Beers at Wine Bars

We recently met up with some friends in San Clemente and hit up a couple of wine bars. I tried a flight of wine tasters at San Clemente Wine Bar, They were all great, but after that, I moved onto beers. First up was the Oskar Blues G’Knight Imperial Red IPA (See picture above). It was hoppy, nutty, smooth, flora, and light. It had the scent of apples, but did not have a strong IPA smell to it. A fresh, solid IPA. Beer Advocate considers it “Outstanding.”

We then moved on to The Cellar, another wine bar (which has a fantastic weekend brunch with live music, by the way). There, I had the No Name IPA. It was nutty, with mild hoppiness (mild by San Diego standards). It was on the lighter side of what we’re used to on the West Coast. It had a thin head, and a bit of a metallic smell. In reading its Beer Advocate page, the lack of characteristic hoppiness is explained by the fact that Cody, the brewery, is located in Massachusetts. East Coast IPA’s tend not to be quite as hoppy.  This is going to sound awful, but occasionally, it had the scent of wet dog. To be fair, I asked everyone else at the table to confirm, and they did not perceive this wet dog scent, so maybe I’m just a loony toon.

shareBearPic148

Idiot IPA

The first time I had this double IPA was years ago, when we were visiting the Hotel Del Coronado, and happened upon Coronado Brewing. It is a nutty and bitter IPA, with less floral and citrus tones than some of my favorite IPA’s. It doesn’t smell particularly distinct. It’s 8.5%, but one might not immediately guess it’s a double IPA. It’s rated as “very good” by Beer Advocate. My friend brought a 6-pack over and I refamiliarized myself with this nice beer. Not bad.

Hangar 24 Essence (Imperial IPA)

Went to Bellows to celebrate a friend’s recent promotion. Bellows is the whiskey/scotch-focused, classier version of Churchill’s. I like whiskey too, but I learned in my early twenties that drinking Jack on the Rocks makes the night go by way too fast. Bellows has some great food, but their beer selection pales in comparison to Churchill’s. Of course, that’s the point. Churchill’s has all the beers and greasy pub foods, Bellows has all the scotches and fancy foods you can’t pronounce. The stuff they do have is thoughtful, though.

Had a Hangar 24 Essence IPA. It’s a fairly standard IPA (and I do not mean that in a bad way at all). Beer Advocate gives it an 86 (“very good”). It does the citrus tones and hoppiness very well. I liked it enough to have two of them, and I am only now realizing was an Imperial/Double IPA. If I had known when I was drinking I might not have had two of them then gone on to drink wine. In retrospect, I should have known, since the beer came in a smaller, tulip-style glass. Then again, I’ve been to snooty foodie places with craft beers that pour regular IPA’s in 10-ounce servings too.

shareBearPic70