By David Perloff / Photos by Brevin Blach
Colette grew up in Seattle, lives in downtown's Marina District and earns a living as a culinary-and-travel publicist for Chemistry PR in Bankers Hill. "I love what I do," she says. "I've worked hard to be here." Ryan grew up in Montana, lives in Pacific Beach and manages the bar at Firehouse, also in PB. "Making slightly above average Mai-Tais," he says, "contributes to a portion of my income."
[Editor's note: If Colette looks familiar (which she won't to Ryan), it may be because she was the female star of PacificSD's November 2011 blind date. Thirsty for more, and with her glass always half-full, she's back for a second round.]
The two met for the first time about 30 minutes ago and are now riding in an Epic Limo en route to Hess Brewing in North Park , the first stop on their brewery-tour blind date in celebration of San Diego Beer Week (for more on that, see First Draught). Before they arrive, let's review the pre-date interviews.
PacificSD: What do you do for fun?
COLETTE: I love traveling and visited Africa earlier this year. I'm always up for road-trips and trying new restaurants, but I like spending time at home, too.
RYAN: I watch a lot of Keanu Reeves movies.
What are you best at?
COLETTE: I'm ridiculously good on the piano. It shocks people every time. It's a secret talent.
RYAN: I'm pretty good at tying a bowtie.
What do you suck at?
COLETTE: I don't know how to exercise. I don't like it. You won't catch me running the Convention Center stairs.
RYAN: Saying "No."
What are you looking for in a date, physically and/or otherwise?
COLETTE: I love a down-to-earth man with a plan, someone who can handle his business and keep a sense of humor at the same time. Having a passion for something; that's attractive.
RYAN: I can't wait to ride in the limo.
Describe your special brand of sex appeal in five words or less.
COLETTE: Baby got back? That'll do.
RYAN: Grow it and blow it.
What do you like least about yourself?
COLETTE: I'm tall and I always wanted to model, but the agencies said I didn't have strong enough cheekbones. So, there's that.
RYAN: The form of my backstroke.
Rate yourself on a scale from one to 10 for looks.
COLETTE: I'll say nine. I'm happy with the way I look.
RYAN: In Montana, I was a 6.5.
What traits could your date exhibit that would be deal-breakers?
COLETTE: We'll have issues if his world revolves around electronic music and bottle service.
RYAN: An Adam's apple.
How many people have you slept with?
COLETTE: It's a surprisingly acceptable number. I'm not one of those "PB girl" types, if you know what I mean.
RYAN: Umm, 8.65. Weird, right?
What's your favorite food?
COLETTE: Anything sweet - chocolate, cookie dough, frosting with a side of cake. Give it to me.
Will the night end with a kiss, something more or something less?
COLETTE: It won't go too far, because that's not my style... but that's hard to answer.
RYAN: I'm just trying to get my hand held.
What's the most important thing in the world?
COLETTE: Live your life in a way that makes you happy. You don't get to live today twice.
RYAN: Nickelback's Dark Horse album.
Why are you going on a blind date in a magazine?
COLETTE: I've had so many awkward moments in life; I can handle one more.
RYAN: My Tinder account quit working, so this seemed like the next best option.
The daters taste a rainbow of beer flavors
Colette and Ryan disembark the limo and stroll up a shadowy gangway past the stainless steel beer-making equipment at Hess Brewing, located on the former site of the Evangelical Bible Book Store.
"Now we help people reach a higher level in a different way," says the bar manager as he leads the couple to their table.
Dozens of Hess patrons are talking loudly, some playing cards and board games, others tempering their buzzes with Southeast Asian street food from Pho Realz?!, a roving pop-up kitchen set up by the alley behind the building.
The daters, who've been drinking Crispin Cider in the limo, order their first flight of beers, which range from light to dark. They're being chatty, laughing often, and appear to be having a great time when their appetizers arrive from the mobile restaurant.
After about half-an-hour, it's time to roll to the next stop on the tour. The couple jumps back in the limo and heads to Karl Strauss Brewing Company (located east of Pacific Beach), which has recently unveiled a new tasting room. After a couple mug shots - make that "jug" shots (see photo) - they grab a table in the outdoor garden, which is remarkably serene given its proximity to the freeway.
Before heading back out on the road, the couple gets a behind-the-scenes tour of Karl Strauss' bottling plant, which is visible to the public through large windows in the tasting room. The scene looks like it's plucked from the opening credits of Laverne & Shirley (Google it), minus the goofy friends... and plus two blind daters doing goofy things with bumper stickers (see photo).
Next stop: Culture Brewing Co. in Solana Beach. A modern yet rustic microbrewery on the other side of the tracks (from Highway 101), Culture has 12 taps that provide a constant flow of what's brewing on-site, which appears to be the new talk (and bark) of North County (dogs welcome).
Troopers Colette and Ryan show their mettle, pulling up a couple kegs to sit by a barrel table and taste still more delicious beers. Not that it would take beer goggles to make either of these two look hot, but if it did, their goggles would be motorcycle helmets with the visors down by now.
Step lively, kids. One more stop. You can make it.
Back in the limo for the ride to dinner (and more beer flights), the couple cracks mini-bottles of Milagro Tequila before heading inside and grabbing a booth at Lumberyard Tavern in Encinitas . Once they've had a chance to talk over appetizers, they're split for mid-date debriefings.
PacificSD: How's it going so far?
COLETTE: It's great, it's a nice date. I'm pleasantly surprised. I was worried about who it might be, but he seems good.
RYAN: Date's gone well. Good beer, girl's cool, limo driver's even better. Can't complain.
What were your first impressions?
COLETTE: He was cuter than I thought he would be. He's the type of guy I'd usually be with. I thought you guys would set me up with an ogre. There are a lot of people in the restaurant industry who maybe aren't physically up to certain standards. Ryan is cute.
RYAN: Colette was awesome, I'm glad she wasn't the girl we pulled up next to at the bus stop. She's a good-looking girl.
Is this the type of person you'd normally date?
COLETTE: Oh, yeah. He's tall, he's good-looking, he seems down to Earth, he seems like he has it together. He just has a nice personality overall.
RYAN: No, simply because I haven't dated someone in a really long time.
What do you think of the way your date is dressed?
COLETTE: I love a guy in a flannel button-up; I can't resist.
RYAN: Super cute. She did well with the whole dress-casual-but-nice thing. She nailed it.
How was your experience at Hess Brewery?
COLETTE: The layout was nice at Hess. You can walk over and see where they make the beer below the
tasting room. That was cool.
RYAN: Best beef skewers I've ever had. And the beer was awesome. I feel stupid saying this, but their blonde was amazing - great blonde beer.
What did you think of Karl Strauss' new tasting room?
COLETTE: I liked the outside area. You feel like you can kind of picnic and have beer at the same time. That was a nice ambiance.
RYAN: Super cool ambiance. They had a Rubik's Cube there, and I don't know why I didn't solve it. Should have. I thought, "I know how to solve that. That might get me laid." But, no.
How about Culture Brewing Company?
COLETTE: Culture was different. I wasn't expecting to find that in Solana Beach. I feel like that's a perfect addition to Solana Beach, something they could really use up there.
RYAN: Kegs as seats - one of the coolest things I've seen at a brewery. Just super low-key. You could tell it was a new brewery; garage doors open, sitting on keg shells. Awesome place.
What's the most attractive thing your date has done so far?
COLETTE: He's been so easy to talk to and easy to get along with, and I feel like I'm just hanging out with a cool guy.
RYAN: She just has an awesome sense of humor. Any situation we've been in, she knows how to make fun of somebody, which I like to do.
Rate your date on a scale from one to 10 for looks.
COLETTE: Nine. He's totally my type. Good job, PacificSD. High-five.
And for personality?
COLETTE: Eight or nine.
Do you want to kiss your date now?
COLETTE: It could get there shortly.
Does your date want to kiss you?
COLETTE: I don't know, maybe. He's a guy; is that really a question?
That's three "nines," one "eight or nine" and at yeast a dozen small beers, maybe more. So far, so good.
3812 Grim Ave., North Park
Karl Strauss Brewing Co.
5985 Santa Fe St., Pacific Beach
858.273.2739 (BREW), karlstrauss.com
Culture Brewing Co.
111 South Cedros Ave., Solana Beach
Beer with dinner... or the other way around
As their entrées arrives, Colette and Ryan are finally left alone to enjoy the rest of their evening away from the camera. After a final toast of our own 30-somethingth beer tasting, the magazine crew heads out into the night. The next morning, we call to see what we missed.
PacificSD: How was dinner at Lumberyard Tavern?
COLETTE: I love that we went somewhere on the casual side. I think that's the best kind of environment for getting to know someone, when there's no pretention and you can just be yourself. Also, their spinach dip is the new black.
RYAN: Lumberyard was a super-cool place, and the food all looked good.
What did you have to eat and drink?
COLETTE: Steak and potatoes. I was so nervous before the date began that I forgot to eat, so I was starving the whole time. I think I ordered the heaviest thing on the menu.
RYAN: We had an ahi plate and spinach dip for an appetizer. I ordered the fish tacos, and Colette had the stuffed steak. We both had a couple different beers and a few shots for dessert.
What happened after the magazine crew left you alone?
COLETTE: After dinner, our driver took us down the coastline and surprised us with a stopover at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. Nice touch. After that, we went to a dive bar for one more drink, and then I went home.
RYAN: We picked up some more beers for the limo after dinner and got the "Eddie" tour of Solana Beach's finest beaches. On the way back downtown, we made a pit stop at the High Dive bar in Bay Park for a to-go tequila shot. After Colette left, I rode around and drank beers by myself until Eddie kicked me out to go home.
When did you get home?
COLETTE: It wasn't that late, about 10 p.m. I had to work in the morning. Real life beckons.
RYAN: I think around midnight.
What two things would you change about your date to make him/her a better fit for you?
COLETTE: I wish he didn't live in PB and I'd like to see him be a little less like every other guy. That could come out in time. I tend to prefer guys with a bit of a quirk, but no big deal.
RYAN: That wouldn't be a very nice question to answer.
What's the funniest thing that happened during the date?
COLETTE: Ryan supposedly has a pet cow in Montana named Alex. I hope he tells this to all the girls. That's kryptonite right there.
RYAN: Our late-night photo session on the beach. If only the pro photographer hadn't gone home already.
What was the best part of the date?
COLETTE: Finally getting to eat. I was really starving. I didn't plan that one out right.
RYAN: Culture Brewery was my favorite place we visited - beer was awesome, and we had more time to sit and try the beers.
What was the worst part of the date?
COLETTE: He asked me about football just a few minutes in, so I had to reveal early on that I'm not that into sports. I usually try to hide that until a few dates in.
RYAN: Finding out this was Colette's second PacificSD blind date.
Will there be a second date?
COLETTE: Signs point to yes, or at least we'll hang out. We both randomly own six-person tents, so we might be in the midst of planning the best camping trip ever.
RYAN: I don't know. I was late picking her up and early dropping her off. I'm hoping my proposition for drinks at Applebees in El Cajon will seal the deal.
What's one thing your date should know before going on another date?
COLETTE: I can't handle that many drinks on a regular basis.
RYAN: Another date with me? Does that mean I get another date?
What could have made this date better?
COLETTE: Fill the limo with puppies? Nothing else comes to mind.
RYAN: More tequila never hurt anyone.
What food did your date remind you of?
COLETTE: Ryan seems like a classic kind of guy, so maybe he's just a classic burger. Something straightforward, something most everyone can agree with, you know.
RYAN: She reminded me more of a beer.
What kind of beer did your date remind you of?
COLETTE: A stout - tall, dark and handsome.
RYAN: I'm going to go with a warm PBR Tall Boy on this one. Sophisticated, classy, well dressed and easy as sh!t to drink... with.
AFTERMATCH: Despite the daters' obvious connection and romantic beach walk, Colette bailed early to get up for work the next day. The good news is that she said "signs point to yes" for a second date, and Ryan is optimistic that "drinks at Applebees in El Cajon will seal the deal."
Ryan was displeased with Colette's having been on a previous blind date, but if they're ferment to be, he'll just have to deal with getting hoppy seconds... for bitter or worse. Luckily for PacificSD, whatever happens, we're just in it for Schlitz and giggles.
Seven hours, three breweries and one tavern specializing in local craft beers. If that doesn't add up to the perfect blind date, maybe a little head in the back seat would... but there was only cider in the limo, and that doesn't foam up so much.
967 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas