I have written before that I like to rate a city based on its local beers, and my trip to San Diego was no different. I think I’ll actually start recording my observations so I’ve decided to invent a scale that I have yet to come up with a good name for.
The scale runs from water to full bodied beer but in reality it is what I think of all their beers. I like all kinds of beer, it really depends on the setting, season, meal etc. I usually try at least 2 beers from each brewery, and if I’m there I definitely try a flight.
In San Diego I tried two from the semi-famous Stone Brewery. I’ve had their Arrogant Bastard before, and liked that one, so I decided to try the Pale Ale and its hoppier cousin the IPA. I liked them both.
I also tried two beers from Ballast Point: their Calico Amber Ale and their Big Eye IPA which was even better. Both these beers had plenty of flavor, but were easy to drink. Especially the IPA, which boasts 6% alcohol or higher and is only sold in the big 22oz bottle. That one put me in a good mood for sure.
In my day of traveling the coast I got to eat lunch and try a handful of beers at the Karl Strauss Brewing Company. These beers showed a lot of promise, and the food at the restaurant was excellent. Unfortunately I tried 6 of their beers in the sampler plus a bonus at the end and was dissapointed by all of them. They all looked like legit beers, and their aromas were good but the flavor was lacking. Most of the flavor was front loaded and hit you right away, and then the finish was actually pretty watery. None of the beers paired very well with the food I tried, even if the wait staff pushed them. Their Double IPA was hoppy and had great citrus overtones but was missing something I couldn’t put my finger on. I decided they have the same problem Ithaca Brewing has, their beers taste too much like water. (I’ll do a write up of Ithaca sometime, when I get a sampler pack).
Overall I give San Diego 4 out of 6 Beers.
This is generous, but I had many recommendations from friends and family of places that have good beer that I didn’t get to visit. I guess that leaves something for the next time I go.