Tag Archives: Cider

Twisted Horn Mead and Cider – Vista, San Diego

Twisted Horn has a beautiful tasting room where you can try a variety of meads and ciders, many containing fruit or other adjuncts that make them interesting. Tastes are served in 2oz pours, allowing people to try a number of them without drinking too much alcohol. The meads are all around 9% alcohol and the ciders tend to hover around 5%. I tried four meads and five ciders while I was there and found quite a number of delicious ones.

The meads I tried included various flavorings of cranberry, vanilla, blueberry, and coffee. They were all quite delicious and presented subtle flavors that blended nicely with the sweet honey base. Of the four I really enjoyed the one with blueberry for its mild tartness and acidity. I also enjoyed the cranberry one for the light tart kick it gave.

While I enjoyed the meads, the ciders had more intense fruit flavor and impressed me the most. Of the ciders I tried the plain dry cider, cherry, peach and ginger, raspberry, and strawberry with hot peppers. Though I was hesitant at first the strawberry was my favorite of the bunch with strong sweet strawberry notes and some mild heat in the back. I also really enjoyed the raspberry. Though I didn’t get much chocolate from it, it had a strong flavor of raspberry and light tart finish. The cherry was a bit more subtle but still had a nice tart finish.

I enjoyed everything I tasted at Twisted Horn and recommend coming for a visit. I would have brought some home in a growler except I didn’t think to bring a 1 liter flip top growler from home and I try not to buy new growlers. If you have a 1 liter growler at home bring one with you to fill. Most people who I saw while I was there left with growlers to bring home. Twisted Horn is also very close to Toolbox so you could visit both in one trip quite easily though you may want to spend all your time at Twisted Horn after you try their delicious cider.

Favorites:
Embers – Cider with strawberry and hot peppers
Midnight Sun – Cider with raspberry and chocolate
Blue Cloak – Mead with blueberry juice
Blushing Maiden – Mead with cranberry

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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A Visit to Dallas: Deep Ellum, Brain Dead, and Community Brewing

I visited Dallas recently and went to a few breweries. Because I didn’t get to do flights at two of my three locations I decided to write about all three breweries in one long post. First stop was Deep Ellum brewing, in a neighborhood that many of the locals I met around there said is their favorite neighborhood. It was very nice when we were there because we parked the rental car once and walked from Deep Ellum Brewing to Brain Dead Brewing and then had BBQ at Pecan Lodge, all without having to move the car. Then my husband┬ádrove me on to Community Brewing.

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Tap list at Deep Ellum when I visited.
Tap list at Deep Ellum when I visited.

Deep Ellum Brewing has a fairly large indoor tasting room and around equal amount of space outside in the back. The tasting room has a very modern feel like any big tasting room in San Diego although they don’t allow visitors to order flights on Saturdays. I could see why, because they were quite busy and perhaps they didn’t want to have to deal with washing all the taster glasses when they have such a large crowd. Because I couldn’t order tasters, I went for their deal of 3 pints and keep the pint glass for $15. I tried the house IPA, sour blonde, and barrel aged coffee ale.

Deep Ellum IPA.
Deep Ellum IPA.
Sour Blonde.
Sour Blonde.

The Deep Ellum IPA is very balanced and the malts support the earthy hops nicely, making it very easy drinking despite being 7%. It isn’t particularly bitter and hides the alcohol very well. This is neither a crazy malt bomb, all bitter and no aroma, nor a beer that focuses primarily on hop aromas. One thing I expect is that the beer ages well and that is always helpful. The sour blonde was mildly tart and quite tasty. I mostly tasted notes of passion fruit and lemon. Everything balanced nicely and made for an easy drinking sour blonde. The barrel aged coffee ale was just over 7% and had a nice mix of vanilla from the barrel, mild spices, and nutty coffee. It had just the right amount of thickness so that it wasn’t watery but also wasn’t thick like an imperial stout. I would have liked to have tried some of their other hop-forward offerings but from what I tasted, I found Deep Ellum to be quite impressive. They also offer cans and bottles of a few of the beers.

Barrel aged coffee ale.
Barrel aged coffee ale.

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My next stop was Brain Dead Brewing. I did not have this on my list prior to my visit but the best way to find out where to go next is to ask the people who sit near you at one brewery because the locals often know of places that may not have gotten popular outside of the area. Brain Dead was offering flights so I was able to try a few more beers at this stop. Brain Dead is a brewpub and has their own food available. It seemed like many of the people around me were enjoying the food. In typical brewpub fashion, the flight available was already set. I tasted the blonde, red ale, English IPA, stout, and wild ale. The blonde was light and crisp with a mild hop bitterness and subtle hints of a Saison on the back from the yeast.

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Braindead Tap List Part 1.
Brain Dead Tap List Part 1.
Brain Dead tap list part 2.
Brain Dead tap list part 2.

The red ale had a caramel malt background with hop kick with flavors of citrus and pine and a bitter finish. I had a hard time finishing this one because I thought that the flavors didn’t blend together all too well. The English IPA had a nice apricot flavor from the hops at the front without much bitterness. It ended with a mild citrus hop kick. The flavors worked really nicely, making a nice mild yet flavorful IPA. The stout was medium bitter and smoky with a fairly light body. It was a fairly standard stout but well done. My favorite was the wild ale, bursting with flavors of mango and peach. The beer wasn’t very funky or tart, just light, crisp, and fruity. If I wasn’t going to one more stop and quite hungry by that time I would have ordered a full pour of this one.

Brain Dead flight.
Brain Dead flight.
Inside of Brain Dead.
Inside of Brain Dead.

My last stop was Community Brewing, where I hung out in possibly the biggest tasting room I have ever been in. Not only is the room fairly large in floor space, it has quite high ceilings. At this point I was not interested in doing more tasters and because I saw the highly rated Bourbon Barrel Aged Legion on tap I went straight for a full pour of that. I had to request a glass to avoid getting this served in a plastic cup. While I sipped this thick delicious beer I watched people playing corn hole and groups of people cheering at the various games shown on large projected screens on the wall. The beer itself was thick and sweet with vanilla from the barrels and a smoky after taste. The beer also had flavors of coffee and chocolate that blended nicely. Though it was not as impressive as Firestone Walker’s similar offerings, it is a great example of a tasty bourbon barrel aged beer and well worth seeking out.

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Barrel aged Legion
Barrel aged Legion
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The massive tasting room at Community Brewing.

Though not a brewery, I also visited Bishop Cider Company in the Bishop Arts District while I was in Dallas. I wasn’t expecting to visit them but they were right next to my second BBQ spot of the visit, Lockhart Smoke House. They had a fairly broad range of ciders on tap. I almost left without tasting much but then the bartender suggested I try the dry-hopped cider, hopped with Amarillo and Simcoe hops. The taste I had was delicious so I ordered a larger pour. The cider worked nicely as a base to the familiar hop flavors, adding some mild tart backing to typically citrus-flavored hops. It was the perfect drink for that time of my trip. If you are a big cider fan, it is worth checking out Bishop Cider Company in Dallas.

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Dallas Breweries 19

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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