As promised, the full recounting of my adventures at Monkey Paw Pub.
Adventures. Plural. More than one.
Because once is never enough, I found myself back for more a few days later, and the second time around I was on a mission!
But lets start this tale where most things typically do – the beginning.
For the last few weeks, I’ve had a real itch about getting over to Monkey Paw. It was one of my late nights at Tiger Tiger, I came across one of their beers that, while not my favorite of the evening, certainly got my attention. Which beer that was, however, is lost forever in the haze inside my brain. Suffice to say the name of the brewery stuck with me and I put it on my list. Finally this past weekend, the opportunity arose and it was time to strike.
The bar is located at 805 16th St. on the corner of F St. in the East Village area of downtown San Diego and stands out pretty easily. On my two visits there has been a good amount of street parking nearby as well.
So upon entering the first thing that I notice are the unique windows, sort of a stain-glass look that I found very appealing. The next thing to catch my eye was the massive chalk board of wonderful craft beers that instantly sent my mind twirling with possibilities. The space reminded me a bit of Hamilton’s but with more leg room. They had a pretty decent sized crowd inside for 3pm on a Saturday, but there is room to spread out. I pull up a stool at the bar and quickly order up a flight of the six house beers they had on tap that day. Here is my impression of those six.
Gose Bananas : 3.7% ABV – Another entry in my new experiences with sour beers. This one was a big surprise for me. Tart sure, but the sour in this wheat beer is not as overpowering as my last run in with a sour. You get that, slight but noticeable flavor but it doesn’t destroy your palette for the rest of the day. It’s light and crisp and very refreshing. Delightful.
Bekanton Saison : 5.5%ABV – This beer is a collaboration with Stillwater Brewing, the first word that came to mind while drinking was flowery. The second word was grapefruit. It has a hint of spice, not sure what kind, but overall it’s a nice saison. Not my personal favorite. I’m weird about grapefruit. Sorry.
Pineapple X-Press : 5.2%ABV – An extra pale ale that is big on citrus with a little kick of sweetness to balance it out. Drinking this I felt like there was a lot going on in the tiny 5oz taster I got, and what I got was enough to keep me intrigued for more. Very nice beer and one I felt very appropriate for the summer season.
Mandrill American IPA : 7.3%ABV – Now we start to get into my reasons for walking through the door. Give me those hops baby! This IPA is piny and citrusy and has a bit of a flowery finish. It’s very distinctive from other more well known San Diego IPA’s but this is a solid entry as it stand on it’s own without trying to imitate what has come before it. Will be happy to order again…and again…and again.
Rich Man’s American Double IPA (or IIPA) : 8.7%ABV – Well hello lover! As one of my buddy’s would say “This is chewy!” Outstanding flavor profile, strong balance of malts and hops. Little pine, little citrus and lots and lots of hops. Did I mention the hops? It’s worth repeating. This beer is all kinds of hopped up and I loved it! Some IIPA’s can go overboard or nor get the beer balanced enough… not this one. Simply fantastic!
Sweet Georgia Brown : 5.8%ABV – This is an English style brown, and it was the last beer in my taster flight. Which meant it had the unfortunate task of coming to bat after the two IPA’s. This is a solid brown. Hints of chocolate, coffee and caramel throughout.. Light body and easy drinking with a small hops profile. As you may know by now I’m not much for that coffee flavor, but if you dig it, I think you’ll enjoy this brown.
At this point I should also mention the fridge behind the bar is full of excellent bottle selections as well.
After my flight, I grabbed a pint of the Mandrill and placed an order for food. I wasn’t really sure what to expect out of the kitchen, but the menu looked good and I knew I needed the food in my belly in bad way. I placed an order for the Pulled Pork Roll. Oh boy, did I hit the jackpot here. The pulled pork here is fantastic! Smokey and spicy, tender, succulent. If you have a good adjective, please insert it here. This is bar food to blow you away! Oh and they serve it all up with waffle fries. How sick is that? I already liked the beers, but the food puts this place over the top! GO HERE NOW!
As some may know, I’m a bit of a sucker for a good glass night. Just so happen that while in the bar on Saturday, I see that this coming Thursday night would be Monty Python Holy
Grail goblet night. I knew immediately that I would move heaven and earth to get this goblet. Monty Python and the Holy Grail was a staple of my childhood, particularly my high school years. Clearly, I was a chick magnet. My friends and I would enjoy reciting word for word scenes from this movie that elevated the art of comedy and I’m not ashamed of that. My fiancee, on the other hand, is slightly embarrassed by it.
Glasses were to go on sale promptly at 5pm, with a little help from my manager at work, I got there at 4:50pm. It was a full house already and you could tell that most of these folks came for one reason. To get the goblet. With a little time to kill I order up an IPA and patiently wait for the clock to strike. A few minutes pass when all of a sudden I see the goblets getting filled. I down the IPA in about a gulp and a half and move back to the bar as the masses surge forward around me as we attempt to get the bartenders attention. I stay patient, I stay calm and I get my goblet. Victory! As I move back to the little area I had secured for myself I turn back to the bar to see that the goblets are no more! They hold sold out in less than 15 minutes. But what’s even more delightful than getting the glass? The fact they are playing the movie on the TV above the bar. Didn’t matter that the sound was off. I knew it by heart.
On a side note, if you follow me on twitter I was tweeting some of the highlights of the night as well as random thoughts. Big fun while I waited for my friend to arrive.
So I actually had to do a little research on the beer that came in the glass. At the bar it was just called Monty Python Holy
Grail, No mention of the brewer. After a little digging, I find that it’s made by Black Sheep Brewery from Yorkshire, England. The only thing I know about Yorkshire is what I saw in Braveheart. I’m guessing it’s gotten nicer since then. The Holy Grail comes in at 4.7%ABV I would call it an amber ale, with a strong malty flavor rounded off by some fruit that gives it a pretty dry finish. It was a pretty solid beer. Most important tonight was that this is a beer that would not require me to call a cab.
So I walked out one happy customer tonight. Good beers, great glass and you better believe I had some pulled pork waffle fries. Thanks to my buddy for those!
So if the choice ever comes down to going to Monkey Paw or to Camelot, you pick Monkey Paw. Just remember what King Arthur has to say about Camelot -
King Arthur : “On second thought, let’s not go to Camelot. It is a silly place”
OK, I kind of forced that quote in, but I don’t care, it makes me smile.