Tag Archives: Oatmeal Stout

Faction Brewing, Alameda, Bay Area California

The Bay Area is large and can often take quite a while to get from one area to another. So while there are some amazing breweries elsewhere, there is a benefit to knowing what you can visit without going too far. My husband’s cousin and her family are in Alameda and we often stay with them while we are in the Bay Area so I visited the brewery on a lazy Sunday during my last trip. If you can’t make it out to Berkeley for Fieldwork or San Francisco for Cellarmaker, the IPAs at Faction are excellent¬†and will satisfy most enthusiasts.

Faction Brewing 04

Faction Brewing 03

There were so many beers on the board that there was no way I was going to try them all at $2.50 a taster (fairly standard these days). But most of what I tried was quite impressive. I started with the Southern Aroma pilsner, SAPA (pale ale with South African hops), Penske File pale, Norcal Beer Geek IPA, and Cafe Latte. I then got tasters of NZ IIPA, Blitzen IIIPA, Hop Soup IIPA, and the Oatmeal Stout.

Faction Brewing 05

The Southern Aroma was an excellent pilsner with a clean dry finish and mild citrus kick. The SAPA had tons of pine and resin with a bitter finish and hints of orange peel. The Penske File had a strong bitter grapefruit kick with hints of pineapple behind that. Norcal Beer Geeks IPA was my favorite of the day. Super smooth and balanced it has notes of pine and resin with some citrus and a mellow bitterness. This is a more classic style IPA but done very nicely.

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Cafe Late was a bit strange tasting because it was an older batch but it is also made with cold brew coffee rather than adding coffee beans to the beer. I would recommend trying a splash before ordering a full pint. The oatmeal stout was excellent with a medium body and tons of roast with a smooth mouthfeel. The NZ IIPA was thick and dry without being overly bitter or sweet and tons of fruit notes from the hops. Other double and triple IPAs were similarly well-crafted. The hop soup had more resin and pine notes with a hint of grapefruit and floral notes behind it. Blitzen was a dangerously easy drinking beer for the alcohol and had nice notes of citrus and pine.

Faction Brewing 06

While they aren’t yet doing the juicy hazy IPAs you can get at Cellarmaker and Fieldwork, the beers at Faction I tasted were all nicely done and would be plenty to satisfy most hop heads. They have a very unique location out on an old navy hard with high ceilings and a large outdoor seating area and a separately large indoor seating area behind the large tasting room. It has quite an echo and the tasting room gets loud with only a few loud people. I brought a growler of the Norcal Beer Geek IPA to share when I left and my husband’s cousin’s husband really enjoyed it. Hopefully he will return regularly now that he knows what to order.

Faction Brewing 02

Known for:
Come for their wide selection of IPAs. Try the Norcal Beer Geek, my favorite of the bunch.

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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32 North Brewing Revisited Again, Second Change of Brewers

Covering breweries can require a lot of attention paid because brewers don’t always stay with the brewery for various reasons. I can’t speak to many of the reasons behind many of the notorious local shifts of brewers and I wouldn’t want to share the details even if I could. For 32 North, this meant they started with a brewer who came out of the gate with some excellent beer and then after a few months went on to open a different brewery, which is the quite-popular Bitter Brothers. Then another brewer was brought in to replace him and didn’t last as long as many expected. Some say he went back to the East Coast because he wasn’t a fit for the local scene. I could see this as a plausible explanation considering his version of the Best Coast IPA was too malty for local tastes.

32 North Revisited 01

Now with their 2nd anniversary coming up, I visited 32 North again, giving their new brewer, Nick Ceniceros, formerly the head brewer for Fall Brewing, a chance to dial in the recipes on the different system. The changes from a year ago to now are drastic and show a clearer understanding of the local brew scene as one would expect from someone who has been a major part of the scene for a while. Of the beers I tried, all were well-made but four stood out as quite excellent. I can safely say that if Ceniceros stays on for a while, he will help cement 32 North as a powerful player in the crowded Miramar brewery scene.
32 North Brewing 02
Look and feel wise, the brewery hasn’t changed all that much since it opened. They have always had the beautiful wood-dominated look that helps you quickly forget that you are in the middle of an industrial park. The design of their tasting board has changed quite a bit over time and the design they have now is pleasing and easy to read from a distance.

I had two separate flights on my recent visit, trying seven beers and a cask variant of their house IPA to finish things off. I started with a flight of Pennant pale ale, Blancdonkadonk hoppy wheat, Mighty Mouse session rye IPA, and Landfall berliner weisse (without syrup). The second flight I had the Best Coast IPA, Far East IPA, Hello Darkness oatmeal stout on nitro, and Best Coast IPA cask with mosaic hops.

First flight with pale ales and Berliner Weisse.
First flight with pale ales and Berliner Weisse.

Penant pale ale is a smooth dry pale ale with a great balance of citrus, pine, and resinous hops. It has some malts backing it up but nothing that overpowers the hops as the traditional style tends to do. This was the first standout for me. The blancdonkadonk is a strange beer and a bit hard to describe. At first I got a lot of apricot from what I assumed were English hops over some fruity wheat malts. Then later on I got more passionfruit and other tropical fruit notes. I found the hops were a bit too much but mostly because the flavors weren’t for me. The Mighty Mouse session IPA was clean and dry with a great mix of dank resinous hops, some fruity hops, and as it warms up some floral/herbal hops all supported by a solid rye kick. I liked it more at the beginning but once I got to the herbal hops I lost interest. This is another beer where it mostly isn’t my preferred hops but is done well.

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The Landfall Berliner Weisse, without syrup, was excellent. It had a great medium body and some subtle fruit and citrus notes. They offer three flavors of syrup for this if you want to experiment though I prefer it on its own. Though they will be soon canning their blond ale, I hope this one day gets canned because it is quite excellent. The Best Coast IPA is a great mix of dank pine and resin hops and some tropical fruit towards the end. Though pine on its own is not a flavor I love, it is delicious when properly balanced as here. The beer also has a nice supporting malt backbone that is just enough to give it a good medium body without calling too much attention to itself.

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The cask version of Best Coast was super smooth with tons of mango, guava, and melon bursting from the beer. Surprisingly most of the dank flavors of the tap version were gone. The Far East IPA had tons of over ripe tropical fruit and a sticky sweet fruity finish. I couldn’t identify specific fruits but I really did not care for this one. I finished with the Hello Darkness oatmeal stout on nitro. The beer had a complex mix of roast, coffee, and chocolate notes all supported by a smooth caramel base. This would probably be the first beer for me to order in a pint when I return. It is an excellent oatmeal stout and I’m sure the coffee version is quite nice as well.

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It is a great sign that two of the stand-out beers for me were part of their core lineup and soon to be canned. Even if you have been disappointed in the past with what you had at 32 North, you should absolutely return to try these delicious new batches. Their upcoming 2nd anniversary on October 21st.

Top 4:
Hello Darkness oatmeal stout
Landfall berliner weisse
Pennant Pale
Best Coast IPA

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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Wicks Brewing – Riverside California

On a recent drive to Idyllwild I decided to go out of my way to Riverside and stop by a brewery. You may be thinking, that is not really along the way, why would you do something like that? And you’re right it is seriously out of the way but my husband wanted to stop in Riverside for something else so I figured let’s hit a brewery while we are there. I decided to stop by Wicks in part because I loved their medieval designs and names for their beers. They are a fairly large brewpub offering some solid food and a large lineup of beers. I tasted a total of 8 beers while I was there in two separate flights.

Wicks Brewing 01

Wicks Brewing 02

The first flight included the Paladin Pale, Battle Cry IPA, Hello Sunshine IPA, and El Robo Rye IPA. The pale was nice and fruity/juicy session IPA that was not too thin or too bitter. It is a nice and balanced, smooth beer. The Battle Cry IPA is a bit thicker and resinous with notes of grapefruit and pineapple. I really enjoyed this IPA out of all of the ones offered and picked up a 22oz bottle to go, which I enjoyed recently at home. While not as bursting with aroma in the bottle it stood up nicely to being a month and a half old. The Hello Sunshine was thicker and more bitter than the Battle Cry offering tropical fruit flavors including papaya. The El Robo Rye had a nice golden rye flavor with a slightly darker color and a strong bitter finish presenting flavors of apricot and peach. This was a nicely balanced rye beer.

First flight of beers.
First flight of beers.

The second flight included the Hellified double IPA, Morning Star coffee oatmeal stout, Jasmine Noir black ale, and Black Knight imperial porter. The Hellified double IPA was not that much stronger in alcohol than the single IPA offerings but was quite tasty with intense citrus flavors and a solid bitter kick. The Morning Star coffee oatmeal stout presented a quite mellow coffee flavor and smooth mouthfeel. This is a good stout if you like subtle flavors. The Jasmine Noir was basically a stronger version of a schwartzbier, a German style black lager. It had a light roast flavor but otherwise was very light bodied and easy drinking. I could barely taste the higher alcohol. The Black Knight was a combination of fruity and roasty with a boozy kick on the end, also not very thick. Because I am used to stouts and porters that have more intense flavors I was fairly disappointed by the tasters but looking back now they did a good job making subtle beers for the styles.

Second Flight.
Second Flight.

I enjoyed the food I had at Wicks and especially enjoyed the IPAs. They are worth hitting if you are in the area and are looking for your West Coast style IPA kick. If you are a fan of dark beers, don’t expect anything exploding with flavors but you will find some smooth and drinkable beers.

Wicks Brewing 05

Top 2:
Battle Cry IPA
Paladin Pale

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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Border X Brewing – Barrio Logan San Diego

Border X originally opened in Otay Mesa, very close to the border with Mexico. The beers are still brewed at that location but more recently they opened a satellite tasting room in Barrio Logan, closer to Downtown San Diego. I visited the Barrio Logan location recently to try their beers. I didn’t get to taste the popular Blood Saison because they ran out but I did get to taste the Hefeweisen, Abuelos pale ale, Abuelita’s chocolate stout, Horchata golden stout, and a coffee oatmeal stout they brewed in collaboration with Groundswell Brewing.

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The hefeweisen was a nice cloudy yellow with a light citrus kick that blended nicely with banana and pineapple. Though it was largely to style, their version was a nice change to the typical, and very refreshing. The Abuelos pale ale was a solid fruity English style pale with figs added. The beer was lightly bitter and very smooth. This was the only hoppy beer available when I visited, so it might not be the best destination for hop heads looking for West Coast style brews.

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The Abuelita’s chocolate stout had a deliciously smooth oatmeal stout body and bright chocolate flavors on the front. I found it less bitter than most stouts. The beer has a light vanilla on the back. The chocolate flavors were also very different than you see in most local brews because it uses the Mexican style of chocolate usually used in the chocolate drinks available in Tijuana and elsewhere. It reminded me of some of the better of such drinks I have experienced in Tijuana. This is certainly a standout beer that they brew.

Border X 03

The Horchata golden stout isn’t boozy at all despite being 10%. It could easily be confused with ordinary horchata. The beer was very smooth and sweet with the right amount of rice, vanilla, and cinnamon. The brewers create an extract of the vanilla and cinnamon themselves that gives it authentic and not fake-tasting flavors. The coffee oatmeal stout brewed with groundswell was a nice smooth oatmeal stout with light coffee in the back. It was very nicely balanced, though I slightly prefer the chocolate stout.

Border X 01

Though Border X isn’t a place to visit for hoppy beers because they didn’t have an IPA they are brewing some awesome stouts and word on the streets is the Blood Saison is also really good. Both the chocolate and horchata stouts were very impressive. I hope to visit them in the future to see how things are going. The tasting room in Barrio Logan has a similar feel to places I have visited in Tijuana with plenty of Mexican imagery on the walls.

Top 2:
Abuelita’s chocolate stout
Horchata golden 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 focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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Mother Earth Brewing Company, Vista CA

Mother Earth is one of those breweries that I heard a lot about but rarely tasted. Fairly recently I tried their Boo-Koo IPA for the first time and knew I should visit the tap room sometime soon. Located in the center of Vista, Mother Earth is thankfully close to the 78 freeway and easy to find. The tap room is large and has a good amount of seating and room for dogs. Aside from four core beers on tap they also had a few interesting special release beers available.

Mother Earth Brewing 01
I tried the Boo-Koo IPA, Roundabout Oatmeal Stout, Make up Your Mind IPA, Sin Tax peanut butter stout, and Quit Stalin bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. The Boo-Koo is a delicious light body and light colored IPA with lots of citrus and tropical fruit and medium bitterness. This one recently showed up in six-pack cans and is one of their best major beers.

Mother Earth Brewing 03
The Roundabout Oatmeal Stout was listed as a smaller specialty beer but it was so good I wouldn’t be surprised if it joins the main lineup at some point. The beer was dry and roasty with a nice bitter chocolate finish. Though it was a low 5.4% alcohol it was bursting with flavor. I liked it so much that I took home a crowler (32oz can they fill on the spot for you to take home). The Make Up Your Mind IPA was a delicious tropical fruit/juicy IPA also with the light color and medium bitterness. The biggest difference between this and the Boo-Koo is the sweeter hop flavors that dominate.

Mother Earth Brewing 02

The Sin Tax is a strong 8% peanut butter imperial stout with an intense and overpowering peanut butter flavor that adds a bit of sweetness and makes the beer seem a bit syrupy. The peanut butter flavor is similar to the Belching Beaver peanut butter milk stout. The underlying stout is a bit typical and tasty but I found this one too sweet. My husband liked it though. I ended with the Quit Stalin bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. This was very impressive, giving a strong stout background and plenty of sweet bourbon flavor. Everything balanced quite nicely, avoiding any strong boozy flavors.

Mother Earth Brewing 04
Mother Earth has two locations and I visited the Main Street location. Their web site says that this location tends to get a more wide selection of beers. There is also a home brew shop next door. Overall Mother Earth is a very impressive brewery giving the right focus on their core beers while also brewing some smaller batch stuff. I happened to visit them after Wavelength brewing next door and I found Mother Earth to be the more impressive of the two, though they are also much older and established.

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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Dos Desperados Brewing Company – San Marcos CA

I visited Dos Desperados after Stumblefoot Brewing Company on the same day. Thankfully my husband was driving so I was able to try everything I wanted to at the time. In total I tried the Fugitive farmhouse, Outlaw oatmeal stout, Jailbreak IPA, Habeerneos IPA, Pancho Villa double IPA, Brett double IPA, and ghost pepper stout.

The Fugitive farmhouse had a nice mild pepper pepper kick (hot pepper) that joins the usual saison taste. The pepper flavors balanced nice with the fruit and funk. Though it was very different from the usual saison, I quite liked it. The Outlaw oatmeal stout was a solid stout with a smooth flavor from the oatmeal. This was the only stout on the menu and it should satisfy those who don’t like hops.

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The Jailbreak ipa starts off with some intense bitterness and a good citrus flavor. It is a solid IPA. It is used as the background for the Habanero version. Like the Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin, this one is quite hot and really burns going down leaving a big back of throat burn. I would have a hard time having more than a taster of this.

Main beer menu when I visited.
Main beer menu when I visited.

The Pancho Villa double IPA is a double IPA that focuses on tropical fruit and citrus flavors with some light mango flavor. It is very hop forward and tasty, a fantastic example of a double IPA. The Brett version was also quite tasty and if I hadn’t already had a full two sets of tasters I might have ordered more of it. The brett yeast adds some nice peach flavors and gives it a cloudy look. Finally, the ghost pepper stout was not as hot as the Habanero IPA. The heat hides in the background more and sneaks up on you because it is more balanced with the beer.

Specialty beer menu when I visited.
Specialty beer menu when I visited.

Overall I enjoyed what I had at Dos Desperados and liked to see the brett and other experimental beers they had on tap. The addition of spicy peppers seems to be done well like others locally though stay away if you don’t like hot. This is certainly a brewery geared more towards hops than a few of the others I tried in the area.

Top 3:
Pancho Villa Double IPA
Brett Double IPA
Jailbreak IPA

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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Bellevue Brewing – Seattle Washington

I visited Seattle recently and recently with the hope of visiting some local breweries. Sadly, I only ended up visiting four. Still, I will provide my thoughts here on Bellevue Brewing, Redhook, Triple Horn, and Fremont Brewing. 

Bellevue Brewing was the first place I visited near Seattle and some of the beers were quite impressive. I tasted the pale ale, ESB, scotch ale, oatmeal stout, IPA, Triple Wheat Ale, and Malt Liquor.

Seattle Beer 03

The pale ale was slightly sweet with a nice citrus back to go along with the typical pine hop flavors. The beer was nicely balanced so that the malts did not dominate like they do in some pale ales. The ESB was a bit too light on the flavor for my tastes. It didn’t have any interesting flavors that I noticed.

The scotch ale was interesting because the first thing I tasted was a sort of sweet grape juice flavor. I didn’t really detect much of the caramel and toffee flavors the brewery described it as having. The oatmeal stout was quite nice on the lighter end of the stout spectrum. It was good and creamy and sported some light caramel flavors.

Seattle Beer 02

The IPA was bursting with flavors. I found out that this beer is brewed fresh every six days, which explains why it had that fresh taste. The IPA was on the lighter side and bursting with citrus and floral flavors. It reminded me of the San Diego style of IPA I had previously missed while visiting Seattle.

The triple wheat IPA was a powerful brew and had plenty of intense flavors from similar hops as the IPA. I also got a nice tropical fruit flavor from it. The use of wheat malts kept it from being overly malty like many triple IPAs tend to get. The malt liquor was very strange because despite its 8% alcohol it was very light in bitterness and had almost no body to it. Perhaps some people will enjoy having a strong beer that has very little taste but it seemed like a total waste to me.

Overall Bellevue Brewing was a fun place to visit and had some fantastic IPAs. When I found out that my sister had not yet visited there despite living in Seattle for quite some time now we stopped in for a pint a few days later. They had added a rye version of the IPA by then and it impressed me so much that I had a pint of that rather than the regular IPA.

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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Portland Beer Adventures Part 7 Laurelwood Brewing

Laurelwood came up a lot in my search for must-try Portland beers. Because I had quite a few beers at Velo Cult before hand, I stuck with four tasters and some happy hour food. I tried the IPA, Tree Hugger Porter, Oatmeal Stout, and Double IPA.
Beer Selection at Laurelwood.
Beer Selection at Laurelwood.
The IPA was a solid entry with plenty of pine, citrus, and grapefruit flavors. The Tree Hugger Porter was good and mellow with primary oatmeal and chocolate flavors. I liked the oatmeal stout slightly better than the porter, with some stronger chocolate flavors smoothed out by the oatmeal. Probably my favorite was the double IPA, with a good bitterness and plenty of citrus and pine. I might have ordered a pint of this one if I hadn’t just come from Velo Cult. Also, compared to the Boneyard Triple IPA I had just before it is hard to impress.
Portland Beer 16
I really enjoyed the happy hour food we ordered at Laurelwood. The fish and chips were nice and crispy and yet the fish was good and flaky. With a little malt vinegar the fish went great with the 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 focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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Council Brewing, Impressive New Brewery

Council Brewing is currently in a soft opening phase but you wouldn’t know it from visiting. They are already offering a good variety of brews that will satisfy the majority of beer fans who show up and have a professional look inside.

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With the gavels for tap heads you’d be excused for assuming it has something to do with the law. When I asked, I was told that the brewers wanted to set up a place for having debate and discussion. It just happened that the name made sense to include some gavels. They also have free Wi-Fi that is properly secured.

Beer wise, I was quite impressed with the lineup at Council. Small breweries come in all shapes and sizes but I think Council is going to become big very quickly. Not only do they have a fantastic stout and IPA but some of the other beers are very solid as well.

I decided to get a flight of six tasters so that I could try every beer currently offered. This meant that I had a taste of the Farmer’s Gold Saison, Lively Banter Hoppy Wheat, America’s Finest Pale Ale, Gavel Drop IPA, Imperial Oatmeal Stout, and Belgian Triple. Even though some of the lighter offerings didn’t blow me away, I was still quite impressed with the lineup on the whole.

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Saison farmers gold
I’m not normally a fan of this style of beer but this is a tasty one. The beer has a little sweet flavor and not too sour. I think the higher alcohol content helps to mellow it out a bit compared to the typical Saison.

Lively banter (hoppy wheat)
Hop flavors come primarily from Centennial. This beer isn’t as insanely hopped as the modern times beer in a similar style. It won’t satisfy those looking for a session ipa style but it has some solid flavor. Flavors of the wheat still hang around, giving it a balanced flavor.

America’s finest pale ale
Delicious crisp flavor and not as heavy as the green flash pale. Great citrus flavor and not too heavy on the malt. The brewers said that this was supposed to be closer to 5.5% but ended up 6.1 by the time it was brewed so future versions should be a little lighter on the alcohol.

Gavel drop ipa
This beer has the quintessential San Diego IPA flavors from the Nelson hops. This beer was so popular that the brewery almost ran out of the first batch before the second batch was done. Hard to say if it is going to last much longer. If you aren’t familiar with Nelson hops this is likely to make you a convert. The grapefruit flavors it offers have become popular among hop addicts like myself. San Diego beer fans who can’t seem to find the Nelson IPA from Alpine Brewing should come by and check this out.

Gavel Drop, Imperial Stout, and Tripel.
Gavel Drop, Imperial Stout, and Tripel.

Imperial oatmeal stout
Thick and sweet this should satisfy fans of stouts and porters. Flavors of milk chocolate are clear and a little caramel. Little alcohol sweetness finishes it out. Very impressive. I left here with a 32oz growler full of the stout because it really impressed me. I think my husband would really like this one.

Belgian triple
Bright citrus flavors and a bit sweet. Not too heavy. Great flavor. Though it is a little sweet like you would expect from a Belgian beer, it isn’t overly so. This beer was also a bit different than the typical beer of the style you might see around San Diego.

In the end, I was quite impressed by Council Brewing and I think they will have great success once they officially open sometime in June. For now you should make your way over to try the stout or the IPA. Both are excellent and likely to draw large followings.

UPDATE New Beers on May 30, 2014
I returned to Council brewing a few weeks after my first visit to introduce some friends to the beers and I noticed they added three beers that weren’t available when I was last there. Here is what I thought of each.

Chazzam! IPA is a lighter colored IPA that uses a number of piney and citrusy hops in a deliciously crisp brew. It is also a little cheaper per glass than the Gavel Drop because it doesn’t use those elusive Nelson hops. The new Imperial Red is not what you would expect. This is not some overly sweet brew but instead a smoky beer with a light hop kick. I really enjoyed it. Finally the Belgian Dubbel was a solid representation of the style with plenty of plum malts and the spice flavors that come from the Belgian yeast. Some time soon they should be debuting their ESB so stay tuned and come back to Council.

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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Thorn Street Brewing

Thorn Street Brewing has a relaxing atmosphere and many delicious beers for every taste. I decided to stop by after a failed attempt to visit Mission Beach left me frustrated and in need of a beer. With so many beers on tap, I didn’t get to try every one but the ones I tried gave me a good taste of the selection.

Thorn Stree Brewing 01

To start with, I tried their Session IPA, a Spicy Session IPA, and the Oatmeal Stout. The session IPA had a nice pine flavor with some nice citrus, similar to the Lagunitas Session. It is mellow enough that it should be nice to drink on the beach. The spicy session was a bit on the hot side, which surprised me. It wasn’t as hot as the Habanero Sculpin but still hotter than a lot of other similar beers. The oatmeal stout had a nice mellow flavor with some sweet caramel and hints of chocolate. This one would likely satisfy fans of the style.

Thorn Stree Brewing 02

Next I got tasters of the Relay IPA, Tropic Daze IPA, and Red Headed Hop Child. The Relay had a nice crisp flavor to match the light color. It was more piney than citrus though it did have a light citrus on the back. The Tropical Daze had a heavy tropical fruit flavor with a bit of pineapple flavor up front. This was one of my favorites of the night. The Red Headed Hop Child disappointed me because it was a lot heavier on the malts than the hops. I thought it could use a lot more hops so what I had didn’t satisfy me at all.

Thorn Stree Brewing 03

To finish it off, I had some Rye Stafari, Menace, and the Barrel Aged Imperial Porter. The Rye Stafari gave me a heavy dose of smoke with roasted malts up front. It was pretty boring and dry tasting and didn’t impress. The Menace was almost a double version of the Tropic Daze though it did have some other varieties of hops to give it a different flavor. This was an impressive double IPA that went down smooth. The Barrel Aged Imperial Porter had the right amount of bourbon flavor to match the sweet coconut and went down smooth.

Menace Imperial IPA.
Menace Imperial IPA.

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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