1st Visit – La Jara Brewing

La Jara Brewing which has only been open a couple of months is right off the 5 and Carmenita in that not Orange County not Los Angeles County zone.  If you look up at the right time you will catch the sign on the building as you drive.  

It is very bright and colorful inside the industrial space.  Murals on the walls are well done and create an oasis like feel despite the sprawl of concrete everywhere outside the building.  I really like the rocking chairs to the side of the bar as well as the wooden bar thar looks onto the brew floor. Or you can choose the side outdoor patio.

The staff were super friendly in that new brewery way. The space filled up quickly after the opening bell, so to speak, has been rung. The beer menu is in the style of Pizza Port with plenty of info to make your choices from. Nine beers were on tap from blonde to wheat and the IPA swath.

Let’s move to the beers…

Gateway Dark Lager – little spice to this semi-dark lager. closer to a Vienna to my tastebuds.

Hindsight Cold IPA – has an IPL look to it. Darkish but clear yellow.  Fruity aroma. Earthy hops in the lead with pils notes coming through behind it.

Backhaul Hazy – an unfiltered juice look here so off to a good start. Has the signature hop tongue scrape indicative of early hazes. That earthy hop note is present here too.

Stunt Dubbel – this comes on strong like a spirit but not in an ABV way, just assertive. Comes off as just a little green to me. Balance of sweet and malt is not bad though.

Turning 26

Stone Brewing is one of many who are getting back to throwing anniversary shin-digs. Below is the info for number 26.

“The Escondido “mothership” is hosting an epic affair at a size and scale never-before-seen at this location! We’re taking over the entire Bistro & beyond for the main celebration from 3pm-7pm.

Hardcore Stone fans can join the Rare Beer Festival from 12pm-3pm, which includes an exclusive beer list and festival area in the gardens PLUS early admission to the main event.

Join us for the grand finale! The festival is returning to the grassy North Promenade behind Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station with beer from 50+ breweries from 11am-3pm. “

Spoke(n) For

Those who curate solid craft beer lists should be followed. In that spirit, Jimmy Smith who until recently worked the kegs at Glendale Tap is now handling the beer program at Spoke Bicycle Cafe in Frogtown.

No, you do not need a bike helmet or those too tight shorts to enter, just a love of beer. Check it out Thursday through Sunday.

New in San Diego

I do not know how one person can cover the vast San Diego craft beer scene. Too much. Way too much. But read HERE for info on four, yes four new breweries…

  • VooDoo Child Brewing
  • Backyard Brewing
  • Tipping Pint
  • Seek Beer Co.

Doing a new brewery crawl might be an easier ask.

New LA Brewery – La Jara

La Jara Brewing opened yesterday, marking the first brewery in Norwalk. La Jara is headed by partners and co-owners Jason Sullivan, co-head brewer Derek Johnstone, as well as Derek’s dad, Randy Johnstone.

Despite recent losses, LA is a large metropolitan area that still has pockets where local beer is still absent.

I will plan a visit and report back on the beer and tasting room.

A Trip to Julian

I made a drive out to Julian with two agendas. Pie from one of the many pie establishments in the small mountain town and beer from both breweries to pair with all that pie crust.

First was Nickel Beer Co. which reminded me of Happy Valley back in Portland. A corner location that looked to be a roadside hangout now brewery.

Inside was a memento filled small room with the taps, I picked out a sampler tray and set to tasting on the patio to enjoy the sun and wind and blue sky.

Unfortunately, three of the five beers exhibited off flavors which is something since I don’t usually pick “off” up much. The Farmer Jon Strong Pale was unique but not greatly hoppy. The Apple Pie Ale was as advertised but the others did not make the grade. I was hoping that the Pink Boots beer being a DIPA would be a saving grace, but alas, not to be.

On the other end of Julian is the aptly named Julian Beer Company with plenty of front patio seating in front of a pair of red barns to watch Pacific Coast Trail hikers going past.

I had a sampler tray with lovely taster glasses but alas, though better than Nickel, the beers were only so-so. My favorite was the Rye IPA, Pistol Whipped. If the Grave Digger was labeled as a dark lager and not a Dopplebock, I would have ranked that a bit higher. I had another Pink Boots IPA and it was a bit underdone.

To be blunt, the two Julian ciders that I had were easily the best drinks of the trip.