"Beer speaks, people mumble" is the motto at Lagunitas Brewing, and by the looks of St. Petersburg's World of Beer on Tuesday evening, California beers have a lot to say. Every tap behind the long bar was taken up by major players in the Golden State's craft beer scene. Ace, Anchor, Anderson Valley — and that was only the A's. "Californication," part of Tampa Bay Beer Week, featured dozens of specialty beers provided by breweries for this day only.
California of course had a headstart, with Fritz Maytag taking over a struggling old San Francisco brewery called Anchor Brewing way back in the mid 1960s. Boom, the first modern commercial craft brewery in the country, introducing techniques like dry hopping that were quickly picked up elsewhere. Next up was New Albion, then Sierra Nevada, Mendocino Brewing and a number of others that went on to become household names. At least in some households.
It was hard to tell if people were mumbling Tuesday evening as WOB filled with a post-work crowd, but certainly the beer was talking a blue streak. With most pints hovering in the $5 to $6 range, splurges included the classic North Coast Old Rasputin XV imperial stout ($14!), which poured inky black with a huge foamy head. A sweet and bitter balance with lots of chocolate and roasty malt, it was thick as a milkshake and just as filling, obviating a need for nibbles from the Not Your Ordinary Food Truck providing food for the evening.
Brewery reps were purportedly on hand, with giveaways and prizes handed out over the evening, but the crowd seemed mostly pleased to spend the evening wandering from the "Lost Coast" to the "North Coast," leaving no "Stone" unturned.