The Hoppy Truth of SoCal Beer (part 3)


As you read in my previous post, visiting Stone Brewing Co. was an amazing experience. But there was more beery goodness to be had in San Diego! The hubby and I headed out to Coronado Island where we stopped by the aptly named Coronado Brewing Co. We sidled up to the bar, had a seat, and began scouring over the draft options.

The hubby ordered a pint of the Hoppy Lager, an aggressively hopped (you guessed it) lager using Summit and Falcon hops. We had never heard of Falcon hops so the hubby started researching (on MY iPhone, I might add) where this variety came from. According to the limited information he could find, this is a proprietary hop blend that is comprised of many unique Northwest hop varieties. This was a delicious beer and we ended up getting a growler.

I opted to get a taster that included my choice of five 2-ounce samples.

The first beer I chose was the Idiot IPA, a double. It was a little on the sticky side but I really liked it. We even ended up bringing a bottle of this back to Chicago. Next up was Lil Scotch on the Rock, a 3.8 ABV sessionable Scotch ale. This didn’t have much of a nose but it had a nice, light roasted flavor. It was easy-drinking and, I must admit, it was nice to finally find a non-hoppy session ale in California!

Mermaid’s Red was the next taster and had a malty, honey nose. This ale had a nice balance with a slight hop bitterness at first, followed by a malty sweetness, and then a bitter finish. The Black Perle Schwartz had a roasted nose and flavor with a slight bitter finish. Last was the Coffee Stout, an Irish-style stout that was dry and had a nice coffee flavor and aroma.

While sitting at the bar, we met Greg and Maria, two cool kids who work at Stone. I began geeking out regarding the previous day’s festivities. They told us that we had to go check out Ballast Point Brewery so we paid our tab, hopped in the rental car, and began the short trip to Ballast Point.

Ballast Point Brewing is located in a strip mall and actually started off as a home brew shop. The shop is still there, but they have added on a commercial brewery and tasting room. The first beer we tried was quite possibly the most interesting beer I have ever tasted. It changed names three times while we were there; apparently this was the recipe of a home brew contest winner. I think the final name was 5 Mast Junk but all you need to know is it is a curry stout. It was brewed with curry and it had a spicy-hot aroma, similar to granulated chili powder. However, it was also brewed with coconut which mellowed out the spiciness and added a sweet quality. Next up for me was the Piper Down Scottish Ale. This was a reddish brown, slightly lighter in color than I expected. The hubby had Pescadero Pilsner which was an excellent representation of the traditional style, and nothing like the watered-down offerings from the big guys. I think we tasted a few others but somehow my ability to take legible notes seemed to wane at this point. All in all, Southern California is a Mecca for the craft beer lover. Next stop? Seattle!

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