Well I got back Friday evening and even though it was a great trip, it's good to be back. Even with all of the fun at the zoo and everything else, it's hard to keep a two year old from being, well a two year old... On to the important stuff, beer!
While down there I managed to stop by the Coronado Brewing Company, also visited by our dear brewpastor. I managed to get two, three-tasting flights with my meal, which was a delicious sausage calzone, for a total for six different beers.
First round was their IPA, Red and Rye. The IPA was great, nice and hoppy, but not crazy, over-the-top. Just enough sweetness to balance the hops. The Red was not as hoppy as I was expecting, but still good. A good malt backbone without being sweet. The Rye had what I can now clearly identify as that rye "spicyness" that everyone hears about. It was a reddish-brown color and was similar to the perennial favorite around here, Hop Rod Rye, just not as big and over the top. Very nice.
The second flight included their American Weizen, Scotch, and Stout. The Weizen was my least favorite of all of tthe beers. It lacked much of the fruityness andd tart flavors often found in a wheat beer, even an American version. It was also a little too hoppy for my taste in a Weizen. They probably use the same yeast as the other beers and make up for some of the character with more hops. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't what I would consider a great wheat beer. The Scotch was good, a nice deep red color. Their description said it contained some peated malt, but I couldn't detect any, although by this time I had already had the equivelant of a pint and half a sausage calzone, so it could have been my pallate. The Stout was great. Nice and creamy, dark and just enough roasted flavor. I'm not big on charcoal tasting beer, or stouts that are too sweet either, and this one was right up my alley. Nice and ballanced between the sweet, roasted, malt and hop flavors. Over all my top three would be the IPA, Rye and Stout in no real order.
Today on our way back we stopped at the new Stone brewery and took the tour. It's a great new facility that isn't complete yet. The restraunt isn't finished. They gave an estimate of three months...I'll have to go back, the sample menu looks great. They had two more huge fermenters delivered yesterday, and they weren't even bolted down to the floor yet.
Some Stone facts about their brews, and/or ingredients.
They use Centennial pellets as the finishing hop in their pale ale
They use whole chinook hops for some part of tthe process (my guess is the pale ale as well, as that is what they brewed yesterday).
Their base malt comes from Vancouver, WA
Specialty malts spotted on the floor: Crystal 15, 60, 75 & 150 (Great Western Malting), Chocolate (from Scotland) and Victory malt.
Their 10th Anniversary Ale is going to be a huge IPA, in the fermenters now.
I also tried a sample of the Oaked Arrogant Bastard that will be coming out again soon. Very nice and subtle for all of you Bastard fans out there. I also managed to pick up a 2L growler of IPA for the road.
I almost stopped at another brewery today but didn't have time. The Port Brewery is down the road in Carlsbad. I passed by, so now I know where it is. According to Stone, they moved into Stone's old brewery in San Marcos, so look for their distribution to be increasing.