From the website that recommended Bergmot Alley, we were under the impression that this to be more of a wine place, but ended up enjoying great craft brews instead.
APPEARANCE & NOSE
Bergamot Alley was located inside a narrow unit and we passed it without noticing it at first. The interior was quite dull during the day - tall windows at the front and a small skylight were the main light sources inside. The walls were decorated with old wines seemingly growing horizontally above close to the high ceiling. One of the walls was exposed brick with old metal beams and plenty of gaps which added a dose of rustic to the setting. The focal point of our attention very quickly became a guillotine-style old wooden door with ropes and wheels. That steampunkish device was used as a gateway for their tiny kitchen in the back. An odd baby photo was decorating the middle of the permanently raised door. We learned that the owner, apparently, found the whole mechanism at a farm nearby and just had to incorporate it into Bergamot’s interior.
Our waiter and bartender Scott was prompt with the menues and easy-going in general. We quickly found out that there are no Bergamot plants around the area but the owner had a fascination for them. Either way, we got to try a few beers prior to making up our mind on what to order - Scott was excited to help us figure that out. The taps were getting cleaned so we had to wait a bit, but Scott kept us entertained with an occasional sampler. The menus themselves were printed on dark paper with a middle circle cut through some of the pages - simple and funky, we thought. It was all held together by Chicago screws - suiting the mood of the environment.
We settled on a Dry Irish Stout Redwood Curtain which poured very dark, with a tinge of red. The aroma was refreshing and light, with notes of cocoa and light roasted malt. We also had their Float, as recommended by Scott. It was a scoop of vanilla ice-cream inside a Death & Taxes (Santa Rosa, Ca) black beer. We made a mistake of taking our sweet time with drinking the float. As the ice cream melted, it became a bit odd of a mix. A more immediate action taken with the drink would have probably be a better way to go there - getting a taste of the vanilla with the dark malt and mild chocolate notes of the brew. We enjoyed this unique drink, none-the-less, at least Ma Cherie did. Good quality dark beers are becoming a norm for craft brewers and we are very happy to see that – the more variety, the better.
The beer would have been only half the fun if we would not have gotten the Cheesy Soft Pretzel to go with it. There were also considering their Curry Popcorn or Kettle Chips - it came with your choice of Nutella topping or Kraut and Pickles. All this snack food goes excellently with beers. Lunatic Lager was another pint we asked for, its hoppy bitterness and citrus nose, made it very food friendly. It was a great match for our warm cheesy pretzel, served on arugula leaves with picketed peppers and grainy mustard on the side.
Bergamot Alley lured us in with their tagline: “Old World Wine Bar and Merchants”. In our opinion, what we saw was more of a hip pub which does not diminish at all the fact that we enjoyed our time there quite a lot. Surprisingly, we did not see any local wines on the offer either – only Old World wines. A cool thing Bergamot Alley does is a wine exploration series of sorts - a recent one was concentrated on Eastern Europe. Where else do you get a chance to try some Croatian or Slovenian wines?
PS: Our bill presented us with a random fact: “hippo sweat is red”. This could be a deep philosophical statement or a simple curiosity depending on how much you had to drink prior.