I recently took a trip to Coronado “Island,” though technically it is classified as a tied island, connected to the mainland by a thin strip of land called a trombolo. For the purposes of this visit, however, I will continue calling it an island. It is a beautiful place, with lots of beaches and the ever-present shopping areas. One of the shopping areas houses the main brewery and restaurant location for Coronado Brewing. A friend told me this was basically a fancy-looking Coco’s. Despite what I had heard about this place, I had to try it. “When in Rome,” as they say…
The general theme of the place seemed to be a mix of old world industrial and Caribbean plantation. It is a big place, with brick on the outside and lots of wood copper, stained glass and more brick on the inside. There were big wooden plantation-style shutters on the windows, slate tile on the floor and a tin roof. It was very much a working brewery-restaurant, with the brewing operation out back. In fact, I passed by it on my way to the rather inconveniently located restrooms.
Which, appropriately enough, brings us to the beer. I decided on a sampler, as I am prone to doing at places I have never been before. I tried to cover the spectrum, light to dark, refreshing to filling, with one thrown in for interest.
My sampler began with the Maidens Altbier. It poured dark amber with white head that slowly slid down the sides of the glass, but left nothing behind. It smelled malty sweet, with hints of plum and raisin. Dark fruit flavors brought a malty sweet taste to the front that was quite mild. Medium in both carbonation and body, it had a malty middle that faded into a somewhat bitter finish. I liked this one, but would have preferred a tad more complexity.
Next came what I thought would be the most interesting of the lineup: the Lime Light. This one poured very pale yellow with tiny bubbles and head that clung to the glass. The second I put my nose over the glass for a whiff, all I could smell was the very strong lime aroma. Strong though it was, it did smell fresh. The taste was very mild, with some grassy flavors and a whole lot of lime. I could detect virtually no carbonation and it went down very light. Light flower notes came out toward the middle, with more grass and lime flavors carrying through to the finish. Much like the chile experience I had in New Mexico, this just was not my cup of tea…or beer.
I thought a good way to transition from the strong flavor of lime from that last taster would be to have a sour, so I tried the Second Chance Sour. It poured very pale yellow, though slightly darker than the Lime Light. On top was a cap of creamy white head. Grassiness and sour aromas were all that rose from the glass. The taste was very tart, almost puckeringly so. That same sourness pretty much dominated the entire drink from beginning to end. I’m a bit of a sucker for sour beers, so I did not mind.
Next up was the Stingray Point IPA. This one poured a rich golden color with fine white head. Lots of bubbles made this drink look quite lively. It smelled flowery sweet, with a bit of maltiness to back it up. The taste was much the same, with hoppy flowers, followed by a malty undertone. It finished mildly hoppy without much else to complicate it. A simple IPA.
I finished heavy with the Export Stout. It poured dark brown, with tan head that stuck around for a long time. It smelled light for a stout with definite coffee and chocolate notes. The taste was super malty, with bitter chocolaty flavors. It mellowed through the middle, finishing back with the malts, bittersweet chocolate flavors and coffee underneath.
Overall, a good trip to Coronado. I do not agree with the Coco’s assessment, however. I thought the setup and decor of the place made it a unique and fun place to visit. Even so, I wish this selection of lesser-known beers from a brewery I really like had been better.