Tag Archives: Mead

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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Reckless Brewing Company continues to rebel in new location

Reckless Brewing recently re-opened on Thursday, May 28, 2015, almost a year after its previous brewery, Wet N Reckless burned down. Dave is still here brewing many of the same beers he brewed before–he liked what he made before so why would he stop? The newly opened location is bigger and now located closer to the rest of the breweries along Miramar Road–right across the street from the new Ballast Point restaurant.

Reckless Brewing Company

Wet N Reckless was not a very popular brewery when it was open before among the general San Diego beer community. Very few of the beers they brew are to style (made according to the styles that exist already in brewing) and so they don’t always taste like what you would expect. I dropped by two days after the grand opening to see how the beers are because it has been a long time since I visited them the last time. Now that they are newly opened they have taster glasses and no more plastic.

Reckless Brewing 04

Reckless Brewing 05I tried all 12 of the beers that they had available on tap. I tried them in an order that I thought would generally save me from having my palate destroyed. Though after trying all of them I don’t think that is something you really need to worry about. The first flight I had was Honey Badger Don’t care, The Dude Abides Rye, Harmless Fun (hoppy imperial wheat) and Beowulf’s Mead. Second I tried the Oral Pleasure, Golden Boy (balanced IPA), More Cowbell (double balanced IPA), and Sultry Black (smoky black ale). Finally I tried the Genocide, Destroyer of Worlds, Down and Out Stout, and Merlout.

Reckless Brewing Flight 01
First flight of tasters.

For the first flight I was surprised by the Honey Badger Don’t Care beer. It was darker than I remember and quite well balanced. It had a nice sweet dark fruit flavor that balanced well with the honey. The Dude Abides rye was mostly dominated by the flavors of the rye, which gave it a bit of a sweet and slightly spicy flavor while being mildly bitter. Harmless fun was a strange brew to me that didn’t have much of a distinctive flavor. The floral hops were hidden in the background of a strange strong wheat beer. The mead was a nice strong honey beer with a light color and body. It wasn’t really my thing but a few people there with me loved it.

Reckless Brewing Flight 02
Second flight of tasters

The oral pleasure was quite floral and a bit sticky, and the lightest of the various IPAs on tap. Though it isn’t technically an IPA it is closes to the West Coast style. Golden Boy and More Cowbell were both very similar in the malt bill and the overall flavor. More Cowbell was the more balanced of the two beers, with the extra bitterness going better with the malt flavors. Both were dark amber color and the malts tended towards the dark fruits. The Sultry Black was an interesting black ale with a lot of smoky flavors and medium bitterness. This was the closest to a typical stout on the whole list.

Reckless Brewing Flight 03
Last flight of tasters

Genocide was a strange amber colored beer with Columbus hops that was close to a balanced IPA more than anything else. The malts didn’t really go with the hops though. Destroyer of Worlds was a tasty dark fruit malty beer with a color almost black though still heavy amber. Down and Out Stout was too sweet and a bit strange tasting to me. I got a little caramel in the very end but I wasn’t a big fan. Finally, the Merlout was an attempt at getting to a red wine flavor while brewing a beer. The flavors were close to a sort of cheap grocery store red wine with some cloying sweet flavors and some intense cherry. I wasn’t a fan of this one and none of the friends I was with wanted to finish the taster.

Reckless Brewing 03
Reckless added a lot of indoor seating this time around.
Reckless added a lot of indoor seating this time around.
Reckless added a lot of indoor seating this time around.

Overall, Reckless is not going to impress anyone who wasn’t already a fan of the previous brewery. Those who loved a beer or two they made will want to come back and see if their favorites are still the same. Aside from adding proper glassware they now have a lot more seating and tables so you can enjoy your beer away from the bar. They also have a popcorn machine that is constantly popping for those who love a nice light snack with the beer (no charge for the popcorn).

Top 3 beers:
Honey Badger Don’t Care (dark honey ale)
More Cowbell (balanced double iPA)
Destroyer of Worlds (dark malty ale)

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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Arcana Brewing, Carlsbad California

In my previous post, I mentioned how close together Arcana and On the Tracks are to each other. Arcana has a much bigger selection of beers to choose from and a bigger tasting room as well. I was surprised by the beers I enjoyed here because some of them were not what I normally like.

Carlsbad Breweries 04

Arcana had so many beers on tap that I didn’t get to try them all. It was early when I stopped by and I had things to do later. I ordered a flight of six beers and then was brought some small tastes of two others. I got to try the Honey Pale, the Headbasher Wheat IPA, the Voyager English ale, the coffee Anabelle, the coffee Marley,  the Infinity Milk Stout, a special mix of two beers, and the Mead.

Taster flight at Arcana Brewing.
Taster flight at Arcana Brewing.

The first beer I tasted was the Honey Pale. I don’t normally like honey beers but this one is made with honey malts, not actual honey, so the flavor is not as intense as it is in other beers. It had the perfect amount of sweetness and went down really nice. My husband really liked this one as well. For those curious, honey malts are not simply malts flavored with honey, but a variety of malt that has a sweet flavor that is similar to honey.

Part of the tap list when I visited. Specialty beers were on a smaller board.
Part of the tap list when I visited. Specialty beers were on a smaller board.

The Headbasher Wheat IPA was also quite nice. It had a lot of tropical fruit and citrus hop flavors with a good light sweetness from the malts. The Voyager was a bit plain for me. It was mostly a heavy malt flavor with a little bit of bitterness. The coffee Anabelle was a special version of the Anabelle made for Bacon Fest the day before. By the time I got to try it though, the coffee had mostly gone. I would have liked to have tasted it the day before.

The coffee Marley was also a bit light on the coffee flavor but it had some really great caramel and vanilla flavors. I wouldn’t have been surprised if this one was barrel aged because it had an oak taste similar to many barrel aged beers. My husband finished most of this taster before I got to try more because he loved it. The Infinity Milk Stout was also quite nice. Flavors were mostly roasted malts with a light sweetness.

Carlsbad Breweries 03

Before I left, my server brought over a special mix of two beers. She combined the apple ale and a cherry beer, resulting in a nice combination of tart apple and sweet cinnamon. This would be a nice drink to have for dessert. The mead was also quite interesting. It reminded me of a sparkling white wine and would be fun to share a bottle with friends.

Considering that Arcana has only been open for a little over a year and a half, I was quite impressed by their lineup. They are working on a rye IPA for the future, which should be a nice balance to the wheat IPA. I could certainly see the honey pale becoming very popular. Have you gotten to try any of the beers from Arcana? Do you disagree with me about some of these beers? 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 focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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