Tag Archives: Blonde

Siem Reap Brewpub – Siem Reap Cambodia

Siem Reap Brewpub 01

When I planned my trip to Siem Reap Cambodia, the land of $0.50 draft beers, I wasn’t expecting to find a brewery. I didn’t even search for one until I was already a week into my trip, relaxing at my hotel in Penang Malaysia. To my surprise I found one right off the bat, because the brewery knew how to market itself as craft beer. Siem Reap brew pub is located a little bit away from pub street, where most visitors spend the evenings enjoying cheap beer. Thankfully Google knows where it is and it is fairly easy to find because of its large space and bright lights. They have five beers available, a blonde, a golden ale, a honey wheat, an ipa, and a stout (which the simply call a dark ale). I tried all five over two separate visits because the flight of tasters only includes four.

Siem Reap Brewpub 04

The blonde ale is crisp and delicious with notes of citrus and honey with detectable floral hops but nothing overpowering. Most drinkers might not notice the hops at all. The Golden ale is fruity and medium bitter and to me resembles a pale ale more than a golden ale. The beer has notes of banana, Apple, and spice with a strong bitter finish. Those who aren’t much into hops should skip this one. The honey wheat is smooth and not too sweet, and drinks like a good wheat ale with hints of honey. The spice notes typically from a Belgian yeast are present and balance nicely with the honey.

Siem Reap Brewpub 03

Siem Reap Brewpub 05

The ipa mostly has flavors of tropical fruit and apple with a light body and good balance. The Golden ale was almost more hoppy. The ipa is neither a classic British style nor northwest style nor West Coast style. After speaking to the brewer and learning that this primarily uses galaxy hops I was less impressed because it didn’t taste anything like what I’m used to with the hops. It isn’t terrible but I ended up drinking more of the lighter styles instead. The stout is medium body with molasses flavors dominating and supported by dark chocolate notes in the back. The molasses is a nice nod towards the local stout flavors but this beer is much more complex.

Siem Reap Brewpub 02

The Brewpub has a fancy feel to it with a pond in the center of the outdoor area and comfortable seating outside. Inside tables have white table cloths and folded cloth napkins. For a Cambodian brewery I was glad that they charged only $3 for a flight and the same for each individual pour of beer. This is a nice change from Malaysia where the imported beers are usually $8 to $10, though they are also a Muslim country and so alcohol is not as common. I found the beers at Siem Reap brew pub to be overall very impressive and much better than any craft beer offerings I’ve tried in the Philippines. Before heading home I stopped by the Philippines to try some craft beer to see how they improved. As you will read in my next post, a few breweries are making some solid beers in the Philippines as well.¬†If you care about quality local beers when you travel be sure to stop by this brewery if you are ever in Siem Reap.

Top two:
Honey wheat
Stout

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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Duck Foot Brewing Company – Gluten Free Beer

Duck Foot Brewing grew out of a desire of one of the brewers to make beers he could drink. As someone with Celiac, a disease that makes gluten harmful to consume, he wanted to open a brewery where all the beers are safe to consume for someone like him. Though this is not the first brewery to add the enzyme that makes the beers gluten reduced–Stone used it in their Delicious IPA–they are the first brewery to use that inclusion as a central piece of their marketing.

Duckfoot Brewing Co 01

Duck Foot is currently in the soft opening phase and when I visited them on Saturday, May 9th, it was the first day they were open to the public. Still, I enjoyed most of their beers and will be looking forward to seeing the sorts of things they come up with going forward. When I visited I got to try the blonde, wit, porter, IPA, and Double IPA. There was a stout available earlier that day that blew (ran out) before I got to taste it.

The blonde had a nice light citrus hop flavor that balance with the typical flavors of the style. Still a very crisp drinkable beer. The wit was also nicely done to style. It had nice crisp citrus and spice flavors as you would expect. The porter had a nice mix of bitter chocolate and coffee with a nice sweet caramel back. There is also a smooth nutty flavor in the back from some added hazelnuts. I thought this one could be a little thicker but it is solid.

Duckfoot Brewing Company Taster Flight
First few tasters of the flight. Blonde, Wit, and Porter.

The IPA was a nice Simcoe IPA and not overly bitter. It had good citrus flavors and tropical fruit with a moderate bitter after taste. The Double IPA was a bit sweeter with some tropical fruit flavors and good citrus. Both were very much in the San Diego style both in the flavors presented and the lighter malt bill giving the hops a prominent spot in the beers.

Duckfoot Brewing Co 04

For a new place I was also quite impressed by the size of the tasting room. They feature a long bar and more bar seating near the windows. Indoors they are somewhat similar to 32 North in look though they feature some unique artwork on the wall that will help them stand out from the rest. All of the beers I got to taste will be core beers except for the wit. As they get closer to the grand opening I will update you on the different beers I get to try from Duck Foot.

Disclaimer: I was given the tasters of beer free of charge when I stopped by for my tasting. I did not modify my thoughts in any way because of this.

Update from Media Party:

I came back to Duck Foot for their media party that took place on June 2, 2015 when I tried three new beers that were not available previously. These were the Cali Honey Ale, Saison, and Red Ale. I thought the honey ale had a nice balance. It was not too sweet or medicinal like many honey ales get.

Left to right (Honey, Amber, Saison).
Left to right (Honey, Amber, Saison).

 

The saison is a solid basic saison with a light body and some Belgian yeast flavors. It lacked the typical spice of a saison but they mentioned that it will be available in different fruit variations going forward so they wanted to keep it simple. Finally the Red Ale was a nice dark amber color with flavors of roasted malts and light coffee. If it had a thicker body it could have easily passed for a porter. A very nice 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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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My Favorite San Diego Craft Beers Available in Multi-Packs

This is meant to be a guide for the beers worth picking up in the store. To maximize the value I try to buy beers in six packs or greater. The beers here are some of my favorite IPAs that I find myself returning to when I see them fresh.

Modern Times Fortunate Islands
This is one of my favorite sessions on the market. Low alcohol under 5% yet plenty of great citrus hop flavor. This is a wheat beer with a bunch of hops added to bring it similar in taste to a session IPA. The beer is sold only in a four pack of pint cans. I didn’t notice the enjoy by dates at first on here but they are printed on a sticker on the part holding together the cans.

Stone Go to IPA
This is also a great session though a bit more bitter than Fortunate Islands. This also has plenty of citrus flavors though this one tastes much closer to a traditional IPA. Stone provides clear enjoy by dates so make sure you get this one fresh. Leave yourself a month before the date if you buy a bunch of other beers so you drink it in time.

Saint Archer Blonde
I don’t usually buy much outside my level but the Saint Archer Blonde is a delicious brew full of flavor yet nice and light. I prefer this to the pale ale from Ballast Point within the same style. This one is now available in either bottles or cans depending on what you are using it for. I tend to go for cans.

Green Flash West Coast IPA
The latest batch of West Coast is a strong 8% IPA that knocks you out pretty fast. Plenty of hop flavors dominate over the malts and make this a staple in my purchasing for now. This is sold in four packs of 12 ounce bottles and is just at the top of the range for regular enjoyment.

Green Flash West Coast IPA
Green Flash West Coast IPA

Modern Times Blazing World
This is a deliciously dark IPA style presented as a hoppy amber. Plenty of grapefruit in the hops comes through with the pine to dominate the flavor. This is also available in a four pack of pint cans. I didn’t notice the enjoy by dates at first on here but they are printed on a sticker on the part holding together the cans.

Favorite Beers 02
Modern Times Blazing World

Stone IPA
A staple in the industry where IPAs are concerned I recently gave this another try since paying more attention to the enjoy by dates. Great light color beer with plenty of kick. Like the Go To IPA make sure you enjoy this one fresh.

Stone IPA
Stone IPA

New Belgium Rampant Double IPA
Though a double IPA, this one is sold in six packs for a great price. Some delicious tropical fruit flavors dominate Rampant. If this is too much for you, the Ranger IPA is also quite good from New Belgium.

I purposefully kept this list short to avoid getting too long. What are your favorites? 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.

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Pacific Brewing Company a Solid Start for a New Brewery

I like to keep up with new breweries when they open. Thankfully, with Pacific Brewing they announced their grand opening on Facebook so I was able to check it out on the first day. There was a solid crowd for a new brewery and yet parking wasn’t an issue. Pacific Brewing presented a solid lineup that will serve as a good baseline as they expand into different styles of beers.

Pacific Brewing 01

I started with a flight and added an additional taster so that I could taste all of the beers in one go. They offer a blonde, pale ale, IPA, strong ale, and rye double IPA. The blonde was a solid version of the classic style without much variation. It is up there with some of the best San Diego blondes. The pale ale is more towards the English style and has many similarities to the ESB style. The pale ale presents many caramel flavors on the front with a light hop flavor on the back end.

Left to right, Blonde, Pale, IPA, Strong Ale, Rye IPA.
Left to right, Blonde, Pale, IPA, Strong Ale, Rye IPA.

The IPA has a powerful citrus nose. The flavors are heavy on citrus and pine, in line with other San Diego IPAs. I would estimate this beer has around 70 IBUs so it is fairly bitter. I really enjoyed the IPA and ended up with a pint after all the tasters. The strong ale is almost 8% and yet is very drinkable. The flavors are primarily in the sweet caramel range such that it might satisfy some who are mostly fans of porters and stouts.

Pacific Brewing 02

The double IPA is a little low on the alcohol compared to some you might see in San Diego but not short on flavor. At 8% it isn’t that much stronger in alcohol than the IPA but the rye gives it a unique flavor. The rye manages to be mellow enough that it doesn’t overpower the hops. Most of the hop flavors are more on the back end and the citrus and tropical fruit flavors mix well with the rye.

Pacific Brewing has a similar feel to other small breweries inside though the wood used for the bar sets them apart with some distinct colors. Fans of hoppy beers will find a lot to love in the IPA and the Rye Double IPA. Fans of sweeter malt beers will enjoy the pale ale and strong ale. If the strong ale isn’t enough, you can always head next door to 2 Kids for some chocolate stout. I look forward to trying the different styles of beer that Pacific Brewing comes up with in the future.

UPDATE: Pacific Brewing recently released a stout due to the large demand. I stopped by on June 1, 2014 to try the “Simmer Down Stout” and thought it was solid. The stout is a dry chocolate stout that isn’t as sweet or as thick as the stout at 2Kids. It should satisfy my husband though I haven’t yet brought him by to try it.

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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Benchmark Brewing Company

In an area mostly surrounded by hospitals slightly northeast of the intersection of the 15 freeway and the 8 freeway are two breweries within a quarter mile of each other. Both Benchmark Brewing and Groundswell Brewing opened during 2013 so I had to come down to try both of them in one trip. Both have signs on the street to indicate where they are though Benchmark has the larger banner that is much more visible. I stopped by Benchmark first so Groundswell will be in the next post.

Benchmark Brewing Company.
Benchmark Brewing Company.
Benchmark Brewing Company.
Benchmark Brewing Company.

Benchmark Brewing has a simple yet modern look to the tasting room with wooden tables and wooden benches inside. Most people when I went decided to stand around the bar so they could chat with Rachael Akin, the Co-Founder who was tending the bar. I went straight for a flight and got a total of seven tasters. Thankfully I was with a few friends so I didn’t have to drink them all on my own. I might not have made it to the second brewery otherwise.

Flight of tasters.
Flight of tasters.

Benchmark has just the right amount of brews available for a newer brewery. I appreciate this as well because I can try everything in one go. The first thing I noticed was that the beers are mostly on the lower alcohol side. Even the IPA is only 5.1%. Normally this might mean a bunch of light beers with no flavor but I was surprised to find that most of them were quite good.

Beers on tap as of 1/4/2014.
Beers on tap as of 1/4/2014.

First was the blonde. It had lots of flavor and was quite drinkable. Had a bit more flavor than I typically expect from a blonde. Next came the brown ale. It was also surprisingly flavorful. I quite enjoyed the smoky flavor with a hint of chocolate. I could see myself enjoying multiple pints of either of these beers with no problem. Next I had the cask brown ale with coffee. Because of the lighter alcohol content, the coffee flavors dominated this beer. It had a nice flavor like a smooth ice coffee. The cask smoothed out the beer nicely. While I appreciate the flavor I’m not sure I would have wanted a full pint of this one.

Benchmark brewing taps.
Benchmark brewing taps.

The oatmeal stout is a nice lighter stout just under 5%. My friend who really likes oatmeal stout was satisfied. Next came the IPA. At 5.1% it is almost closer to a session IPA. The average IPA is between 6 and 7%. The IPA was smooth and had a nice citrus aroma and flavor. It has just the right amount of hop flavors without being overly bitter or heavy.

UPDATE January 2015 – While the early IPA might be easily considered a session, the latest batch is quite bitter and full of flavor. It seems to have been changed quite a lot since I was last there. I would have a hard time believing this IPA was only 5.1% if I hadn’t seen the board. Though the IPA is now a more balanced beer it is very flavorful and quite bitter. It has a lot more body and bitterness than the typical “session IPA” around San Diego.

The table beer was only 4% but had a nice Belgian flavor to it. I ended with the Belgian Dubbel. While I could taste the Belgian flavors under it that I expect in a darker Belgian style beer, I found that the flavors were overpowered by a strong alcohol taste. I did not have very much of this taster.

Benchmark Brewing 05

Overall Benchmark has a solid lineup to start with. I probably would have been content having a pint of either the brown or the IPA if I was not planning on hitting up another brewery after. I would like to see what Benchmark can do with a heavier double stout or IPA in the future. I could see the IPA being labeled a session and a stronger beer taking over as the main IPA. If you crave something a bit stronger I would wait to see what they add in the future. I don’t think the Dubbel would satisfy much.

Update September 2014:

I came back to Benchmark a number of months after my first visit to see if anything had changed. The core beers are still the same but I did see a Wee Heavy that was new. I was told that I had missed a double IPA they made earlier this year and they are working on a new double IPA that should be on soon.

The Wee Heavy was surprisingly tasty. Though it was a little sweet it had a nice balanced flavor with some roasted malts and a solid plum malt flavor that wasn’t overpowering.

Update January 2015:

Aside from the IPA differences noted above, I was also quite impressed by the Brett Table Beer. The Table Beer being so light I thought I would try it with the wild yeast commonly known as Brett. The addition of this yeast added a very mild amount of tart flavors as well as some apple flavor that gave the table beer that extra kick that some might find the regular version to be missing.

I also was visiting for the release of the Hildegard, a massive 13.5% Triple IPA. It seemed to be almost too strong with much of the extra alcohol giving it a high amount of sweetness. However, it was also really flavorful with some apple and resin flavors that were very enjoyable. The bitterness was pretty dialed back so it won’t quickly kill your palate. If you happened to be in on January 31, 2015 for the release of the Hildegard you also will have gotten a fantastic glass that is perfect for those extra strong IPAs.

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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