Thursday, January 26, 2012

San Diego Beer Review: Port Brewing Wipe Out IPA

Port Brewing Co.
155 Mata Way, Suite 104
San Marcos, CA 92069

I have to admit upfront that Port Brewing/Lost Abbey is my favorite brewery. The people who own it are great and down to earth and the vast majority of their employees are the same. The fact that each Pizza Port brews a unique selection of beers is also a huge plus.

Wipe Out IPA (7.0% ABV)

Pours a mostly clear and very light caramel color. It is just cloudy enough that you cannot see all the through the glass. Has a mixture of small tight bubble and a few medium/large bubbles. The head rises to approximately 2cm on initial pour with a retention of about 5mm. The head reforms easily upon agitation.

Big citrus here....grapefruit

Definately taste the grapefruit with a hint of rind. This beer has a bitter, resiny finish that lingers around the tip and the top of the tongue. Carbonation also bounces off the tip and top of the tongue for a zestiness...

Silky. Grabs the tip and top of the tongue (I know this is getting redundant, but it the best way I can describe it...)

A bold West Coast IPA that sets the bar high for all others to follow. This beer is one of my favorites. I really enjoy drinking this beer with spicy food. One of my best experiences with this beer was going to a restaurant in Atlanta called TacoMac (ya weird name, Google it for the is pretty cool) and to my surprise seeing Wipe Out on tap. So I ordered a pint and a plate of their 3 Mile Island wings....spicy food beer heaven...  :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

San Diego Beer Review: Green Flash Brewing Le Freak

Green Flash Brewing Company
6550 Mira Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92121

I had the chance to taste Le Freak originally at the Belgian Beer Festival at Pizza Port in Carlsbad last year. I liked it at the time but wasnt sure if it was because of how different it was from a lot of what was being served there or if I was just hammered...

After trying it out of the bottle I would have to say that my original thought was correct, I liked it because it was different.

Le Freak (9.2% ABV)

Very frothy, has a tendency to pour with a large head, which is somewhat typical of most Belgians. The initial head was between 3-4cm with medium to large bubbles. Light caramel in color with a slight cloudiness. Upon agitation it will easily reform a head of approximately 3cm.

I definitely smell the sweetness of the Belgian yeast here. Even though I know the hops are there I dont seem to get any sense of them in the smell.

Carbonation dances on the tongue on the first sip. There is the slightest hint at the very front of the sweetness I normally assocate with a Belgian but the hops definitely take over from there...

The high carbonation gives a "bitey" feel on the outside of the tongue and on the palette. The bitterness grabs the tongue and hangs on for dear life.

It is different. Although it has a solid sweet Belgian nose, the normally associated sweet taste is minimal.  The hopiness comes through in the taste but not the smell.

If you like Belgians and IPAs, then this is a great marriage for you to try.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

San Diego Beer Review: Mission Brewing Shipwrecked Double IPA

Mission Brewery
1441 L Street

San Diego Ca 92101

Pulled this one out of the fridge to savor while watching the Green Bay/NY game today. I was pleasantly surprised by their standard IPA (see review here ) and was looking forward to trying this one.

Double IPA (9.25% ABV)

Dark caramel color, cloudy. Lots of medium to large bubbles forming a nice 3cm head. Great head retention with massive lacing.

Very flowery (sweet honeysuckle) with some citrus undertones

Malt sweetness up front with a bitter finish. No alcohol burn which is unusual for a Double IPA.

Coats entire mouth, lingers a bit but is not overwhelming.

Perfectly balanced with a brightness that helps bring out its flavors.Very refreshing for a Double IPA, none of the extreme bitterness or strong alcohol taste/smell that goes along with many Double IPAs.

After now reviewing two of Mission Brewing's beers, I am gaining a great amount of respect for what they are doing down there by Petco Park....I look forward to trying many more in the near future.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bison Organic Chocolate Stout

Bison Brewing
2030 5th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710

I definitely needed to review something other than an IPA today... I dont want anyone to think that all I drink are IPAs, although I have been very partial to them lately. Before I really got on the IPA bandwagon 4 years ago, whenever I chose a beer I leaned toward stouts and porters. When I say "leaned" lets just say my dog's name is Guinness...

I picked up this beer up at my local beer supplier, Sprouts (I think I have given them enough plugs... Its not like I am getting any kickbacks here...) I had seen this beer there many times before but because of my recent penchance for IPAs I had never tried it....This blog is making me open up my brain to new beer selections, the way it was back in college when I was more willing to try new things to keep my roomates at bay.

Reviewing this beer while watching SDSU and UNLV play BBall...GO AZTECS!!!

Enough talk...on to the review.

Organic Chocolate Stout (5.0% ABV)

Pours a clear dark brown. Once in the glass you cannot see though it except on the very edges of the glass where it gives off a slight red tint. Medium brown head ~2cm in height. Lots of medium sized bubbles with very sparse lacing. The head will reform to about half its original size with agitation.

Chocolate and cocoa. Roasted oats and a slight hint of nutmeg.

Strong taste of cocoa and roastiness. Surprisingly light tasting for a chocolate stout. The medium carbonation actually gives it a very "bright" taste. Slightly bitter finish.

Sits on the tongue and the top of the palatte. Grabs the tongue lightly once swallowed.

Very smooth and drinkable. This is not a "typical" stout with a heavy/thick mouthfeel, the medium carbonation gives this beer a very light taste. I really enjoyed this beer and I would recommend it to anyone who likes stouts. I think this would be good beer to introduce stouts to someone who has never tried one before.

This stout is USDA Certifed Organic.

Friday, January 13, 2012

San Diego Beer Review: Mission Brewery IPA

Mission Brewery 
1441 L Street
San Diego Ca 92101

I have been near Mission Brewery many times for Padres games, but for some unknown reason I have never been inside or had any of their beers...a bit perplexing. My local beer supplier (Sprouts...) had some Mission beers in stock so I grabbed a couple to tryout. First up to the plate was...

Mission IPA (6.8%)

Light caramel coloring, cloudy. Beautiful 1cm head forms on first pour. Nice lacing. Head easily reforms after agitation to regain its initial 1cm height.

Floral with sweet undertones. Hint of red licorice or ...Cherry Tootise Pop..?

Medium carbonation, great hop character from front to back, from sip to swallow. However, it is not too bitter. Very clean and smooth. The slight maltiness comes through as you press your tongue to the roof of your mouth to swallow.

Hoppiness fills the mouth (again not too bitter) but it is not too heavy.

Extremely balanced and drinkable. I really like this beer. As I said earlier I have never had this beer before but I think it just became one of my "go to" beers... I stand IMPRESSED.

This IPA won a Bronze medal at GABF in 2007...I definitely see why.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

San Diego Beer Review: Butchers Brewing Mucho Aloha Hawaiian Pale Ale

I reviewed one of Butchers Brewing beers a couple of days ago, saw this one at Sprouts today and picked it up. Still waiting to find out where they are located exactly... ;)

"Hawaiian" Style Pale Ale (5.6% ABV)

Appearance: Light caramel color, clear, low carbonation. Small, fast dissipating head < 2mm. No lacing on glass. Medium bubble size. 1mm head reforms on agitation but quickly dissipates.

Smell: Malty sweetness with a slight hint of nuts

Taste: The malts are definately prominent here, although there is a hint of hops at the top. Bitter when it first hit the tongue then the malts take over.

Mouthfeel: Drinks smooth with a slightly bitter finish. Doesn't coat the entire mouth.

Overall: Drinks smooth, a bit thin in taste and texture. However, I can picture drinking this on a hot and humid Hawaiian day and having it be very refreshing. If that is was they were going for then, in my opinion, they have succeeded.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
1075 East 20th Street

Chico, CA.

I originally found this beer at the local Albertson's (a chain supermarket) a couple of years ago and I had never seen it before, even though Sierra Nevada beers have been a staple of mine for 10+ years. I was pleasantly surprised by the boldness of the hops, usually you dont find beer with this much hop character in a mass chain supermarket.

This beer has become one of my favorites when I am looking for something with a little edge to it, and by 'edge' I mean hops... anyway, ON TO THE REVIEW ;)

Extra IPA

Caramel color, slighty opaque, 1cm head on pour which easily reforms with agitation, head consists of nice tight bubbles which almost give it a nitro appearance. Head will hold 1-2mm for duration of drinking

Smell: Piney, resin, with some malt sweetness with agitation

Taste: Hoppy bitterness jumps on the tongue with first taste, carbonation "pops" on tongue for a "bright" taste

Mouthfeel: Hops grab the tongue and do not let go without a fight!

Overall: A classic American IPA with a very bold hoppiness. Mid range ABV at 7.2%