Hess Brewing Company

Hess has been around for a while. They started out as a nanobrewery and for a long time were one of the smallest breweries around the Mira Mesa area. Slowly but surely they expanded their reach and this year they opened a brewery in North Park. Sadly, the Mira Mesa tasting room still uses plastic cups for the tasters and they charge a premium for the chance to get your tasters in a glass. Considering that some of the smaller breweries out there use glass for their tasters it seems a bit quaint that they would stick with this route. Part of why I didn’t go back since my last visit was the plastic cups used for everything.

Hess tap list as of 11/30/2013.
Hess tap list as of 11/30/2013.
Hess Brewing Company.
Hess Brewing Company.

Beer wise, Hess has an interesting selection. They are not the place to go if you like heavy hop flavors in your beers. Today I got to try a few tasters because the selection was so large that I couldn’t possibly try everything, though I am not sure I will go back to finish out the rest. The Pumpkin Stout was interesting and I had it both on tap and on nitro. Though it has a nice creamy flavor it was not particularly impressive. There wasn’t a lot of pumpkin flavor in the beer to make it stand out from the rest of the pumpkin beers, and also not much spice flavor either. Still, as a stout it was really good even if it did not have the flavor to match its high 8% abv.

Pumpkin stout x2 (left), IPA, Belgian American pale,
Pumpkin stout x2 (left), IPA, Belgian American pale,

The IPA was interesting in that it wasn’t insanely malty like some and wasn’t insanely hopy either. So it was a nice balanced brew and had some solid hop flavors. Still, it did not do enough to compete with some of the better IPAs I have had recently, especially the Perseus IPA from Intergalactic. The Belgian American Pale was the standout from what I had this day. It has the sweet flavors of a Belgian beer with the added bitterness of a pale. I wasn’t about to order a pint in plastic cups though. I finished off with a taster of the Rye Imperial Stout. It had a solid stout flavor with the chocolate flavors but did not really impress me compared to other similar beers I have had recently.

Compared to some of the upstart breweries around here, I would suggest you give Hess a try if you like the Belgian flavors. Hop heads should look elsewhere for now. I probably won’t be back until they start using glasses.

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.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterPinterestGoogle Plus

Alesmith Barrel Aged Nut Brown

I’ll be the first to admit that the Nut Brown at Alesmith is a solid beer but doesn’t really impress me. I have learned though that it is never a good idea to pass up a chance to try a barrel aged version of a beer even if you are not a big fan of the underlying beer. Most of the time this means the beer is aged in a bourbon barrel. This gives most beers a hint of bourbon flavor, and so works really well with brown ales and ambers.

Alesmith Barrel Aged Nut Brown
Alesmith Barrel Aged Nut Brown

I was so impressed by the flavor of this beer that I had two pints. Usually the beers I enjoy are so strong that this is not possible without stumbling out on the street but since this is only 5% I really enjoyed having two pints. The bourbon flavors are relatively mild with this one so that it does not overpower the flavor of the nut brown. If you stop by the brewery and see this available, be sure to order at least a taster so you can see if this is the beer for you.

Me enjoying some barrel aged Nut Brown.
Me enjoying some barrel aged Nut Brown.
My mom and her friend Ana enjoying some Alesmith beers.
My mom and her friend Ana enjoying some Alesmith beers.

 

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.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterPinterestGoogle Plus

Thanksgiving and Black Friday Beers

I hope all my readers in the United States had a wonderful Thanksgiving day yesterday. It isn’t Thanksgiving without beer so I was ready with two growlers from some local breweries to share with my family. I had a 32oz growler of Intergalactic Perseus IPA, which by this point many of my family thought tasted like Sculpin (a huge compliment). It was interesting to taste the way the flavor changed since it was fresh a month ago or so. I also opened a bottle of Rough Draft Eraser IPA after the Perseus, which followed nicely. For dessert, I had a 32oz growler of Rough Draft Stout, just what my friends love. They were glad that I thought of them to bring some of their favorite beer fresh.

Intergalactic Perseus IPA (right).
Intergalactic Perseus IPA (right).

For Black Friday many of my local breweries had special beers available but they weren’t open very early so I decided instead to reward myself for my restraint yesterday and open a bottle of Stone Punishment I had waiting in the wine fridge (now beer fridge). The less chilled temperatures were perfect for this beer to let out the amazing flavors and heat.

Stone Punishment in a Snifter.
Stone Punishment in a Snifter.

I’m interested to hear what you had to celebrate and give thanks this year. Let me know 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 serving clients in San Diego California.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterPinterestGoogle Plus

Intergalactic Imperial Rye Pilsner

I stopped by Intergalactic Brewing today to try out one of their new brews tapped just in time for Thanksgiving. I couldn’t resist the thought of an imperial pilsner. I can’t remember ever seeing one before intergalactic announced the Stellar Collision. This 8.8% monster hits hard with sweet apricot flavors and comes through with the rye at the end. Though it isn’t very dark it has a lot in common with more malt heavy double ipas. I delighted in the taster but I’m not so sure I could drink a pint of it.

Triple IPA (left) Imperial Pilsner (right)
Triple IPA (left) Imperial Pilsner (right)
Intergalactic tap list as of 11/27/2013.
Intergalactic tap list as of 11/27/2013.

 

The triple ipa is an enormous 11.5%. That’s no Moon Ipa explodes with grapefruit flavor. It rivals the Green Bullet though is slightly more malty. It is easily one of the best beers I have tasted from intergalactic and possibly the strongest ipa I’ve ever tasted. You never know how long new beers will last at intergalactic so stop by to give these a try before they are gone.

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.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterPinterestGoogle Plus

2Kids Brewing Company

Some people might spend their Sundays watching sports. I prefer to seek out new breweries. A quick google search alerted me to one nearby that I hadn’t tried so I couldn’t help but stop by. 2Kids has only been open for a few months but already they have a solid selection of beers.

2Kids Brewing Company
2Kids Brewing Company
Inside the 2Kids tasting room.
Inside the 2Kids tasting room.

As you can see, the tasting room is pretty barebones and there aren’t many places to sit. Tasters are served in plastic cups though if you order a pint, they are served in glass. If you are tired of the stronger beers that everyone brews in San Diego, this is a nice place to stop in for something that you can drink all day.

UPDATE: Tasters are now served in glasses.

2Kids tap list as of 11/24/2013.
2Kids tap list as of 11/24/2013.

For a 3.1% session, the Ordinary Bitter is not bad. I found both the Ordinary Bitter and the Cream Ale to be a bit too light for my tastes. The California Common was my second favorite of the day. It is a nice smooth amber lager with nice caramel flavors. The IPA was a bit on the malty side for my tastes but it might satisfy those who find the average San Diego IPA to be too heavy on the hops.

UPDATE: The latest batch of the Obligatory IPA has stepped up the IBU and changed the recipe a bit. It is still primarily a malty IPA, because that is the “American IPA” style but it has a bit more hop flavor than it used to.

2Kids taster flight.
2Kids taster flight.

The chocolate stout was rich and flavorful. It impressed me the most of all the beers here. Because of how much cocoa goes into the beer, it costs a bit more but it is well worth it. It has just the right amount of alcohol for something you could drink for an afternoon. The chocolate flavors come forward nice and strong. The Saison is a solid representation of the style, though a bit on the darker side. It didn’t really wow me but if you like the plum and apricot flavors in your beer it might be just your thing.

Considering what I’ve had at a few other brewery launches, 2Kids is off to an impressive start. I look forward to seeing what they come up with in the future. If you stop in, make sure you try the stout.

UPDATE: The new Belgian IPA is pretty solid, with plenty of sweetness from the Belgian yeast and some nice citrus flavors from the hops.

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.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterPinterestGoogle Plus

Exploring San Diego's Craft Breweries