Hess Brewing is a new beer for me. My first encounter was back in April at the North Park Beer festival, where I don’t really remember what it was I had from them but it left a nice impression on me and it planted the seed to find out more about them. I’m very glad that I did.
Saturday afternoon I made my way up the 15N to Miramar and after complete driving past it once, I manged to get my head in the game and find this small gem of a brewery tucked away in business park on Silverton Avenue. Upon parking the first thing to be noted was the awesome, savory smells coming from the Swieners tent that was out front of the brewery cooking up some amazing sausages and brats for the patrons at Hess. This almost lead to my being utterly distracted from making into the brewery but I managed to pull it together and cross the threshold of the brewery.
I always enjoy walking into a brewery and taking it all in, seeing how each tasting room is organized and laid out. Being a nano brewery, Hess has a little less to take in, but that doesn’t mean what’s there isn’t downright impressive. I was particularly taken with the fridge full of growlers, its a small touch, but it’s the kind of things that sticks in my head down the road.
My friend and I both decide we’re going to get the taster flight, that comes with a keeper glass. Again, a simple thing really, but a touch that sticks in the brain. The flight was for five beers, but seeing as how they had six on tap I had a feeling we’d end up trying each of them. We did.
Grazias – Vienna Cream Ale : Not gonna lie, the cream ale, part of the title had me pause for a second before tasting, but this is a solid alre with a really good balance of hops and malts. It’s clean and refreshing.
Grazias Induresco – Strong Brazillian coffee flavor. Not being a coffee person person, I could help but notice that strong flavor. It’s not overwhelming though, which I feel is very important. Very glad I tried this.
Pallidius – Had a little spice to it, little pepper flavor that was a nice surprise.
Aurum – Belgium Golden ale -I really liked this one. Light and crisp, with some fruity flavors to boot, but again, balanced very well so you don’t think someone poured Hawaiian Punch in your beer.
Solis Occasus Meridian IPA – They told us this IPA goes by a lot of names and I kinda felt like I was trying to say Russell Crowe’s names from ‘Gladiator’ but really all you need to know is that this is good. It’s not a slap you in the face hoppy, but it brings something different to the table in the San Diego IPA market.
Amplus Acerba – San Diego Pale Ale or Double IPA – It’s a strong beer but again, the brewers show there love of balance by keeping the extra hops temped with extra malts. To my palette, it had a little boozy-ness, but was an easy to drink. Oh, and this bad boy is an 11.6% ABV, so the Swieners was starting to call my name by this point.
Ex Umbris – Rye Stout – This is a good beer. I have some peculiarities when it comes to my stout beers, but this one measures up quite well. Big malty flavors, mixed with roasted chocolate and some hops in there for good measure. Good stuff.
So by this point, we decided to order a full pint of something – We both went with the Meridian.
We both had a blast checking our Hess for the 1st time. The people who worked there are friendly and full of information and the crowd of regulars that come by were a lot of fun to chat with as well. Honestly, one of my favorite parts of visiting a brewery is talking to the people there, you’ve all come for the same reason so its you already have something in common. It’s almost like a feel of community. Crazy right?
So to wrap up – Hess Brewing is a great nano brew that is starting to hit its stride. Work is under way on a new facility in North Park, where it will not only serve as brew house/ tasting room, but also a canning line. Details can be found here from our friends at West Coasters.
And yes, I had the Swieners on the was out and it was pretty awesome too!