I recently made the short trek to the other side of the bay to meet up with a friend of mine and enjoy his company over a couple of beers. During the drive down I couldn't help but smile in appreciation, for the privilege of living in one of the most beautiful places in the country. As Highway 1 bends south along the shore I witness the stunning views of the coastline with its cities of Monterey, Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach lining the distant horizon over a vivid expanse of deep blue ocean. My destination is The Ol’ Factory Café
located at the entrance to Monterey. Morgan Christopher is the owner and beer aficionado, who opened for business two years ago introducing to the public the vast array of remarkable beers from all over the world.
As I walk in I am immediately drawn to a bar that boasts at least forty specialty beers in bottles and another ten or twelve on tap. We’re not talking your usual domestic craft fair although there is some of that also, including Belgian style ales from Maine and California , but more appealing to me is the large selection of classics from around the world. Schlenkerla rauchbier from Germany, Koningshoeven Quadruple from Netherlands, Delirium Tremens, Belgium. And on tap, Chimay Tripel and Old Rasputin Imperial Stout and Erdinger Dunkelweizen to name a few. Needless to say, I was in heaven.
I located my friend and we ordered immediately.
A Karmliet Tripel
www.bestbelgianspecialbeers.be/main_eng.html for me, and a La Chouffe Ipa www.achouffe.be/en/nos-bieres/nos-produits/for Karl. Both were delicious. We spoke briefly with Morgan about his operation and then opened a bottle of homebrew that I brought down for the occasion. It was a Chimay Tripel clone that had been aging in my kegerator for several months. He seemed suspicious at first but after a couple sips agreed that it was indeed good. Morgan introduced his chef Kevin Fisher who is also a homebrewer. Kevin has been at The Ol’Factory for seven months where he has refined and considerably improved the menu. His excitement about beer and food was contagious and we talked about the possibility of holding a homebrew and food pairing event in the future. I will follow up on that idea with the other Zymurgeek home brewers. We ordered a couple more beers and enjoyed the open space ambiance of the place with its comfortable couches, big chairs and coffee tables that give the place a feeling like you're in your own living room. Did I mention that they have a full bar for coffee and tea?
The day was drawing to an end and I decided that a perfect beer for the road would be one that I was sure Karl had never had. We were brought a bottle of Girardin gueuze and a couple of glasses to share. After the first smell and sip we both agreed that this beer definitely had a distinct barnyard flavor and aroma and I was relieved when Karl proclaimed that he enjoyed the beer with all of its unique character.
The time came too soon for me to drive back up the coast.
The Monterey Bay area is one of the most beautiful and picturesque places on the planet and only one thing could improve on this image, an establishment that has a huge selection of specialty beers on tap and what seems like an endless array of bottled beer from around the world. Oh wait, it has such a place by the name The Ol’Factory Cafe located in Sand City, within minutes of Monterey.