Why we're here...

Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pangaea Two Brews Cafe

Pangaea Two Brews, located on the corner of Franklin Blvd and 3rd Ave in Sacramento's Curtis Park neighborhood, is possibly my favorite spot for a beer session. They are open from 8AM to 10PM Monday through Saturday and a happy hour from 3PM to 6PM each day.

The crowd is relaxed and friendly. You can often times find a beer critic or local brewer sipping away at the bar. The owner, Rob, and top staffer, James are hospitable and  knowledgeable. The menu features a variety of European and European-style beers, and a few locals like Pliny the Elder. There is also the Pangaea-unique Franklin Blvd IPA and Triple IPA which is brewed by Peter Hoey of the bygone Odonanta Brewery. I'll talk more about this later. Pangaea is a  Must Have It.

As its name suggests, Pangaea is more of European cafe than a bar. European cafes are known for being neighborhood-centered and sell their high-quality products in a cozy environment, which Pangea fully offers. This is a place you come to sit down with friends for fun conversation (in Irish-Gaelic they call this Craic).  Pangaea in a sense is a family-friendly bar. I've seen parents with infants and teens sipping on a mocha and munching on nachos. Don't come here if you're only goal is to get wasted.

The beer menu.

Pangaea features several wooden picnic tables, the kind you find in a German beer garden, as well as high-top tables that use bar stools. The space is small, but the layout prevents it from feeling crammed. The accoustics, as the staff will agree, are not ideal. The stained and polished concerte floor, wood-beamed celing, and walls create a noisy space. But not noiser than your standard bar with music blaring. There is also a medium-sized flat screen in one corner, in case you need to keep up on the winning Giants or losing Dodgers.

The menu is something to explore. The nachos are a Must Have It, and so is the shredded pork sandwich.  Temple Coffee is also sold, but I have yet to try it here. The beer menu  includes 20 taps that are very hard to find on tap anywhere, let alone in Sacramento. The beer prices are on the steep side $7-11 for glasses and $10-$20 for bottles (Although there are some rare gems that can cost up in the $60's).

A few things to remember about the price. First, these are potent beers, high in alcohol and flavor. After two glasses or one bottle you will have a good buzz. Second, these are quality beers made by highly skilled brewers using high quality ingredients. Finally, these are hard to find beers that cost money to ship. Some of the bottles are picked up and brought back by the owner himself.

At the beginning of August 2011 Pangaea is expanding into their former storage space and opening up a bottle shop. Their hours will change too: open on Sundays and closed on Mondays. The bottle shop and bar will stay open until 11pm. The bottle shop will feature several dozen beers, focusing on Belgium and other European style beers, with a sprinkling of American brews. If it is not already, Pangaea will be the mecca for European and European-style beers in the Sacramento region.

Franklin Blvd Triple IPA
While Pangaea's draw is it selection of Euro and Euro-style beers, the most unique beer is their Franklin Blvd IPA and Triple IPA. The Franklin Blvd brews can only be found on tap at Pangaea. As mentioned earlier they are brewed by Peter Hoey who had an excellent line of beers under his now defunct Odonata Brewery. If you were an Odonata fan like me, you have to try the Franklin Blvd.

I had the Franklin Blvd Triple IPA. It packs a sweet, complex-citrus, hoppy aroma with the taste that doesn't disappoint. Not as smooth of a finish as Pliny, but if you're a fan of Pliny, you'll love this. Even better that it's a very local concoction.

Every Wednesday night is open Mic night. If you want to hear some local poets and musicians this is a great place to check it out. If you're there to sit and talk on a Wednesday night, this is not the night to be at Pangaea. Open Mic nights are funny, loud, and entertaining and I suggest going at least once.

To sum it up, Pangaea takes you on a global beer tour all in the comfort of your local neighborhood, surrounded by good friends and friendly strangers.

1 comment:

  1. Spot on.

    Pro: great selection, high quality brews, quality food, location

    Con: loud, can get expensive

    One thing he forgot to mention. Pangea is across the street from Gunther's Ice Cream. A double delight...