Amber Ale 5% ABV
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing
(Editor’s Note: This is first review from what will be a reoccurring guest reviewer, Kraft.)
I was sitting at a table with three guys I’ve never seen before at a restaurant I’ve never been to in a city I’ve stayed in for a night. You’d think it might be awkward, but the conversation flowed easily without pause. We were on the beach, the sun had set, the wind with a hint of chill. The waiter asked us what we wanted to drink and I asked about the local beers. With the long day, I didn’t want a heavy beer that would take the entire dinner to finish, but something light, local, good, and would hit the spot without ruining the dinner to follow.
When the waiter returned, the Santa Cruz Mountain Amber Ale was exactly what I was hoping it would be. It wasn’t a Chimay, but I didn’t want it to be either. The beer danced across the tongue, went down smooth, with the aftertaste you’d want from an amber. An easy beer to drink that tasted great and light on the palate.
The four of us were at the Ideal Bar for one of a few “assigned” meals. You see, I work for Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com that hosts this site. We work from wherever in the world we find ourselves. Austin, TX to Tokyo, Japan to Jackson Hole, WY to the nomads among us that travel around the world with a suitcase and a laptop bag. Once a year, we gather all 200+ of us together in whatever random city we decide for a week. This year, we spent half the time in San Francisco and half the time in Santa Cruz. While we all work together online daily, many of us had never actually physically met each other before. To help us “meet” each other, some of the meals, we were assigned into teams so we were sure not to stick with the few people we may have already met.
We had rented out the Dream Inn hotel along the beach and the Ideal was the first place we passed after walking from the hotel.
Damn. I had nearly finished the beer and the food was just arriving. I’ll rarely not finish a beer and, when offered a new selection of local beers, won’t often order a second of the same. This beer, though, was exactly what I wanted it to be in this moment. Waiter, one more.
If I was a local, I could easily see this beer being my standard “go-to” when I don’t have a preference or when I just need a nice beer. Like the beers of the Live Oak Brewery in Austin or the close-by Fireman’s #4, there is hardly a bad time for this beer.
If you find yourself in Santa Cruz, do yourself a favor and try a brew from the Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery. They have a nice selection of their flagship and seasonal ales that, if they’re of the same quality of the Amber, won’t be a bad decision.