Food & Drink

San Diego's Best New Beer Releases in Time for 'Spring'

Published On 03/23/2016 Published On 03/23/2016

As you might have heard, spring is officially here. For most of the people in the country, this is the time when that bastard Old Man Winter finally loosens his icy death-grip on the climate and allows people to go outside sans heavy coats. But we live in San Diego, so it means... marginally better weather? No more minor rain showers that inexplicably bring the 5 to a standstill?

While living in a city that doesn’t really do four full seasons might make the transition into spring slightly less notable, there is at least one very real, very noticeable change that will be evident on the bar taps and liquor store shelves across San Diego: new beer releases, courtesy of the best brewing city in America. Without further ado, here are the ones to keep watch for this next stretch of months. They're best enjoyed after leaving the office while the sun is still up, or pulling off into a bar after sitting for an eternity in La Jolla traffic from the influx of tourists.

Courtesy of Coronado Brewing

Coronado Brewing Co. Easy Up Pale

Pale ale, 5.2% ABV
Coronado
A new release for March 2016, the Easy Up Pale doesn’t overpower with hop notes like other pale ales and IPAs, instead opting for a slight citrus flavor followed by a gentle bitter finish. It’s the easy-to-drink pale ale you can keep around in your fridge when it gets warmer, and at only 5.2% alcohol by volume, a few of these won’t put you on your ass.

Courtesy of Saint Archer Brewing Company

Saint Archer Brewing Co. Tusk & Grain Barrel Aged Blend No. 01

American strong ale, 12.5% ABV
Miramar
Most of the time when you read about spring or summer seasonals, you read about lighter beers. This is not that kind of beer. A blend of porter, stout, and barleywine is aged in a Kentucky bourbon barrel. That means a beer that has chocolate, coffee, and bourbon notes without an overly harsh finish. 
 

Ballast Point Brewing Co. Thai Chili Wahoo

Witbier, 4.5% ABV
Miramar
Everyone and their brother makes a wheat beer with orange notes. So instead, try this wheat, which offsets strong Thai spice notes with sly hints of lime and ginger. It’s the most delicious spicy beer you never knew you were craving.

Courtesy of AleSmith Brewing Company

AleSmith Brewing Co. Hammerhead Speedway Stout

Imperial stout, 12% ABV
Miramar
AleSmith’s Speedway Stout may well be the best stout in the entire country, and the Hammerhead variety does its namesake justice. While the original Speedway Stout already has an ample coffee flavor, the Hammerhead makes like Spinal Tap and takes the coffee profile to 11, infusing the beer with espresso beans. Tastes just like your favorite cup of joe... if your favorite cup of joe happens to have as much alcohol as most wines.
 

Belching Beaver Brewery Great Lei Pineapple Colada IPA

American IPA, 6.6% ABV
North Park
You hear Pineapple Colada IPA and you'd think the result would be something of dubious merit, but somehow Belching Beaver pulls this off swimmingly. It doesn’t sacrifice any of its hop profile, while a mere touch of toasted coconut mellows it out and makes this super drinkable.

Courtesy of Green Flash Brewing Company

Green Flash Brewing Co. Dia De Los Serranos

Chile beer, 8.8% ABV
Sorrento Valley
Green Flash is here to prove that heavy beers can get in on the spicy beer fun, too. Flavored with serrano peppers, its spiciness grows as you drink it, but never dominates the beer. Its thick, double-stout body mellows that spice with a whole lot of chocolate.

New English Brewing Company Explorer E.S.B.

ESB, 5.8% ABV
Torrey Pines
This isn’t exactly a seasonal beer per se, but it’s a beer unlike anything else you’ll find in San Diego. The ESB is one you don’t often see brewers attempt, but New English Brewing's balances caramel malts and hops so well you’ll wish you could drink it all the time.

Societe Brewing

Societe Brewing Co. The Heiress

Pilsner, 5.3% ABV
Clairemont
We’ve covered it before, but it takes a ton of skill to brew a good Pilsner. This Czech-style Pils combines all the slight grainy and fruity tastes that a good {ilsner can offer in a light body. 
 

White Labs Brewing Co. Frankenstout

Stout, 9.6% ABV
Miramar
White Labs out in Miramar is known for its penchant for bringing science into its experimental beers. With the Frankenstout, it threw out all former protocol, said screw it, and made a beer using 96 separate strains of yeast. While that might sound like mumbo jumbo, here’s the payoff: A stout beer that combines tastes of dark fruit, bubble gum, and lavender, amongst other things, with a surprisingly light aroma.

Mike Hess Brewing Company

Mike Hess Brewing Grapefruit Solis

IPA, 7.5% ABV
North Park
Unlike other beers with fruit flavors, the Grapefruit Solis doesn’t try to be too sweet, instead allowing the crispness of the grapefruit’s citrus notes resonate throughout the beer.
 

Stone Brewing Co. Imperial Russian Stout

Imperial Stout, 10.6% ABV
Escondido
This beer is constantly on the “best beers in the world” lists, and has just been released for 2016. We could go on and on about its chocolate and coffee notes, but it’s easier if you trust us on this one: it’s worth getting your hands on.

Courtesy of Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Karl Strauss Brewing Co. Aurora Hoppyalis IPA

San Diego-style IPA, 7.0% ABV
La Jolla
Karl Strauss is calling this one a San Diego-style IPA. What that means is that it comes with some of the juiciest aromas and flavors -- tangerine and tropical fruits -- balanced with a medium amount of hops in a clear finish that doesn’t feel like a heavy IPA. 
 

Amplified Ale Works Soundcheck IPA

IPA, 7.8% ABV
Pacific Beach
Too often IPAs that attempt to balance sweetness and bitterness opt for citrus notes. This IPA stays away from the latter to create an IPA that you could easily drink all day long.

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Robert Pursell is an East Coast transplant currently in Southern California bitching about traffic like everyone else. He likes beer and his jokes are terrible. Follow him @robert_pursell.

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