Tuesday, July 7, 2009

English Ales in Marina, Ca.

English Ales Brewery is a modest place to sit back and quaff an English ale. Quietly located outside the tourist hub of Monterey it is located a block off the main street in Marina, California.

You'll be impressed with the army of ceramic beer steins hanging in neat columns from the ceiling as you enter. The name of the patron penned on the bottom for easy identification. After that, what caught my eye was the hand pump at the bar next to a busy row of tap handles that dispensed seven different beers that are brewed on premise.

I settled back with a sampler of all but the stout which was unfortunately unavailable while I was there. I waited for an order of banger sandwich and fries as I sampled the beers.

All were very quaffable. Light in alcohol, low carbonation and mild in flavor. I worked my way from the lightest, a "Big Sur Golden" that had a minimum of hop flavor and aroma, and continued on to the "E.P.Pale Ale" which has a slight hop perfume and a slightly higher alcohol by volume.

I sampled the "Dragon Slayer" IPA with a more pronounced caramel flavor and floral aroma with higher bitterness than any of the other beers. Then the "Fat Lip Amber", the "Monks Brown Ale", the "Black Prince Porter" and finally the "Triple B Bitter" with its low ABV of 4.2%.

Before leaving, I spoke briefly with Tom the head brewer and found out that he uses a 10 bbl system and is brewing 4 times a week to keep up with demand. He was just returning from a keg delivery to the Arroyo Seco race track.

If you are in the area and want to spend some time conversing with the locals while tossing back some traditional session brews, English Ales is a great place to find yourself.

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