Gettin’ Cultured

Culture signIn the San Diego community of Ocean Beach, there is a bunch of shops down one of the main drags in town. In one of these samey-looking storefronts, I went to a great craft brewery and tasting room called Culture Brewing Company. It had a very strong beach vibe, with lots of driftwood on the façade and sandy concrete- perfect for sandy people just coming from the beach two blocks away. Inside, it was somewhat artistic, with carefully crafted barrels for cocktail tables, kegs and furniture made from barrel staves. Culture collage

Bathroom hallwayThe front of the brewery was large and open, with a roll up glass door and a tasting counter looking out to the sidewalk and street beyond. Local photography adorned the righthand wall, while a good-sized tasting bar sat to the left. The brewing area straight at the back of the room had large viewing windows to allow guests to join in (visually) with their craft. To the left of the brewing area was a long, creepy-looking hallway that led to the bathrooms. The whole place had a nice open floor plan, but no air conditioning.

The ambiance immediately got me excited for the beer. First, I tried the Mosaic IPA (6.6% abv). This poured an opaque golden color with tiny bubbles and foamy white head. It smelled slightly hoppy and fruity, but I detected no other aromas. The taste was light, fresh, and fruit-forward with a malty backbone. Light carbonation and body helped keep things Culture Mosaic IPArefreshing, with some hops toward the middle. It finished with some sweet maltiness trailing, but none of the hops or fruit from before. I had hoped for more from this one, but a good everyday beer:

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Next up, I saw they were running a fundraiser for one of their brewers who was very sick and the proceeds from one of their beers went to help him with treatment. Lager-ita (abv not available) poured opaque pale yellow with soapy white head. Aromas were sour and skunky, much like the cerveza Mexibeer style, which the bartender told me this drink resembled. The taste was light and refreshing, despite the aromas. It helped that I already knew what I was getting into with the cerveza style (always ask before tasting, kids!). Some hoppiness, but mostly sour, cerveza-Lager-itaesque flavors dominated through the middle. It was light-bodied with light carbonation and finished just as light, with the same sour/skunky flavors from earlier in the drink. I considered this a typical cerveza, but it was refreshing.

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Despite the average beers, I very much enjoyed this brewery: great atmosphere inside and out. The staff was very helpful, the art exhibited in the photographs on the wall and the seats under our butts definitely gave this place a lot of character. I will definitely be back.

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