Thursday, September 27, 2012

Delta King and River City Brewery

Sometime in the early 90s I worked a contract for this insurance company in the LA area.  Notwithstanding some very bizarre management staff and some real characters on my staff, I had several very memorable experiences there.  The first one was on the initial interview - I flew with the IT management team up to Sacramento on the company jet, formerly owned by an Arabian prince, complete with mahogany trim, sleeping space for 4, and a stocked wet bar.  Eventually I was hired and we made several trips to Sacramento.  Later when I worked for a Big 5 consulting firm I also spent the better part of a year in the Sacto area.

One time we were having strategy meetings...<yawn>..very forgetable.  But the best part was that we held the meetings and stayed in staterooms on the Delta King.

The food was out of this world and the interior of the ship was very elegant.  The staterooms were so-so - looked like the original furniture and the mattress felt like it from the 1850s. Kind of a musty smell too.  The IT director had the captain's quarters, so he was living large.  The Delta King is docked at the end of K Street and the whole wharf area has dozens of craft shops, restaurants, bars and is just a great place to spend the evening.  K Street itself is closed off and turned into a pedestrian mall.  Not far from the wharf is the River City Brewing Company.

River City Brewing Company

River City Brewing is a brewpub and one of the first I'd ever seen.  I wandered in not realizing that they actually brewed right there. The fermenting tanks were a very visible part of the decor.  I took a quick scan of the board and was fascinated by the implications of an Oatmeal Stout.  I'd had settled for plenty of Guinness in the past and knew that there had to be more to stout from what I'd had in England. In the States, it was usually the only dark beer on the menu.  I was really looking forward to the difference that the addition of oatmeal would make.  I wasn't disappointed.

The head was dense, tan and lasting; the taste was out of this world.  Thick layers of coffee and roasted grain flavors and that distinct hint of oatmeal comprised the complexity of its taste. Nice medium body and silky mouthfeel...just the perfect example of the style.  From then on I was hooked on stout. Whenever I had to go back to the downtown area, I made a point of stopping in for one.  It's not on their menu now, but they now have a Black River (dry) Stout, that I'm sure is made with as much quality.

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