Thanks to a helpful fellow blogger, I got to visit five breweries in a row. One of the smaller ones was missing any of the regular IPAs so I only had a few small tasters there and will pass on reviewing it. This post will review Parallel 49 and Bomber Brewing.
The first Vancouver brewery I hit was Parallel 49. It was a small brewery with a small selection and I tried only a small number of the beers because we were planning on hitting multiple breweries. I tried the Ruby Ale, IPL, and German style IPA while I was there.
The Ruby Ale was actually my favorite of the bunch. At 6% it had a surprisingly strong hop flavor with good pine and citrus flavors. Bread flavors of malts came through at the end to give it a nice finish. I think this had more hop flavors than the IPA. The IPL was a solid beer with good tropical fruit flavors and not overly bitter. It didn’t really grab me though.
Finally, the IPA was all Munich malts. The malts pretty much dominated the beer as I tasted it, leaving hops to die in the background. Out of the three I much preferred the Ruby Ale and I can see why it is one of their top sellers.
Another small brewery, I stopped by Bomber quickly for a few tasters. Here I only tried the ESB and the IPA before moving on to the next stop. The ESB was medium bitter and had a decent bite but didn’t really grab me. The IPA was nice as well with some good citrus flavor at the front and a sweet finish. Neither one inspired me to order a pint.
Ironfire Brewing in Temecula has some wide distribution so you might see a bottle or two in the store in San Diego. I stopped by to visit the brewery while I was driving through and got to try some of the beers I might have skipped if I saw them in the stores. The specialty beers I got to try were very nice but you should be able to find two beers, the 51/50 IPA and 6 Killer Stout in bottles around town. Visiting the brewery has the added bonus of a super cute female bartender. If you do decide to visit, know that it is easy to miss because the sign you see from the street sounds like a winery.
There were too many beers on tap for me to try everything but I did get to try most of them. I had tastes of the 51/50 IPA, 6 Killer Stout, Vicious Disposition, India Pale Lager, Dead on Arrival Double IPA, and Double Chocolate Stout on Nitro. The lineup was quite impressive and I might be hooked forever on the 6 Killer Stout.
The 51/50 IPA is much more bitter than any other single IPA I have ever tried. It had a nice grapefruit and citrus flavor going. Though I enjoyed it I think it was a bit too bitter for the flavors it had. I love bitter brews but this was a bit much. The 6 Killer Stout is an explosion of coffee flavors and uses coffee from a local roaster. Though not too heavy on the alcohol, this beer has some serious coffee flavors. The coffee had nice nutty and chocolate flavors. I was so impressed that I left with 2 22oz bottles of the stout.
The Vicious Disposition is a stronger stout made with local avocado honey. This was a tasty beer that was very well-balanced, which is good because honey can sometimes become too much. Even if you haven’t enjoyed many honey beers, this one is still primarily a stout. The India Pale Lager was totally different than any I have ever tried. Not only is it not very bitter at all but it is also very light in color and body. It almost drinks like a light beer and yet it has plenty of grapefruit and tropical fruit flavors. The alcohol percentage hides very well here and you would never guess its percentage from drinking it.
The Dead on Arrival Double IPA was a solid double with plenty of floral and citrus flavors. I also got a lot of tropical fruit flavors from it. It seemed like it went a little too overboard with the mosac hops though because it had a light soapy finish. Finally I tried the double chocolate stout on Nitro. The guys I talked to at the bar told me they found this one to be too boozy. I have to agree. Though I did taste some chocolate at the back end, it was masked by a heavy boozy flavor that was a bit too much.
In the end, I would say there is a good reason why the 51/50 IPA and 6 Killer Stout are the big sellers because they are both fantastic. If you see either of them in stores down in San Diego, pick up a bottle if they sound like your kind of beer.