When people ask what I miss most about California, there are a number of polite stock answers available. The cool, humidity-less weather. Being so close to my sister in LA. Getting to watch Top Chef at 7 instead of 10 because Bravo was on an East Coast feed. This is all veritable BS. What I really miss is the beer.
I will say now that Cambridge (and Boston) is an excellent beer town. Unless you’re actively seeking out a dive bar and all its trappings (read: limited selection), chances are you’re going to end up in a place with a number of good choices (read: at least 3 IPA’s). I’ve been having fun getting to know the East Coast breweries – your Ithaca Beer Companies, your Pretty Things, your Sixpoints. But as great as all of this is, I miss having Hop Stoopid fresh from Petaluma (and only costing $3.49), I miss having Union Jack on tap all the time, I miss having 21st Amendment’s Brew Free or Die on tap at the local COFFEE SHOP for $2 A PINT (and free internet!). I can seek most of these things out here, but it’s not what I’d classify as convenient.
While on a trip to New York City/Brooklyn with Colleen and Matt a couple of weekends ago, I discovered the antidote to this problem: Pacific Standard. A “West Coast microbrew pub,” this establishment pretty much fits a description of heaven.
The menu actually has a fair number of East Coast beers for people to try, but I zeroed in immediately on the Union Jack. Being fans of Sixpoint’s Bengali Tiger and Resin (as am I), Colleen and Matt both tried out the brewery’s “Spice of Life Amarillo” IPA. They hadn’t had Union Jack before, and once they tried mine in comparison to the Sixpoint (which was actally quite good), they agreed that my choice was the clear winner.
Beyond the incredible beer selection, the bar has a great casual feel to it. There are games and books in a library in the back for people to use, and there was a crowd of friends sitting around a table playing a card game while we were there. Before we arrived, Matt said “I’m not promising there will be a dog there, but every time I have been here before there has been a dog.” Sure enough:
The walls are covered in California things – lots of Cal t-shirts and signs, various California beer signs, SF Giants regalia, and even a bumper sticker from Moe’s, a massive and legendary used bookstore in Berkeley. For a little bit there it felt like I never left. Until I stepped back into the humid 90*, that is.
When it comes to beer, I will forever defend the West Coast as the Best Coast. I’m glad places like Pacific Standard exist to celebrate that fact (and that many places in Cambridge have it on offer!).
82 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217