On a recent anniversary trip to Disneyland, I discovered that one of my favorite breweries was a short cab ride away from our temporary home of the Grand Californian Hotel. I have tried several of The Bruery's amazing beers over the past few years, but there is no Minnesota distribution, so they are hard to get my hands on. Their most sought after beer is probably Black Tuesday--an insanely strong and sweet bourbon barrel aged Imperial stout. The oddly spelled name stems from the owner/brewer's name: Patrick Rue.
|The view from our section of the bar...|
Taking a break from the (dry) Disneyland fun on this particular Sunday, Sj and I hopped in a cab for the short jaunt to the small industrial park where the brewery is located. When we arrived we asked our driver what the best way to get a cab back would be. He said he could wait an hour for us (which seemed strange) but we didn't want to tie ourselves down on time. More on this later. The simple but large tasting room was fairly full when we arrived, but we were able to snag a couple of seats at the long bar. Nearly everyone there had wooden sample tray in front of them, almost no pints of beer were being poured--very different from the average tap room. Near the entrance they had a sign up for tours and sheets of paper with written descriptions of the 32 tap beers and another for their bottled options to take home. Tastefully framed versions of their bottle labels decorate the walls behind the bar...and not so tastefully slapped all over the place in the bathrooms. Behind the bar they also had a not-so-secret stash of bottles to be bought for on premises drinking--including some pretty hard to find stuff like the barrel aged Bois.
|Stainless and bottles...so many pretty bottles!|
Our servers were awesome. Instead of rolling their eyes at us for waffling on our sampler orders, we received great advice, and perfect hospitality. Frankly I am seldom confused by beer menus, but this thing was so huge and many of the beers were high-test, so I was a bit boggled. With help from our servers and from the nice "regular" lady seated next to us we were finally able to order a few rounds of samples. The samplers came in a cool wooden crate carrier and were all served in little snifter glasses. Most of these were pretty pricey, but all were worth it! In addition to just a huge list of beers, they also had a couple of mini flights with either different vintages or different treatments of the same beer (oaked, cocoa nibs, etc.) They had a couple of options only for their Reserve Society members...one of the perks of joining.
|Seriously, have you ever seen this many beers from one brewery?|
We ended up getting several groupings of beer, each seemingly more impressive than the last. A few didn't hit the mark--the Coffee Smoking Wood comes to mind (just too astringent.) Favorites were the malt-bomb barleywine Mash and its coconut incarnation. I was also a huge fan of the hoppy, bretty saison Atomic Kangaroo. A tour was going to leave about halfway through our debauched tasting, but I didn't want to let our seats go in the rapidly filling up taproom. Oh, and I wanted to keep trying more amazing beers! Sj and I had planned an hour or so for the tasting, but even without the tour we ended up spending closer to two hours at the taproom. To counter some of the booze, we ended up needing some food from the cleverly placed food truck outside the brewery.
We ended up buying a whole case of beer to take home with us (we had brought an empty Styrofoam shipper to Disney for just this purpose) as you get 15% off a full case of 750 ML bottles. We also lucked out and were there during the special release of White Chocolate--a big and chocolaty wheat wine. Between the obscene amount of samples we tried, $30 White Chocolates, and all the rest--this was not our cheapest brewery visit!
Word to the wise on visiting by cab: one can get there easily, but getting back home can be more problematic. We had the friendly bar staff call us a cab when we were wrapping up our buying spree, but 25 minutes later no-one had arrived to pick us up. After another call we were assured that a car was 5 minutes away. By this time were both really ready to get our big heavy box of beers back to the hotel and get back to Magical Disney activities. After 15 minutes I called another company (Yellow Cab) and they said they would get someone out for us. After 15 more minutes someone got dropped off at the brewery and we dove for the cab before he could leave the parking lot. 30 minutes later (after finally arriving back home) I got a call from the Yellow Cab telling me that they still didn't have anyone to pick us up. So plan ahead or rent a car!
I love the beers from The Bruery with a passion. This was a holy pilgrimage for me and other than the cab issue was one of the best taproom visits I have ever had! I'm looking forward to slowly doling out my spoils over the coming months to prolong the memory and experience. If you get out that way--this place is a must visit. And if you can get access to their beers in your market: do so now!