I have a shady history with wine. I like drinking it, I like the complexity wine can deliver, but when we hang out together for longer than a couple of glasses, I go one of two ways. I fall asleep, which has happened mid-way through meals, or I lose the command of my legs and balance. Pretty standard consequences from drinking wine you might think. But I tend to fall into these conditions so spectacularly, that even Oliver Reed would agree I am better off avoiding the grape all together. Beer, though, for me, is different.
During my most recent visit to San Francisco, I dropped into The Monks Kettle, a kind of pub, nothing like the dive bars I usually drink up whilst in the States. Situated just a couple of hundred yards from the 16th & Mission BART, The Monks Kettle has a an extensive and diverse beer menu carrying favourites from San Francisco's Liberty Ale, through to Japan's Hitachino 3 Days, a beer that was in the midst of the mashing process when the earthquake hit Japan in 2011. Left for three days with no power, the beer started to naturally ferment and this one-time beer is extremely limited to just 8,000 bottles. I know all of this, not because I read the label on the bottle, but because co-owner of The Monks Kettle, Adam Dulye, explained this to me in the enthusiastic tone reserved especially for those infatuated with beer. Adam seriously knows his shit. So much so, that he was starting to subtly school me on the beers of my home county back in the UK. After checking out The Monk Kettle's cellar, oohing and ahhing over beers, Adam introduced me to an IPA from Ale Smiths who brew out of San Diego. Though I drank several different beers with Adam that night, I neither fell asleep mid conversation, nor lost the control of my legs. A proud moment. Finding a place where you can take beer a little more seriously, but still in the lively, boisterous surrounding of a pub is pretty cool. I find a lot of places that specialise in certain areas of food or drink, often have an inescapable snobbishness about them. The Monks Kettle does not and for that I am eternally grateful.
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