All of my prior trips to the counties north of San Francisco have focused on wine. And for good reason. For more than 20 years, I’ve visited Napa, Sonoma, Medocino, and now Lake counties to enjoy the fruit of the vine and expand my knowledge of that industry.
But as evidenced by simply looking around, I’ve missed out on quite a bit of goodness and bounty. Driven in part by the farm-to-table movement, re-localization of produce, and the national craft beer scene, breweries have popped up all over the place in these taste-forward towns.
We rented a house on Clear Lake for the week, and O’Meara Bros. Brewing Company in Lakeport quickly surfaced as the closest brewpub to try. And what a fortunate thing…not only did we find a selection of great beers on tap, brewed in house, but also a menu of tasty food to accompany them.
True to the name, the O’Meara brothers (Tim and Alex) teamed up to launch the brewpub after scouting other locations in California. Bottom line: They wanted to return to Lakeport and take advantage of the attractive community feel there. In response, they’ve been growing ever since.
I started off my lunch with a Blackberry Idle Irishman Stout, at 5.2% abv; worthy of being a flagship beer for the company. With a lot of blackberry fruit, beginning on the nose and becoming cassis-like on the palate, it follows through with chocolate and coffee flavors for balance. It’s low carbonation and creaminess made it one of my favorites.
We then moved to half-pints to enjoy alongside my Magic Mushroom “burger,” sampling four more of the brothers’ beer, sharing them around the table. We also liked the Irish Eggrolls and Tater Tots as appetizers.
The Bottlerock Blonde, at 5% abv, featured light, fruity aromas, and mild roasty flavors in a breezy summer ale. Definitely one to try if you need to quench your thirst.
The Five-Window Wheat, at 5.5% abv, began with fresh, yeasty aromas. The hefeweizen-styel wheat showed a lot of coriander and clove on the palate, with a wedge of the spice remaining at the end for a solid impression.
The Elk Mountain IPA, at 7% abv, showed solid IPA credentials, with a light grapefruit aromas, and mildly bitter citrus peel on the palate. It didn’t knock me over, but still a reasonable showing.
Finally, the Hydrilla Killa Double IPA, at 8% abv, resonated strongly with pine aromas, and a strong bitter balance to the distinct grapefruit pulp on the palate. A creamy mouthfeel made this my runner-up favorite of the bunch.
Find O’Meara Bros at 901 Bevins St, Lakeport, California, or call 707-262-1234.