With a flight delay of just a few minutes under three hours (can’t help thinking that the fact cash compensation kicks in at the 3hr mark sped things along eventually…) we arrived in California a little bit bedraggled after 17 hours in transit. Flight was great, watched 3 films (Ghost Stories: disappointing despite Jeremy Dyson’s involvement; I,Tonya: flipping brilliant, deserved all the Oscar nomination and win; Journeyman: very moving, love Paddy Considine) but we’re very glad we opted not to pick up a car immediately as don’t fancy driving this pooped.

Our first port of call is San Francisco and our apartment on the rainbow crossing in Castro is gorgeous. With (teenage) kids in tow, we decide that a stroll to the nearest local brewery taphouse is in order so Woods Cerviceria here we come…

Frankly, this is the sort of place Mashionstas would love to have, a small un-fancy bar that serves it’s own beers alongside simple food. There’s a choice of 7 beers, accompanied by empanadas (pasties to us UK folk) or pizza slices. Ideal. We take a flight, plus an empanada each.

  • Local Honey, Pale Ale: Also called a gruit on the display boards. Eucalyptus notes, herbaceous menthol hint, with a honeyed sweetness. Lovely.
  • Crusoe, brett IPA – funky not too fruity
  • Morpho, herbal pale ale: tangy, viscous as hibiscus beers are (Jon brewed one recently). Very pretty with a pink blush. Brewed with mate, a South American herb containing caffeine
  • Boston Black, dark ale: bitter, dry, tasty.

Empanadas are all delicious, with flaky pastry and gooey filings (swiss chard and emmental; cheese and ham; posh chicken) – a perfect accompaniment to the beers and a good start to the trip.

We’re too full and tired to contemplate icecream just over the road at Bi-Rite Creamery, despite the amazing sounding options, we’ll have to come back.

The other San Fran breweries and tap houses have a high bar (see what I did there?!) to meet…