As part of San Diego's ongoing initiative to forge an ethanol-based economy, the bloom of spring has produced a fresh harvest of new beer drinking options. With so little time remaining to get your liver in shape for summer, there's no time like the present to check them out.
Duck Foot Brewing (8920 Kenamar Drive #210) is the latest addition to the beer hive better known as Miramar. It's unique among its peers in a unilateral embrace of gluten-reduced brewing. If you've ever wondered where all the hot people with celiac disease are partying, look no further.
The Duck Foot tasting room has all the essentials: beer, and murals featuring android fisticuffs. You'd be astonished how many breweries carelessly overlook the latter. The decor may favor the eight shades of slate that so many tasting rooms of late have embraced, but it undeniably feels modern, clean and occasionally whimsical.
Duck Foot's brewing philosophy emphasizes variety. Even in the context of a soft opening. At press time, they offered five beers capable of painting a reasonable beer rainbow, with plans to offer far more after a grand opening in June.
Though Duck Foot Brewing may enjoy a bit of whimsy, their beer is no joke. Co-owner Matt DelVecchio described their brews as "loose interpretations of classic styles," which is best exemplified by their unusually bracing Cali Blonde. It's a little too hop-forward to qualify as lawnmower beer, and certainly the sort of departure from style guidelines that would make purists wince. But it's undeniably tasty. My favorite among them was West Coast IPA, which delivered tropical fruit aromas and grassy/pine flavors with notable clarity.
Of course, these days a tasting room need not be affixed to a brewery. It can just as easily be a remote storefront or even a value-add at Stone Farms. I anticipate that soon, tasting-room parking lots will be outfitted with draught offerings, so even stowing your car is an essential part of the brewery experience. Until that wondrous day arrives, Green Flash's Cellar 3 (12260 Crosthwaite Circle) in Poway is bringing beer flights into the barrel room.
The 12,000-square-foot facility is an essential component to Green Flash's newest creative outlet. Not only will Cellar 3 significantly enhance their ability to do national barrel-aged releases (as recently manifested with their award-winning Silva Stout), it will also provide capacity to experiment with their Natura Morta ales, notable for being re-fermented with fruit in the barrel. More importantly, the new real estate gives Pat Korn, Green Flash barrel master and brewery man-at-arms, the freedom to play with yeasts that are prone to wanderlust.
"Before Poway the biggest challenge was making funk/sour beers in an environment where you absolutely should not," he says. "Contaminating a 250BBL tank of West Coast is not an option."
Cellar 3's tasting room will feature up to 30 beers, including both Green Flash and Alpine Beer Company offerings. The facility will further offer exclusive experimental brews, saving consumers the hassle of aging their white IPAs on chardonnay barrels themselves. With barrel options as varied as the beers, expect Cellar 3 to keep your tongue guessing.