It’s Sunday morning and I’m feeling fine, surprising as that may be. It’s time to get up, get ready and jump in the car to check out as many breweries as possible before it’s time to jump on a plane and head back to Boise!
TRACK 7 BREWING
This is another brewery that has seen explosive growth recently, having just relocated to a new facility that looks to rival Knee Deep in sheer size. It is enormous, and I’m talking on a scale of 1.5 to 2 aircraft hangers humongous. On our way into the brewery, being that this is California, we made the required stop at In-N-Out burger to grab some lunch before rolling into Track 7 and starting the day. At the time that I was here, they were still waiting for quite a bit of brewing equipment so the space seemed especially vast, and empty. The people however, both staff and patrons, were chatty and very friendly. After spending 15 minutes at the bar tasting all of their offerings and chatting about beer in California & Idaho I settled on their Panic IPA which paired exceptionally well with an “animal style” In-N-Out burger & fries. After lunch and some quiet reflection time I was presented with Track7’s Left Eye Right Eye Double IPA which is also outstanding. Hoping that I’d make it home with at least a few souvenirs I grabbed a Track 7 tulip glass as we headed out to make our way to over to Yolo Brewing. Hopefully the fine folks at Track7 will start getting some of their beers up North and into Idaho in the near future.
We rolled into YOLO mid afternoon on Sunday which was pretty darn close to Track7. In comparison to the other breweries that I’d seen this trip, I would list this as a “mid sized” brewery. If you’re familiar with the breweries here in the Boise area, somewhere between Payette Brewing & Boise Brewing, but with more open space for seating. Unlike the bigger breweries, the brewing facility was completely walled off from the view of the public. This, combined with a half dozen TV’s made it feel a little more sports bar than brewery in my mind anyway. The beers were decent and I must confess that my notes are a little sketchy at this location. Aside from dealing with 5 flight delays and multiple phone calls to the airline, the flight sheets were filled out in yellow marker on white paper so it’s almost impossible to read. I will say that they do have a flagship IPA (Smash IPA) which they tweak regularly which was my favorite, followed closely by the Captain Ron’s 2X IPA.
Bike Dog Brewing
Bike Dog was another smaller brewery with a big heart and a full tap room. I felt at home immediately when one of the lady’s at the bar started harassing me, nicely, about being from Idaho when we were getting our first round of beers ordered. The bartender was definitely kept busy the entire time we were there and if memory serves there were only a very few open seats to speak of. Both the IPA and DIPA were excellent, enjoyed in the tap room filled with great conversations and live music from a gentleman on a guitar in the corner. Don’t let the comparatively small tap list deter you, everything that I tried was on point and I’d absolutely go back anytime I was in Sacramento. Since I seemed to be on a roll with glassware, I picked up a pint glass from here as well. Love the Bike Dog logo, looks great on a glass full of beer. I did have to put my foot down though when Rob tried to guilt me into another tulip glass. I do like a nice tulip, but they’re so much harder to store when space is at a premium since you can’t stack them! To be fair, the Bike Dog glass is a little fluted at the top so it probably wouldn’t stack well anyway. Don’t tell Rob though, I made a big stink about it.
Yelp tried to tell us that Jackrabbit was closed on Sunday, but since I had some extra time due to those flight delays earlier we made a hail mary double check on Google and found out that Jackrabbit had just revised their hours and were in fact open Sunday afternoons. Since this has just happened within a week, it apparently hadn’t been updated on the Yelp side. Anyway, just a few blocks away from Bike Dog we pulled in to Jackrabbit to get in just a few more beers before closing out this trip. The first thing you notice when you walk in the door at Jackrabbit is the industrial feel with a lot of beautiful wood accents. The bar and the back drop for the sign/taps are fantastic, rich, high polish wood. As we saddled up to the bar we ran into the same couple we’d first met at Bike Dog and had a quick laugh. Apparently its a pretty small world when it comes to West Sacramento breweries. Behind the bar we met one of the owners and a fresh hire bartender who was still learning the in’s & out’s of Jackrabbit. The owner however was chatty, friendly and happy to talk about beer. Since I’ve been fully assimilated now as a hophead, I went on to sample both their IPA and Ugly Duckling DIPA and have to say that I could see myself on a deck or a boat drinking either all day without any second thoughts. As was the case at every brewery that we stopped at, when we were seated at the bar, we always met a few friendly beer lovers who were only to happy to have us join their conversation. At Jackrabbit this quickly took a science fiction turn which seemed fitting based on the first portion of the trip in L.A.
The time had finally come for me to make my way to the airport and jump on a puddle jumper to make the quick flight from Sacramento to Boise. After getting dropped off and catching the little train to the terminal I proceeded through the security check point. I was still doing ok for time, but didn’t have a whole lot to spare. In case you have ever wondered, TSA really doesn’t take kindly if you forget a small bottle of water in your carry on and send it through the x-ray machine. In my defense, I had completely forgotten it was even there. As you can imagine I was promptly pulled out of line after my body scan and confronted. I immediately apologized and told them they were welcome to discard it as it was just left over from the other day. As I was now “high risk” they started swabbing the interior of the bag which, don’t ask me how the hell it happened, generated a positive “beep”. Yep, that’s a bad beep to hear when you’re plane is about 15 minutes from taking off.
Now I have two TSA guys on my case, one unpacking both my carry on bags and swabbing everything. I’m trying to be cool about the whole thing, smiling and my only request was that the please try to take it easy with the glassware wrapped in t-shirts. The second guard was giving me a thorough pat down all the while walking me through everything he was about to do. “Sir, I’m going to take this had and place it on the inside of your thigh, with this hand I’m going to brush down the outside of your leg”. I kept telling him that he just needed to do what he had to to clear me so I could get down to my departing plane. Telling me about every move just seemed to protract the experience. A few more minutes pass and finally my personal search and that of my luggage was completed and I was sent on my way with 3 bins of stuff to try to shove back into my bags, throw my belt back on and sprint down the terminal to my gate as they are announcing the last call for boarding on the flight back to Boise.
Barely stopping at the gate to have my ticket scanned, I bolt down the gangplank and on to the tarmac where I drop one bag to be loaded and take my second carry on into the cabin where I sit down in my seat right as they close up the plane. Looking back, I think that was the perfect end to a hell of a trip. A huge thank you to all of the friends, breweries, staff, and patrons at all the establishments that I was able to stop at for making this such an overwhelmingly positive adventure. It still seems as true now as it ever has, everyone that I’ve come into contact with through craft beer has been a character.