Posts Tagged coffee stout
I recently took a trip to Coronado “Island,” though technically it is classified as a tied island, connected to the mainland by a thin strip of land called a trombolo. For the purposes of this visit, however, I will continue calling it an island. It is a beautiful place, with lots of beaches and the ever-present shopping areas. One of the shopping areas houses the main brewery and restaurant location for Coronado Brewing. A friend told me this was basically a fancy-looking Coco’s. Despite what I had heard about this place, I had to try it. “When in Rome,” as they say…
The general theme of the place seemed to be a mix of old world industrial and Caribbean plantation. It is a big place, with brick on the outside and lots of wood copper, stained glass and more brick on the inside. There were big wooden plantation-style shutters on the windows, slate tile on the floor and a tin roof. It was very much a working brewery-restaurant, with the brewing operation out back. In fact, I passed by it on my way to the rather inconveniently located restrooms.
Which, appropriately enough, brings us to the beer. I decided on a sampler, as I am prone to doing at places I have never been before. I tried to cover the spectrum, light to dark, refreshing to filling, with one thrown in for interest.
My sampler began with the Maidens Altbier. It poured dark amber with white head that slowly slid down the sides of the glass, but left nothing behind. It smelled malty sweet, with hints of plum and raisin. Dark fruit flavors brought a malty sweet taste to the front that was quite mild. Medium in both carbonation and body, it had a malty middle that faded into a somewhat bitter finish. I liked this one, but would have preferred a tad more complexity.
Next came what I thought would be the most interesting of the lineup: the Lime Light. This one poured very pale yellow with tiny bubbles and head that clung to the glass. The second I put my nose over the glass for a whiff, all I could smell was the very strong lime aroma. Strong though it was, it did smell fresh. The taste was very mild, with some grassy flavors and a whole lot of lime. I could detect virtually no carbonation and it went down very light. Light flower notes came out toward the middle, with more grass and lime flavors carrying through to the finish. Much like the chile experience I had in New Mexico, this just was not my cup of tea…or beer.
I thought a good way to transition from the strong flavor of lime from that last taster would be to have a sour, so I tried the Second Chance Sour. It poured very pale yellow, though slightly darker than the Lime Light. On top was a cap of creamy white head. Grassiness and sour aromas were all that rose from the glass. The taste was very tart, almost puckeringly so. That same sourness pretty much dominated the entire drink from beginning to end. I’m a bit of a sucker for sour beers, so I did not mind.
Next up was the Stingray Point IPA. This one poured a rich golden color with fine white head. Lots of bubbles made this drink look quite lively. It smelled flowery sweet, with a bit of maltiness to back it up. The taste was much the same, with hoppy flowers, followed by a malty undertone. It finished mildly hoppy without much else to complicate it. A simple IPA.
I finished heavy with the Export Stout. It poured dark brown, with tan head that stuck around for a long time. It smelled light for a stout with definite coffee and chocolate notes. The taste was super malty, with bitter chocolaty flavors. It mellowed through the middle, finishing back with the malts, bittersweet chocolate flavors and coffee underneath.
Overall, a good trip to Coronado. I do not agree with the Coco’s assessment, however. I thought the setup and decor of the place made it a unique and fun place to visit. Even so, I wish this selection of lesser-known beers from a brewery I really like had been better.
A year or so after discovering Coronado Brewing Co., I finally went to its birthplace. In the interest of full disclosure, there are two locations: a restaurant on Coronado Island proper and the tasting room on the mainland. After consulting some of the local opinion around here, I decided on the tasting room. I was given the impression that the restaurant is a little like a Marie Callender’s that happens to serve Coronado beer. “Fair enough,” I says and off I went.
This place is in a pretty industrial area right off of the 5 freeway. One building looks like the next and I had never driven down in that area, so I drove past it a couple of times before I saw the bigger-than-life sign you see at the top of this post… It also has a very large flag on the top of it, but unless I was looking up (I wasn’t), I wouldn’t have seen it.
Walking in, it is much larger than I thought it would be. Other than that, it is much like any other brewery: lots of concrete and stainless steel. Then there is the tasting bar just to the left of the door. They built a sort of patio area out of rough-hewn wood beams that sets it off against all the beautiful sterility surrounding it in the production area.
Coronado Brewing is very into branding. Every single one of their tanks is emblazoned with their mermaid logo. Of course, they have all of their merchandise for sale in the gift shop/tasting area, as well.
Behind the tasting area by the bathrooms, they have refrigerators that house almost every beer from their Core Series, as well as some from their specialty beers. Much of their selection is dominated by IPAs, but a few of my very favorite beers are hiding in there.
I decided to just have tasters today, so I tried four: Ricky’s Malt Liquor, a session IPA, Blue Bridge Coffee Stout and Piccadilly Porter.
I didn’t get pictures this time, but I’ll do my best to paint some with words. The “Malt Liquor” was a light golden color without much head or carbonation. It did not have much of a smell, except for some sweetness from the malt. It was surprisingly mild and easy to drink, especially given the 9.1% abv. I am not sure I got a ‘malt liquor’ feeling from drinking it, but I enjoyed it.
I then moved to the session IPA. This was a pale golden, very clean-looking beer, with tiny bubbles and a mat of somewhat frothy head on top. The hoppiness coming off the top of it wasn’t enough to knock me back from the glass, but it was definitely present. Otherwise, it smelled only slightly fruity, with just a hint of grains. The first taste out of the glass was the hoppiness. Again, it wasn’t enough to fry the senses, but rather a pleasant flowery, slightly sweet flavor moving through my mouth. It felt thicker in my mouth than it looked in the glass, which was also a pleasant surprise.
Third was the Blue Bridge Coffee Stout. I have had this before in the bottle, but when I have a chance to get any beer from the tap, I am going to jump on it. This was no disappointment, either. It poured a deep, dark brown, though without much head, surprisingly. It definitely smelled like coffee and lots of toasty malts. The taste was lighter than I might have expected, given its stout-ness, with all the coffee flavor dominating the whole way through. It finished clean, with just a hint of the coffee that was so prevalent throughout.
Last, but not least, was the Piccadilly Porter. This one was not that different from the stout, with the pour, smell, taste and finish all remarkably similar. Especially surprising was the coffee flavor that seemed to overtake the toffee and chocolate flavors porters usually have.
Overall a pleasant experience. Tours are available, so I might just have to make a return trip to take advantage.