Tag Archives: Scotch Ale

Wavelength Brewing Company – Vista San Diego Revisited with New Brewer

I had written Wavelength off and was waiting for a good excuse to return when it was reported that an ex-Belching Beaver brewer had taken over the reins. They had a great space so this was the perfect chance for me to return and see if they improved. I tried all the beers on the board though one of the things I liked was that they no longer had such a huge list of beers. Instead, the new brewer was focusing on some key styles until he can get things dialed in.

The Octave Orange wheat ale was a good clean wheat beer, lightly fruity and with a good clean finish with light spice. The Golden Note blonde ale was fruity and crisp with a nice dry finish. It was a bit thinner than the wheat and had a nice subtle hop kick on the finish. The Aprikose apricot Berliner had a nice earthy malt character from the base that blended nicely with light tart kick and mild apricot notes. I was impressed because the apricot didn’t overpower the base beer. The beer also had a good medium body.

The Hop Squash hazy IPA was not particularly hazy but has a nice orange/gold turbidity. It showcased intense tropical fruit on the nose. The beer had a nice soft body with tropical fruit and mild pine. Though not hazy it is a tasty soft modern IPA with minimal bitterness and a fruity finish. This is also miles better than their IPAs used to be. The Off Kilter scotch ale was quite delicious with notes of caramel and molasses, a light bitter bite, and mild burnt toffee notes on the finish. It also had some nice mild dark fruit character. It is a really excellent scotch ale, lightly sweet and super smooth body. It is likely to satisfy those who only drink stouts.

Adophis barleywine was the only beer on tap from the old brewer. It showcased notes of dark fruit and biscuit malt base with spice and floral character from the hops with a strong bitter bite. It was more hop forward for a barleywine than I generally prefer but still tasty. It is refreshing to see a shorter tap list here than the huge number they had on tap the last time. The IPA is a huge improvement over the various IPAs brewed previously and the scotch ale and berliner stand out as my favorites. Wavelength now has a quality of beers that should allow them to compete with their neighbors, including the popular Mother Earth brewing.

Top 2:
Apricot Berliner
Scotch 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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Bagby Brewing Company Oceanside

Bagby Brewing Company drew in local craft beer lovers from the very beginning thanks to head brewer Jeff Bagby’s history brewing with Pizza Port for 6 years and brewing many award winning beers. He is well known both among brewers and locals as a brewer with talent who knows what a good beer should taste like.

Bagby Brewing 05

With that in mind, when I visited Bagby I had high expectations, which generally leads to disappointment but not this time. Thankfully, there were many impressive beers available such that I can say it is worth the drive up to Oceanside. All of the beers I tried packed in a lot of flavor and really let all the different ingredients complement each other.

Bagby Brewing 06

Bagby Brewing Company has a large facility, much larger than you would expect with a newer brewery. A big focus there is on the food, which I didn’t get to try in this visit. But there are also two large floors with two bars both pouring the full array of beers. Considering the drive up to Oceanside and the number of house beers available it would be difficult to try all the beers in one trip and safely drive back so I only got to taste seven of their beers. However, hopefully at some point I will update this review to include some guest reviews of the rest until I can get back to try what is left.

First flight left to right IPA, Strong Pale, Rye Pale, Extra Pale.
First flight left to right IPA, Strong Pale, Rye Pale, Extra Pale.

I started off my time with the wet hop extra pale on nitro. As usual, the nitro really mellowed out the beer so this is not a sipper. Despite the light body, there were some intense pine flavors that were very enjoyable. Next up was the rye pale ale. Rye beers are very difficult to do right and many in this style get the balance of flavors all wrong. Thankfully, this hits all the right notes. It has a solid spicy bite from the rye that balances nicely with mild bitterness and caramel flavors.

Second flight, left to right Scotch Ale, American Stout, Double IPA.
Second flight, left to right Scotch Ale, American Stout, Double IPA.

The strong pale is a whopping 6.4% and the higher alcohol adds some additional sweetness to balance out the malts. Hop flavors came through mostly in the way of floral hops. Next I tried the IPA. This is a very powerful beer that manages to bring out all the signature West Coast style grapefruit and citrus while balancing that with caramel malts. This is a great example of how you make a balanced IPA without knocking people over the head with the malts.

Bagby Brewing 02

After the IPA, the double IPA was certainly on the sweet side but it had plenty of tropical fruit flavor, primarily pineapple to balance it out. I had a hard time believing that this was a 10% beer because it really hid the alcohol very well. After the hoppy beers I went on to some of the stronger dark beers. The American Stout is a strong 7.7% and really blended together the flavors nicely. It had plenty of thick caramel and coffee flavors countered by a mild smoky flavor. Finally, I tried the scotch ale, an 8.4% dark beer that packed in tons of flavor. I really enjoyed the mix of dark fruit and nutty coffee for a satisfying beer.

Bagby Brewing 01

Though most of the beers were very good, I was especially impressed by the rye pale, IPA, and American Stout. I wasn’t the only one enjoying the rye pale as I could hear other people around the bar area talking about how much they enjoyed that one.

Though I didn’t get to try any of the food I have heard great things about it. So if you are looking to try out a new brewery, I suggest you make a day of it and visit Bagby for lunch followed by some beer. And if you like to enjoy the sun, there is some outdoor seating available upstairs. Just be careful you don’t let your beers sit in the sun.

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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Legacy Brewing – New Taproom and Kitchen in Miramar

I had read many great things about Legacy Brewing long before I got to try their beers. With the original location up in Oceanside I was not in a rush to make the drive. Thankfully they opened a restaurant and tap room right next door to Saint Archer Brewing, much closer to my house. On two separate visits I was able to try most of their beers and overall I found that the flavors were unique among the San Diego breweries, including some IPAs that are delicious while breaking the west coast style mold.  [The official grand opening for this Legacy location is January 10th 2015 but they have been pouring for a little bit now]
Legacy Brewing 01
The nut brown was really smooth and roasty. It was light body but very tasty. This is one beer I could have a few pints of easily. The porter had nice chocolate and coffee flavors that very mellow all blended together nicely with the caramel flavors. This one was also super smooth.

 

The pale ale was intensely floral with flavors mostly around lavender. There is a certain line at which a beer starts to taste like perfume and this one comes close but stays on the enjoyable side of that line. For a pale this flavor was very unique among San Diego beers. I probably would have a hard time finishing a pint of this though.

 

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The Oktoberfest beer was a nice representation of the style, very good and smooth. The sleigh wreck ale was a seasonal beer on tap when I visited. It was a nice smooth ale with just a little bit of spice and plenty of roasted malt flavors. The milk stout was nice mostly because it was not too sweet like many can get. However, it didn’t really have any standout flavors that made me want to drink more of it. The Irish red showed some good malt flavors in a smooth and a little mellow beer.

 

One of my favorite beers of the evening was the hellfire ipa. Though it is one of the more well balanced IPAs out of San Diego, the malts did not overpower the hops, and gave it a nice body. Having had this in the bottle before it was even more delicious on tap. This ipa is bursting with citrus and tropical fruit flavors. When compared to the hellfire the hop off ipa makes a nice contrast. It showed a very interesting flavor combination with plum flavors on the back end and almost candy sweet. Herbal hops balance it with a solid bitterness. This is the beer for those who want something different from the citrus and pine that have become so common.

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Then came the emancipation hoplimation double ipa. It had a very refreshing combination of flavors. Thankfully it was not as sweet as the hop off and has a nice bright orange and peach flavor going. Though it claims a high bitterness I didn’t th ink it tasted as bitter as it says. This one was also quite good. The Scotch ale delivered a flavorful set of roasted malt flavors that were balanced with a light sweetness. I really enjoyed this one. Finally the Czarface imperial stout delivered something also a bit different. The coffee flavors were mellow and the major flavor was closer to the sweet caramel and raisins. The flavors all balanced nicely giving it an overall heavy mouthfeel.

Through it all I was most impressed by the hellfire IPA and the emancipation hoplimation double IPA along with the Czarface imperial stout. The lighter beers were all smooth and easy drinking and should satisfy people looking for a good brown ale.
This location is fairly small and took over a sports bar that used to be in the building. It still retains the sports bar feel and shows games on the TVs regularly. It also has a decent lineup of food, though I haven’t gotten to tasting very much. The wings I had there were very tasty though the pricing seems a little high for what you get. A previous version of this post indicated that Woody’s is a better deal. However after trying some of their dinner entrees tonight I think Legacy is the better deal.
The prices for all the different sandwiches includes a side of home cut fries. This is probably one of the first places I’ve been where a side of fries that comes with your sandwich is actually a good size (read small). Too many places overload you with giant portions of bland fries that need sauce to spice them up. Here, you get simply a good size portion of delicious home cut fries and delicious sandwiches.
As far as my burger, I ordered the spicy burger and got a deliciously juicy medium patty, nice and salty, with fresh cut serrano chilies, guacamole, some of the best looking tomatoes I’ve ever had on a burger, and some of those fresh cut fries on the side. It might be slightly cheaper at woody’s for the same thing but their fries come in huge portions and aren’t very good. In the same group my husband got the duck confit sandwich, which he said was amazing, and my mom got the meatloaf, which was juicy and delicious.
I’m also hoping that over time they will start to sell bottles of fresh beer at this location because the IPA deserves to be as fresh as possible. There is plenty of time for them to grow and for them to attract visitors from the nearby restaurants and breweries.

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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