Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Long Drive with Short Stop in Gilroy, California

"To know the road ahead, ask those coming back." ~Chinese Proverb

June 12: Spoke with Bill Owens this morning, publisher of American Distiller ( who is on his own 4-month road trip. Bill is taking photographs for two upcoming books - the first one (on America) is an updated expansion of his famous photography book, "Suburbia" which is still used in university level photography courses. The second book is a photo book on the current state of the American Craft Distilling scene. Bill and I determined that he is about six weeks ahead of me. We will try to link up somewhere along the road.

After a quick drive from San Jose to Gilroy, I stopped into Farmhouse Brewing Company. Peter Licht (pronounced Light) has been brewmaster there since 1995 when it was called Coast Range Brewing Company. I know Peter because Steelhead contracted them to brew two brands of root beer in bottles, "Steelhead" and "Bulldog." Bulldog Root Beer is available nationwide at Cost Plus World Market. Steelhead Root Beer is available at the three Steelhead brewpubs as well as limited distribution in Eugene and Portland in Oregon.

Peter is a former New Yorker with a classic road trip tale: Way back when, he and a buddy got in their car and drove until they ran out of gas money. They ended up in California and they're both still here. Peter looks serious in this photo but he throws his head back when he laughs, and he laughs a lot. For a New Yorker he's a pretty mellow guy who doesn't seem to let much bother him.

Peter gifted me with three 22 oz bottles of his Farmhouse Ales, and a bottle of his "Boot Rear" root beer.

Back on the road, I powered down Hwy 101. It was interesting to note that between Gilroy and Salinas, half of the radio stations were spanish-speaking. That's an estimate, but I definitely had to channel surf a lot as I don't speak spanish.

Arrived in Paso Robles in good time.

P.S. Thank you to Firestone Walker Brewing Company for offering free wireless in their tasting room so I could update this blog.

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