Finding ourselves in northern California, a state that offers fine locally produced microbrews, but with the usual problem of nonexistant transport to anything further than cheesy campus sports bars serving watered down, fizzy lager, we decided to track down a Californian brewery/restaurant, distance being no object this one night. In the end we picked the Tied House in Mountain View, which was only a $25 cab ride away, and served a most satisfactory range of food. As for the beers:
I started with the Ironwood Dark, which was billed as an "English style" brown ale, and was very good indeed: nice and malty, with a hint of overripe fruit in the odour, sweet to the tongue and then satisfyingly bitter on the swallow. My only complaint was that it was served a little too cold and fizzy for my liking, but it was still a great brew. (Ryan noted: "a nice malty dark brown ale, not too hoppy or bitter.")
Later in the evening I moved onto the Oatmeal Stout, a more typical American beer style, which was also a good example of its kind: pretty rich smoky odour, but served too chilled and frankly a bit watery on the first taste. It was more satisfying to drink in hefty mouthfuls, and offered good bitter smokiness on the swallow with a hint of fragrant cedar charcoal that made it a little more unusual.
Ryan moved onto the Alpine Gold, which he reports as "an easy generic pils style without being too watery" (explaining that he "thought it would be a better pairing for the baja veggie burger"). One of our companions also tried the New World Wheat beer, but found it too sweet and bubblegummy, and on that advice none of the rest of us risked it.