New English Brewing

It’s been a while since I was last at this brewery. A while ago they had four or five solid beers and an ESB that I really liked but I wasn’t excited enough to head back for a long time. Thanks to a friend suggesting I try them, I stopped in for a pint after an evening bike ride and got to try two amazing beers that were up there with the best San Diego has to offer.

New English Brewing
New English Brewing
New English Tap List 11/7/13
New English Tap List 11/7/13

I got to try a 12oz of the Zumbar chocolate coffee imperial stout on cask to start. It impressed me from the nose alone and then once I got to taste it, the coffee was mostly overtaken by the bitter chocolate flavors. It had a nice bitter chocolate flavor that came through even on cask but was very mellow. I’m looking forward to coming back to taste it on tap some other time.

Zumbar coffee chocolate imperial stout on cask.
Zumbar coffee chocolate imperial stout on cask.

If you have never tried a stout or porter on cask, you are in for a treat. Both styles of beer tend to have a nice mellow flavor but the cask really smooths everything, leaving you with a creamy flavor that you can’t re-create anywhere else.

After the imperial stout on cask I went straight for the west coast style IPA called Humbly Legit. And damn, this was a legit west coast IPA. Immediately the grapefruit from the Nelson hops just hit me and I liked it. The color was in the middle between the more malty IPAs and the really hop-forward like you see from Societe’s Apprentice and Intergalactic’s Perseus. You can barely taste the malts though, and it really comes at you with that heavy hops flavor.

Humbly Legit west coast style IPA.
Humbly Legit west coast style IPA.

If you expected to be disappointed by the English style ales here, you will not find anything to hate from the Humbly Legit and the Zumbar. I also remember really enjoying the ESB the last time I was here, although I didn’t give it a fresh taste this time around. The Troopes Tipple is an English style IPA so it has a lot lighter taste than you might expect in San Diego and almost tastes like drinking a lager. Still, it has a good flavor to it that impressed the friend I came here with. Hop heads should absolutely check out the Humbly Legit.

Do you have a favorite beer at New English Brewing? Share with me in the comments.

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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Best Pizza and Brew

Pizza and beer have been going together since before craft beer became a huge phenomenon. It seems only natural to open a pizza place with tons of beer taps. Pizza port of course did this first and even included their own beer. Along comes Best Pizza and Brew to combine big pizza slices with fresh beer from around the area.

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There are plenty of options for the pizza whether you like the traditional works or something with ricotta cheese or pesto. Stop in for a slice or two or grab a full pie to share with your friends. The beer selection will satisfy most with a variety of wheat beers and ipas and the occasional stout or porter. The selection changes frequently so the list in the photo should be used to get an idea but not to rely on for your next visit.

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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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Lightning Brewing

You may not have heard about this smaller brewery out in Poway. I didn’t visit them for a long time because they had some strange hours initially. Now that I have been there I realize why the hours are not like your ordinary tasting room. They don’t serve pints. You can only order tasters and then pick up bottles of beer to take home. I have no problem with this though because the beers I was able to taste this time were quite good. It isn’t very obvious from these pictures but there is really no bar to speak of and no areas to sit down. You might even wonder if you are in the right place at first because there are offices you pass on the way inside.

Lightning Brewery Taps.
Lightning Brewery Taps.

I biked over so I didn’t try very many tasters. I was quite impressed with the barrel aged red ale. It reminded me of a bourbon barrel aged scotch ale that Ballast Point made years ago and I have been craving more of ever since. The double IPA was nice and balanced without too much malt flavor that can sometimes destroy a good double. The electrostatic was a solid Belgian Trippel. If you don’t like Belgian beers stay far away. For me it was not too sweet and had a nice smooth taste that really masked the higher alcohol content. The porter was not on tap but they gave me a taste from the bottles. It had a wonderful thick flavor and fit nicely in between your ordinary porter and an imperial. The chocolate flavors were really nice.

Bottles on display.
Bottles on display.

As you can see they bottle most of their beers. You might be able to find them at your local liquor store or it might be worth the trip to the brewery to buy some direct. Hop heads should check out the Imperial IPA. If you know someone who loves chocolate in porter, this one is the perfect present to share.

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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Ballast Point Brewing

I’ve been visiting Ballast Point for quite a while now. IPA fans in San Diego don’t last long until they try Sculpin, what I consider one of the go-to IPAs. The Fathom India Pale Lager is also quite delicious. Today I had to visit the tasting room to try the fresh 2013 version of the Coffee Victory at Sea Imperial Porter. San Diego Beer Week was in full swing and the place was pretty crowded. I got to have a taster of the Victory at Sea 2013 as well as the Peppermint Victory at Sea on cask, the Habanero Sculpin, and the double Belgian IPA.

Ballast Point 01
Ballast Point Scripps Ranch

The coffee flavors really come through from the 2013 Victory at Sea. It is almost like drinking a shot of espresso. The peppermint version is thankfully not too overpowering on the mint and mellowed out by the cask. I bought a 22oz Victory at Sea 2013 before I left because the flavors really satisfied me. If you like the Sculpin but haven’t had the habanero version, it is an interesting beer experience. The beer is probably the hottest beer you’ll ever have but it has all the different flavors of habanero that you might expect. I don’t recommend having more than a taster though because it will really do a number on your stomach even if you are used to spicy. I had the double Belgian IPA with the habanero sculpin so I won’t try to review it at this time. I didn’t really get a good taste of it.

Ballast Point tasters.
Ballast Point tasters.

Sometime soon I hope to try the new Ballast Point restaurant down in Little Italy but until then I will enjoy bottles of Sculpin, Dorado, and Fathom at home.

 

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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Societe Brewing Company

I first tried Societe because I heard some guys telling me how amazing it was while I was over at New English Brewing. Despite it being around for a while I had never heard of it. I immediately loved the Apprentice IPA and the Widow dark Belgian style beer. Today I went back there with my Uncle who was visiting because he had never been there. We had to try some of my favorites and some beers that weren’t there the last time I was around. This is one of those breweries that doesn’t bottle stuff so you are only going to find their beers in other beer bars and at the brewery itself.

Societe Brewing Company from outside.
Societe Brewing Company from outside.
Societe Brewing Company beer selection November 2013.
Societe Brewing Company beer selection November 2013.

Since I was hitting up many different places today, I only had a few tasters before moving on. I had tasters of the Apprentice, Scrapper, Roustabout, Widow, and Butcher. This time what stood out to me the most is the Butcher. I really love the darker chocolate flavors it has. For hop heads, the Apprentice and Roustabout are worth trying. Both pour nice and yellow and have those up front hop flavors.

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Tasters at Societe, Apprentice, Scrapper, Roustabout, and Widow.

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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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Green Flash 11th Anniversary IPA

There is something exciting about Anniversary beers that get beer geeks excited. Perhaps it is just the thought that you get to be a part of the celebration of the brewery you have become so fond of. Perhaps it is just the extra alcohol content that they tend to have. When Green Flash announced the 11th Anniversary IPA, aka the Double Dry Hopped West Coast IPA, I had to go by and try it. Since I went there on my bike I didn’t bother trying to take home the glass. I don’t know if it would have survived.

Green Flash 11th Anniversary IPA.
Green Flash 11th Anniversary IPA.
Green Flash 11th Anniversary IPA.
Green Flash 11th Anniversary IPA.

So how does the beer taste? Pretty much like you would expect from a souped up version of the West Coast IPA. Green Flash took their West Coast IPA and double dry hopped it for a new beer with a little extra hop bite. It’s still the malty darker IPA at its core. Though I prefer more hop heavy IPAs it satisfies my hop cravings. At Green Flash, I have become quite a fan of the Green Bullet Tripple IPA and the Symposium IPA along with the Cedar Plank Pale Ale. Though the 11th Anniversary was good, it didn’t blow me away like a glass of Green Bullet. I’m interested to hear what huge fans of the West Coast think.

11th Anniversary IPA.
11th Anniversary IPA.

It wouldn’t be Green Flash without a food truck and they brought MIHO along for this special release. MIHO brings farm fresh food and always puts a unique spin on familiar choices. The grass fed beef burger they had today included squash and pickled squash giving it a fresh seasonal flavor.

MIHO grass fed beef burger.
MIHO grass fed beef burger.
MIHO truck in front of Green Flash.
MIHO truck in front of Green Flash.
I finished the night off here with a half pint of the cedar plank pale. It is a little hard to fully enjoy after the 11th anniversary but the flavor is just what I needed. Keep in mind that if you come by green flash on a Friday you should expect a large crowd. Today marked the start of San Diego beer week so the crowd was even bigger than usual. Though there are a ton of events out there I don’t plan on going to any of the more expensive ones. I’ll hopefully catch some new releases at other favorites this weekend and share my findings.
Friday crowd at Green Flash.
Friday crowd at Green Flash.

Were you there today for the Green Flash 11th Anniversary IPA release? What did you think of the beer?

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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Stone Vertical Epic 12 12 12 1 year later

I’ve had this bottle aging for almost a year in my wine fridge. It really comes through in the plum flavors behind the spice. Much nicer than I remember it being the last time. Remember you can usually age these specialty beers for a year or two. It tends to mature the flavor.

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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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Intergalactic Brewing

I’ve been to this brewery a few times in the past. The first time I went there I was satisfied by the Perseus IPA, a solid beer that was primarily a hoppy IPA with a nice yellow color. When I returned later, they were already out of the Perseus but assured me they will have some again later. Most of their beers are pretty small batches so expect to see the menu change frequently. The Andromeda IPA didn’t impress me the first time but when I returned a few months later, the batch on tap tasted closer to what I like. This is quite normal for IPAs because the flavor of a batch can change as it gets older. There is a certain taste when it is fresh and then that changes a few weeks to a few months out.

Many of the smaller breweries in San Diego are hard to find and Intergalactic Brewing is no exception. You might be surprised by the bare look of the building but don’t let that keep you from trying their selections of beers. They have enough of a variety that you are likely to find something you enjoy no matter what you like to drink.

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Today when I stopped in, I tried The Companion, an English Summer Ale with Honey, Peaches, and Lavender, and Space Oasis, a coconut porter (6.9%). The Coconut Porter was recently added to the menu and so the coconut is prominent in the taste. It isn’t too sweet and the bartender told me that people who say they don’t like coconut enjoy it as well. After my tasters, I got a pint of Space Oasis. The flavors were outstanding to the last drop of the pint.

 

32oz Growler overflowing with coconut porter foam.
32oz Growler overflowing with coconut porter foam.
Pint of coconut porter from Intergalactic Brewing.
Pint of coconut porter from Intergalactic Brewing.

Before I left the brewery, I filled a 32oz growler with the Space Oasis to share with my fiance when he gets off work. He only drinks porters and stouts so he should enjoy this one.

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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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Are you ready for Double Bastard 2013?

Somehow I didn’t notice Double Bastard until the 2012 batch was released. Of the specialty beers released by Stone Brewing, I found Double Bastard to be one of my favorites. This year Stone is going for the gold with multiple different versions of Double Bastard. Beerpulse reports that we should see two spicy versions and a barrel aged version along with a new batch of Double Bastard. It is unclear what peppers will be used in these beers but the article claims one is ultra-hot and another is even hotter. Will we finally have a widely available beer that will satisfy fans of strong beer and fans of spicy?

EDIT Nov 4, 2013: Through the official press release from Stone, we finally have an idea of what sorts of peppers were used in the making of this beer. The list of scorching edibles includes red and green jalapeño, Fatali, Caribbean Red Hot, habanero, Ghost, Black Naga, Super, Moruga Scorpion, 7 Pot, Aji Amarillo, Scorpion, Giant White Habanero, 7 Pot Douglah and Douglah peppers. To put this into perspective, consider that to the average person some of the hottest Jalapenos can be considered spicy. To the burgeoning pepper addicts, habaneros are pretty hot. Ghost peppers used to be considered the hottest peppers in the world until people discovered the Moruga and the Naga. These are some seriously insane peppers and will mean that the average person will not want to try this beer if they are not interested in a mouth of fire. More for me!

Stone Double Bastard
Stone Double Bastard

Stone recently posted this image on their facebook to get everyone excited about the upcoming release of Double Bastard. It looks like they should be in stores next week (November 4). Did you try any previous versions of Double Bastard? Are you a fan of this crazy beer?

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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Stone Suede Imperial Porter

You can count on stone to release specialty beers every few weeks (if not in reality it sometimes seems that way).  No I am not complaining. When I saw the Suede Imperial Porter brewed with Calendula Flowers, Lavender, and Honey I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. Hey I love floral IPAs as much as the next guy but lavender in my beer? Not sure if serious.

Stone Suede Imperial Porter split nicely in two Green Flash glasses.
Stone Suede Imperial Porter split nicely in two Green Flash glasses.

So how was the beer? It has the usual texture of a high alcohol porter. The flowers aren’t as heavy in the flavor as I might have worried. The tastes are overall balanced and will satisfy fans of porters. It lacks the chocolate, coffee or vanilla flavors typically used in this style. As a result it might also appeal to people who usually find porters too sweet. The alcohol content really hides well in this one. It is easy to forget it is a whopping 9.6%.

Though I was impressed by the flavor overall, it isn’t something I’m going to rush out to buy another bottle of, especially with the new batch of Victory at Sea coming out this week from Ballast Point. Still, for those of you who were wondering if it is worth the money to buy a bottle, I say yes. I prefer Stone’s latest batch of Russian Imperial Stout though because of the coffee, especially in the Espresso version. I’m waiting patiently to try all the different varieties of Double Bastard that we should see pretty soon.

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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Exploring San Diego's Craft Breweries