Thursday, September 23, 2010

Beers (and Bears) of Yosemite

I had the great fortune of making it up to Yosemite 3 times this summer.  Yosemite is the most beautiful place I've ever been, and you can't beat a campground within walking distance to a bar!

Yosemite bars serve Mammoth Brewing Company brews on tap, and you can also purchase them in every grocery store we checked (okay, that was just the one in Curry Village...).  I haven't seen Mammoth beers out here in the bay area, so was excited to try them the first weekend we were out.  I ordered myself a Double Nut Brown and my husband an Epic IPA.   The brown was a nice typical brown (which just might be my new favorite style of beer), rich, nutty, slightly sweet without being syrupy, with an incredibly smooth finish.  The Epic was much too bitter for me, typical of American brewers pushing for stronger & stronger flavored IPAs (as opposed to, in my opinion, nice flavors).  Much like its flavor, the beer itself was very strong. Of course, American bars so rarely list the ABV, so we didn't know 'til my poor husband woke up the next morning with a terrible hangover.

When we asked the barmaid on our next visit about the ABV, she believed the brown was close to 5 or 5.5% and the IPA, being EPIC, was closer to 8 or 9%.  Yikes, a warning would've been nice!

On another stay, we also tried the Mammoth Brewing Company Amber - lots of flavor in this one, a bit of honey,  caramel, hops and lots more carbonation (not necessarily a good thing when you are at altitude).

I didn't get to see any bears in their natural habitat this year, but did have the misfortune of camping at a site with a loose bear locker.  This black bear had obviously learned that if he banged on this locker, he could often get the food out. We had it padlocked, so that method didn't work, but didn't stop him from knocking on the locker. Fortunately, our neighbors chased him out of the site (we were in our tent).  The next night he came back, and this time I got to help with the chasing!  On the last day of that trip, the rangers treed that bear and we had a quiet night of sleep. This is when I'm glad we don't camp in grizzly country! *whew*