All posts by 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.

Breweries near Goderich Ontario – Square and Cowbell

I happened to be out in Goderich with friends so we visited the local brewery, called Square and later another local brewery called Cowbell not too far down the road.

Square Brewery

Square is the only one in Goderich itself. Square has a small tasting room with no air conditioning. They had four beers on tap but I only had a full pour of the pilsner and hoppy pale ale.

The pilsner was fairly average with a crisp dry finish and light floral hops. The vienna lager I tried a few sips of my friend’s beer and that was enough for me. The beer had a dark cherry color and in taste was mostly burnt toffee and marshmallow. The toffee was dominant and a bit too burnt for my tastes.

Fog Day, the hoppy pale ale was nice and dry with tons of hop aroma and not much bitterness. It had notes of citrus and overripe papaya. The overripe flavors dominated, and were a bit off putting. Finally the black lager was quite good with notes of raisins, caramel, and mild roast with a dry finish. This one might even satisfy the stout drinkers.

Square is much cheaper to take beer to go in crowlers so if you are in the area for a while I recommend stopping by to try a few beers and taking your favorite home in crowlers. While I enjoyed the beers, the lack of air conditioning suggests that I probably wouldn’t return if I was in the area.

Cowbell Brewery

Cowbell is a massive brewery in Blyth, a town about 25 minutes drive from Goderich. They have a very impressive facility that suggests they are backed by some big money. It is a full restaurant and has its own big canning line so you will find their beers all around the Ontario area. The prices pushed me towards full pours because of how much they charged for a full 5ounce taster.

I started with the Abbey Bragott IPA, an IPA made with honey. It barely tasted like an IPA to me. The beer was bitter with prominent honey dominating and some mild bitter finish. There wasn’t a lot of hop aroma in the beer and I didn’t really care for the honey. If you are there for the big hops, you should try some other beers instead. The Boxing Bruin IPA, their core IPA, was good and resinous with prominent pine flavor and a good dry finish without being overly bitter. I had a can of this the day before visiting the brewery and it was similarly resinous with some prominent grapefruit as well. It is a solid IPA and worth trying if you want the hops.

The Mango Milkshake IPA was delightful. The mango was present but not overpowering or prominent. The lactose was similarly subtle leaving a creamy base hazy IPA with tons of grapefruit and citrus hop flavors. This was the crowd favorite of the day and my favorite as well. It is a very refreshing IPA. I finished with the imperial stout bragott, also made with honey. Unlike the IPA before it, the honey was not overpowering and balanced nicely with the rest of the beer. The beer had mild roast and notes of cherry, grahm cracker, and mild honey with a nice dry finish. If my husband had joined us he would have liked this beer quite a lot.

Overall Cowbell is an impressive facility and had a solid lineup of beers. If you are in the area it is well worth stopping by to walk around the place and experience a few beers on tap before grabbing cans to go.

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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Yorkshire Square Brewing Company – Torrance CA

Yorkshire Square Brewing Company is in Torrance right near Monkish brewing and serves a different clientele so hopefully they can both do well despite being so close together. They have a focus on English style beers primarily served on cask. They offer flights using the 10oz glass so that you can try four without ordering a full pour of any of them. The tasting room is a good size and has plenty of seating and regularly visited by a food-truck.

The traditional bitter was lightly toasty with a lingering bitterness, notes of herbal hops and acorn. It was a solid beer though not really my style. The dark mild was delicious with notes of roasted malt, light coffee, and a hint of molasses. It is a lighter take on a porter or a stout yet easy to drink a pint because of its low alcohol. The dark mild had a good medium body and a dark amber color.

The ESB was tasty with notes of plum, mild floral hops, and hints of candied apricot. It was good and balanced without being too bitter. The Imperial Bitter was a bit stronger than I thought I was ordering when I saw it. I figured it might be 5% but it was closer to 8%. To me it seemed like a slightly weaker version of a barleywine. It was caramel forward with prominent herbal hops, notes of raisins, and a sticky sweet finish.

The golden ale was nicely balanced with notes of floral hops and a good dry finish without being too bitter. The oatmeal stout was nice and chewy with notes of chocolate and raisins. A solid balanced stout. If you happen to be in the Torrance area and aren’t feeling like drinking classic West Coast style beers, Yorkshire is a great spot to stop in for an English style beer or two. They said they were also quite packed during a few of the world-cup games.

Top 2:
ESB
Dark Mild

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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Orange CA Breweries – Chapman Crafted and Green Cheek

Chapman Crafted

Chapman is in a random area but has a large tap room that got quite crowded on a Friday night when I visited. Despite all the people, they were not uncomfortably loud and they had a good breeze going through that kept the place nice and cool on a warm night. I started with a flight of their lighter beers, pilsner, cream ale, blonde on nitro with vanilla, and hoppy lager.

The pilsner and cream ale were both fantastic. The pilsner was smooth, delicious, and full of flavor. The Cream ale was a bit more fruity than the pilsner and had a nice medium body. Both of these would be great to enjoy a few pints of. The blonde to me was the perfect balance of vanilla and creamy nitro. It was almost like drinking a cake but without being cloying sweet. Others around me found the vanilla a bit too much. The hoppy lager was very impressive with how they balanced all the flavors. It bursted with herbal hop aroma without adding any noticeable bitterness. I will be keeping an eye out for this in cans in San Diego.

After that flight, I ventured into their coffee milkshake IPA, hazy (not really) double IPA, dopplebock, and raspberry berliner. The coffee milkshake IPA was surprisingly awesome. I generally can’t stand the white stouts with lactose and coffee but I don’t think this had any lactose and the coffee complemented the tropical hop notes wonderfully. The hazy double IPA was barely hazy but it had a ton of tropical hop aroma and a good thick mouthfeel so I wouldn’t complain too much. The dopplebock was excellently done and nicely attenuated. The beer had a nice mix of notes of caramel and raisins. The raspberry berliner had a bright pink color and tons of fruit flavor with a mild tart finish. It managed to be a fruit bomb without being overly sweet.

The only negative thing at Chapman was that they only had a dry stout and no other stronger stouts so there was nothing for my husband to drink. Almost every beer was fantastic. You can find their cans in San Diego so I would recommend you try some of their lagers if you can find them, especially the hoppy lager.

Top 3:
Raspberry Berliner
Hoppy Lager
Milkshake IPA with coffee

Green Cheek

Green Cheek is about a 10 minute drive north of Chapman. They have a decent sized tasting room but it also amplifies the sound of all the people making the tasting room uncomfortably loud. on Friday nights I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was surprised when I saw that all of their hazy IPAs have lactose even though not all of them are noted on the menu. So if you are lactose intolerant or vegan, ask them before ordering any of the hazy IPAs or the sour IPA. The menu is hyper modern with a few traditional styles . I am also a huge fan of their flight pricing because it is only $6 for 4 tasters.

I had a flight of the helles, berliner weisse, nitro stout, and brut IPA. The helles was creamy and complex with light floral hops. The berliner was quite flavorful despite the low alcohol. It was super tropical with notes of papaya and pineapple. The nitro stout was a fairly standard stout, roasty and notes of caramel. The brut IPA was super dry and had notes of tropical fruit, melon, and vanilla. I ended with the sour IPA. After tasting a splash I ordered a pint and it was so good I wish I could have brought some home with me. The sour IPA is made with lactose, pineapple, guava, and passion fruit. I got tons of guava and pineapple and the lactose wasn’t too much, mostly adding to the creamy body. It was like drinking a tropical milkshake. It wasn’t particularly sour or tart so I don’t see why they don’t just call it a tropical milkshake IPA.

I really enjoyed the beers at Green Cheek but I would avoid returning on a Friday night with how loud it got. They offer a few beers in crowlers but sadly not the ones I wanted. If you see their brut IPA on tap in San Diego, I suggest giving it a try. I stopped by Green Cheek again on the way South this time on a Sunday. The atmosphere was much more to my liking and I got to enjoy a few other beers, mostly to avoid some insane traffic caused by another accident. My husband was driving most of the way South.

Top 2:
Berliner Weisse
Sour milkshake 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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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Hogshead Brewery – Denver Colorado

Hogshead is primarily an English style brewery and so you can’t order a 5oz taster of anything. Beers are either in 10oz, 16oz, or 20oz pours for most standard beers with a few higher alcohol beers that are only served in a tulip. I had two proper pints and three 10oz pours while I was there and found the beers to be overall solid. It would have been nice if some of the lower alcohol offerings were a bit less expensive. I could see myself drinking a lot more pints of the standard bitter if they were $5 instead of $7 for a proper pint.

The English Mild had a nice copper color and was smooth drinking with mild roast on cask. Like the standard bitter, this is made for drinking not sipping so I didn’t focus as much on the small details. The Cook Lane pale ale on cask had a base of caramel and cracker malt notes with light earthy hops and a mild bitterness on the finish. It was perfectly balanced and creamy body on cask. The standard bitter had notes of light cherry with mild bitterness. I enjoyed the more subtle flavors of the standard bitter after the pale.

The ESB cask kicked just as I was about to order it so I had it on draft instead. The ESB on draft had a nice roasty base with notes of caramel and mild earthy hops. It was one of the better versions of the style I’ve had. The IPA was to me surprisingly low on the malts because typically I think of an English IPA as being more malt forward. It is similar in style to a West Coast pale ale without the bitter finish that is common. The beer had tons of hop aroma nicely balanced between herbal and citrus flavors. I would drink this on the regular if it was available in cans.

Overall, I was quite impressed by all the beers at Hogshead. The lighter alcohol beers were more flavorful than I usually encounter and served in proper glassware. They join The Civil Life out of St. Louis MO as one of the handful of English ale focused breweries that has blown me away.

Known for:
Come for delicious English style ales served on cask and draft. They also had a few lagers.

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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The Bell Marker – Downtown San Diego

The Bell Marker took over a spot on the corner of 6th and Broadway. They had a wide lineup of beers so that it would have been difficult to try them all even doing flights. I happened to visit during happy hour so I had pints rather than my usual tasters because they were only $4 a piece during that window. If you are there for happy hour, I highly recommend you order the hummus plate, which is a great deal and a healthy meal when paired with a pint.

I first had a pint of their English Brown. This is a style I don’t order very often in San Diego but when I saw the lower alcohol it was worth trying a splash. As expected, the American Brown they have is a bit more hop forward and higher alcohol than the English style. I loved the dark color like a porter. The beer was roasty and quite flavorful for the low alcohol with notes of chocolate and caramel. Some may say this borders on porter territory with the prominent roast but it is a delicious beer either way and a rarity with the low alcohol.

I returned another day and had the cream ale and Belgian Wit. I was going to try their pale ale or session IPA but the splashes of both were a bit high on the bitterness and I wasn’t feeling them so I went on the lighter side. The cream ale was crisp and delicious with notes of pear and peach with a soft body. The Belgian Wit was super dry with a hint of clove and a mildly earthy finish. It paired wonderfully with their hummus plate and is one of the more authentic versions of the beer I’ve had locally. My husband drank the milk stout both times and it was tasty with a mix of caramel and roast with a medium body and not overly sweet.

If you are in Downtown San Diego it may not be too far to walk to Bell Marker. If you do, you will find a good variety of solid beers and a broad menu of food options. Their happy hour is currently 3-6PM daily with $4 pints and discounted appetizers. They have a good sized restaurant with standard restaurant seating and a good sized bar.

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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