Want to Visit in 2022 Brewery # 1 – Wagon Wheel Brewing

First we travel north to Oxnard and Wagon Wheel Brewing. Opened in the auspicious year of 2020.

Let’s dive into what I would put into a taster tray…

Swanky Bear Hazy IPA – “Swanky Bear is our first Hazy Single IPA featuring Simcoe and Citra hops. Soft citrus and stone fruit flavors pair well with the silky mouthfeel of this crushable Hazy IPA.”

Switch Back IPA – “This West Coast IPA is light, pale and dry. Nelson, Simcoe and Chinook hops leap from the glass with pineapple and grapefruit aromas balanced with a crackery malt backdrop. This IPA is fruity and dank with a lean but expressive bitterness.”

Road Rash DIPA – “Road Rash is a high octane Hazy Double IPA with a rider friendly delivery. Layered with German Pilsner, American Oat Malt and Wheat, this beverage goes down smooth. The Galaxy and Citra deliver the bottom end power with intense notes of orange, tangerine and grapefruit.”

Ventura Beer – Words

Now that you have seen some photos, here are my impressions of the beers and the trip north to Ventura from Los Angeles.

The weekend trip was split between Ventura and then breweries on the way back to Los Angeles.  After pizza and a beer at the wonderful Fluid State on Main Street it was time to walk the streets. 

Topa Topa is at the far edge of the Downtown area near the Patagonia compound and this trip was much like the last.  I love the little space and the beers were solid.  In fact, my favorite beer of the trip was their dark lager, Dozer Line.  It had a snap to it and a mix of malt tastes with a little spice touch that maybe only I noticed.  The Tux Nitro Milk Stout was a beauty even in a taster glass.  It was good to learn that they are canning now too with distribution to Los Angeles part of the plan. 

Second up was Ventura Coast Brewing.  On a corner of Santa Clara, this is a lovely space separated out into outdoor patio and indoor spaces.  While the servers had a skosh bit of attitude and were a bit free in their banter in front of customers, the space was still welcoming.  Dominated by white with a splash of indoor plant greenery and a “barrel room” to reserve for parties.  The beers sampled were a little disappointing.  Alphabet DIPA was strong but the hops were a bit muddled.  The Saazbier was nice and bright but the finish was a little metallic.  Their Mexican amber, Cinco de Quatro was fine and probably my overall favorite but it didn’t have the pizazz of the earlier Topa Topa beer.

On the next day, first stop was MadeWest.  It was a bit déjà vu with Ventura Coast.  White building with big pieces of wall art.  There were empty cans aplenty waiting for their Standard beer.  A great big image of a can on one wall and a really cool menu board.  The taster tray had one dud.  A Red IPA that was bland but the Brut IPA, effervescent was bone dry and really champagne like but with a big fruity taste.  The Short Lived Hazy IPA with Fieldwork was excellent as well.  I was impressed enough that I bought a 4-pack of their Ventura Light to compare with the other beers that I tasted.

Next up was Oxnard and Casa Agria.  They had been on my list for years.  My high expectations left me a little disappointed here.  There was no taster flight which is not good for acid averse people like myself.  I ended up with three half pours and though the Tres Casas honey meets sour was my 2nd favorite beer of the trip the Gose was a touch too acidic for me though blessedly free of fruit.  The Saison de la Casa was supposed to be a balance but it was way sour for what I expected.  The tap room was weirdly mixed with old-school video games and barrels.  Conflicting ideas to me.

I would write about the quick stop at Institution Ales in Camarillo but I think I need to do a full regular visit there to get a better handle on the beers they make. 

Ventura Beer – Photos – Part 1

I made a trip slightly north with fellow beer afficionado Richard to catch up (as best we could) on the beers of Camarillo, Oxnard and primarily Ventura. Here are some of the photos:

The menu board at Topa Topa (plus flower) Tip: get Dozer Line if you see it.
The multi-hued taster tray at Topa Topa
Both sides of the Ventura Coast coaster.
Ready for packaging at Institution Ales in Camarillo