And we did get stuck into it. That's Toronado owner Dave Keene, me, and Malt Advocate publisher John Hansell...well, last night John wasn't the publisher. He was a guy who'd been going to Toronado for years, hanging out with his buddy Dave. I was lucky enough to tag along.
I was also lucky enough to be in time for dinner from Rosamunde's Sausage Grill next door. Oh, God, yum. Dave and John each got their beer sausage, Cathy had a duck sausage (with figs), I had a merguez (smoked lamb and beef), and Jim McGinley (husband of our magazine manager, Joan) had a hot Italian. I had a bite of Cathy's, and I can definitely report that our two were superb. Gawd. Two landmarks I definitely wanted to visit, down in two hours. Rock on!
Before anyone thinks this has turned into "Seen Through A Big Piece of Meat," let me say that the El Toro Deuce I started the evening with was great: hoppy and fresh, not overpowering. Then we had glasses of the Toronado 20th Anniversary that Vinnie Cilurzo had brewed at Russian River, and it was arresting: sour, deep, with a deftly woven character of oak and teasing sweetness that grew towards the end of the swallow. I also had a Moonlight Sublimmminal IPA (I think that's how they spelled it) from the cask (four handpumps, BTW: all pouring): an interesting project. Dave said it was all mash-hopping and dry-hopping, no hops in the kettle. Very good, and quite drinkable. A sip of John's Blind Pig IPA (Russian River) brought back memories of this beer from GABF in 1996, wow. It's a shame this beer gets overlooked in the rush to the Pliny's.
Wow. So now Cathy and I are in our room on Monday morning, ready to head out. This is the view, a picture I just took a minute ago. We're going to walk for about an hour, have breakfast, and do some sightseeing: tour of Anchor Brewing at 1:00, meeting a friend for beers at 5, and then going out for a big staff dinner. Should be fun.