As I’ve mentioned previously, I occasionally like to write something about the local beer scene. So, if you are in Southern California (close to Claremont, specifically), then this is a post of particular interest for you. About twenty minutes or so from my apartment in Pasadena, there is a place called The Back Abbey. A friend of mine, let’s call him Dan, introduced me to this place. As a lover of Belgian Ales, I was already intrigued by this place since I knew that Belgians are their specialty.
I’ve written before about how important a beer selection is to me vs. simply having a large quantity on tap. Although these guys don’t have the number of beers to match corporate models, what they do have is what one might call a deep cut. So, when Dan told me that they didn’t have tons of beer on tap, I wasn’t too deterred…and that’s a good thing.
When we arrived, I immediately took note that the Back Abbey had a display above the bar of bottles from every Trappist Ale, even the rare Westvleteren selections. That is the one Trappist coveted by beer drinkers that can’t be obtained very easily since they do not distribute or sell their beer commercially (most people are either out of luck or become one-armed and one-legged). At any rate, every other Trappist was available for purchase.
Having already eaten, Andrea and I did not order any food but did eat some Fritz, which were pretty good (thanks for sharing, Dan and Samantha). The Back Abbey served food, which looked very nice in presentation and even better in my mind’s tasting eye. Yet, I was more than content to order a beer or two.
Andrea ordered Carmelite Trippel and I order Schneider Aventius and Saison Dupont…all on tap. (I didn’t know where else to start, so I went for some things I’d never had on tap before.) I also tasted Dan’s draught Celebrator, which is already great in the bottle. I’m not going to give you a full list of the beers, but their tap list was wonderful and their bottle list was great, too.
As I side note, I do want to mention that Dan ordered Kwak on tap. He literally had to give up his shoe to get the Kwak glass (some thievery has brought about this state of affairs). But the ambience of the place is also very nice. The interior had a rustic, almost older German/Belgian pub feel. No music was blaring, only lively conversations. The wait staff was friendly and knowledgeable. There is also something re-assuring, from a quality perspective, when the glasses are inspected with scrutiny before beer ever touches them. Anyway, it was one of the more enjoyable nights that I’ve had for $15 worth of beer. Check out the Back Abbey if you are near Claremont, CA.