Where Craft Beer is Not First on the Menu

Bar Pasadena

The Goat Group expands to Old Pasadena and pours good beer, but leads with whiskey.

How dare a new place open and not be 100% craft beer focused? Well, Blind Donkey and Colorado Wine Company, which are a short hop from each other in Pasadena and Eagle Rock, respectively, can please beverage fans of all denominations.

The Blind Donkey is part of the animal kingdom that also includes Little Bear and the Surly Goat. The focus of this Old Pasadena establishment is on whiskey. And they have many, many fine ones to choose from while also serving up a smartly curated beer list similar to what you would see at The Surly Goat while the decor is more in the style of Little Bear. It’s also a convivial spot to meet up after Christmas shopping.

You can also get a head start on the gifts at Colorado Wine Co., which most know as the elder sibling to Sunset Beer Co. A full rack of wine bottles adorn the wall of this small shop that is half retail space and half bar.

You can get one of the fun flights that are on offer or ask the barkeep what six beers are on tap. A range from Eagle Rock Revolution to Ommegang’s Hennepin to Temecula’s Black Market were on draught duing my first visit to Colorado Wine Company since the owners relocated down Colorado Boulevard.

Head further west and make a stop at one of my local beer buying haunts that has both wine and whiskey and many other spirited options as well. Red Carpet in Glendale now has taps.  Off in the far corner near the seating area, you can see the gleam of handles. Grab a beer while plotting which beer to get for your brother-in-law, which champagne for your mother and which tequila for your uncle. Then head over to the cooler and find a beer for yourself for the road from their selection or ask for help from Amy or Stig who will help guide you in the direction of a new or exciting beer.

The Beer of the Week is a dazzling Jubilee from Eagle Rock Brewery. And there are two versions of it! One is the 2012 version of their holiday old ale that has a wonderful taste of candied fruit like you would find in a good fruitcake plus a few spices on the side that add to the bready taste and aroma. The second is a wine barrel aged version that has been in the works for a year. If you can find both, get them and see what a difference a year makes. [Next week, we will check out what five years does to another classic winter warmer.]

Your Homework is to start compiling your top ten craft beer list for 2012. Brew & You is checking our list, sometimes twice, to find out which beers of 2012 were naughty and which were nice. If you have been tracking them via Untappd, RateBeer or Beer Advocate the job will be easier.  If you haven’t then maybe a nice holiday ale will jog your memory. [In a couple weeks, I will reveal my choices for my Top 10 taps.] So many teasers in this post. But no spoilers.

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.


Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman's writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

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