Posts Tagged SDBrewingCo
Saturday was game day, so I had to find a place to be among fellow fans. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a good place to root for USC in San Diego, so I went with my go-to sports-watching hangout: San Diego Brewing. I basically had a TV all to myself, so it was like watching it at home with more beer and better food.
I couldn’t decide on just one beer, so I got a sampler of three from three good breweries: San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Co., Oregon mainstay Deschutes Brewery and Bell’s Brewery, Inc all the way from Michigan. First up was a special barrel blend from Anchor. This one poured a rich orange golden color, with creamy-ish head that seemed to stick around a while. Just looking at it, it gave me the impression of a heavy beer. It smelled really boozy and somewhat sour, while maintaining some richness at the same time. There was also some musty oak and sugary malt notes on the end. The whole thing smelled very complex. It tasted very smooth and not as alcoholic as the smell led me to believe. The taste was just as complex as the smell, sort of like a beer version of a “suicide soda,” in which (usually) kids run down a soda fountain, filling their cup with every flavor on offer. There were sour notes up front, with a maltiness that helped tie together all the things going on with this beer. It was difficult to pick out any distinguishing flavors to describe. The aftertaste was a little on the sour side, but over all a good enough beer. I would rate it:
Next was one from one of my favorite breweries. Deschutes Black Butte XXIII Porter. It poured a beautiful dark brown, with light brown, medium head that did not last long. It smelled very chocolatey, with lots of bittersweet flavor up front. Then some sticky sweetness came through, a little like brown sugar, for lack of a better way to describe it. The taste was rich chocolate all the way. It was so warm and smooth, it almost made me want it served hot. There was considerable bourbon flavor toward the end, making the finish all warm and smooth as well. This is a great beer for the winter months to come.
I finished up with Bell’s Cherry Stout. I was a little leery of this one going in, as I don’t normally like flavors that define a beer. It poured black (duh), with sticky, foamy tan head. It smelled incredibly sweet and rich. There was some brown sugar, with the cherry flavor on the tail end. The taste was mild at first, but then some sourness crept in, giving way to a load of tartness that almost made me pucker. It could have used a little heavier carbonation to break up the sweetness, or at least a little more malt to add some character to it. The tangy tartness carried the whole way through this beer and the finish. A bit too tart for my taste, but an ok beer.
Despite the relative mediocrity of the couple threes up there, not a bad way to spend an evening. It definitely helped me get even more excited for the turkey-infused gluttonfest this Thrusday… Eat, drink and be merry. Also:
You might notice that I skipped Day 3 of The Best Week Ever. Well, it turns out I was not able to be as exuberant in my celebrating as perhaps I wanted to be and stayed in on Sunday. This caused me no grief, however, as I needed a rest. This gave me the stamina I needed to make a go of Day 4 of SDBW2014 and it went thus:
I went back to newest brewery find near me, San Diego Brewing Co., as I had a blast there on Day 1 (and any other time I have been there). As an added bonus, it was Monday Night Football and happy hour: the trifecta in my book. I just had to come back for my beer week celebration.
This place is in a pretty nondescript strip mall in an area of San Diego called Grantville. I have been told that the powers that be want to build Grantville up into a brewery mecca, but this is the only place anyone would know about. The other two are nano-breweries Benchmark and Groundswell. SD Brewing is easily the most recognizable, as it sits on a thoroughfare that runs through what could be considered Grantville’s “downtown,” though it is far too small an area to warrant its own downtown.
Walking in, I was immediately taken in by the openness of the layout, mostly because it is all one big room. Straight ahead is the bar and the dining area is to the right. To the left of the door is the brewery, all behind glass to keep things separate (and quieter, I imagine). It also has a small arcade, with a pinball machine and a couple of other games. Other than that, the abundance of TVs are what I noticed right away. This is definitely not a sports bar, but it is a great place to catch a game. The wait staff and bartenders are super friendly and mostly attendant, though they have only ever had one person tending a rather large bar, which has resulted in some waiting. Nothing that kept me from coming back, obviously. Enough blather– onto the libations!
I always start with proprietary beers, so I got a Decoaster Belgo Pale. This one poured like a darker version of the Blonde I had previously, with a rich golden color, light carbonation and brief head. It smelled light, only slightly sour and had a bit of maltiness. I expected much more sourness from a Belgian, but I did not complain. The taste was very smooth, with sourness up front and the maltiness persisting throughout. These were really the only two flavors coming from this beer, with the malty smoothness lasting through the finish and some slight sourness lingering afterward. A good, if very simple beer.
After the first quarter of the football game I was watching ended, I ordered their Old Town Nut Brown. This seemed like a great choice for the sliders I already knew I was going to have when I walked in the door. This one poured very dark brown-red, with slightly tan, thinnish head. There was virtually no aroma, with only a slight sweetness from the roasted malts. It tasted very smooth, with lots of toasty malt flavor and sweetness. These flavors also persisted through the finish.
These were very simple beers, mainly owing to SD Brewing’s philosophy of using only the simplest ingredients. If you like more complexity and/or hoppiness in your beer, they have plenty of others to choose from, but if all you are looking for is a relaxing good time, this is definitely the place.
Every year, the San Diego Brewers Guild puts on a festival celebrating all the magic and splendor of beer, brining together breweries big and small at multiple events from all over the county. Needless to say, I am very excited to hear there is such an appreciation of beer and the culture that surrounds it. I have not made my way to any of the sanctioned events yet, but I celebrated in my own way.
I started the party at Rough Draft just down the street from my work. I started with my standard Weekday IPA. Then I had two tasters of their barrel-aged offerings: Emboozlement Tripel and Freudian Sip. These are a couple of big beers. The tripel was surprisingly rich, but refreshing. It was sour, but had a nice malt backbone that smoothed it out nicely. That got me ready for the Freudian Sip strong ale. This was like both smelling and drinking almost straight bourbon. It had some nice malty sweetness in the background, but the bourbon was definitely front and center. I loved it.
From there I moved on to a local Mexican restaurant named Emiliano’s, where I had my standard at such a place: shot of tequila and a beer, this one Dos Equis (this is not exactly a beer destination, but still good.) Leaving there, I went down the street to San Diego Brewing, a place I am sorry to say I just started going to not long enough ago. These guys have tons of beer on tap and pretty good food. It’s also a great place to catch a game, if you are into that sort of thing. I went with their Grantville Gold, one of the brews they make there on site. This is a good light beer, though not a light beer, per say. I mean to say it is easy-drinking and won’t overpower other things you might eat or drink. It is also fairly low abv at 4.5%, so you can still have fun after you are done with it.
Done with dinner, I decided to head home for a bit to call it a day. Then my buddy came home and invited me to BNS Brewing with him. Well…what could I say? After all, it is Beer Week. So off we went. It turned out they had some goings on for the festivities as well: Grillfellas BBQ serving up some goodness and a live band. For my beer selection, I chose the Gatling Gun Imperial Stout, which seemed like a good one to go with my grilled chicken apple sausage and chocolate imperial stout mini-cupcake. Yeah, it was every bit as good as it sounds…the stout was warm and smooth, but not boozy, despite its 9% abv. It was very heavy on the chocolate and moved quickly to coffee thereafter. It finished fairly clean, with strong chocolate bitterness and coffee lingering for some time after. It would make a fine nightcap and it did.
I had a great start to SDBW2014 and will try to post here of my ongoing adventures celebrating this most wondrous spectacle.