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.
[...] Go here: A Visit to the Back Abbey | Thank Heaven for Beer thankheavenforbeer.com/2009/11/02/go-here-a-visit-to-the-back-abbey – view page – cached If you are near Claremont and have a little time and thirst, check out The Back Abbey. I did and here is what I thought. — From the page [...]
Schneider Aventinus and Ayinger Celebrator on tap? Holy schnikes! You’ve found a real gem. Nearly 10 years ago, I discovered both those on tap at a Flying Saucer in Dallas. I had fallen in love, but felt somewhat guilty. Is polyamory acceptable when it comes to beer?
You’re not kidding. There are some seriously good beers on tap. Like I said before, numbers on tap don’t matter sometimes. They have a good amount but the real beauty is in what they have. I may have seen a Paulaner or two as well. If you are ever up this way that place is a must.
I know we’ve discussed it before, but I went to the Flying Saucer in Nashville…I wish they had even those two on tap. I suppose it’s different from location to location. I remember when you first started coming to this site; didn’t you give us that link with all the beer bottles (Flying Saucer commercial)?
Anyway, the great thing about beer, it doesn’t care if you’re a philanderer. And being in love with beer and a woman…well, I’m not going to answer whether it’s ok to be in love with beer and your wife. Self-incrimination has never been something in which I’m interested.
Yeah, they had a video of beer bottles falling like dominoes. Can’t seem to find it. I’ve been back to several different Saucer locations, and they’ve all had those two beers, but in bottles. The draught versions are sublimely superior to the bottled.
This place you write about seems like it would be a favorite watering hole of mine, if I lived down there, what with great German and Belgian offerings.
Here is the tap list for this place. http://www.thebackabbey.com/page3-9/Beer
I think that you would love this place. Plenty of good stuff on tap and bottle.
[...] simply don’t do too much with the bar/pub/beer garden scene. I just don’t. Sure, I’ll go to the occasional pub, but I rarely make an extra effort to get this or that beer. I suppose my reasoning is that [...]