Sunday, 8 December 2013

San Diego 2013: The redemption - Green Flash

Following the disappointment of Stone Brewing, we needed something to redeem the plan we'd made, so we set the GPS to guide us to Green Flash. Now this place was hopping. We could already see there were a lot of people here, siting outside in the fenced off area, with a food truck keeping them fuelled, and a pair of large bouncers by the entrance. IDs shown, we made our way to the humming tap area of the brewery, with the full brew kit stretching out behind. There was a lot of choice, and limited time, so the taster glasses were the order of the day. Well, for me. Poor Rüdiger was the driver, so was being sensible, but I felt the need to dive right in.

Starting with pale and hoppy, I want straight for the Citra Session IPA and the Village Pilsner. The Citra Session (4.3% ABV, left in the photo below) has a green, catty pine aroma, which carries through to the flavour. It has a refreshing sorbet-like thing going on, but with a slightly chalky mouthfeel. A strong lemon zest and pithy orange finish wraps it up nicely.

The Village Pilsner (5.3%) is surprisingly Pilsner-like, something I didn't expect, given our location. If I had to guess, I'd say classic noble hops, and it stood up to any decent German Pils I've had, with a clean floral and resinous aroma, soft bready malts and a pine resin bitterness. The finish lets it down a tad, being a bit flabby, with a bubblegum note taking off the edge, and a drop of butterscotch in there too. Still, decent enough.

Staying in the pale zone, the Green Flash Belgian Blonde (6%). Effervescent sorbet, combining with mildly fruity elements (mango, strawberry, grapefruit, of course) and fresh, green hop flavours. Rather good!

Time to step up the alcohol and the shade, with the Green Flash Double Stout (8.8%), a big beer, redolant with coffee, molasses, dark chocolate. Soft and silky, it also kicks in with a gentle vinous flavour, backed with chocolate syrup. It somehow reminded my of After 8 mints, with a fresh hop hit on the finish. Decent.

I've not had enough rye-based beers, other than a couple I've made myself, so was eager to try the Imperial Red Rye (8.5%). Another fruity number, suggesting dark berries, and mildly spicy, with pepper, and hay. It finishes with a gum-tingling bitterness. Big and fluffy, a nice closer on an all too short visit.

We eventually had to leave. It wasn't so much fun, I guess, for Rüdiger, watching me enjoying myself, and our boss was sending text messages from San Diego, wondering when we were going to arrive, so we had to make tracks. A thoroughly enjoyable visit, complete with t-shirt purchase, and some really nice beers.

Later that evening, we went to Karl Strauss in San Diego. I can't say there was much to write home about. The food was ok, the beer was ok, but it didn't have quite the atmosphere. Still, our plan was redeemed!

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