Featuring Lompoc Brewing
Brewer Bryan Keilty
Hosted by Sunshine Tavern
$60 per person, plus gratuity
When we first talked about signing up for Beer Camp, we hesitated, as $60 seems like a steep price to pay for beer sampling. Also, we had recently been to Lompoc, which unfortunately did not receive a good review from us – the beer was warm and not to our liking, the bartender unfriendly, and the food so so. However, after not too much thought (and probably a few too many beers), we decided, “what the hell” and signed up.
Beer Camp turned out to be a blast and well worth the cost in our experience (might not be for everyone). We were in good company with 10 additional beer-lovers, David Welch, owner of Sunshine Tavern and Lincoln, and Bryan Keilty, Brewer from Lompoc. Bryan brought five tastes including, Centennial IPA, Kick Axe Dry Hopped Pale Ale, Batch 69 Baltic Porter, Bob’s Memorial Braggot, and Bourbon Barrel Aged LSD.
Sunshine Tavern provided the guests with delicious candied hazelnuts and some sort of unidentifiable fried pork rind thing (we think, but did not eat) to snack on during the tastings, but the best part of the evening came when it was time to order dinner and more beer – anything the restaurant served. David talked us into ordering “Portland’s best fried chicken and waffles” with a side of Upright Brewing Number Four. David knows his food and beer! Better than Screen door, better than Bernie’s…you just have to try it to believe it! Crispy, moist, the flavor was incredible. And then there is the Monte Cristo…thick slices of brioche, loads of turkey, ham and cheese, dipped in egg batter, deep fried to crispy perfection, sprinkled with powdered sugar, topped with a fried egg, served with a side of marionberry preserves…Best. Sandwich. Ever. We thought we would have some left over to take home, but when we looked down, our plates were practically licked clean. From the sounds coming from everyone else at the table, it safe to assume almost anything you order will be delectable. We’ll be heading to the Sunshine Tavern again very soon.
Anyway, enough about the food and a little more about Beer Camp. Overall, Bryan Kielty did an admirable job answering our questions and dealing with our loud table of beer drinking cross talkers. After we finished all the open bottles of Lompoc, as part of the Beer Camp package, we were allowed to try as many of the other beers on tap that we wanted, which is both awesome and dangerous (there will be no driving home). David Welch prides himself on his ability to stock his restaurant with outstanding brew choices, and he has done an excellent job of making it happen. Happily, after a glass of Upright, we decided to stick with the Kick Axe, as it was our favorite of the night. David mentioned having another Beer Camp in the future…we’ll be there!