Category Archives: Tasting Room

Washington DC breweries, DC Brau and Right Proper

DC Brau Brewing

DC Brau is a bit outside Central Washington DC and quite a pain to get to on public transit but I decided to make the trek during a recent visit and I am very glad that I did. I basically rented a car just to go out to this brewery and another one because I like to drink at breweries rather than bars. While I expected the beers to be good, I was very impressed by the quality of everything they served.

I generally would be spending a bit of time complaining about the fact that the brewery serves their tasters and plastic cups. Surprisingly, the beers were so good that I didn’t really care that much. I started with the Keller Pils, an unfiltered Pilsner. It was crisp and delicious with an earthy malt base and light notes of fruit. I ended up getting a pint of this before I left. I was especially impressed by the Heffeweizen, a style I normally do not order as often while visiting breweries. It was excellent, balancing the notes of banana and cloves with a nice chewing mouth feel and dry finish. While both banana and cloves were flavors I tasted, they were not so strong that they overpowered the rest the beer.

The Porter was creamy and dry with notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and roast the finish. While I did not get a taster of the dry stout myself, it was also quite excellent from what I tasted of my friend’s beer. The IPA was super dry at the finish with notes of resin and dank hop notes balanced perfectly with a medium bitterness to finish it off.

The double IPA was dry and resinous with mild sticky dank character and some hints of ripe fruit. The beer hid the alcohol extremely well and finished with a light herbal bite and subdued bitterness. Both of the IPAs reminded me nicely of my local favorite Societe brewing in quality. The scotch ale was also quite nice with notes of raisin, caramel, and a lightly sweet finish.

It is rare that every single beer that I tasted a brewery is this excellent, but that is exactly what I experienced at DC Brau. If I could get there Heffeweizen locally, it would be something I would drink regularly. If you are in the DC area, you should absolutely try something from this excellent brewery.

Top two:
Heffeweizen
double IPA

Right Proper Brewing

Right Proper has two locations, a brewpub closer to the city and a brewery tasting room further outside. The top lists were quite different between the two. I started with the ornithology. It was funky and oaky with a mildly tart finish, nice and complex as I would’ve expected. Song lines was an interesting hoppy farmhouse ale with notes of sassafras, light funk and minimal bitter finish.

Baron Corvo, their bier de garde, was excellent with notes of cherry and berry over a smooth malt base with a dry finish. Jammy smears, cherry sour, was tart and puckering with more flavors of cranberries than cherry although it was quite good. Raised by wolves, the aromatic pale ale had a hint of herbal hops with a nice mix of tropical fruit and citrus. The beer had tons of hop aroma and was nicely balanced and not overly bitter.

Just a sample of the interesting artwork at the brewery tasting room.

The brett grisette was funky and earthy and also super light. Crushing souls IPA was super fruity with mild dankness and herbal characters on the finish. My notes are not very clear about these last two beers but I don’t recall them being anything but solid. I was also quite impressed by the quality of beers at right proper. I am glad I was able to fit them into my trip.

Top 2:
Baron Corvo,
Raised by Wolves

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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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Port City Brewing Alexandria Virginia

Port City is a nice neighborhood brewery in Alexandria and overall they had a solid lineup of beers that were quite enjoyable. They have a wide open tasting room with tons of space to sit both inside and outside. Because they don’t have taster flight trays, they give you one or two tasters at a time from your six taster flight. This works out well for the most part.

I started with the porter. It was roasty and lightly smoked with notes of cherry, bitter chocolate, and toffee. The beer was easy drinking with a nice medium body. I can see why this is an award-winning porter. The scottish ale was easy-drinking with notes of cherry. It would be quite easy to drink down by the pint. The session IPA had a mix of bitter grapefruit and floral hops with a strong bitter finish. The beer had a good medium body and a crisp dry finish. Though I would prefer slightly less floral hops, this was well done.

The English IPA was lightly sweet with a soft body and notes of peach. The flavors balanced nicely with a mild bitterness on the finish. The Integral IPA was soft and juicy with bright citrus on the notes and notes of juicy tropical fruit and melon finished off with a light bitterness. I really enjoyed this one and might have had a pint except a band was about to start playing where we were. The Scotch ale was a caramel color and had notes of caramel and raisin with a hint of cinnamon to balance out the sweetness.

All the beers I tried at Port City were well done and they had an excellent porter and IPA. This is a great neighborhood spot and worth visiting if you are in the area.

Top 2:
Integral IPA
Porter

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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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California Wild Ales Sorrento Valley, San Diego

California wild ales had its first day open to the public on April 7, 2018 with the release of its salted yuzu sour. Before that, you could only taste the beers occasionally on tap around town or by purchasing bottles with the membership. The tasting room is located in an industrial area of Sorrento Valley. The front entrance is actually in a walkway between two buildings while the back entrance is the side more easily accessed near the parking area.

The tasting room itself is fairly typical in size with some small tables to hang out and drink your tasters but for the most part it serves as a location to pick up your bottles. I tried three of the beers they had on tap and found all three of them to be fairly subtle both in fruit flavor and tartness and acidity. Of the three, I found the stone fruit sour to be the most complex with more hints of earthy funk and overall more fruit flavor than the other two.

The other two beers that I tried were a guava sour and the salted yuzu sour that I was there to pick up. If I were to decide primarily based upon tasting the beer, I probably would not have picked up a bottle of the salted yuzu although the beer was a bit more complex in the bottle because the carbonation was be from a reaction to the yeast as opposed to forced carbonation. Both the guava and yuzu sour were fairly subtle in fruit lightly tart and lightly acidic. The yuzu tended to be a little bit more citrus in flavor but between the two the distinctions were fairly small.

Since visiting, I got to try the salted yuzu out of the bottle. The first bottle erupted with carbonation quite quickly. The beer has much better carbonation from the bottle. The beer has light buttery oak character and minimal citrus from the yuzu and much more funk than it did on tap at the release. It is a nice refreshing sour but not something that I would want to pay full price for at their bottle prices. Hopefully over time they will lower the price because with the small amount of fruit I taste here I don’t see the beer being worth $20 a bottle.

If you want to come and taste for yourself, for now the brewery will only be open during specific days when bottles they release are available to pick up. Eventually they will be adding public hours on weekends so keep up with them on social media to figure out the best time to stop by.

Come for:
California wild ales only produces barrel aged sour beers. You will not find any other styles on tap.

Disclaimer: I am good friends with one of the people who works for the brewery though I don’t sugar coat my review of places just because of that. I want to help friends achieve greatness just as much as anyone else.

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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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Los Angeles Breweries – Arts District and Mumford

Arts District Brewing


arts district brewery has a full food menu and bar aside from all the beers. I stopped by on a Sunday afternoon and tried four different beers. I could tell from the list that they still aim fairly traditional in the IPA area. This means I did not see any hazy IPAs like their neighbors modern times and Mumford. Instead I encountered IPAs that were traditional West Coast style. In some ways this meant they were a little too bitter for my current pallet.

Massive selection of beers to choose from!

I started with the Canyonero Hoppy Amber. He had a mix of citrus and spice from the hops and a good medium bitterness that balanced with notes of orange peel and herbal hops that seemed a bit strong for me on the finish. The other IPA, Kablamo, was more intensely bitter with strong pine on the nose and mix of herbal and pine that finishes with resin and sticks on the tongue. The level of bitterness is up there with traditional West Coast styles but was a bit much for me now that I am used to more modern styles.

While I found the traditional flavors of the IPAs to be a little bit much, I was refreshed by the traditional flavors of the various stouts they had. I started with the cowboy Curtis a smoked stout. The beer was super smoky on the nose but more balanced in the taste. It had a creamy body with flavors of dark chocolate, marshmallow, and light roast. The flavors balanced nicely and the smoke was not overpowering. The skeleton crew right Porter had a nice medium body with light smoke and roast and great balance. While nice, I preferred the cowboy Curtis for the more complex flavor and less herbal bite from rye.

Arts district brewery earns quite a few metals for their beers which suggests that they are fairly traditional and my tastes confirmed that. If you still love a traditional West Coast IPA, you will find plenty to enjoy here. For those who are not into the big bitterness anymore, I suggest you try their delicious stouts and porters.

Mumford


I stopped by Mumford to see how their hazy IPAs had improved since my last visit over a year ago. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there hazy beers were much softer than I recalled and that one of the two was up at the level that I would hope to see from more Southern California breweries.

The first beer I tried, projection circuit, was nice and creamy with bright citrus notes of pineapple. The beer had fairly low hop acidity and bitterness. This was my favorite of the two and I brought home a crowler. I also tried the mastermind solutions. It was a bit sweeter and thicker with bright character of ripe papaya and mango and strong hop acidity and caramel on the finish. After trying both beers, I am much more likely to return to Mumford when I am in the area next time.

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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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El Segundo Breweries – State Brewing Company and LA Ale Works

State Brewing Company


I stopped by state because I had heard that they make excellent hazy IPAs. As soon as possible walked in and scanned the tap list, I could tell that this brewery is almost exclusively trying to make everything in the hyper-modern styles. This included hazy IPAs, big pastry stouts, and a white stout with coffee. The brewery was also extremely loud on a Friday night when we visited. So I expect even if I had fallen in love with the beers after my first four, I would still have left to go elsewhere. It was like drinking inside a nightclub.

I tried two hazy IPAs. Both were fairly underwhelming and lacking in intense hop aromas as well as the traditional soft/creamy body that is characteristic of the style. The Super Smoove was boozy with light fruity character and floral hop taste. I found this and the other hazy to be overly sweet and boozy. The Can’t Floc had tons of overripe fruit character but as well was overly sweet and boozy. I did not finish either of these tasters.

Thankfully, I was more impressed by the two stouts that I tried. They had a couple of other varieties as well but I skipped the one with Maple syrup added because I do not care for that flavor. The project shadow, a base beer for many of their additions of adjuncts, was complex with notes of cherry malt and a dark chocolate finish. Though 10% alcohol, this did not have significantly noticeable alcohol. The project Nicaragua had coffee, vanilla, and graham crackers added. All three of these flavors blended nicely together along with the base dark chocolate finish. I immediately tasted notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and graham crackers and enjoyed how all of the flavors blended together. State brewery also offers crowlers of most of their beers to go.

LA ale works


A flight of beers at LA ale works is typically either five or six beers. I ordered six and most of them were good with a couple that stood out. The brewery itself has a nice outdoor seating area that we appreciated because they were playing somewhat loud music inside. They had quite a variety of beers on tap so it is difficult to choose six.

I started with their Pilsner. It was tasty with fruit and notes of grape and a clean finish. The saison was strongly hoppy and quite herbal with a bitter finish. This did not particularly taste like a Saison and was more like a pale ale. The IPA I tried was an excellent example of the modern style. It was soft and exploded with aromas of melon and light citrus with a mild herbal hop finish.

The milkshake IPA was very disappointing. It tasted very medicinal to me and the lactose did not seem to work in the beer without a hazy base beer. I got some mild characters of orange and spices but overall the beer was undrinkable. After that, I tried the buttress of Windsor, a coffee stout. The beer had a strong flavor of nutty coffee with mild roast. While quite delicious, it tasted more like iced coffee than a coffee beer. To some people this may not seem like a bad thing. I finished with their Russia Attack Imperial Stout. It was strong in the cherry malt flavor and lately Smokey on the finish. Though similar to the Imperial Stout from state, I preferred the base beer at state.

The only thing exciting enough at both of these breweries that I would suggest go out of your way to visit either of them was the pastry Stout at state. Still, they are good additions to the El Segundo neighborhood and great places to hang out for the locals.

Top 2:
IPA
Buttress of Windsor

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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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