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!
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!