Smog City Brewing Company – Orange County CA

Smog City was the first stop in the Torrance area where I planned to visit a few breweries on a Saturday. One of the breweries I had heard the most about before visiting was Smog City. I stopped by the tasting room as the first stop for my day and found them to have plenty of good hoppy beers and a fantastic porter.

Smog City Brewing 01

I started with a flight of the saison, coffee porter, sabetooth squirrel hoppy amber, and hoptonic IPA. The saison was a nice beer with a good citrus flavor and a very light tartness. Next came the coffee porter which I found to be quite intense as someone who hasn’t had a cup of coffee for three weeks. It had a very intense coffee flavor and wasn’t overly bitter.

The Saber Tooth Squirel was an interesting beer that I found overly bitter with not enough flavor. Though it had a powerful floral hop flavor it was mostly a malt bomb and heavily bitter. I did not finish this taster. The Hoptonic IPA was a solid IPA with a light tartness and a solid bitterness and flavors reminding me of under ripe mango and lemon. Finally I tasted the Death By Hops Double IPA. It had a strong citrus flavor with lots of lemon. It was almost as bitter as the squirel and had a nice balance.

Initial taster flight.
Initial taster flight.

Overall I thought the IPAs were solid but didn’t present the sort of hop profile that I enjoy. The porter was as good as everyone said and Smog City could easily rest on the quality of the porter. If you are looking for a good alternative to the typical west coast style of IPA you might enjoy the flavors in the Smog City IPAs.

Smog City has bottles available for purchase at the tasting room of the Saber Tooth Squirel, and coffee porter. The tasting room offers tables with places to sit and enjoy your beers slowly.

UPDATE February 2016:

I’m always open to changing my mind about a brewery over time and with Smog City all it took was speaking with a number of beer geeks who indicated that Smog City makes awesome sours and barrel aged stouts. Neither of these was available the previous time I visited but I happened to catch an online bottle sale of the Snugglebug and Cuddlebug sours and so when I stopped by to pick them up I also got to taste their Infinite Wishes barrel aged imperial stout.

Smog City 01

My bottles of the sours I picked up.
My bottles of the sours I picked up.
Tasters of the sours and a few stouts.
Tasters of the sours and a few stouts.

I was quite impressed by both of the sours. The Cuddlebug has peaches and apricots and had a really nice crisp dry finish with a mild amount of tart and some citrus notes. The Snugglebug has raspberry and boysenberry and had an overall smooth delicious fruit taste with a mild amount of tartness. I would compare these most closely to the Beatitude beers from Council Brewing but with the underlying beer coming through a little more. Infinite Wishes was quite tasty as well, with plenty of vanilla and bourbon coming through in the super smooth imperial stout. I’m glad to say that I will likely be picking up more Smog City sours in the future.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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