Bay City Brewing has been open for three months or so and I have heard nothing but praise for their San Diego Pale since they opened. Quite a few friends of mine have visited them with regularity whenever they can. I was excited to see what I would find when I visited on on November 15, 2015. They had a number of beers on tap but at $12 a flight of four tasters (ouch!) I only tasted four plus the additional taste the bartender passed to me. I had the stout, San Diego Pale (7.7!), Sour Brown, and Sour Wheat. I also had a taste of the coffee pale ale that the bartender brought over.
The stout was thick and a mix between a light smoke and a heavy roast plus some medium amount of bitterness. My husband wasn’t very impressed by it and thought it had a sour aftertaste. I found it to be a solid example of the style though I probably wouldn’t order more than a taster. The San Diego Pale was very much the typical West Coast style IPA, a mixture of fruit and citrus hops though this specific batch had a bit too much simcoe in balance to the rest of the hops, giving it a sticky sweet finish that I didn’t care for. Others came in and ordered pints without complaints so perhaps I just don’t like simcoe as much as everyone else. It is also possible that this batch turned out a little different than what everyone else was raving about, but I don’t see it.
The two sours were not particularly impressive either. The sour brown they said had some sarsaparilla and bourbon chips added, which I could tell maybe two sips out of the whole taster but for most of it I got a generally off-putting sour taste that missed all of what I tend to like about sours. It may benefit from some time in a barrel aging but as it was didn’t do anything for me. The sour wheat was fairly typical to what smaller breweries have put out when doing their first berliner weisse. It was a light bodied wheat with heavy citrus punch primarily lemon. This one at least had a clear flavor that it was trying to present, though I have had better. The coffee pale ale was tasty, mixing a mildly bitter low malt pale ale with a smooth coffee.
Located a good mile behind Modern Times (I expect most people will come visit them from the 5 Freeway and go past Rosecrans to get there), Bay City Brewing needs to do something unique to get people to visit them over Modern Times. I didn’t find much that stood out from them. You can also hear the cars driving by the nearby freeway while you are there, which takes away from the whole experience. Plus while I was there they had some pounding techno on in the background that I wasn’t a fan of either. As a young brewery they certainly have some time to perfect their sours and get their San Diego Pale to be consistent but for now I don’t see much reason to visit them over Modern Times when I am in the area.