Cellar 3 is a new brewery that Green Flash Brewing opened up in Poway. It struck me as Green Flash gussied up. Lots of canvases adorned the walls featuring works by local painters and moody accent lighting helped with the overall art studio look of the place. Walking in, visitors have to head to the left past the brewing area which featured giant wooden barrel brew tanks. That lead to the hallway-like expanse that is the tasting room. On the right is the tasting bar and the left is a the back wall that awkwardly features only one door to a good size outside patio area, complete with a food truck. The whole brewery was brand new when I visited, having opened only 3 weeks earlier, so it still had a bit of an unfishished feel to it.
Unfortunately, so too did the beers I tried. I decided to try a sampler, as this is the best way to taste as many of a brewery’s offerings as possible and still be able to walk out under my own power (I’m usually a lightweight). I started with Natura Morta with Cranberry. It poured like juice: bright red and almost no head, except for the slightest hint of bubbles. Very tart aromas of cranberry were all I could get from the smell. The taste was very tart and sour. It was like a kick in the teeth it was so strong. “Astringent” is a good word to describe some beers and I think it is definitely appropriate here. The acidity in this beer was WAY up there, making it borderline unpleasant. The middle was none too smooth, either, with an unpleasant sticky sweetness that followed the overpowering sweetness. It finished very tart and sticky, which I think was my mouth’s way of rejecting this concoction. Sorry, Green Flash…this one did not do it for me:
Hoping to recover from this last assault on my taste buds, I tried an interesting, incredibly complex-sounding one: Fresco Sauvage with Brett, a Belgian-style saison, aged in red wine barrels. Looking back, this may not have been the best choice following such as palate-killer as the cranberry one, but, alas… This one poured a light hazy yellow color, with smooth head that streaked around the glass. It had a bright, slightly sour aroma that seemed refreshing. There was little else to distinguish in the smell. The taste was indeed sour, but light mouthfeel and the bright flavor of citrus helped keep it at bay. Lemons and grassiness defined the middle of the drink and the light body and smooth carbonation helped move mostly just the lemon flavor through the finish. Interesting, but just ok:
Last, I tried the Noir Sauvage Dark Lager, a black IPA also brewed with brettanomyces. These are what give so-called ‘wild ales’ their wildness. This beer poured black with a lovely cap of tan sticky head. It smelled very rich, like chocolate, bourbon and sugar. The taste was every bit as rich, with a huge sugary rush at the outset, followed by bourbon and malts. Medium-thick mouthfeel with little carbonation made it feel rather heavy. The middle is bourbony with notes of dark fruits. It finished rich, with a touch of bourbon. An interesting beer here, but still mostly unremarkable:
Although I enjoyed my trip to this new spot, the beers I tried left something to be desired. I will be back and I can’t wait to see what they’ll do when they are a little more settled in.