by BrewHead Ted
And Happy Thanksgiving from all of us
at the So Cal Craft Beer Blog!
Every so often, I come upon a beer-related gem, not by word of mouth, nor by seeing an advertisement, but purely by chance. So it was, with Replicant.
I was browsing the internet one day, searching for places in the Pasadena area that I might not have visited yet, to purchase a pint. My search yielded an article about a gas station, here in Pasadena. A gas station? – I had to do a double-take at that. Yes, indeed. A Shell gas station, just a short hop on the train from my home in South Pasadena.
The owner of the station, Shibli Haddad has been sharing his love of beer with his customers since 2017. He started doing so purely out of fun but began developing relationships with different breweries. As of the writing of that article – last month – the gas station was the #1 retailer for Bottle Logic Brewing. Haddad only orders in small batches, changing the beer selections weekly, to entice customers to try new beers. And, according to the article, he is making plans to collaborate with brewers to create unique beers to be sold exclusively at his station.
As if reading that article wasn’t enough reason to go hunting for this place, days later a suggestion popped up on my Instagram feed, to follow an account called Replicant. Being the sci-fi fan that I am, I eagerly clicked on the account, to see if I could find anything about those lifelike robots and flying cars we were supposed to get, back in 2019. (Photo credit: A Spinner, from the footage of the American film Blade Runner, displayed at Disney/MGM Studios in the ’90s and dismantled in 1999. Photo by Nick Whitlow, published at c-we.com.)
But I found something even better – it was the account for the gas station/beer haven I’d just read about. I had to go check this out!
And so I found myself at the northeast corner of Del Mar and Arroyo Parkway, in Pasadena, at a Shell station. What was I to find behind its doors? At first glance, it seemed like any other gas station food mart, with racks of chips and other snacks in front of me, and the checkout counter to my right. But I delved deeper inside, and there I found what I’d come for. In a corner of the store were three entire fridges devoted to beer.
Do Not Push the Big Red Button
AND DID I MENTION that on the wall to the left of the beers, there was a giant red button, with a handwritten sign on the wall over the button, saying “Do Not Push The Big Red Button”??? Did I push the big red button? Oh, I would have, but…alas…there was also a handwritten sign on top of the red button saying, “Red Button Out For Repair.” <<<Sigh.>> Next time.
But I wasn’t (just) there to push buttons, disobey posted signs, and cause chaos. I was there to find out what beer offerings Replicant had for me I browsed their selection and didn’t see anything with the Replicant label on it. As it turns out, Replicant currently has produced two beers, both of which were, unfortunately out of stock at the time of my visit: Astringency Hazy IPA, and Spawning Pool Sour Ale. But I was directed to some of the other great beer selections on hand. I ended up purchasing Two Moon Ritual, a West Coast IPA from There Does Not Exist, located in San Luis Obispo, and two IPAs (a West Coast, Order of Combat, and a Hazy, She Shot First) from Bottle Logic Brewing, in Anaheim, CA. And as an added bonus, while I didn’t find anything solely under the Replicant label, I did find a collab beer between Bottle Logic and Replicant, a dark lager with coffee, aptly named Fuel Up.
Having made my purchase, and giving one last wistful look at the out-of-order red button, I headed home: Eager to make a return visit, but more immediately, ready to taste some good beer.
Two Moon Ritual
Having been stuck on my love for Hazy IPAs for so long, I decided to go back to where my IPA obsession first started, and sample the two West Coast IPAs I’d bought. First up was the Two Moon Ritual. It had some pleasant notes of pine and grass, and the bitterness that only a West Coast IPA can delight the taste buds with. Overall, a very nice WC IPA, that I’d definitely revisit: On a rating scale of 1-10, 1 being low octane and 10 being high octane, I’d grant Two Moon Ritual a 7. Good for the taste buds (but maybe not for the engine).
Order of Combat
Next up, I had another West Coast IPA, this one from Bottle Logic: Order of Combat. I found this one less hoppy and more fruity than Two Moon Ritual, with a smoother mouthfeel, and just a bit of hoppiness that lingered on my palate. A great, sippable beer, that I would gladly seek out again. Another high-octane offering: 8 out of 10.
She Shot First
My third tasting was another Bottle Logic beer, this one a hazy IPA: She Shot First. If I’m being honest, while I enjoyed my first two tastings, I was eager to return to the familiarity of a hazy. And She Shot First did not disappoint. Good, tropical flavors of pineapple, and a smooth, silky mouth feel. I could see myself sipping a can of this on my balcony, on a warm summer day. I will be on the lookout for this beer when the weather heats up again. She Shot First gets another 8 out of 10.
I was excited for my fourth tasting, which was of the Bottle Logic/Replicant collab beer, Fuel Up. I’m a fan of coffee stouts, so I was eager to try out this dark lager with Ethiopian Wate Gogugu coffee. I wasn’t too worried about the alcohol content knocking me out, as the ABV for Fuel Up is 4.8%, and I figured the caffeine content was probably negligible. All the same, I enjoyed this beer in the afternoon, giving me time to recover, whether I found myself dozing off or doing laps around my house. (As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry about either occurrence…)
While Fuel Up didn’t fuel me up like my morning cup of coffee does, it did provide a very enjoyable drinking experience. The coffee aroma drew me in right away, and the taste itself was smooth, and slightly sweet, all with that coffee goodness throughout. All this, without the bitterness and heaviness of a coffee stout. I don’t regret the time of day that I tasted this beer, but I can see myself enjoying another pint of Fuel Up on a cold winter night, giving me just enough fuel to snuggle under the warm covers at night. As a change from the IPAs in this tasting, and as a beer that incorporated my other favorite bevarage, I was super impressed with this one. 9 out of 10. Vroom vroom!
I was impressed with Fuel Up, and I look forward to filling up at the station again, with more from Replicant. If you’re looking for great beer, a fun vibe, and big red buttons to push, stop by the Shell Station at 290 S. Arroyo Pkwy., in Pasadena.
My tank’s just about on empty, my friends – so until next time, cheers!
One thought on “Fill ‘Er Up, with Replicant Brewing”
Great descriptions of the brews you found at the Shell station! I’ve passed it many times and had no idea what was beyond the mini mart doors. Thanks for scoping it out.