Just back from San Diego, California, which has a thriving downtown bar scene with brewpubs and microbrewery friendly bars but it is to nearby Pacific Beach that I am drawn to for its pier, surfing, incredible food, and the San Diego Tap Room. The SD Tap Room is a fabulous beer joint that serves fine pizzas. Here you will find a series of taps from Stone Brewing, Green Flash and Ballast Point to name a few, all with unbelievably bold beers pouring forth that are packed with a wallop of hop bitterness. And on the pub’s Web site, beers on tap are listed showing the percentage of beer remaining in each keg.
Big, bold and beautiful, the robust and forthright Ruination IPA from the Stone Brewery in Escondido, CA, steps forward with an assertive, piney hop nose and an extended bitterness that is unrelenting. Supporting malt is firm and sufficient, happily placing itself in the background role it knows well at the Stone Brewery, where hops rule supreme. On cask two years ago, Ruination IPA at the San Diego Tap Room was both triumphant and moreish in equal measure.
Most recently, Le Freak from Green Flash, a high gravity 9.2 percent abv cross between a Belgian Triple and a 2X IPA, was on cask. This is a giant of a beer with 101 IBUs and a mouth puckering bitterness that revels in its slow consumption as the palate struggles with Le Freak’s dual identity. Was that the spicy Belgian side or was I just hit with another round of mouth numbing hop bitterness? Aptly named, Le Freak delivers the goods big time! Le Freak can also be found in bottle conditioned format.