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.
Lineage also has a full kitchen. They have a large outdoor area and a fairly sizable indoor seating area near the bar area. I tried six tasters while I was there. They certainly know how to make a good modern IPA.
I started with their standard IPA which had a nice soft body with a dry finish. While the beer did not have a ton of hop aroma, it had a resinous hop character to it that balanced nicely with light herbal hop notes and cracker malts. Compared to this, I much preferred the hazy pale which was nice and soft and bursting with flavor of citrus, pineapple, and tropical fruit. This was a very nice hazy pale.
The passionfruit Berliner Weiss had a hazy yellow appearance and was lightly sweet with strong passionfruit character. The base beer had some notes of white cake and a mild tart finish. The beer was nicely balanced and easy drinking without lingering on the tongue. The Amber ale was soft and dry with light caramel malt character and mild herbal hop notes. It was well-made, but I would have preferred a little more body and roast to it
The Saison was nice and fruity with notes of white wine, mild herbal hop character, and a nice dry finish. This was an excellently balanced and delicious Saison. The Imperial Stout was thick and sweet with prominent flavors of molasses and light dark chocolate and date notes. While well-made, it was not as impressive as the previous two Imperial stouts.
Passionfruit Berliner Weisse
Hoof Hearted Brewing
Hoof Hearted was my fourth stop of the day so I only had four tasters. The indoor area was fairly large and loud so I decided to sit outside where it was much quieter. Though they were still generally an enjoyable place to go, they were my least favorite of the four for the day.
I started with a farmhouse IPA which had vanilla cake notes for the base with a prominent herbal hop bite. I didn’t find this beer to be particularly hoppy or flavorful but it was decent enough and had a dry finish. The Helles logger was strongly hoppy and far too bitter for the style. The hop flavors were resinous and floral, also not normal for the style. I’m not really sure what they were going for here but it did not impress me.
What surprised me and impressed me most was their beer called everybody wants some Denali (hops). It was delicious and bright with notes of citrus, pineapple, and lightly bitter on the finish. My previous experience with this hop has tended to be more herbal so I was quite happy with the flavors they extracted from it. I ended with a double IPA with lactose and vanilla added. Sadly, it was not very hazy so it did not really work that well. The beer was creamy and lightly sweet with mild citrus hop character but compared to the other one, it was not very enjoyable.
From my brief exposure to the beers at Hoof Hearted I get the impression that they are one that likes to follow trends but have difficulty executing most of the time. Thankfully the DIPA with Denali hops was one beer where they nailed it. So if you are looking for an excellent hazy IPA, it is still worth visiting to see what they have available.
Narrow gauge is inside an Italian restaurant and bar slightly north of the St. Louis airport. When you drive up, it is easy to expect that the brewery should have its own space and entrance, although it is inside the Italian restaurant. When I stopped by they only had four hazy beers on tap that they brewed although thankfully they also had quite an extensive guest tap list.
In essence, they really only had two beers on tap because two of them were variances of others. For example, I had both the standard cloud city and the DDH cloud city. All of the beers were generally excellent hazy with creamy bodies and soft mouth feel. The standard cloud city was a nice mix of citrus and tropical fruit with mild hop acidity. The DDH version was stronger with flavors of tropical fruit and overripe fruit typical from the use of galaxy hops. I preferred the standard version but both were excellent.
Similarly, the next two beers were both variances on a beer they call flag. The Queen flag is different because of the addition of honey. It had a slightly boozy bite with bright citrus hops and mild honey sweetness at the finish. Comparatively, the DDH flag was equally acidic and grassy with notes of grape. After having four tasters of their Hoppy hazy beers, I decided to order more traditional styles to finish off the visit. If you are already staying in down town St. Louis, I recommend stopping by narrow gauge before you go to the airport rather than making a separate trip because of how far North they are from everything.
While the hazy IPAs I had were all a bit green at the time I visited, I expect they will mellow out nicely like most proper examples of the style. They were so good that I am a bit sad that I was unable to get some cans to bring home.
Come for hazy IPAs and an extensive guest tap list.
I will admit that I typically do not seek out breweries that are known for excellent versions of traditional styles, including traditional English ales. Primarily this has to do with my generally disappointing experiences with these styles in the United States. So I was pleasantly surprised when I visited the civil life brewery and walking inside felt like visiting an English pub. The beers were equally impressive as well.
Sticking with the English pub theme, you are not able to order tasters but instead can choose between 10 and 20 ounce pours of beer. Thankfully, this was my first stop of the day so I was able to order four different beers in 10 ounce pours. Those beers were also fairly low alcohol, all under 5%.
I started with their English mild on cask. It was creamy and smooth with low bitterness and mild biscuit character and light hops. The STL best, was more full in body and better at the finish with light floral hop character and mild caramel malt. After the first two, I decided to try two versions of English brown ales that they had on tap.
The Great Hencini, a southern English brown style was nice and easy drinking with character of toffee and caramel. I preferred the hearty bite of this beer over the northern English brown. The northern English brown was lighter in color and overall thiinner with less dark malt roast.
I enjoyed the beers I had at the brewery so much that I tried to more beers later that day while I was at narrow gauge brewery after my hazy flight. They had both the American Brown ale and the amber ale on tap. Both were excellent examples of the styles. The American Brown was so good that I had wished at that point I had purchased some cans before I left the brewery. The amber was good and roasty with low hops and light notes of cherries. The American Brown was roasty with light character of coffee and medium body.
If you are at all interested in experiencing traditional English beers without having to go across the pond, I suggest stopping by the civil life to see how they are supposed to taste. I also read elsewhere that they make excellent versions of German beers, although they did not have very many choices in that variety when I stopped by. And if you live in the surrounding areas and can’t make it to the brewery directly, I suggest picking up some cans to enjoy.
I recommend visiting the brewery directly both for the fantastic atmosphere and for the great food options. We stopped by on a Sunday when they highlighted various examples of soups and we both enjoyed their butternut squash soup quite a bit.
Great Hencini Southern English Brown
Paradox Brewing has developed a reputation for delicious and reasonably priced sours. Though we get the bottles in San Diego I wanted to visit the brewery directly to see how different it was at the source. Thought he building is quite large from the outside there is fairly limited seating in the tasting room. They serve food and offer flights that can be either sour or clean beer. Though at one time they rarely had clean beers they now had five different clean beers to choose from. They are about an hour outside of Colorado Springs but worth the trip at least once.
I stuck to the sours and did the sour flight and followed it up with a bottle of the mango habanero sour that they weren’t selling in bottles. The Passion of the Fruit sour was nicely balanced with tart passion fruit character and hints of apricot. This was one of my two favorites of the day. The hibiscus sour was funky and floral but overall a bit thin and super dry and lacking in intense hibiscus flavors.
The Salty Melon sour was mildly tart and lightly salty with mild melon character and lightly sweet finish. Though i enjoyed that it wasn’t particularly tart or acidic on tap it was lacking in flavor compared to a few others I tried on the same flight. The Alchemy Stone had a nice herbal funk with a light earthy base and subtle notes of peach. This beer tasted like it had mellowed out quite a bit since when it was first released. It was also fairly low in tartness and acidity.
The future knowledge tart saison was thin and dry with mild funk and light grape notes. I didn’t care for it that much mostly because compared to the other beers on the flight it was very subtle. The mango habanero sour was poured into a decanter and had notes of candied mango and mild chili that burned at the back of the throat. It had a nice mix of funk and tart and paired nicely with their fermented mango. As it warmed up the heat came through more strongly at the finish. Compared to some others, it was a good beer.
Passion of the Fruit
Alchemy Stone – Peach Sour
Cerberus Brewing was recommended to me by most of the people at Paradox. They have a full restaurant and serve a wide variety of beers from lighter stuff to IPAs and saisons. While the beers were good the most impressive part to me was the food. I had a flight of five beers and then finished with a full pour of one of the lagers.
The brett IPA was bitter and funky with an earthy malt base. Though the brett didn’t overpower the beer it was quite bitter and dry and not really my thing. The coffee saison had a light saison base but the coffee flavor was on the acidic side for me and I didn’t care for the choice of coffee variety they used.
The Elysium IPA was bursting with flavor including tons of citrus and tropical fruit. It had a soft body and a light haze with a mild mineral taste at the finish. This was my favorite IPA of the night. The Caught in Thought IPA was more papaya forward with a medium bitterness and an acidic finish. It wasn’t as much my thing compared to the Elysium.
They had three versions of a beer called Tiny Umbrella. One was an IPA, then a double IPA and a triple IPA, each with the same malts and hops. I got a taster of the double IPA version and it had a thick creamy body with a mix of dank hop notes, some herbal hop character and bitter grapefruit on the finish. It wasn’t my preferred hop flavoring.
I finished with the vienna lager, which was crisp and tasty with light dark fruit and caramel notes with hints of toast. It was a solid example of the style. I visited the brewery with three other people and we ordered quite a few things between us and I was impressed by most of it. My seasonal vegetable soup was a creamy squash soup that tasted great especially paired with the vienna lager.
Though I wouldn’t recommend making a trip just for the beer, if you are in Colorado Springs it is worth stopping by for the food and having some beer with it. All of the beers were solid even though a few of them weren’t my preferred flavor profile.