Mission was one of the first breweries I sampled when I was initially cultivating a more advanced beer palette. Some of their beer worked for me, some didn’t, those that didn’t probably had more to do with me not being ready for them. Don’t let that fool you, I was novice craft beer drinker, but even as I novice I could tell there was more going on with these beers than I was able to appreciate at the time.
As the years went on, I would try more and more of their brews, and as my palette evolved, so did my appreciation for those beers.
A little over a year ago, they opened their new operation in the East Village, just a short walk from Petco Park. I would usually rush in to get a beer or two in me before a ball game, not really taking the time to soak it all in. A few weeks back I decided it was time to change all of that.
It’s a great facility, working out of the old Wonder Bread building really lends a nice esthetic to the exterior of the building. I’ve always been a sucker for buildings with history in them. Give me something that feels lived in over this new, shiny almost synthetic feel that comes with most new buildings being put up these days. I like knowing that a little blood,sweat and tears helped put some character in the walls. The high ceilings are something I found personally enjoyable as well.
It was a lazy Wednesday evening, when I decided to roll in with a good friend and similar minded drinking partner. We pulled right up to the bar, which is impressively huge, and ordered up a flight of everything on tap. Let the good times commence. Here are my impressions.
Mission Blonde: 5%ABV – light and crisp, nice flavor and not malty. It’s what you would expect from a quality blonde. Great summer time beer!
Mission Hefeweizen: 5.3%ABV – It’s got a little banana to it and a little clove but still very much tastes like a hef…but on a better level. I’m not fond of many Hef’s but this is one I would gladly order again. I also love that they don’t want you to add lemons or oranges or any other crap. If you need to add stuff to your beer, something went wrong.
Mission Amber: 5%ABV – Big malty flavor offset by nice hops. Very good amber ale, one I’d gladly drink again.
Bohemian Pilsner: 5%ABV – Winner of the Gold at the 2012 San Diego International Beer Festival and Competition. A crisp and refreshing pilsner with a dry hop flavor. Pilsners aren’t necessarily my favorite beers, but if you are looking for something light with a nice taste, this one is hard to go wrong with.
Mission IPA: 6.8%ABV – Great hoppy flavor, not as hoppy as some of my other favorites, but strong flavor and a satisfying finish! I really enjoyed this IPA, but something was a little off. It didn’t taste like I remember the Mission IPA tasting. I mean this in a good way! More on this later.
Shipwrecked Double IPA: 9.25%ABV – A Imperial style IIPA with great hops flavor, a generous amount of Carmel maltiness and hints of grapefruit and citrus towards the end. Enjoyed this beer a lot. Would have gladly ordered a pint of this bad boy, but I had people to drive later in the evening. Boo!
Dark Seas: 10%ABV – A Russian imperial stout with rich chocolate and coffee flavor but you still get a creamy fruit flavor towards the back. I found this to be a very interesting beer. While that coffee flavor still throws me from time to time, I enjoyed this, nicely done. Very dark…like Darth Vader’s helmet.
After finishing up, our bartender Mike, asked what we liked most. We both stated our preference to the two IPA’s which is when I asked if I had gone crazy or was something different about IPA? We were told that the brewers have been tweaking the recipe for the IPA. I let him know that while I enjoyed the previous IPA this was leaps and bounds more flavorful, and ordered up a pint of that new and improved IPA. Delicious.
Two nights later, I was back downtown with some time to kill before a dinner I was attending, so what better place to kill sometime than back at the brewery where I could get more of that wonderful IPA.
The bar had a great crowd and the Padres games was on, which is nice since I have Time Warner and they aren’t carrying the local team this season. Bastards. Anywho. Went with the IPA followed by the IIPA and struck up several interesting conversations. One with a guy from Australia and the other with a guy from New Zealand. Total coincidence. Oh and some folks had brought their dogs which I always love to see. One of my favorite things about the breweries in San Diego is how open and welcoming they are to dogs… now if they only knew how much my dog loves beer too.
And did I mention Foosball and skee ball tables! Score!
Simply put – Misson Brewery is a great spot for great beers when you venture downtown, and it’s full of real people, not that crazy club hopping douche-bag population that takes over the Gaslamp once the sun goes down. It’s a spot I plan to visit on a very regular basis.
Mission Brewery is located at 1441 L St San Diego, CA 92101