'm going to focus on that!  Let's just say this about Annaheim: the craft beer revolution has been slow to arrive there.  I was able to find a few options for good beer, but had to search hard for them! 

We stayed at the Grand Californian Hotel right on Disney property, making for a very convenient commute into the parks.  This massive edifice of housing is quite impressive, clean and comfortable, but it can take you a while to traverse the length of it!

Disneyland itself is completely dry...being a family place and all.  This was very noticeable when we had a nice dinner in the Blue Bayou restaurant within the Pirates of the Carribean ride.  We had options of soft drinks, virgin mojitos, or lemonade to go with our main dishes.  Wine or beer would have been wonderful here! 

After a long afternoon of Disneyland chaos I was happy to find that our hotel Hearthstone Bar was open late and had a few options for craft beer (including Racer 5 IPA and Firestone Walker Double Barrel in bottles.) 

Accessed directly from our hotel, we were also able to visit Disney California Adventure (DCA).  This is the newer area of Disney, focused more on the Pixar era with giant mock ups of Cars scenery, Bug's Life, and even my old favorites the Muppets.  I discovered that Karl Strauss Brewing had a beer truck selling $8 pints of beer in plastic cups hidden away near the Wharfside eating area.  The beers were nothing stellar, but at least they were available!  The IPA was probably the best of them. 

Downtown Disney is the nightlife spot just outside the parks and hotels, with some Disney owned restaurants and shops as well as others like the House of Blues and Rainforest Café.  Most of these close pretty early (around 10 when we were there) so getting a night cap is unlikely at most places.  I think the best options for beers we discovered was at the Catal Restaurant and Uva bar.  They had about 10 taps at the bar and 5 in the restaurant, as well as some bottled beers to choose from.  I had a HUGE glass of Valiant DIPA that about did me in with my wonderful meal.  I highly recommend that place for dinner and beers! 

One would be remiss not to mention that The Bruery is a 15-20 minute cab ride from Disney property and have an amazing tap room.  I'll be writing that visit up separately!

So there you have it...a pretty short list, but I searched high and low and that is about as good as you will find right there at Disneyland.  I had a wonderful trip and really enjoyed the differences between the California and Florida experiences.  I do like drinking my way around the countries in Epcot though...

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