When I first visited Bosque in 2017, they had only one location, which was a dark restaurant with solid beer. In the time since that visit they opened a much larger restaurant in Bernalillo, outside of Albuquerque, that I was told I had to stop by and visit while I was in the area.
Odd 13 is located in Lafayette Colorado, Northwest of Denver. I previously visited Odd 13 a few years back and enjoyed their beers. The tasting room is largely the same and they still focus on hazy IPAs with a few sour options. I was glad to see the addition of lower ABV beers as well. During this particular trip I was trying to focus on lower ABV beers so I ordered their session ale and hazy pale ale.
Intergalactic Jimmy, the session ale was crisp and dry with notes of pineapple. The hop notes were mild enough that someone who is trying to avoid heavy hops would still enjoy it if they otherwise like the flavor. Coach was only slightly more hoppy with notes of tropical fruit, citrus, and gooseberry. The beer presented a lovely example of Nelson hops. If I come out again during the Summer I would gladly enjoy either of these beers at the Summer BBQ.
Primitive was also recommended by a list of exciting Colorado breweries. Primitive is located in Longmont, even further Northwest of Denver. They have a good sized tasting room though most of the space is taken up by the many barrels aging beer. Primitive brews in their American version of the Belgian lambic tradition. Their beers are spontaneously fermented; they are not force carbonated so most of them are served on casks. In a move I haven’t seen anywhere in the US you can buy to-go beers in a box typically used for boxed wine. They appeared to have some bottles conditioning (carbonating) and based on their web site many of these bottles currently go to their members.
Since I am already fairly familiar with base spontaneous beer I focused on the two fruity options. They had one with cherry and one with peach, both common flavors in lambic inspired beer. The cherry had a lovely base funk with mild cherry notes and a good dry finish. On cask the beers had a lovely soft body to them and were easy-drinking. The peach beer was similarly dry with nice prominent peach notes and mild acidity. While it is too early to say if the bottled beers coming out of Primitive are fantastic, the two beers I tried were impressive and suggest their house bugs are on point.
I was close to buying a few boxes to-go after my visit but decided to save room in my bags for other things. If you are a fan of Belgian lambic-inspired beers, you should make a point of visiting Primitive to taste for yourself how well they nail the style. I hope to visit them again in a year or two as more beer is available to non-members. I’ve visited a lot of new American breweries making Belgian lambic-inspired beers and Primitive is one of the most promising.
I tend to not visit small breweries within the first year of operation unless I know the brewer well from where they brewed before. In the case of Jacked Up I was partially put off by the name, which to me suggested it might be run by a bunch of frat boys. After reading that the brewer had been home brewing for a while and won many awards, I figured it was worth a visit now that they had been open for 2 years.
The tasting room is just off the 15 freeway in Escondido and not all the way into central downtown Escondido. The tasting room had a nice community vibe to it and the bartender was happy to offer splashes to ensure that people like what they order. After a few splashes of various IPAs I ended up with a half pour of their hazy IPA. The more west coast style was too strongly bitter for my palate now accustomed to hazy beers. Compared to what I regularly enjoy even their hazy was strongly bitter. The beer nailed the hazy appearance and mouthfeel with notes of mango and orange under the initial bitterness. The beer nicely blends traditional West Coast style bitterness with the juicy flavors and creamy mouthfeel expected of a hazy.
My husband tried a few of the lighter malty beers before settling on the vanilla stout sitting just under 9%. I had a few sips of his beer and it was well made. The beer had notes of dark chocolate and vanilla without getting too heavy or sweet. I can tell that the base beer is also well done. Though Jacked Up isn’t offering anything that would entice people to drive up from North Park, it is a solid neighborhood spot with a stage that suggests they have the occasional live music. Despite being almost 90 degrees outside on the day I visited, the tasting room stayed comfortable with good ventilation, use of fans, and some air conditioning. It is worth a stop for those who find the modern style of IPA to have abandoned a bitterness that made the style interesting in the first place. The hazy IPA was even more bitter than the early hazy from Second Chance, which I found bitter for the style.
I previously visited Other Half during a visit to NYC during June of 2017 in which I also visited Kane and LIC Beer Company. Since that visit I have had Other Half beer at a few beer festivals. I have been impressed every time both by the incredible triple IPAs and barrel aged stouts. Most recently I enjoyed Other Half’s beers at a festival organized by Horus Aged Ales and Hop Culture. This introduced me to the triple daydream series, which I did not realize at the time meant they added lactose to the beer. It was much more subtle than the usual addition.
I was glad to see that during the time I was going to be in Brooklyn this year Other Half was likely to have cans available of Triple Mosaic Daydream and DDH Citra Daydream. I was not surprised one bit when the tasing room was packed on a Friday night. It seems to be packed most nights but especially around the weekends. Prepared for that, I ordered tasters of two triple daydreams that I did not plan to pick up in cans (Nelson and Citra) and enjoyed those tasters before leaving with my four packs of cans. Though I generally avoid tasters at breweries now, Other Half is one of the few spots where the triple IPAs are priced the same per ounce for tasters as for half pours.
Both Nelson and Citra triple daydreams were incredible and burst with hop flavors that I expect when I hear of those two hops. Triple Nelson Daydream reminded me of some recent Nelson hop beers from Cellarmaker. Triple Citra Daydream was similar with a slightly more citrus forward character. Both beers were thick and creamy with just a hint of sweetness from the lactose. Note: from rumors I have read, it is difficult to tell if the lactose used in beers is from actual cow milk or simply synthetic sweetener. The amount used in these beers is fairly minimal compared to other big stouts that use the same type of lactose. If the addition of any amount of lactose bothers you, then you might want to avoid visiting Other Half.
Though Other Half had a few stouts available, none of them were barrel aged so I stuck to the two daydreams I ordered and left shortly after that to another nearby brewery. I could only stand so much of the boisterous and somewhat claustrophobic atmosphere. Despite the crowds, I was glad to see that the limits of the cans had gone up since my last visit, though I would be unlikely to leave with more than 4 four packs from a spot unless I planned to uber back.
After leaving the brewery, I have enjoyed cans of both of the beers I picked up. I also shared a few cans with friends, including one who resisted the idea of wanting to try a triple IPA. Both beers lived up to my expectations. This is the one brewery whose triple IPAs I crave and jump at the chance to try. The triple mosaic daydream was similar from the can to the other two mentioned above but tended more towards notes of ripe melon.
Other Half remains one of my top 5 hazy IPA breweries in the country years after my previous trip. It is no wonder that their beers are still regularly traded. Their beers deftly highlight the flavors of hops that drew most people into the hazy/juicy IPA style in the first place.
Known for: Come to Other Half if you love hazy IPAs or big pastry stouts. Those are the two styles they excel at the most.
I heard about the views at Bosque’s new location making it worth a visit. On the drive over, I started to wonder as I got closer whether I was lied to. Then I realized that the mountains visible before exiting the freeway are visible from their back patio. Despite the chilly time of year, with heaters and a few layers, it was comfortable to sit on the patio and enjoy a few beers. The view made it extra special with the snow on the mountains in the distance.
I started with their house lager, which came highly recommended. It was crisp and clean just as I would expect, making it a perfect beer to enjoy in a full 20oz pour. I then ordered their hazy IPA, which was properly hazy with notes of juicy citrus and light pine. Despite being labeled as 70 IBU, it was nicely balanced and not overly bitter. Though I didn’t try all the beers, they were much improved from my visit two years prior.
While at the brewery, a friend and I shared their vegetarian poutine. Though more accurately I had a few bites while he devoured it. They use a green chili sauce instead of traditional poutine gravy, giving it a great kick. I especially enjoyed the last few bites that were smothered in the sauce.
If you have the time while you are in Albuquerque, make sure to venture out to Bosque’s new restaurant in Bernalillo, a short ride outside of town. It is a lovely spot and worth a visit. They had a great lineup of beers including some delicious hazy IPAs.
Casa Agria is located in Ventura California and depending on traffic it could take you an hour to two hours to get there from Los Angeles area. We made a special trip to visit the brewery from San Diego and stayed the night nearby so we didn’t have to do a huge amount of driving in a single day. The tasting room is fairly mid-sized. Many people were stopping by for growler fills. They have a variety of beers mostly into three categories. Sour and farmhouse ales, hazy IPAs, and stouts.
I started with Strickland Ranch, a mixed fermentation wild ale brewed with honey. The beer was dry and funky with a nice blend of vanilla, mild honey, oak, and white cake notes. I moved on to the fruited sour they had available, a blend of three varieties of stone fruit. It was a bit more acidic and the stone fruit blended nicely with notes of white cake and mild funk. I could have used more fruit with this one but it was still quite good.
I ordered a pint of Tints while I was at the brewery, a hazy pale ale. It was creamy in body with intense tangerine notes and mild vanilla. I left with a growler of their other hazy IPA, Transitions and Interludes. This beer was also thick and creamy but with more notes of tropical fruit. They have really nailed the thick mouthfeel for the style. I also tasted one of their imperial stouts with coffee, trying a few sips from my husband’s beer. It was thick with toasted malts, nutty coffee, and mild sweetness like a candied pecan.
I was overall quite impressed by Casa Agria during my visit. They seem to do all the various styles they brew quite well, making it a great spot for people who live in the area.