Posts Tagged beach

I Have a Confession…

Taking a little break from our trip through Ohio, let’s check out a place a little closer to home. In another beachside town north of San Diego, I stopped by yet another mall with all kinds of stores, fancy and not-so-fancy alike all nestled by the beach. Among those stores and mere steps from the sand, there was a tasting room from The Lost Abbey called The Confessional. This was a very unique tasting room, with lots of dark colors and unfinished wood. A roll up door to the right looked out onto the promenade and an L-shaped tasting bar stood straight ahead. Carved trees to the right gave the impression of a holding area for Rose Parade floats, but a semi-circular bar around the trees was enough to distract me from caring. There were also small booths to the right and small tables in front. Chandeliers that looked like real candles helped complete the churchy vibe they were going for.

Lost Abbey The Confessional
To fully experience the place, I decided to go with a flight; not just any flight, but the Rare Beer Flight, which came in two parts. 

Lost Abbey Rare Flight 1The first part started with the Framboise De Amborosa wine barrel-aged sour ale with raspberries (7% abv): The first one poured dark cloudy amber with soapy white head. It smelled tart, with lots of berry fruitiness and a spicy raisin aroma. The taste was mild at first, with heavy sourness following and a bit of bitterness into the middle. With a light body and light-medium carbonation, this drink finished tart and sour, with a nice little malty spice on the end.

4

Next up on deck was the Duck Duck Gooze red wine barrel-aged Gueuze (7% abv): This one poured rich golden with light white head. Mild and slightly sour aromas distinguished themselves most, with virtually no fruitiness, despite being typical of the style. It tasted slightly sweet, with some light grape flavor and a little tartness into the middle. Light in both body and carbonation, this beer finished somewhat tart with a light wine flavor trailing. A little too one-dimensional for me.

3

Closing out the first half of the flight was the Sanyo Ron Diego rum barrel-aged strong ale with spices (12.5%): This beast poured dark red-amber in color and slightly cloudy, with thin white head. It smelled VERY alcoholic, with a little spiciness and a touch of dark fruits. The tastes was quite boozy, with a little spiced raisin and heavy rum flavor. A little brown sugar and maybe a touch of maple revealed themselves going into the middle. Light-bodied and lightly carbonated, the drink finished equally boozy, with overpowering rum alcohol warmth trailing. A little too heavy on the alcohol for me.

3

Lost Abbey Rare Flight 2After recovering from that last blast of booziness, I staggered (not really) to the bar and ordered the second half of the flight. It began with Red Poppy wine barrel-aged sour ale with sour cherries (5%): This one poured bright, rich red, with thin loose head. It smelled mild and sweet, with noticeable cherry aroma and some maltiness. The taste was somehow both rich and mild. There was some maltiness before cherries kicked in and a little hoppiness into the middle. Light body and light-medium carbonation lead to a sweet finish. I enjoyed how dynamic this one was, not to mention the reprieve from the higher abv of the previous beers.

4

As it tends to do, fate heard my relief and squashed it with Agave Maria tequila barrel-aged strong ale with agave (13.5. %): This behemoth poured a cloudy light brown-red color with loose off white head. The aroma was malty sweet with a slight sour tequila punch. It tasted malty sweet and a little sour. A touch of dark fruit and some warm alcohol followed into the middle. Medium in body and light in carbonation, this beer finished rich, with the malts and sweetness returning and the alcohol lingering. I enjoyed this one, as it didn’t have the alcoholic punch of the Sanyo Ron Diego.

4

Rounding out this team of all-stars, the Cuvée de Tomme wine barrel-aged sour ale with sour cherries (11%): The last beer of the flight poured dark red like wine, with loose tan head. It smelled of tart grapes and cherries. The taste was also tart, with cherry sweetness up front. Some booziness followed, with some sourness into the middle. Light-medium body and lightly carbonated, this one finished boozy, with a little stickiness from the cherry sweetness. Not a strong finish, but tasty enough.

3

All in all, I definitely enjoyed my trip around the world of rare beer offered by Lost Abbey. I got to try some styles I would not normally have otherwise and the ambiance of the place was definitely something to behold.

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Bag Me A Beer!

Bagby Beer PanoSummer’s not over yet! Yes, I know that the calendar would have you believe that Fall officially began on September 23…but I refuse to recognize it! As should you, since there is a great town north of San Diego in the so-called “North County” section of the city called Oceanside. This is a pretty typical working-class beachside town that happens to house Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. The beach is fronted by a collection of hotels and high-rises, followed by some quaint shops and bars. A few blocks away from all the glitz is a brewpub called Bagby Beer Company.

This place has much of the same beachy feel as the boardwalk, but is located in a decidedly industrial part of town. Even so, it has a nice open front like you would find at a beach restaurant, with beechwood tasting counters at the patio railing running the length of the place. Roll up glass doors reveal long tables of the same beechwood as outside, with both cushioned stools and hard benches for seating. Glazed brick backs the bar area and loud green paint adorns the walls to one side.

All of this beachiness made me thirsty, so I dove right into a flight of house brews. I started nice and light with a German-style Altbier called ALT In the Family (4.7% abv). It poured a rich amber color, with tiny bubbles and thin white head that dissipated quickly. I smelled wheaty and malty aromas, with a slight sourness underneath. It tasted smooth and mild. In fact, there was little in the way of flavor at the beginning, shifting to only a little maltiness toward the middle. Light- to medium-bodied and lightly carbonated, this beer finished mild and somewhat malty, with little else to distinguish it. Refreshing, but a little boring.

3

Next, I moved to the Struggle Bus Extra Pale Nitro (4.8% abv). This beer poured pale, clear and yellow in color, with little carbonation and a cap of creamy white head. It smelled sour, tart and slightly skunky. The taste was smooth from the nitro and light. It was a little lemony, with some sourness at the start. The middle was light and tart, with little carbonation. It finished just as light, with some sourness and little else. I had high hopes for this one. It was good, but it just wasn’t very interesting.

3

Bagby Beer Flight

Next up, I had a hope-inciting beer called Reconnoiter Porter Hoppy Porter (7.4%). Figuring this one was from their Department of Redundancy Department, I was intrigued. This one poured very dark brown, with thin, but creamy off white head. It smelled of coffee and little else. It had thick and creamy mouthfeel, with strong coffee flavor up front. Some bittersweet chocolate came through the middle, with medium body and light carbonation. It finished with more strong coffee that overpowered whatever other flavors might have been there. I like coffee, but this was yet another one-dimensional beer.

3

I finished ‘strong’ with the Bruges Cruise Belgian-style Dark Strong (11.4%). This big beer poured dark amber in color, with small bubbles and medium off white head that did not last long. Malty, sweet and boozy aromas defined this one, with a little sourness and spice at the tail end. Smooth and medium-bodied, some spicy flavors came through at first, mellowing to a malty sweetness toward the middle, though the spiciness lingered. Medium carbonation helped to keep things lively, while it finished with malty flavors and that lingering spiciness. Despite the prominent spice, I liked how dynamic this beer tasted.

4

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

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:

3

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.

3

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.

, , , , , ,

1 Comment