After a full and fun day at Monterey Bay Aquarium, we needed a place for a pint and dinner. I had researched Cannery Row Brewery, so knew that it wasn't a brewpub. In spite of a personal pet peeve of bars with brewery in the name that aren't an actual breweries, the 73 taps were enough to mollify me.
CRB does have "signature brews " that are contract beers to try to live up to the name. I haven't found similar beers in the past bars to be worth the effort, so I couldn't bring myself to try them. So, I started with a draft of Cismontane Black Dawn, which was smooth and almost tasted barrel aged. While, it didn't warm up well, it was more than adequate. The follow up pint was Ninkasi Tricera-Hops. In spite of its formidable name, the nose was very weak; the beer felt imbalanced and fuzzy tasting, similar to its appearance: mediocre and disappointing. I keep trying Ninkasi and am often disappointed.
For a more local review, check out Brew for Thought. I agree with the food review. The Tortilla Flats Quesadilla with grilled portobello, three cheeses and assorted fixings was excellent and enough for a meal. Even better was the Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet with ice cream on the side. Cookie warm and gooey and a bit underdone inside. Perfect.
CRB was busy on a Friday night and loud. We were happy that the band was only doing a sound check for a later gig, but it was comfortable enough on the edge of the bar with just canned music. Overall, the pub was better than going to a chain restaurant. Brew for Thought noted a lack of a big hoppy beer or more interesting sour or barrel aged beers; in spite of the large number of taps, it was surprisingly difficult to find a new draft for the visit. CRB has a pretty standard list that was served well enough for in the heart of the tourist district of Monterey Bay.