Brian's Photo Blog — Article 679
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A Santa Maria California Mini Pub Crawl
Sunday 10 September 2017   —   Category: Dining Out
In my last article I introduced you to my December 2016 trip to Santa Maria, on California’s Central Coast. In between visting with family and going on some photo outings, I managed to squeeze in a mini pub crawl.
Less than 24 hours after our arrival in Santa Maria, my mom, dad, wife, daugh­ter, son, aunt, uncle and cousin went out to dinner at Rooney’s Irish Pub in the nearby suburb of Orcutt. Apparently it is a local favorite, but it was my first time there.
After trying samples of a few different beers, a pint of States­man American Amber Ale, brewed on-site, seemed like the least-​bad choice. According to the brewer:

“There’s no way around it, this is a hell of a beer. This beer highlights English amber and rye malts to provide a malty, spicy body. We couple that with the founding father of American hops, Cluster, to balance out that English biscuit malt character. Malty and bold, it’s straight up diplomatic.” Meas­ure­ments: 5.5% ABV • 33 IBU

My notes from that day read: “It’s OK ... but like the description says, it’s pretty malty. I probably would not order it again.”

My 21 year old son was not allowed to have a beer, even though he was old enough and he had ordered beer at other restaurants. Because his Oregon driver’s license had a sticker on it (mailed to him by the DMV, with his new address after he had moved), they wouldn’t accept the ID. He talked to both the waitress and the bartender, but they wouldn’t budge. Very bad and bizarre service! Boo Rooney’s!
My mom ordered “The Lost” Shepherd’s Pie which, according to the menu, con­sist­ed of “Guinness-braised Angus short rib with carrots and peas on creamy cheddar-chive mashers.” She said it was quite good.
Because my wife and I normally eat our main meal at lunch we didn’t want a lot of food in the evening, so we split a de­li­cious Reuben sandwich. It was not as big as the best Reuben on the planet, but that was fine with us ... it was plenty.
The next day my son and I went for lunch at the Santa Maria Brewing Com­pa­ny Nipomo Tap Room, located just across the mostly-​dry Santa Maria River from Santa Maria.
After considering the options, I had a pint of their El Camino Real Red Ale. According to the brewer:

“The name of this beer has changed many times over the dec­ades, but the recipe not once. We brew El Camino Real with a surplus of crystal malt balanced with Columbus hops, giving the brew its signature red color and unique coarse sweetness.”
Meas­ure­ments: 6.2% ABV • 40 IBU

My notes from that day read: “It’s pretty good ... especially with the meal ... I would get it again.”

Fortunately, Santa Maria Brewing was a lot more reasonable about my son’s Oregon driver’s license, so he was able to enjoy a beer with me. When we told the bartender about what had happened the evening before at Rooney’s, he just shook his head in amazement.
According to the menu, my sandwich consisted of “Hot Philly steak served on a French roll with provolone cheese, grilled onions and peppers. I splurged and got beer-batter onion rings. Eve­ry­thing was truly scrumptious!
The third stop on my mini pub crawl was going to be the Olde English Tap Room at the Santa Maria Inn where we were staying.

But every time I walked by the door it seemed dark and uninviting. Sometimes there was loud pop music blasting ... I suppose they are trying to attract the younger crowd.

Because of my big reluctance I decided to skip this place. Why go there when I didn’t feel like it, just to stick to my original plan?
The third stop turned out to be not a bar, pub or restaurant, but my parents’ house! On Christmas Day all the relatives gathered there to celebrate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. My mom’s advice? Never get married on Christmas Day!

My cousin Cindi said that she was going to make herself a margarita, so I asked her to make me one too, since I had never had one in my 54 years on this planet.

It was OK, but I probably would not have one again. I might like it better without the salt, but then I guess it wouldn’t be a true margarita. There are plenty of other ways to enjoy alcohol that taste much better to me.

The 15 best photos from this mini pub crawl can now be viewed in the new Santa Maria Pub Crawl 2016 album.

The next article, Here and There on California’s Central Coast, is the third and last in this series.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 679
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