Sunday, May 14, 2006

 

Orange Outlets

Southern California does not only boast world-class beer bars, but also some of the best beer shops around.

One place that combines as a bar, sandwich deli and beer outlet is Hollingshead Deli in Orange. Knowledgeable and friendly owners, a great range of imported (especially from Germany) as well as excellent West Coast craft beers, makes this a great excursion from Los Angeles.

The deli, part of a shopping mall with the address 368, S. Main Street, makes a 20 minutes walk from Orange Metrolink station. From there the trains take you to Los Angeles Union Station in just about 45 minutes. Make sure to get on the last train, though; it departs already at 5.30 pm. (Downtown LA may not be your favourite spot very late, anyway.)

Still in Orange County, but further south in Costa Mesa, is Hi-Time Wine Cellars. It is "only" a shop, but what a shop! It might very well be one of the best-stocked beer (and wine) outlets around- their walk-in beer fridge/cellar is just amazing. It is best reached by car, though OCTA bus no 55 runs pretty close by and takes you to the Santa Ana transportation hub.

After a good time at Hi-Time pack wisely because the 23 kg/50 pound coach class weight limit per suitcase is closely monitored at the airport. If, like me, you are served by the extremely inefficient Northwest Airlines check-in staff at LAX (serving 5 customers per hour, staring helplessly at the computer screen while people lose their flights), the least you want when it is finally your turn is yet another delay.

Unloading some rare bottles is a great time for any beer tourist- just make sure it is at the kitchen table back home and not at the check-in desk (or even at the customs counter!)

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