I stopped by Fremont Brewing with my sister and my husband and we tried a small section of the available beers because it was still early in the day. I tried the pale ale, IPA, porter, imperial oatmeal stout, and imperial IPA.
The pale ale was quite surprising because it wasn’t particularly malty. Flavors of citrus and tropical fruit came out nicely. The IPA had some nice bright hop flavors. Mostly the hops came through as grapefruit and citrus flavors that dominated.
The porter had some nice chocolate flavors with a good smooth finish from the oatmeal. By contrast, the dark star imperial oatmeal stout was not for me. The majority of the flavors came forward in a more boozy taste that wasn’t particularly strong in either coffee or chocolate. I didn’t get much sense that this was an oatmeal stout either from the flavor.
The imperial IPA had some seriously intense citrus flavors. This was the closest thing I tasted in Seattle to the San Diego style of double IPA that has become quite common. It had very little malt flavor at the back end.
Fremont brewing is certainly worth stopping by for a visit so you can try the pale ale, IPA, porter, or double IPA depending on your tastes. They also had a nice large outdoor seating area with plenty of sun and shade options.
Among the San Diego beers, there is one thing that I look forward to twice every year. That is the Yulesmith from Alesmith, a specialty brew that is released each Summer and Winter. Each year it is fantastic and this year’s is no exception. Unlike most specialty Summer ales, which tend to be on the lighter side, the Summer Yulesmith is a hopped up Double IPA at a nice solid 8.5%. This would go well with the new recipe of Hop Head Red and West Coast IPA from Green Flash.
This beer pours a nice middle color on the IPA scale, similar to a light amber. It has plenty of light citrus flavor and pine balanced out by enough malts that it doesn’t get too in-your-face. I might have liked more hops in this beer but I also appreciate attempts to balance out a beer. From the bitterness I tasted this is probably somewhere around 85 IBU, so it is a good middle ground for those hooked on the bitter brews.
Summer Yulesmith is available in 22oz bottles at most of the stores where you see Alesmith beers and at the tasting room. This is the perfect beer to use to bring your hop head friends along to the Alesmith tasting room if they haven’t been there yet.
I had the pleasure of enjoying the Road Warrior last year when it appeared briefly at the tasting room. I really enjoyed it then and was a bit disappointed when it went away. Though a brief rye IPA release came back later in the year it just wasn’t the same. Thankfully, Green Flash decided to release many of their special beers in bigger batches, now with bottles as well. While available on tap at the brewery, the Road Warrior is also available in 4-packs of 12 ounce bottles and 22 ounce bottles. This review is based on drinking the beer on tap at the brewery.
The beer pours a dark amber color and has some nice pine and citrus aromas to start. I really liked the combination of flavors from the Columbus, Mosaic, and Amarillo hops. They blend nicely with the flavors of the rye to create a balanced beer. As I got further into my beer, I noticed that the hops were a bit overpowered by the rye. The rye flavors give the beer a thicker mouthfeel and a slight syrupy flavor as well, similar to heavy malt beers. Overall, this was an enjoyable beer that could have been a little stronger on the hops for my tastes. However, if you like more malt in your IPAs, this one is perfect for you.
Poor House had a smaller taplist and so I didn’t try as many. I stopped by here on my way home from Thorn Street Brewing so I didn’t try as much as I might have if this was my first stop. I ended up with three tasters, the Experimental #6 IPA, the Bitter Side Imperial IPA, and the Cluster Fukk IPA.
Keep in mind this brewery only accepts cash, which I haven’t seen at any other brewery in San Diego before. Also, they serve their beers in mason jars. The tasters are smaller mason jar pours.
The Experimental #6 IPA was quite impressive. It had all the flavors I come to expect from San Diego IPAs with some nice grapefruit flavors at the front. It is a nice light colored IPA and quite tasty. The Bitter Side Imperial IPA was tasty though a bit heavy on the malts for me. It mostly had a strong caramel malt flavor at the front with some tropical fruit hops at the back. It is pretty low on the bitterness so it should hopefully satisfy hop fans who don’t like bitter.
I really enjoyed the Cluster Fukk. The flavor that came through strongest was lemon, most likely from the Cluster hops. It made the beer very crisp and refreshing. This one was my favorite of the night followed by Experimental #6.
Though Poor House didn’t have any stouts of porters when I was there, they said they do tend to have some versions of one or the other at times. I was quite impressed by the IPAs they had on tap.
Thorn Street Brewing has a relaxing atmosphere and many delicious beers for every taste. I decided to stop by after a failed attempt to visit Mission Beach left me frustrated and in need of a beer. With so many beers on tap, I didn’t get to try every one but the ones I tried gave me a good taste of the selection.
To start with, I tried their Session IPA, a Spicy Session IPA, and the Oatmeal Stout. The session IPA had a nice pine flavor with some nice citrus, similar to the Lagunitas Session. It is mellow enough that it should be nice to drink on the beach. The spicy session was a bit on the hot side, which surprised me. It wasn’t as hot as the Habanero Sculpin but still hotter than a lot of other similar beers. The oatmeal stout had a nice mellow flavor with some sweet caramel and hints of chocolate. This one would likely satisfy fans of the style.
Next I got tasters of the Relay IPA, Tropic Daze IPA, and Red Headed Hop Child. The Relay had a nice crisp flavor to match the light color. It was more piney than citrus though it did have a light citrus on the back. The Tropical Daze had a heavy tropical fruit flavor with a bit of pineapple flavor up front. This was one of my favorites of the night. The Red Headed Hop Child disappointed me because it was a lot heavier on the malts than the hops. I thought it could use a lot more hops so what I had didn’t satisfy me at all.
To finish it off, I had some Rye Stafari, Menace, and the Barrel Aged Imperial Porter. The Rye Stafari gave me a heavy dose of smoke with roasted malts up front. It was pretty boring and dry tasting and didn’t impress. The Menace was almost a double version of the Tropic Daze though it did have some other varieties of hops to give it a different flavor. This was an impressive double IPA that went down smooth. The Barrel Aged Imperial Porter had the right amount of bourbon flavor to match the sweet coconut and went down smooth.