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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Phoenix, AZ

A funny thing happened when I got to Phoenix Saturday evening. It wasn't hot outside. In my experience a summer "cold" snap in Phoenix is about as perfect as weather can get; 75-80 with low humidity. It was way too nice outside to spend time in restaurants. It was more "pack a cooler with beer and sandwiches for a trip down the Salt River" or "pick up some chicken, cole slaw and potato salad and hang out in the park" sort of weather.

We did sit out on a patio and drink beer at Rock Bottom Brewery which turned out to be a huge brew pub chain with 40 locations from CA to MA. As far as chain restaurants go, that's a pretty good concept. Each location has a real chef and a real brewmaster which is going to guarantee some local flavors and character that come along with brewing beer on-site. Plus, it creates more jobs for dudes who like to brew beer. I'm sure there are strict controls in place to make sure the signature brews are as close to the same as possible but the brewmaster seems to have some freedom in creating other beers.

I had a terrific mug of cream stout that wasn't too sweet or too malty and the pale ale was subtly spicy with nice citrus overtones. The brewmaster's choice was a Vienna-style red lager that wasn't too sweet and still crisp on top of the maltiness.

I'm sort of sad we didn't make it to the Pink Taco but as much as I love restaurants with dirty names, it probably wouldn't have been that good. The photo of Ron Jeremy posing with a pink donkey at their L.A. Grand Opening kind of makes me feel like I missed out on something, though.

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