Sunday, October 6, 2013

Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse (Berkeley, CA)


In an earlier life, we lived and I coached speech and debate in LA. Each year I took my students to the Berkeley tournament in February. Gloria wanted to see the infamous Berkeley and I was reliving some old times. We enjoyed our walk around campus and replaced my Cal hat from the first tournament the Taft speechies attended. Sadly, some things are better left in the past—specifically, Fat Slice pizza didn't live up to my shades of memory.

In my previous (and only) personal trip to Berkeley, I met a friend at the Pyramid Alehouse, so I've been look forward to make up the missed opportunity to drink the Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse of Berkeley. On their website, Triple Rock places itself as the fifth brewpub ever in the US and the oldest one still owned by the originators. Walking in the door, the amount of cool breweriana is dizzying. According to Jesse, one of the TR staff members, it is all quite real and that the owner has enough to decorate the place several times over. It has the authentic feel of what TJ Friday's tries to accomplish. I found myself quite distracted the entire visit looking at historical brewery names I didn't know. With history literally in and on the walls, I was looking forward to adding Triple Rock to my database.

Quick table service on the 4th of July, so we ordered a draft of Lady Friend, a seasonal Belgian ale: pleasant yeasty spice and complex and delicate fruity taste. Very nice start. The very floral Big Juice pale ale was next in line for the best of the samples. The rest were all relatively good, but a bit thin for style shows up repeatedly in my notes.  IPAX IPA had a big, raw hop bite that more than soothed my hop monster after a few days in wine country.

One of our main reasons for trying Triple Rock on this trip was the vegan friendly menu.  Main course for us was the BBQ Seitan Sandwich, which was a bit messy but good; however, it didn't match up to the BBQ poor boy at our home Triple Rock Social Club.  The vegan chili (listed vegan but the waiter warned not vegan with cheese and sour cream that can be left off) was much better, as were the natural cut fries, tasting similar to In-n-Out fries we had been eating most of the week.

Overall, we very much enjoyed our stop. Solid beer drafts to wash down our choice from a range of veggie options, others of which I would like to try next time. With our one time stop, the darker or bigger beers seemed to be the best. Very near the university, Triple Rock seems to me to be a great training ground for young liberal minds to soak up some craft beer before heading off to change the world.

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