San Diego Beer Trip, Day 1

Alright, so technically I’m down in San Diego IMG_5149for work, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t explore the awesome beer scene in San Diego. Getting off of the plane, you recognize that this town doesn’t mess around, and are greeted with a Stone Brewing outpost.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to have an overpriced beer at the airport.

In the evening, after my meetings had concluded, I headed over to Little Italy to meet up with an old college friend at Juniper and Ivy. Located in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego, this restaurant is beautiful in many aspects, and probably better known for IMG_5153their cocktails and wine list rather than their beer list. Still, the six beers on tap were pretty solid. I decided to have the Lost Abbey Amarosa Framboise (pictured left). Nice and tart, it was considerably less sweet than, say, a Lindemann’s Framboise Lambic. The Amarosa was easy to drink on a warm day, and priced at $8.

During dinner, I ordered a Modern Times Black House beer. An oatmeal stout with 5.8% ABV, the beer is brewed with coffee to give a very smooth, smoky flavor. My waiter mentioned that this coffee stout is so popular, that many people want to buy the coffee beans used in the brewing of this beer. Modern Times Beer is located near Old Town San Diego, but I wasn’t able to make it out there on this trip. Perhaps on a future one!

As a side note, while at dinner, I was admiring their selection of bourbons in the bar, so if bourbon’s your thing, it might be worth a visit! The food was amazing as well.

While not the focus of this blog, the next stop on our trip that night was Noble Experiment (Gaslamp District),IMG_5158 known for their cocktails and speakeasy environment. Now, I know that speakeasies are supposed to be exclusive and hard to get into, but the hostess staff was rather surly. You must text no earlier than a week in advance to get a reservation, and they add the proviso that if you don’t show up without canceling, they may put you on a blacklist. Then, when we showed up at our appointment time, we had to wait another 15 minutes and choose between standing or a three seater (which we chose, then were asked later to move to a two-seater table).

But all these quibbles didn’t detract from their cocktails, which were top notch (even if highly priced at $15 each). I enjoy scotch and bourbon, so my first cocktail included Ardbeg 10 year, a heavily peated Islay Scotch (pictured on the right). I loved the smoky peat, though my drinking partner described it as mossy. The second cocktail was bourbon based, and included W.L. Weller bourbon (same folks that do Buffalo Trace). This cocktail was more IMG_5163Manhattan-like, with a maraschino liquor and bitters. Very drinkable, though a little sweeter than my expectation. I would have liked to have sat at the bar and talk liquor with the knowledgable bar staff and admire the amazing selection of spirits, but was again given the runaround by the hostess staff. Alas.

As a speakeasy, Noble Experiment (i.e. prohibition) is nestled behind the kitchen of another bar — Neighborhood. Neighborhood is an awesome bar in its own right, with an amazing number of local and national brews on tap (bar pic on left).

I wanted to end the night with something light and smooth, and noticed the nitro milk stout on tap. Milk IMG_5164stouts are a joy to drink, something a little sweet but easy to drink. It doesn’t help that I’m lactarded (… lactose-intolerant …) but that won’t stop me from having a milk stout! The one on tap was Man’s Milk by Noble Ale Works (pictured right). Hailing from my home county of Orange, this Anaheim brewery’s milk stout was a little stronger and less sweet than, say, the Left Hand Milk Stout that I usually see at bars. Also, I guess my eyesight isn’t as good as I thought, since I originally ordered a “Mom’s Milk”. Oops… glad the bartender knew what I was talking about. The milk stout was a good ending to a night of drinking and good alcohol, and cost about $8 for a pint. As you can see from the picture on the right, the nitro created a glorious head and once settled, yielded a nice and creamy milk stout to give me sweet dreams for the night.

This concludes the first day in San Diego (Tuesday, 25th August 2015). My next post will cover the second day, which includes two more breweries in San Diego.

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