Photo by Andrew Dyer
A long time ago (last weekend) in a neighborhood far, far away (Miramar), I came to know the power of the dark side.
Dark beers were in the mix at Intergalactic Brewing (9715 Carroll Centre Road), fresh off an impressive 10-medal showing at the Los Angeles International Beer Competition. Having just moved, Intergalactic was breaking in its tasting room. The spacious new digs, if not yet well appointed, came with a small inventory issue. Although there were plenty of beers on tap, there was not a single IPA. I felt a great disturbance in the Force.
"We try to keep as many IPAs on as we can, although we're currently out," says Alex Van Horne, owner and head brewer. "It's been three days. We haven't heard the end of it."
Van Horne attributed the hiccup to the move from its prior location.
"Right now because of our brand new expansion and moving the tasting room we kind of backed off," he said, noting that more IPAs were coming.
Intergalactic brought home two gold medals at that recent L.A. competition—one for Red Shirt #30, an English pale ale, and another for Shut Up Wesley Wheat.
Intergalactic's coconut porter, Space Oasis, was on tap in standard and barrel-aged form. The barrel-aged version was heavy with bourbon up front, overpowering the coconut. I preferred the standard Space Oasis; the beer's coconut flavor balanced perfectly with its malty backbone. This brew also medalled in L.A., bringing home silver in the field beer category.
Planet Invader, a big 11.6 percent ABV imperial stout tasted a little hot at first sip, but soon found its groove with subtle notes of coffee and dark chocolate, bolstered by the steady thump of booziness.
The standout of my visit was a collaboration with nearby 2 Kids brewing, Rebel Alliance Stout. Brewed with chocolate, vanilla and coconut, this stout hit all the right notes without being heavy or boozy.
"We like to brew traditional styles," says Van Horne. "We also enjoy using different flavors and ingredients, making specialty beers. Our board is usually pretty eclectic."
The Rebel Alliance collaboration was first brewed for last year's May the 4th celebration, and this year, the two breweries are again releasing a unique Star Wars themed brew. In time for the just-announced return of pitchman Billy D. Williams to the Colt .45 family, and unique for San Diego craft breweries, a malt liquor will be debuting on May the 4th called New Republic 501st. Named after Darth Vader's personal battalion, it will be interesting to see how a malt liquor will fare in IPA and barrel-aged obsessed San Diego. For extra geek bona fides, New Republic 501st actually began as a costuming club, but ended up being written into Star Wars canon by George Lucas (source: Wookiepedia).
Van Horne says more specialty beers are on the way for the brewery's third anniversary in June, and that they are looking to do something Comic-Con related in July.
It would not be fair to judge Intergalactic in the midst of its move or the inventory issues associated with it. Intergalactic is making great beer with a pretty cool theme. There is no better place to have a few this May the 4th, or any day you boldly go to this beer-soaked quadrant of the beer galaxy.