On a corner on the main drag through San Diego’s Ocean Beach, was a cool new brewery and tasting room called Helm’s Brewing. Just down the street from one of my favorite breweries, Culture Brewing, Helm’s new location had a long bar top seating area at a large roll up window overlooking the street. The place was small, with the tasting bar directly in front of the door, facing more tasting tables to the right. There was a definite nautical motif, with a boat wheel over the hall to the bathroom at the back and another painted on the floor in the center of the tasting room. On the wall, there was some photography of beach landscapes and boats.
With more than a few beers to choose from, I settled on Ninja Monkey Pirate (6.3% abv) because, with a name like that, how could I pass it up? This hoppy saison was a collaboration beer between Helm’s and another local brewery called Monkey Paw. This beer poured bright golden-yellow, with fizzy white head on top that clung to the sides of the glass. The aroma was definitely hoppy, with some fruitiness and a whole bunch of bitterness. There was even a touch of lemon. The taste was mild at first, with some citrusy hop flavor next. The middle was light and refreshing, with light body and light carbonation. it finished clean, with only a little bit of lemon flavor trailing.
Next up, I had a half pour of the Hispañola Golden Stout (7.5% abv). A neighbor at the tasting bar had one sitting in front of her so it piqued my interest. This beer poured deep golden in color with a cap of creamy white head. Aromas included coffee and a mild bitterness. The taste surprised me with a richness and sweetness I was not expecting. It tasted something like chocolate and sugar. There wasn’t much else going into the middle, which was medium bodied and lightly carbonated. The finish was more of the chocolate and a stickiness that was less than pleasant. Kind of disappointing.