South Park is a great place: small-town neighborhood, tree-lined streets, friendly people…and beer; really tasty beer. South Park Brewing Company (SPBC) is a brewery run by locals that truly love the craft of brewing beer. On a recent visit, the place had a kind of industrial fish house vibe, with large, butcher/deli-style display cases to the left and support columns wrapped in rigging rope. There were large round tables and long low picnic tables to the left, with a couple of booths on the far left wall. The brewing area was prominently displayed to the right, fronted by a tasting counter. Outside there was a narrow patio, with a counter overlooking the sidewalk and street beyond.
Never one to waste an opportunity to try some beer I had never had before, I headed for the counter. The beer list did not include abv, so naturally I decided on a flight, starting with the SPBC Saison. It poured bright, very pale yellow, opaque and had a thin layer of smooth white head on top. It smelled light and faintly of lemon. I could not detect any other aromas. The taste was just as light, with smooth maltiness up front, followed by some zesty lemon. Light in both carbonation and body, there was not much else to characterize this beer. It did finish citrusy and was refreshing, but nothing very dynamic here.
Next, I tried the SPBC 2 Griffs Pale. This one poured light amber in color, with thin loose white head on top. I detected almost nothing to distinguish the aromas. The taste was very malt forward, but not overpowering. Light hops helped balance it going in to the middle. Light carbonation and medium body helped this beer finish smooth and malty, with just a hint of hops toward the end. This one was also not very dynamic, but I appreciated the balance.
Next up, I tried the SPBC Lime In Da Coconut Wheat. It poured pale cloudy yellow, with thin white head. I smelled some malty and citrusy aromas. Lime was prominent from the first sip, with some very faint coconut leading into the middle of the drink. Lightly carbonated and light bodied, it finished with strong lime and some maltiness. A bit too much lime for me on this one.
I finished up the flight with the SPBC Scripps Pier Oyster Stout. This beer poured black, with thin brown head on top that did not stick around long. It smelled somewhat saline, joined by some roasted malt aromas. The taste was briny at first, but then some of the roasted malts came through. The salt came back almost immediately, however. Light carbonation and medium-heavy body helped mask some of the saltiness, but it finished with lots of salinity and a touch of coffee that was not present earlier. A bit too much salt for me, but still good.
I was going to stop there, but naturally, I saw one on the menu I could not pass up: Popperings Golden Hommel. I had no idea what this beer was when I ordered it, but apparently it is a hoppy, golden-bronze, ale. Always up for a good mystery, I dove in. It poured light clear yellow, with thin fizzy head. Spicy and fruity aromas surprised me a bit for something billed as ‘hoppy.’ It tasted somewhat sour at first, with a bit of citrus and some sweetness that I assumed was from the fruit. Medium bodied and lightly carbonated, the beer finished a little sweet and malty, with just a touch of sourness. Great dynamics in this one, from both the smell and the taste.