San Diego Eater is reporting that underrated and under distributed classic style brewer ChuckAlek Independent Brewers is opening a tasting room in North Park. The proposed ChuckAlek beer garden is part of a bigger project, confusingly called Art Produce Gallery on University. This is great news for ChuckAlek fans like me because its brewery and tasting room are in the rural community of Ramona, which is forty-five minute to an hour drive from my house. Ramona is on the way to nowhere I frequent, so I can't fake an excuse to drop by the brewery as part of a concocted trip. A North Park tasting room brings ChuckAlek's classic porters, stouts, lagers, and the other lost or forgotten styles in which it specializes, much closer to central San Diego, a part of town I can always find an excuse to visit.
The year's first wet hop beer is here. Culture Brewing released its wet hop IPA, Wet Hopped Cascade IPA, late last week. It poured dense and cloudy, and the fresh hops were dominant, which you would expect from a wet hop IPA, but I did not find it to have the sharp, pungent smell and fresh-squeezed citrus juice taste of other fresh hop IPAs, in particular those from Pizza Port Ocean Beach. I found that while Wet Hopped Cascade IPA tasted great, it reminded me of Culture's regular IPA, and even the abv and IBUs were identical at 6.6% abv and 66 IBU. Wet Hopped Cascade IPA, while not spectacular, is still worth drinking, and is available for a short time at Culture's Solana Beach and Ocean Beach tasting rooms.
Not to be out done by wet hop beers, breweries are now releasing their pumpkin beers. Coronado Brewing has released its big Punk'In Drublic and Ballast Point is releasing Pumpkin Down, a Scottish ale with pumpkin, (it is an apparent offshoot of Ballast Point's Piper Down Scottish ale). To me, it is still too hot for a heavy pumpkin ale, especially one with a Scottish ale base. I plan to buy some of these beers to have them for fall. Last year Punk'In Drublic did not stay long on shelves.
Beer Samidzat wrote on the wonder of Tahoe Mountain Brewing's barrel aged beers, and had this knowing quote that not only made me laugh but made me want to try Tahoe Brewing's beers: "I mean talk about preaching to the RateBeer/BA/blog dork crowd - it's a "Flanders Red aged in oak with cherries and blueberries.''" Yes, beer dorks go bonkers for any beer calling itself a Flanders Red aged in oak.
Bay City Brewing soft opened earlier this week, and I plan to visit it sometime over the next few days. Despite the unusual name - I have never heard anyone refer to San Diego as Bay City - the new brewery has excellent visibility from Interstate-8, and is in an industrial area behind another poorly named venue, Valley View Casino Center (formerly called the San Diego Sports Arena). Bay City is about a thirty second drive or five minute walk from Modern Times' creatively named Lomaland Fermentorium. Bay City is pouring a beer called Experimental Pale Ale, which has a 5.5% abv and was brewed with Nelson Sauvin dry hops. What Bay City beer I am trying first beer is no longer a quandary.