Now Let Me Welcome Everybody To The Wild Wild West

…a state that’s untouchable like Elliott Ness.

We got out of the park today, and headed to outer LA, driving up to Marina Del Rey-Venice and back. On the drive up, the exit signs were a love letter to my high school and college years soundtrack–Crenshaw, Compton, LBC, Inglewood (I wonder what they are up to?).

And yeah, I got to use the playlist. Jurassic 5 is one of my all-time favorite Cali groups.

Why Marina Del Rey? Well, because that is where an outpost for Firestone Walker brewery is. Firestone was on my wife’s bucket list. Yes, my wife wanted to go to California in search of beer. I married well, fellas.

Firestone’s Stickee Monkey was Sarah’s gateway into the craft beer world, darker beers in particular. She was a lot cheaper date back when she preferred Busch Light and apple wine.

We each got flights of the anniversary series. For my taste, 20 and 22 were the best. We also had the Brambling Bones sour.

While at Firestone, we asked the barkeep for the other best beer spots around the beach, and on the way back to Anaheim. We were directed to a rooftop bar overlooking Venice Beach. First, we walked the beach a little bit.

Then headed up to High, atop the Hotel Erwin for drinks and a view. Sitting atop the rooftop, staring out over the beach and ocean, the obvious discussion turned to “why do we not live here.” A quick Zillow search shows a nearby studio apartment is available for $2,300 a month. Oh yeah, now I remember.

Being a 40-year-old former powerlifter from the Midwest, I have seen Pumping Iron roughly 100 times. So, when in Venice, one goes to Muscle Beach. It may have been one of the biggest disappointments of my life. The beachside gym is now about four benches and a preacher curl stand on a concrete pad. It was empty, save maybe 3 people. Nobody was hangin’ and bangin’, brother.

I was hoping to get a quick leg day in, but alas…

I did wear my Mikerphone Brewery (Chicago) shirt today. Walking the street, some rando thought that must mean I owned this night club called Mikerphone. I played along. He gave me his CD and phone number. Club de la Weez will be launching soon. It’s only been in the works for 20 years now.

Next was Monkish, one of the better-rated California Breweries. They are one of the few west coast shops doing New England IPAs right, so they stand out here. And yeah, they lived up to the bill, unlike Muscle Beach (I’m not letting that one go).

At this point, it was time to start watching the Mules playoff game on the phone. We may have been half a country away, but there was no way I was not watching that. Even if my streak is now officially over.

And why not one more beer/food stop on the way back. We hit Beachwood BBQ and Brewery. We the Mules, USC and LSU/Bama all within view.

We then returned to Disneyland, where we once again had supper at Splittsville, the little bowling alley/restaurant/bar we ate at last night. We even got seated at the same table, and had the same waitress. I guess it doesn’t take long to become a regular here. After beer and sushi last night, I went old fashioned elder and chicken power bowl tonight. You know, variety with similarity, or something.

After walking around California Adventures for a bit again, and dealing with weekend crowd for the first time, we called it a night early. Well, other than finding Guardians of the Galaxy on TV. When in Rome…


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