By September 6, 2014 Read More →

BarView – I’ll Have a Pint Instead

“Dr. No” Thanks on the Vodka, I’ll Have a Pint Instead: Commonwealth Gastro Pub By Kate Serpa Photos by Phil Johnson

So there’s this scene in “Licence to Kill” where James Bond (Timothy Dalton) orders a “Bud with a lime,” rather than the quintessential Bond martini right before he gets in this bar brawl with two unsavory types. I had never seen “Licence to Kill.” I suppose I had never realized that James Bond drinks anything but the hard sauce. And call me a victim of advertising, but I figured James freaking Bond would be a bit more creative with his hops selection — maybe Dos Equis because of the most interesting man schtick? Maybe Stella, because you’re supposed to cut the head off with a knife? Further movie research revealed Bond has also downed Red Stripe, Miller, and Heineken in previous films. I think James Bond needs help in the beer department, everyone. I think we need to take him over to Commonwealth and find him something fun.

With their informal debut during the Grand Prix races in August, and their formal-formal debut on the 15th, downtown Modesto has a new cool kid on the drink & dine circuit in Commonwealth. The late Extreme Pizza location has been thoroughly gutted and revamped with a fresh and sleek brick and metal interior, featuring a large chalkboard over 24 taps making what’s in rotation for today, monogrammed glasses, so, so, so good sandwiches, and four gentlemen, Jeff Brown, Josh Powell, Blake Humble, and Chef Brian, who can speak the gastro pub language better than you, I , or Mr. “Bud and a lime” Bond. No shaking here. Just excellent craft beer and wine list, and a menu to boot.

Phil and I were lucky enough to snag both Mr. Brown & Powell to discuss. With the influx of excellent beer-driven establishments Modesto has been throwing out in the past year, why venture over to Commonwealth? States Brown, “I think we compliment other Modesto bars in many ways, but we do offer a variation on a lot of the same ideas. We are a contemporary gastro pub and are more focused on a craft beer scene, primarily. We want people to come in, try tasters, and really talk beer.” Adds Powell, ” I would say there’s a distinct definitive approach to what we’re trying to do . We’re trying to be a great craft gastro pub for Modesto. We tried to marry several ideas into one location. you might be able to get some of these beers at other places, but they’re washed out by everything else. We’re a destination that specifically caters to craft products.”

The term ‘craft beer’ has always made me a bit nervous — somewhat like ‘wine tasting’ does, in the fact I feel like I generally have no idea what to do/order. Never fear. The Commonwealth staff is more than willing to talk shop (in the most approachable of ways, I promise) to find you a brew you’ll want to order a second round of. What these four gentlemen have sought to create in Commonwealth was an environment they would be excited to find if visiting Modesto — family operated, quality over quantity, and all in a beautiful space. Mission accomplished. Now I am not talking smack about Mr. Bond here — he’s the paragon of uber masculinity and class, and a damn handsome hypothetical man I’d be willing to subject myself to a potential shark attack for, I’m just kind of unimpressed with his beer tastes. Minor technicality. Mr. Bond can keep his tuxedos and shaken martinis for the meantime, but I’m going to go have a pint at Commonwealth.

1022 11th Street, Modesto, CA www.commonwealthmodesto.com<http://www.commonwealthmodesto.com/> www.facebook.com/commonwealthtaproom<http://www.facebook.com/commonwealthtaproom>

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