San Diego Beer, Local & Independent!

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Striving for my Apex or How I’m spending my spring break.

It’s been far too long since I’ve had the opportunity to keep myself busy on the blog here. Midterms were this past week and they were a kick in the pants. Now that they are finally over I have the opportunity to catch everyone up on the comings and goings or the pints and pitchers of the past few weeks.

Recently I had the opportunity or, more accurately, the overwhelming desire to get out of the house and get the hell away from all the books that I had buried my nose in for the past several days. So why not head to my favorite bar in South Park? You know you love Hamilton’s as much as I do.

So I contemplate the always impressive chalk board of tastiness and come to the conclusion that I probably would like it all. Just then, a glow begins to emit from one of the listed beers, it gently whispers my name on the wind and sings me a song of serenity to sooth my frayed nerves. The beer was Apex, from those magnificent masters of brewing at Bear Republic.

I’ve sung the praises of Bear Republic in past posts but for any one new out there, if you are in to hops, these guys will always deliver a beer of insanely high quality and magnitude. That is not just my opinion, but it’s my blog so that’s the only opinion you’re getting.

The Apex is a listed as a Double IPA, but it’s not quite the same kick in the mouth that many DIPA’s can sometimes give you. That is by no means a criticism against it. The beer clocks in at 7.5%ABVso it’s by no means a light weight beer. It pours a light copper color and has that northwest pacific hops aroma that has become a staple of beers from Bear Republic. The first taste was a real surprise. I was expecting something like Racer X but this was much more subtle due to the lower alcohol content but flavor wise offered a nice complexity and a nice balance between the U.S./English malts and the Pacific Northwest hops that they use aggressively. You’ll find the fruity/citrus flavor of grapefruit sits just perfectly on your tongue and really makes it pop in your mouth with flavor.

Definitely the APEX of my day!

Definitely the APEX of my day!

I have gotten to the point where I’m never really surprised anymore when I find a new beer from Bear Republic that I absolutely love. That said, I’m still always impressed by the amount of thought and effort they put into their beers. The Bear Republic guys & gals take a lot of pride in their craft and if you make beers half as well as these guys do you know you should get to brag a little bit. I don’t doubt that Bear Republic will have many new heights to reach in the years to come, this Apex is only the first of many.



PS – Yes, I know this beer was originally produced in 2009, but this is my first time trying it…at least to my recollection, I hope you find it and enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂


Hop Henge Revenge

I think it’s fair to consider Stonehenge iconic imagery.


Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s as a fan of the heavy metal music scene, it was almost impossible not see Stonehenge featured in the music videos from some of the great British metal acts of our lifetime. Of course the context of the landmark is somewhat blurred for the purposes of those songs but let’s be honest for a second, it was pretty cool to picture Druids out amongst those rocks making a sacrifice to same ancient Cthulhu-like deity. Although, to be honest my favorite image of Stonehenge comes for the classic film “Spinal Tap”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about do yourself a big favor and watch it.


What does all this have to do with beer? Probably not much other than the picture on the label.

The brilliant beer artisans at Deschutes, of Oregon, have whipped out a batch of what they have termed as an ‘experimental IPA” and they named it “Hop Henge IPA” a double IPA that stakes it’s claim to being one of the best double’s on the market.

In the form of a 22oz bottlend poured into a pint glass, it’s hard to not notice the great hoppy smell right from the top of the bottle. It’s a bright hoppy scent with strong notes of citrus, all that serves well when it comes to getting your mouth watering in anticipation for that first sip. Pouring a bright copper color with minimal head, it’s very inviting.

So how does that first sip taste? It’s so good, delicious, amazing and I’ll go so far as to say it has a really nice vibrant flavor. The grapefruit flavors also come through but in a more subtle way than other DIPA’s. It’s not boozy at all, the is very drinkable and will put you down early if you let it sneek up on you. The different blends of hops (I could taste the Cascade, Centennial and Citra, but their website says it actually contains Millennium, Delta, Mosaic, and experimental hops as well) along with the malts are in a extremely refined balance. Some double IPA’s can get a little tipped when it comes to the hoppyness or maltiness of the beer. Deschutes excels at making this balance seem simple.

Hop Henge Experimental IPA is still available until April. It comes in 22oz bottles and has an ABV of 10.6%.

I can’t recommend this beer enough. While San Diego is and always will be the capital of craft beer in my humble opinion, Deshutes makes a strong case for the super strong craft beer scene in the Portland, Oregon area. Fingers crossed a trip up north is in my future so I can explore that crazy place a little more.