It's good to get back to the (hot, stiflingly humid, smelly) city has been great. Having a couple brews at the Pony Bar and hitting up a few of this weeks craft beer events got me right back into the New York swing-of-things - but I am still missing the beautiful California weather, views and beer! Here's the last day of our mini Southern California brewery tour that includes a day in the San Diego area visiting Green Flash, Ballast Point and Stone! Green Flash Brewing Company, Mira Mesa, California
When you pull into the Green Flash parking lot you might mistake it for an office building. When you walk inside however, there is no mistaking that you are in a brewery. You walk into a huge open warehouse where the first thing you see is the wide open tasting area, cordoned off from the rest of the giant space by the gift shop, a wall of aging cask brews and the bar itself. The rest of the warehouse space is filled with all the brewing necessities that Green Flash needs to send its brew around the country. The tastings are only $1 (with the exception of their double IPA) so we tried mostly everything you couldn't get in NYC.
Saison - Refreshing, slightly herbal with a Belgian clove taste. So refreshing that we took a growler home with us!
Sugar Smack - Dubbel that tastes like everything is doubled. Stronger clove taste on top of a big malt Belgian flavor.
Double Stout - Strong roasted malt flavor with hints of chocolate and coffee - more coffee. Nice big bitter ending and at 8.8% ABV it is big!
Imperial IPA - Strong hop taste that resembles another (illegal) herbal plant I can think of. Despite the huge hop flavor it is incredibly drinkable. Great for a hot summer day that you want to forget!
Special Cuvee - Very similar to another beer we all know that we cannot put our fingers on. Nice clove punch followed by a citrus rush and ending with a slight spice.
Le Freak - Freaky indeed. Belgian but bitter, refreshing but dry, big but easy. I think I'll have two.
30th St Pale Ale - Big time refreshment. Malt at first, quickly followed by a dry, bitter hop flavor. Goes down smooth and makes you want a few more.
Palate Wrecker Double IPA - The only brew that cost more than $1 to taste. I expected BIG things - and it was big. Huge hops that stay with you for awhile. I mean several minutes after the initial taste. Go big or go get another beer.
Barleywine - Smell - soy sauce. Taste - slightly syrupy. Aftertaste - hops/alcohol. Not my favorite of the day or my favorite barleywine. I'd skip it in the future...
Ballast Point Brewery, Mira Mesa, California
Ballast Point is located in a small office park in suburban Mira Mesa, California. The tasting room is long and thin and filled with people enjoying pints, tasters and filling growlers. Barrels make up most of the furniture - for placing your beer on, that is. The tastings here are a bit more expensive than at Green Flash - $1.25 - but I think we survived.
Many Ballast Point brews available around the country - so we're just going to highlight the rare ones that we hadn't tried before.
Black Marlin Porter - Lighter than a usual porter but not lacking in flavor. Nice dirty, malty, smokey, coffee taste. And it's easy to drink.
Helles Lager - Picture a Helles lager. Easy to drink, light in color and a slight hop character then BOOM - drop a fire burnt log in it. Then you get the taste of the Helles Lager. Smokey like a campfire but light enough to not overpower your palate.
Habanero Sculpin IPA - sculpin IPA is already a deliciously hoppy IPA - citrusy, light in color and mouthfeel - then pour it into a cask, add 4 habanero peppers and let it sit for a bit. What comes out? An incredibly satiable IPA with a pepper flavor that even the biggest capsascin addict would die for. This is the best hot pepper infused beer I've had.