After leaving Rosamunde Sausage Grill I went straight to Southern Pacific Brewing. I wasn’t sure I was in the right place at first because I walked right past the brewery, not noticing the sign until I turned around confused. I ordered a flight of all seven of the mainstay beers and ended up with a small taste of two others before I was through. Needless to say, I didn’t have much more that evening.
Thankfully there were some heaters around the place because I had been a bit cold most of the day until then. The beer wasn’t helping me warm up either. When I ordered the flight, I was quite impressed by some of the lighter options. If I wasn’t tasting some of the stronger stuff I might have ordered a pint of the lager.
The lager had a lot of what you might expect in the flavor with a little bit of a buttery flavor. It is rare for me to see lager beers brewed by locals but this one was so fresh it was quite delicious. The hefeweizen was also quite good, even though it wasn’t as impressive as the lager. It had some nice citrus flavors to finish it off. The blonde was closer to an extra pale than anything else. From the scent I was almost convinced it might have been some pale ale instead. It had a nice green tea finish.
The porter happened to be tapped fresh in the middle and just in time to taste before I tried the IPA. It was a nice bitter porter that might not impress porter fans who prefer something a bit more sweet. The IPA was nice and balanced with some pine flavors up front. The extra IPA was a bit higher on the malts, with a bit of a caramel after taste. The amber was a bit stronger than the usual for its style and had a nice flavor at a little over 6%. The American Strong had a nice mellow caramel apple flavor to it, though a bit on the sweet side. I got to try a small taste of the Winter Warmer that was a bourbon barrel aged version of the strong. The bourbon barrel really helped the flavor and gave it a nice finish.
Overall I was quite impressed by the beers and wish I could have gone there on a day by itself. The IPAs didn’t taste like I expect in San Diego but they were quite nice.
You may not have heard about this smaller brewery out in Poway. I didn’t visit them for a long time because they had some strange hours initially. Now that I have been there I realize why the hours are not like your ordinary tasting room. They don’t serve pints. You can only order tasters and then pick up bottles of beer to take home. I have no problem with this though because the beers I was able to taste this time were quite good. It isn’t very obvious from these pictures but there is really no bar to speak of and no areas to sit down. You might even wonder if you are in the right place at first because there are offices you pass on the way inside.
I biked over so I didn’t try very many tasters. I was quite impressed with the barrel aged red ale. It reminded me of a bourbon barrel aged scotch ale that Ballast Point made years ago and I have been craving more of ever since. The double IPA was nice and balanced without too much malt flavor that can sometimes destroy a good double. The electrostatic was a solid Belgian Trippel. If you don’t like Belgian beers stay far away. For me it was not too sweet and had a nice smooth taste that really masked the higher alcohol content. The porter was not on tap but they gave me a taste from the bottles. It had a wonderful thick flavor and fit nicely in between your ordinary porter and an imperial. The chocolate flavors were really nice.
As you can see they bottle most of their beers. You might be able to find them at your local liquor store or it might be worth the trip to the brewery to buy some direct. Hop heads should check out the Imperial IPA. If you know someone who loves chocolate in porter, this one is the perfect present to share.
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.
You can count on stone to release specialty beers every few weeks (if not in reality it sometimes seems that way). No I am not complaining. When I saw the Suede Imperial Porter brewed with Calendula Flowers, Lavender, and Honey I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. Hey I love floral IPAs as much as the next guy but lavender in my beer? Not sure if serious.
So how was the beer? It has the usual texture of a high alcohol porter. The flowers aren’t as heavy in the flavor as I might have worried. The tastes are overall balanced and will satisfy fans of porters. It lacks the chocolate, coffee or vanilla flavors typically used in this style. As a result it might also appeal to people who usually find porters too sweet. The alcohol content really hides well in this one. It is easy to forget it is a whopping 9.6%.
Though I was impressed by the flavor overall, it isn’t something I’m going to rush out to buy another bottle of, especially with the new batch of Victory at Sea coming out this week from Ballast Point. Still, for those of you who were wondering if it is worth the money to buy a bottle, I say yes. I prefer Stone’s latest batch of Russian Imperial Stout though because of the coffee, especially in the Espresso version. I’m waiting patiently to try all the different varieties of Double Bastard that we should see pretty soon.
I don’t usually watch sports but I happened to catch a World Series game while visiting El Segundo Brewing. I typically go to breweries to get away from sports but the beer was good enough that I didn’t mind. What I thought was absolutely hilarious was the Budweiser ad they showed. An article on Business Insider describes some of the branding issues currently faced by Budweiser and shows two of the ads (originally aired in April of 2013). Though it is a huge step up from the type of advertising they usually use, suggesting that drinking cheap beer will make you popular, it still won’t make you want to buy it if you have already experienced craft beers.
What I found most ironic about the ad was how they ask people if they know where their beer is brewed. This was even more ironic because I was drinking beer in the building where it was brewed at the time. Not only do craft beer fans usually know where their beer is brewed but when we support local breweries, we know the brewers. Most IPA fans know Greg Koch from Stone Brewing Company even though he is not usually out there greeting fans. When you stop by a microbrewery such as Wet N Reckless the brewer is usually the one pouring your beer as well.
I realize that Budweiser’s new beer ad might be useful to introduce the masses to the process of brewing beer. Simply brewing beer the right way doesn’t insure taste. I’ve had my share of tasteless pale ales from big craft beer names. Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between the big name pale ale and Budweiser. If anything, I hope that baseball fans will be intrigued enough by the new Budweiser ad to search out local craft breweries. Stop by the nearest craft brewery and ask them if they do tours. It might give you a renewed excitement for your beer. Or just stop in for a taster flight and explore the variety of different styles available.
Keep an eye on this blog as I explore over time the many breweries that San Diego has to offer. I don’t take the name hop addict lightly. Thankfully, I have friends who live for porters and stouts so I will share their thoughts on the beer I taste as well.
What did you think about the new Budweiser commercial? Do you think it is good marketing?