After visiting Hess Brewing, we drove over to Ballast Point, one of the few breweries that was actually open on a Tuesday.
There were two other people in the place when we arrived around 11am.
We grabbed four tasters and took them over to the newly expanded area of the tasting room.
We got a selection of the beers from the specialties section at the bottom of the board: Sculpin IPA, Piper Down Scottish Ale, Oktoberfest Marzen and what I believe was the Sea Monster Imperial Stout whose name unfortunately has been erased from the beer-cam so I might be inadvertently lying to you… All good beers, but the Oktoberfest and the Sea Monster were my favorites – amazing malty/roasty (respectively) aroma to both and really rich flavor and mouthfeel.
After having a few sips, a mysterious man sporting protective eyewear emerged from behind the bar, equipped us with protective eyerwear of our own, and took us for a personal tour of the distillery. Begin picture binge…now:
This used to be a regular beer fermentor that Premier flipped upside down and turned into a distiller. Commander Matt explained a little of this to me and even after that I understand only about .00003% about how this works, so I’ll just say words that have to do with it: head, heart, tail. I won’t pretend to know any more than that.
Part three and four coming soon – Stone Brewing and Iron Fist Brewing!
Yesterday I headed down to San Diego with Commander Matt from Enegren Brewing to pick up a keg washer from Premier and visit a few breweries. Unfortunately, the majority of them are closed on Tuesdays. Fortunately, since I was with the owner of a brewery, we had an in to ALL of them.
Our first stop after Premier was Hess Brewing where we met up with Michael Skubic – tasting room manager and beer wrangler.
Hess is located in an industrial complex in a quaint and cozy space.
I love the touch of the hanging candle lanterns! I’ll have to come back in the evening sometime soon.
These guys work on a 1.5 bbl system. It looks like a gigantic homebrew system and they brew on it pretty often to keep up with demand.
I first tried the Magna Cucerbita Pumpkin Stout. The pumpkin spice aroma in this beer was perfectly balanced – definitely noticeable but not overwhelming like many pumpkin ales I’ve tried. I wanted another taster of this, but decided that trying some others would be a good idea…
My options were extremely limited. There weren’t too many to choose from… *insert sarcasm here*
Up next: Grazias Vienna Cream Ale. I have absolutely nothing to compare this to since I’ve never had a cream ale before. All I can really say, without a doubt, is that I liked it. Very smooth, slightly sweet, easy drinkability with a hint of vanilla (maybe?) in the aroma.
My favorite of all the beers I tried (and I tried and adored every one) was the Jucundus Orange Honey Wheat. This one reminded me exactly of Elysian’s Avatar Jasmine IPA thanks to the aroma of the chamomile, coriander and orange blossom honey. The honey flavor is apparent in the first sip and accompanied by a wonderful floral sweetness, yet not perfumey at all. The hops are nice and quiet on this making it a VERY easy drinker that would suit either a warm summer day or a rainy autumn evening with a blanket and a book. Jucundus Orange Honey Wheat would be the perfect substitute for chamomile tea on that chilly evening.
There really is no lack of choices here. If you’re ever in the San Diego area and want to visit a gem, head over to Hess Brewing at 7955 Silverton Ave, Ste 1201. I’ll be going back soon for a mid-holiday visit!
Part two of the San Diego brewery trip (Stone, Iron Fist, Ballast Point) coming soon – too many amazing breweries to clump into a single post. They all deserve their own recognition.