Archive for May, 2016

Running From Taste

Ninkasi Beer Run IPAJust exploring my surroundings some more, I went down to the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. I don’t usually go down there, as it is mostly surfer bros, tatoo and vape shops and a whole heap of trendiness in which I don’t belong. What did belong (in my beer glass) was Beer Run IPA (7.3%abv). This beer poured golden color, with a cap of foamy white head. It smelled floral and bitter. The taste was very bitter, followed by some floral hops into the middle. It was light bodied and lightly carbonated, finishing much as it started: bitter and floral. Not super dynamic for one of my favorite breweries.

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Oasis in the East

Pacific Islander collageDriving through the Mad Max-style scenery of Santee, there was a small oasis called Pacific Islander Brewing. It had a great Polynesian surfing theme. The outside was adorned with Polynesian ceremonial masks and lifeguard chairs, with AstroTurf and large tile. Inside was a standard tasting room, complete with a long tasting table and lots of concrete. There were also surfboards hung on all of the walls.

Of course, I got a flight, on accouna I had never been before. First was a Li’ke Li’ke (6% abv): It poured rich golden-yellow with tiny bubbles and almost no head. It smelled somewhat skunky and a little cheap (like Miller or Budweiser). The taste was as mild as expected, with only a small amount of hoppiness and little else to distinguish it. All in all an underwhelming start.

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Next was the Duty Free IPA (7% abv): The second beer poured deep clear orange with just as few bubbles as the blond and only slightly more head. Aromas were super floral, with a bit of tropical fruit after. The taste was hoppy at first, with rich fruit flavors that included mango, a touch of coconut and maybe pineapple. Mild into the middle, it was light bodied, lightly carbonated and finished smooth and fruity.

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Pacific Islander flightThird up was a red that wasn’t on the menu (no name or abv given). The pour was dark red with bright white foam on top. Aromas included heavy malty sweetness and a little sourness. It tasted rich and sweet, with a little brown sugar into the middle. Mild and rich, it had medium body and light carbonation. The finish was malty and sweet. This was their best beer on offer that particular day.

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Fourth, was the Tahitian Brown (5.8% abv): This one poured a deep, dark chocolate color, with bright white head. It smelled of coffee, chocolate and malts. The first thing I tasted was coffee, followed by the chocolate and malty sweetness. Mild, lightly carbonated and light body, it finished smooth and rich, with the bitter chocolate trailing.

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Last was the Stink Eye Chocolate Stout (7.1% abv): The last one poured almost black, with thick, sticky tan head. It smelled like rich, bittersweet chocolate and a little boozy. The taste was unexpected: it included a chile flavor and a little vegetal bitterness. There was also a touch of pepper. The middle was heavy and equally rich. Lightly carbonated and heavy body, it finished heavy and sticky.

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Faniciness Prohibited

Prohibition collage

Prohibition Brewing Co. was a way out-of-the-way place in Vista. The building it sat in reminded me of a cross between an old motel and a Mexican food restaurant. The outside was squat, dark and covered in a mural of a small bar scene. The inside was reminiscent of an ecclectic barn-meets a pizza parlor. There was a host stand in the entry way, with both wooden and round fiberglass picnic tables beyond. The floor was made up of large black and white checkers. To the left of the entrance was the small bar area, which from the outside, was all I was expecting to see on the inside, to be honest. Their beer selection was larger than I was expecting, with some equally surprising styles, including a Black Rye IIPA, Wheat Hopped IIPA, and Vanilla Cream Ale.

Prohibition sweet biscuit amberI got the Sweet Biscuit Amber (6.1% abv): This beer poured red in color with thin, fizzy white foam on top. It smelled very malty and a little sweet. There was also a little fruit aroma toward the end. The taste was mild at first. Then the malty sweetness kicked in, followed by a touch of fruitiness. The middle was characterized by more maltiness and a biscuity dryness, that I assumed gave the beer its name. Medium body and light carbonation lead to a somewhat bready finish, with malty sweet stickiness trailing.

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Brew By the Bay

Bay City Brewing collageI hope all had a great Mother’s Day. I went to a really random-seeming spot called Bay City Brewing. This was a very small place tucked away by the freeway by, well, Mission Bay in San Diego. It was kind of beachy, with a light blue wall behind an industrial-rustic wooden bar top, Edison light bulbs and skylights overhead. There was one long tasting table with the same wood on top. Beyond the bar was the brewing area, with four fermenters, two brew tanks, a lauter tun and one mash tun. They even had something delicious looking in barrels on the floor.

inexplicable door

A door…leading to a pole.

Being the patriot I am, I had the ‘Merican Stout (6.66% Bay City Brewing 'Merican Stoutabv): This beer poured deep, dark brown, with thin white head. It smelled of coffee and only slight bitterness. The taste was unlike any stout I had had before: it was carmelly, somewhat malty and a little bitter. Some sourness lead into a middle that was light, malty and had medium carbonation. The finish was light, with some malty sweetness and lingering bitterness, as the carbonation tingled on my tongue.

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Bay City Brewing Sour BrownThen I tried was the Sour Brown (4% abv): The second beer poured a light brown color, with thin white head that didn’t stick around long. It smelled like spice, anise and slightly of malt. The taste was sour at first, with some spice and then the anise kicked in- not enough to knock my teeth out with licorice, but a nice subtle flavor. The middle was medium-bodied and lightly carbonated, while the drink finished with some spice and a lot of malty sweetness.

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Hooligan Kinda Day

Mike Hess HooliganMike Hess brewing is known for widely palatable beers. St. Patrick’s Day is an occasion for special releases. This past holiday they released a cask of Hooligan Irish Stout (5.5% abv). It poured black with a nice cap of smooth tan head. Aromas included lots of bittersweet chocolate, roasted malts and just a hint of coffee. The drink was smooth, not served too cold and creamy. Medium body and light carbonation lead to an equally smooth finish, with mostly bittersweet flavors trailing. None too interesting, but still festive.

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