I’ve been visiting Ballast Point for quite a while now. IPA fans in San Diego don’t last long until they try Sculpin, what I consider one of the go-to IPAs. The Fathom India Pale Lager is also quite delicious. Today I had to visit the tasting room to try the fresh 2013 version of the Coffee Victory at Sea Imperial Porter. San Diego Beer Week was in full swing and the place was pretty crowded. I got to have a taster of the Victory at Sea 2013 as well as the Peppermint Victory at Sea on cask, the Habanero Sculpin, and the double Belgian IPA.
The coffee flavors really come through from the 2013 Victory at Sea. It is almost like drinking a shot of espresso. The peppermint version is thankfully not too overpowering on the mint and mellowed out by the cask. I bought a 22oz Victory at Sea 2013 before I left because the flavors really satisfied me. If you like the Sculpin but haven’t had the habanero version, it is an interesting beer experience. The beer is probably the hottest beer you’ll ever have but it has all the different flavors of habanero that you might expect. I don’t recommend having more than a taster though because it will really do a number on your stomach even if you are used to spicy. I had the double Belgian IPA with the habanero sculpin so I won’t try to review it at this time. I didn’t really get a good taste of it.
Sometime soon I hope to try the new Ballast Point restaurant down in Little Italy but until then I will enjoy bottles of Sculpin, Dorado, and Fathom at home.
I first tried Societe because I heard some guys telling me how amazing it was while I was over at New English Brewing. Despite it being around for a while I had never heard of it. I immediately loved the Apprentice IPA and the Widow dark Belgian style beer. Today I went back there with my Uncle who was visiting because he had never been there. We had to try some of my favorites and some beers that weren’t there the last time I was around. This is one of those breweries that doesn’t bottle stuff so you are only going to find their beers in other beer bars and at the brewery itself.
Since I was hitting up many different places today, I only had a few tasters before moving on. I had tasters of the Apprentice, Scrapper, Roustabout, Widow, and Butcher. This time what stood out to me the most is the Butcher. I really love the darker chocolate flavors it has. For hop heads, the Apprentice and Roustabout are worth trying. Both pour nice and yellow and have those up front hop flavors.
There is something exciting about Anniversary beers that get beer geeks excited. Perhaps it is just the thought that you get to be a part of the celebration of the brewery you have become so fond of. Perhaps it is just the extra alcohol content that they tend to have. When Green Flash announced the 11th Anniversary IPA, aka the Double Dry Hopped West Coast IPA, I had to go by and try it. Since I went there on my bike I didn’t bother trying to take home the glass. I don’t know if it would have survived.
So how does the beer taste? Pretty much like you would expect from a souped up version of the West Coast IPA. Green Flash took their West Coast IPA and double dry hopped it for a new beer with a little extra hop bite. It’s still the malty darker IPA at its core. Though I prefer more hop heavy IPAs it satisfies my hop cravings. At Green Flash, I have become quite a fan of the Green Bullet Tripple IPA and the Symposium IPA along with the Cedar Plank Pale Ale. Though the 11th Anniversary was good, it didn’t blow me away like a glass of Green Bullet. I’m interested to hear what huge fans of the West Coast think.
It wouldn’t be Green Flash without a food truck and they brought MIHO along for this special release. MIHO brings farm fresh food and always puts a unique spin on familiar choices. The grass fed beef burger they had today included squash and pickled squash giving it a fresh seasonal flavor.
I finished the night off here with a half pint of the cedar plank pale. It is a little hard to fully enjoy after the 11th anniversary but the flavor is just what I needed. Keep in mind that if you come by green flash on a Friday you should expect a large crowd. Today marked the start of San Diego beer week so the crowd was even bigger than usual. Though there are a ton of events out there I don’t plan on going to any of the more expensive ones. I’ll hopefully catch some new releases at other favorites this weekend and share my findings.
Were you there today for the Green Flash 11th Anniversary IPA release? What did you think of the beer?
I’ve been to this brewery a few times in the past. The first time I went there I was satisfied by the Perseus IPA, a solid beer that was primarily a hoppy IPA with a nice yellow color. When I returned later, they were already out of the Perseus but assured me they will have some again later. Most of their beers are pretty small batches so expect to see the menu change frequently. The Andromeda IPA didn’t impress me the first time but when I returned a few months later, the batch on tap tasted closer to what I like. This is quite normal for IPAs because the flavor of a batch can change as it gets older. There is a certain taste when it is fresh and then that changes a few weeks to a few months out.
Many of the smaller breweries in San Diego are hard to find and Intergalactic Brewing is no exception. You might be surprised by the bare look of the building but don’t let that keep you from trying their selections of beers. They have enough of a variety that you are likely to find something you enjoy no matter what you like to drink.
Today when I stopped in, I tried The Companion, an English Summer Ale with Honey, Peaches, and Lavender, and Space Oasis, a coconut porter (6.9%). The Coconut Porter was recently added to the menu and so the coconut is prominent in the taste. It isn’t too sweet and the bartender told me that people who say they don’t like coconut enjoy it as well. After my tasters, I got a pint of Space Oasis. The flavors were outstanding to the last drop of the pint.
Before I left the brewery, I filled a 32oz growler with the Space Oasis to share with my fiance when he gets off work. He only drinks porters and stouts so he should enjoy this one.
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?