This post is way overdue, almost by two weeks. Things have been very busy “behind the scenes” here at the BetterBeerBlog and as a result, my postings have been less frequent. In order to spare you the pain that was the East Bay Brewery/Birthday recap, I’m going to break the next post down into three parts. You can read Part 2 here. It’ll be easier to read and easier to write. With that being said…
As part of my birthday weekend, my wife decided to do something different this year by booking us an excursion to Safari West Wildlife Preserve near Santa Rosa. We’ve been to the area multiple times already, surprisingly for the beer, and not the wine. Inspired by Mario, I did a pub crawl of downtown Santa Rosa.
Sweet Spot Pub & Grill was first on my list. Despite the near neon yellow-green of the walls, Sweet Spot was dimly lit. Only a handful of people were in the place. At first glance, the bar seems almost indistinguishable from any other sports bar. Then I got to the list of beers available and I instantly knew what set this place apart.
While Sweet Spot carries some commercial European beers that are descent, I came to them specifically to try their line of Lagunitas beers. If I remember correctly, Sweet Spot currently has the Lagunitas Czech Pils, Kronik, and Lucky 13. Seeing that it was a fairly warm day, I decided to order the Kronik while Sammy ordered the Czech Pils.
The Czech Pils is gold, brilliantly clear and with a white head. There’s a slight sweet malt aroma and a moderate low hop aroma that increased as the beer warmed up. The sweet pilsner malt flavors were restrained, allowing the hop flavors to take center stage without overwhelming. The hop bitterness is only moderate in strength. Well carbonated, the Czech Pils is effervescent and clean on the palette. A good example of the style and very, very nice on this warm afteroon.
The Kronik American Strong Ale stands at 5.7% ABV. It is a clear and amber in color with a low-lasting off-white head. Sweet malt flavor upfront with moderate/moderately low hop flavor and bitterness. Unlike the Pils, the malt plays a more pronounced role. This is a really good tasting beer and surprisingly refreshing. The aromas are restrained as the beer is cold. This is a medium bodied, medium carbonated beer.
It took a couple of minutes for the bartender to take our order once we got in and we didn’t hear from her or any wait staff the entire time we were there. Granted, we at at the window area, effectively segregating ourselves from the rest of the bar. Still, you cannot underestimate the positives of attentive staff, even if it’s just a casual, “Everything okay?”. Sometimes, that little phrase is the difference between me walking out the door and ordering another beer.
Sweet Spot also has a kitchen but we didn’t order any food since we ate hot dogs prior to going. While featuring primarily typical, American pub fare, I found the few items “inspired” by Belizean culture to be interesting. Reading the ingredients list, all I could tie in was that Belizean food is spicy food. Maybe those dishes are really true to culture or maybe it’s just clever marketing. I’ll have to find out next time I’m in town.