By Dr. Ink
A photograph of Will Ferrell hangs above the bar at Clem’s Tap House, where the actor has dropped in on occasion to swig down his favorite beers.
“He’s a fan of IPAs,” said owner Paul Kasawdish, who opened the cozy beer and wine bar a few years ago after working at his father’s long-established store, Clem’s Bottle House & Deli, located a few addresses away.
Kasawdish and his family have come to know Farrell through their mutual charity work for Cancer for College, a Vista-based organization that has granted more than $2 million in scholarships for cancer survivors. In a couple of Google photos of Ferrell hanging out at the Tap House on other visits, he’s seen wearing a shirt with the Clem’s logo on it, offering the kind of star publicity that would leave any small-business owner beaming.
Kasawdish launched the venture after becoming a beer enthusiast years ago, recalling that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was his “gateway drug” into the craft beer scene. And while working at the store, he beefed up its beer inventory, which he says now carries 2,000 labels.
At the Tap House, he carries 30 draft beers with plans on adding 15 more in January. During happy hour, about half of them are $5 for pours ranging from 10 to 14.5 ounces.
My drinking comrade chose a beer at regular price boasting the highest alcohol in the lineup, only because he was in the mood for something dark and robust. Indeed, the Woot Stout by Stone Brewing Company erupted with heavy, bitter-chocolate flavors that left him awestruck. Ringing in at 13 percent alcohol, and two glasses later, he became downright giddy.
I chose a happy-hour beer and passed over the San Diego craft offerings in lieu of a fruit-vegetable variety called Autumn Maple, which is produced in Orange County by The Breury.
It too was kicky, sporting 10 percent alcohol that raced through my bloodstream while leaving a memorable trail of caramel and apples on my palate. It’s a beer I won’t soon forget, although Kasawdish says it will likely disappear in the coming weeks as he rotates the selection regularly with a variety of seasonal and new releases.
High-octane beers such as these are a phenomenon of the craft beer scene that still takes former domestic-beer drinkers by surprise. Our convivial visit to Kensington’s only beer-centric bar proved we were no exception to that pack.