California Pilgrimage: Hard Knox Cafe

(The California Pilgrimage is my one month journey around California encompassing various activities but overall, these posts will be about beer. This title is directly from the first episode of Michael Jackson’s old show called The Beer Hunter. A True Beer Geek must know about Michael Jackson. If you don’t, you’re either a poser or someone who is starting out the journey through the Elixir of Life. I hope you are the latter.)

During my first week of my California vacation, I wasn’t as intoxicated as the series will suggest. It was during my fourth day in my vacation when my grandfather wanted to eat out for lunch. Since my younger cousin was free since it was vacation time, she decided to bring us to Hard Knox Cafe. Cood call cousin. Love you mucho!

Forgive me for the lack of a store front and a decent picture. I was focused on eating that day.

As usual, every meal for me should have a consideration of a beer accompaniment (I love cities where you can order a craft beer almost anywhere) and to that extent, I was very happy with my selection.

New Belgium Fat Tire
New Belgium Fat Tire

I had myself the New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale. This beer is definitely a classic. You can get this brew almost anywhere now and that is a great sign for craft beer lovers in America. It is a classic. It starts with a caramel and malt start with an influx of biscuity and slight fruity aromas as well. Towards the middle and end of the sip,a slight flower hop note presented itself to balance the brew’s sweetness. This is a beer that I can drink everyday for the rest of my life.

IPAs (India Pale Ales) are great for what they are but having copius amounts of hops all the time can get tiring. I, for one, am in a phase of prefering maltier brews as of the moment (July-September 2015) due to the hoppy journey that I just encountered during this vacation.

The beauty of this classic brew is the simplicity of its flavor. It’s not outrageous in its flavor. It is balanced and simple. The problem with craft beer sometimes is the need to take it to the next level (especially with the hops). I’d rather have a beer that is made properly and is well balanced. Fat Tire is definitely one of those brews where if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Oh how I wish this was available here or if a local Filipino brewer would focus on this style.

The piece that made my meal was not my main course of Jambalaya. WP_20150528_011

It was the corn muffins.

Kenny Roger’s Muffins Should Bow Down to these Muffins

What I did with this photo was to hide the half-bitten muffin at the back. I have to reiterate, my mind was focused on eating that day.

Moreover, the reason why I say that the muffin made the meal was because the pairing of the Fat Tire was perfect with the corn muffin. The sweetness and caramel flavors of the malt were perfect with the sweetness of the corn. My palate was probably having a sugar overload which definitely gave me a dopamine high. Add the relaxing effect of the hops, I was in a good place.

The jambalaya itself was good. It was the pairing of the muffin with the amber ale that killed it.

All in all, I loved the place. To add to the fact that the Clement Street branch is just a few blocks away from my Aunt’s house is a great bonus.

Damn son, I miss San Francisco.

Beerman out!

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