Tag Archives: IPA

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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Savagewood Brewing Takes over O’Sullivan Brothers Space

I stopped by Savagewood for their industry appreciation night. Since I went with my brother I was able to try a few more beers than I might have if I was alone doing pints. I tended to stay away from anything O’Sullivan Brothers had already made prior because they were solid but nothing I cared for. They managed to license the recipes of a few of the more popular beers O’Sullivan Brothers had made, which is nice because otherwise they wouldn’t have a dark beer on tap.

I started with their ESB, which was solid though not up to the quality of my other favorites around town. It had a nice malt backbone with light apricot hop character and low bitterness. It could have been a little more attenuated (less sweet). They have the same beer available on nitro though they don’t seem to understand how nitro works because the nitro version is quite under carbonated and not all that different from the regular.

The saison was below average with a strong bubblegum flavor and an overpowering sweetness that bordered on cloying. I’m glad I wasn’t the one who ordered that pint. The session IPA was equally underwhelming with a strong malt backbone that wasn’t attenuated enough leaving a syrupy sweet base with minimal hop character to balance it out. The IPA was solid, if fairly standard for the classic West Coast style. It blended notes of grapefruit, pine, tropical fruit, and light floral hops with a dry finish and low bitterness. The IPA, while clearly better than the rest of the lineup, isn’t that different from the other offerings in the area.

Though Savagewood is still an overall improvement over O’Sullivan Brothers, they need to do more if they want to differentiate themselves from the crowded beer scene in the Mira Mesa/Miramar area. Their core lineup of a Mango Heffeweisen, blonde ale, ESB, session IPA, IPA, and saison isn’t going to do much to bring in beer geeks though the IPA should satisfy hop heads who are looking for a solid IPA to knock back.

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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Austin Breweries – Lazarus and Austin Beer Garden Brewing

Lazarus Brewing

Lazarus is a block away from Zilker, in an area of Austin that is up-and-coming. They are known mostly for their Belgian styles and traditional beers to style. I started with the English Mild on Nitro. It was creamy with tons of dark fruit and a nice dry finish. The beer had some light smoke and notes of floral hops on the finish. This is a beer to order pints of rather than drink in tasters.

The German style smoked beer was too overpowering in the smoke category for me, though it had a light sweet finish. The English Bitter was overly sweet with a bitter finish. It seemed to be lacking the malt backbone characteristic with the style and I didn’t much care for it.

The pilsner was crisp and bready with a light sweetness and mild floral hops. The saison was earthy with notes of bitter gourd and light funk on the finish. The scotch ale had a nice mix of smoke and roast at the front and tons of dark fruit on the finish, without being overly sweet. The porter was dry and lightly smoky with notes of dark cherry. I quite enjoyed the dark beers.

Lazarus was a solid brewery though I didn’t taste much that would put it above some of the other standard local breweries. I quite enjoyed the darker beers. Parking can be an issue so if you are close by I suggest you get a ride or take an Uber.

Top 2:
Scotch Ale
Porter

Austin Beer Garden Brewery


ABGB has a massive indoor space plus a large outdoor seating area. They have a wide array of food plus a good variety of beers. I started with a flight and got a full pour of the Helles before leaving.

The Rocket 100 Pilsner was dry and bready with an assertive bitterness on the finish that lingered. I thought the bitterness was a bit much for the style. The Industry Pils was a bit milder with light fruity hops and a clean finish. The Pale Ale was a good mix of citrus and melon hop flavor with a light bitterness. It had a mild herbal bite on the finish and overall was a nice clean pale.

The dunkel had a light amber brown color with notes of caramel and toast and a dry finish. I quite enjoyed this one. The Imperial Stout had notes of caramel, molasses, and roast without being overly sweet or thick. This was quite impressive. The helles was my favorite of the bunch with a light bitterness and bread and biscuit malt base with a light floral hop character. The beer was super drinkable. The Grodziskie, a smoked wheat style beer, had a mild smoked malt flavor with light wheat base and a clean dry finish, quite easy drinking.

The helles was quite impressive at ABGB and the special pizza options when I visited were quite good as well. This is a great spot to visit if you like traditional German style beers.

Top 2:
Helles
Dunkel, dark lager

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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Portland Oregon Breweries – Wayfinder and Upright

Wayfinder


One of the newest breweries I visited on my recent visit to Portland was Wayfinder. They opened close to most of the new school breweries in Portland with a full restaurant and expansive seating both outdoor and indoor. This was our first stop of the day and we had lunch along with our beers. As per usual, it takes longer to get your beer flight when you are sitting at a table and have to wait for a server to take your order. Prepare yourself mentally for that if you don’t end up sitting at the bar. I’m not docking them for this as it is the same at most restaurants and they were quite crowded.
I started with the pilsner, which was crisp and fruity and mildly bitter on the finish. This is a fairly standard pilsner. The hazy IPA blew me away with intense grapefruit flavor so powerful I had a hard time believing they didn’t add actual grapefruit. While the beer wasn’t creamy, the explosion of aroma hops was present and made this a very impressive beer. With low bitterness and a crisp dry finish, this was an excellent IPA even though not fully hazy.
The doomtown IPA had a great mix of flavors with resinous hops balanced with notes of grapefruit. The beer had a clean dry finish and mild to medium bitterness. An excellent IPA as well. The Dopplebock was soft and creamy with notes of caramel and plum, nailing the style and quite drinkable for my husband who normally only likes stouts and porters. This is one of the better examples of a dopplebock I have tried in the US.
I ended with the powerful triple IPA that blended nicely multiple varieties of hops giving it a complex hop bouquet sometimes leaning more sticky and piney, other times earthy or floral. The beer has a good caramel malt backbone that mutes the bite of the high bitterness.
Vegan mushroom sandwich.
Vegan hash.
Wayfinder had excellent food and a high quality of beers that stood out among other new breweries I visited this trip. I am excited to see how they develop over the next few years.
Top 2: 
Hazy IPA
Dopplebock

Upright

Upright was on my list for some time but I always ended up passing it over for another spot. The brewery is in a bit of a strange location, down in a basement of a building shared with many other businesses. I found the beers to be a fairly mixed bag and they are possibly one of the only cash only breweries in Portland. Still, if you like a good barrel aged saison they do a great job in that department and should not be skipped over.  They also get distributed down to California if you want to try something before making the trek.
The Ostinato Saison was intensely spice forward with mild citrus character and an effervescent carbonation. I didn’t care for the spice and found the flavors overall somewhat muted. Pathways was excellent with tons of barrel character and lots of funk. This is one of the more impressive yet reasonably priced saisons of this style I have had. I stopped by a bottle shop while I was in town to get a bottle to bring home.
The fourplay cherry sour was incredibly subtle in the fruit department and didn’t have a lot going on. I would have liked to try some of their other barrel aged sours with more intense fruit but they were to-go only. The Ives Batch 2 was lightly tart with notes of white grape and apricot and hints of fresh cut apples. I really enjoyed this one as well. The IPA was soft with a low bitterness and hints of chamomile tea. It didn’t have a ton of aroma but it was clean and easy drinking. The pilsner was crisp and grassy with a clean finish, just how it should be.
As far as the tasting room experience, Upright is cozy and doesn’t have room for a lot of people at a time. I recommend visiting to taste and if you like some of their core beers just buying them elsewhere if you are not used to paying with cash. Though not all of the barrel aged beers were great, the two that I was impressed by were quite good and show an indication of a mature barrel program.
Top 2: 
Pathway Oaked Saison
Ives Batch 2

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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