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Allow me to set the scene: My girlfriend has travelled down to visit me in my hometown and place of residence, Newport Beach, CA, and it just so happens to be the starting weekend of Newport Beach Restaurant Week.  This means all the nice places that, under normal circumstances, are bloatedly overpriced and worth neither my hassle nor my dime, are currently offering very attractive prix-fixe menus which, for some restaurants, include 3-course lunches for only $15.  Fantastic.  I decide to try the Summer House for lunch, and I order myself a Kona Brewing Co. Fire Rock Pale Ale to wash down my 1/2 lb avocado bacon burger (which was quite average, but more on that later).

The Fire Rock poured a smooth, translucent amber color with a creamy one-finger head of small, tight bubbles which quickly dissipated and left mild lacing on the glass.  There were very refreshing forward citrus and fruit notes on the nose and I could pick out a strong distinct scent of apple which played delightfully nicely with the malty caramel flavors when I took my first sip.  Considering how hoppy the nose was, there was surprisingly little bite on the palate; it was a very smooth, cool drink and by the end I wasn’t at all fatigued.  In fact, I promptly ordered a second round!

Unfortunately, the burger was not as satisfying as the beverage that accompanied it.  The patty was under-seasoned and obtrusively thick and round.  The sandwich was not circular, but sub shaped, which doesn’t affect the taste, but I found it to be an unnecessarily silly choice.  The vegetable toppings were average, the bacon was too thick and crispy, and the avocado slipped right off of the burger when I took my first bite.  The burger just didn’t impress.  It was a delightful lunch, but all the credit goes to the brew, my dining companion, and the perfectly gorgeous Orange County weather (sorry, rest of the country…).  If you are a fan of pale ales and you see this Kona on a shelf or menu, definitely give it a try!

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