Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

The Beer Shelf Survey

By William Brand
Thursday, March 31st, 2005 at 6:44 pm in Uncategorized.

LA QUINTA — We’ve been vacationing for a few days here on the edge of the Mojave Desert, east of Los Angeles. So naturally, I checked out the beer available.
Oh my. The map may say California, but this tiny place near Palm Springs might as well be in my native state of Nebraska. At a fair-sized Von’s supermarket, the only decent beer for sale was Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, wedged between cases of Budweiser.

Desperate, I found the biggest super in the area, a Ralph’s in nearby Indio. Things were much better, but not really great: 30 linear feet of American lager coolers and 18 feet of imports and craft beers.

Ralph’s had a sparse, but respectable craft beer supply: Sierra Nevada, in quantity, Sam Adams Boston Lager, plus the excellent Firestone-Walker Double Barrel Ale and Firestone-Walker Pale Ale, Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock and Marzen and a couple of interesting-looking beers from Glueck, the successor to Cold Spring Brewing, Cold Spring, MN: Lawson Creek Pale Ale, Honey Wheat and Lawson Light.

Also, Widmer Brothers and Pyramid hefeweizens, plus Bass, Pilsner Urquell, Stella Artois, Beck’s, Guinness and Newcastle Brown.
Postscript: I wrote the above last night, but I was unsure of the exact names of the Lawson Creek beers, so I went back this afternoon. Most of the Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale was gone. Indio residents have good taste. That’s an excellent beer, made in an authentic British style in Paso Robles, CA.

We’ve eaten at several good restaurants this week, places big and small. I’ll say this: Thank the Lord for Samuel Adams. In every restaurant the only hope for a beer was Sam Adams.

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