You can count on stone to release specialty beers every few weeks (if not in reality it sometimes seems that way). No I am not complaining. When I saw the Suede Imperial Porter brewed with Calendula Flowers, Lavender, and Honey I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. Hey I love floral IPAs as much as the next guy but lavender in my beer? Not sure if serious.
So how was the beer? It has the usual texture of a high alcohol porter. The flowers aren’t as heavy in the flavor as I might have worried. The tastes are overall balanced and will satisfy fans of porters. It lacks the chocolate, coffee or vanilla flavors typically used in this style. As a result it might also appeal to people who usually find porters too sweet. The alcohol content really hides well in this one. It is easy to forget it is a whopping 9.6%.
Though I was impressed by the flavor overall, it isn’t something I’m going to rush out to buy another bottle of, especially with the new batch of Victory at Sea coming out this week from Ballast Point. Still, for those of you who were wondering if it is worth the money to buy a bottle, I say yes. I prefer Stone’s latest batch of Russian Imperial Stout though because of the coffee, especially in the Espresso version. I’m waiting patiently to try all the different varieties of Double Bastard that we should see pretty soon.
I happened to be at Loyola Marymount over the weekend so I couldn’t resist checking out El Segundo Brewing. From their web site I could tell that they were inspired by San Diego IPAs, and I was right!
They had a decent selection of beers on tap. What makes it unusual when compared to San Diego tasting rooms is the tasting room is downstairs from the entrance on the street. At first you wonder if you are in the right place because you see a few offices before you go down and turn the corner to enter the tasting room. The tasting room is not very large but the beer is up there with what you would expect from some of the bigger breweries.
I started with three tasters, the Citra Pale, Bluehouse IPA, and the Tap Tanker Double IPA. My fiance got a taster of the Vanilla Stout on tap. I found the Citra Pale to be solid for 5.5%, though after having some stronger pale ales from other breweries it was a little too light for me. Still, it does a good job with the crisp citrus flavors of the citra hopps. I don’t remember much about the Bluehouse IPA. As you can tell from the color (middle one) it is a bit heavy on the malts. I didn’t taste enough up front hops so I ended up focusing on the double. The Double IPA was good enough for me to follow up with a pint. The beer was well balanced so I didn’t get too much heavy malt flavor and had a nice piney taste with the crisp hopps flavor.
Though El Segundo Brewing is a bit far from where I live down in San Diego, it was good enough that I will absolutely stop by the next time I am in the area. If you like stouts, they tend to have a number of different varieties throughout the year, including an Imperial Stout that they didn’t have when I stopped in. As always, check the hours before you schedule a visit to a tasting room because the hours are not always what you might expect.
Have you been to this brewery? If so, what did you think? Do you have a favorite?
I don’t usually watch sports but I happened to catch a World Series game while visiting El Segundo Brewing. I typically go to breweries to get away from sports but the beer was good enough that I didn’t mind. What I thought was absolutely hilarious was the Budweiser ad they showed. An article on Business Insider describes some of the branding issues currently faced by Budweiser and shows two of the ads (originally aired in April of 2013). Though it is a huge step up from the type of advertising they usually use, suggesting that drinking cheap beer will make you popular, it still won’t make you want to buy it if you have already experienced craft beers.
What I found most ironic about the ad was how they ask people if they know where their beer is brewed. This was even more ironic because I was drinking beer in the building where it was brewed at the time. Not only do craft beer fans usually know where their beer is brewed but when we support local breweries, we know the brewers. Most IPA fans know Greg Koch from Stone Brewing Company even though he is not usually out there greeting fans. When you stop by a microbrewery such as Wet N Reckless the brewer is usually the one pouring your beer as well.
I realize that Budweiser’s new beer ad might be useful to introduce the masses to the process of brewing beer. Simply brewing beer the right way doesn’t insure taste. I’ve had my share of tasteless pale ales from big craft beer names. Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between the big name pale ale and Budweiser. If anything, I hope that baseball fans will be intrigued enough by the new Budweiser ad to search out local craft breweries. Stop by the nearest craft brewery and ask them if they do tours. It might give you a renewed excitement for your beer. Or just stop in for a taster flight and explore the variety of different styles available.
Keep an eye on this blog as I explore over time the many breweries that San Diego has to offer. I don’t take the name hop addict lightly. Thankfully, I have friends who live for porters and stouts so I will share their thoughts on the beer I taste as well.
What did you think about the new Budweiser commercial? Do you think it is good marketing?
I’ve been going to Alesmith for so long that I can’t remember exactly when I first tried their beers. It may have been when the guy at Bevmo suggested I try their Speedway Stout. Over the years I have been to the brewery a number of times. This time, I stopped in to try their new collaboration beer with Monkey’s Paw Brewing called Ashes of the Dead, a brown ale at 6.66%.
I only had a taster of Ashes of the Dead. It had a solid flavor for a brown ale and the smoky flavor wasn’t too much to become overpowering. Still, I was craving some hopps so I had to have an 8oz of Evil Dead Red. I had this one before in a bomber (22oz bottle) but I had to try it fresh on tap. It is hard to explain exactly the difference but every beer tastes better fresh on tap.
On tap you could really taste the hop flavors in the Evil Dead Red. It has a nice citrus kick to it that balances out the otherwise malty flavors of the beer. I asked whether these two beers are exactly 6.66% and was told that they get as close as possible. There is a certain amount to which you can’t control the percentage no matter how much you try but it is close enough.
Alesmith has long been one of my favorite San Diego breweries. If you like stouts and don’t mind them a little sweet, the Speedway Stout is always worth drinking. They have some solid darker Belgian style beers and occasionally some seasonal beers that highlight the hopps. Come by the tasting room to see what tickles your fancy.
Alesmith brought back the Evil Dead Red for 2014 in 22oz bombers and on tap around town. As always, it is slightly more hoppy in the bottles than on tap and still the same great beer!
I happened to be stopping by University of La Verne so I couldn’t resist checking out La Verne Brewing Company while I was there. The brewery is quite small and has a decent selection of beers. There isn’t a lot of room to sit and like most tasting rooms they only offer beer, no food. Being a hop addict, I went straight for the double IPA. There were no IPAs or Pale Ales on tap when I was there.
The Double IPA was not what I would normally have expected, considering the heavy hop flavor we typically see down in San Diego. Still, the beer had a solid Apricot taste that combined with the malt flavor to give it a nice thick sweetness. Though I normally don’t like my double IPAs too heavy on the malts, this one was enjoyable. Though the beer was good, I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to check it out. It is worth stopping in if you are in the area and craving a pint of craft beer.