Sunday, September 16, 2012
A Day in Heaven: Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
Yesterday David and I ventured to Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. I had been invited by Diana at Ellipses Public Relations to take a tour of the brewery and have lunch. David and I were so excited to venture on out to Half Moon Bay. Neither of us had ever been before, and you know we're huge beer fans. What better way to get us to travel than craft beer?!
We arrived a little early, so we decided to go across the street from the brewery and check out the harbor. Not the most flattering picture...but the only one we got of us. Go ahead and laugh at my long neck...
The brewery itself is pretty small and is ran by Brewmaster Kirk Hillyard. Although it may be a small brewery, there is some delicious award winning beers coming out of there! The brew master was not on site while we were there, but Mary showed us around and David was able to still get answers to his questions. Of course the brewery made him want to brew even more. It's amazing what a small space, brewing equipment, and an amazing brew master can accomplish!
The restaurant sits directly across the street from the harbor. It's got a beautiful view, and the patio is amazing! It's huge, tons of tables, lots of outside heaters (we didn't need them!), allows dogs on leash!, and glass panels keeping it somewhat enclosed. I honestly can't think of anything more relaxing than sitting on the patio, enjoying craft beer, and eating delicious food.
We were brought 10 samples immediately and began our tasting. We took notes on all the beers, but I'll tell you my favorites were their Pale Ale, IPA, Brown Ale, and surprisingly their Light Ale. I'm not usually a fan of such light beers, but this one had great character to it. I'm featuring a brew review on Tuesday of their Amber Ale since it was for sale in 22 oz bottles inside the pub.
I've gotta say, what really sets Half Moon Bay Brewing apart from other breweries and pubs is their food. Their chef, Gaston Alfaro has created a menu full of fresh foods. No more thinking that breweries only have greasy food. Half Moon Bay Brewery uses about 90% fresh foods, and he's committed to trying out gluten free dishes, as well as buying as locally as possible. It's so apparent in these dishes that the food is fresh. Everything was delicious. The appetizer we started out with featured house made tortilla chips and wonton chips (amazing!) with mango salsa, fresh ahi tuna poke, and ceviche. This appetizer was HUGE. We tried our best at demolishing it.
Next up was the soup. I'm not exactly sure what it was, but it was a spin on a German style soup that is normally made with ham hocks (not a favorite of mine). I'm glad Chef Alfaro changed this up to feature chicken (much more my style). It also had veggies and lentils in it. The soup was a bit smokey and had so much flavor. I hope next time I go back they will have this soup because I'm seriously in love with it.
Our entrees were more of a platter of samples from their Octoberfest menu since we were so incredibly full by this time. We especially liked the cabbage, sauerkraut, warm potato salad, and apple sauce. The meats went great with the sides and were both tender.
It's hard to beat fresh seafood. This bowl was full of clams, mussels, salmon, prawns, and even more! The garlic toasts was the perfect mop for the seafood broth. Can I just mention again how much we felt we were in heaven?
Last but not least was a sample plate of their desserts. A house favorite is their beeramisu which was so light. I am determined to make this in my own kitchen! The pumpkin cheesecake was slightly sweet and tasted very natural. Dipped in the whipped cream it was perfect. The other cheesecake square was strawberry cheesecake and was very much like the pumpkin cheesecake, in that it was also fresh/natural tasting with a slight sweetness. I think all three desserts were great because they weren't too heavy, like so many desserts at restaurants can be.
Overall, I'd say that was one of the most fun times I've had eating out. David and I felt so spoiled, and are determined to get back out there. We want to stop back by the brew pub, but we'd also like to check out the surrounding area. We'd never been on that side of Highway 1 before, and I felt like California was living up to it's name. I can't recommend Half Moon Bay Brewing Company enough! Definitely check it out if you ever have the opportunity to visit. Thanks again, Diana, Mary, and Chef Gaston Alfaro for treating us to such a special lunch.