Thursday, 9 July 2015

Dossing with Diego

I rise late. Very late. Far too late for breakfast.

I’m not up to late nights any more. Cocoa at 9 PM is more my style now. I watch some crap TV while attempting to recover my humanity. It takes a while.

I’ve an appointment in the evening at Coronado again. But plenty of free hours before. What to do? If only there were some sort of place I could sit for a few hours, possibly with some kind of refreshment. I think I might recall just such a spot from last year. And not too far from where I am now.

One section of the way is disconcertingly steep. That’ll be fun on the way back. I’ve chosen a hotel on a hilltop again – Banker’s Hill in this case.

Last year my first evening in San Diego I spent on a session in Ballast Point. Seems a good place to start again. It has lots going for it – lots of room, good range of beer (they had Dark Mild last time), decent food and most importantly of all, not too far away. Oh, and they have cask beer. Always a draw for me.

I slot myself between fellow barflies at the bar and peruse the tap list. Who am I kidding? I know where I’ll start:

Dorado with watermelon (cask) 10% ABV, $5 for 8 oz.
"Could I get a pint, please?" I ask when I’m given a half-full glass. Only to be told a half is the maximum size they’ll sell. Because of the strength. Probably a good idea, really. (I remember what happened after I insisted on drinking an Imperial pint of Storm King in New  York.) It’s a bit too strong for a full pint even for me, really. I can’t believe I just wrote that. But it is only 12:30. I can’t spot the watermelon. Not surprising, given the levels of hopping and booze. Pretty nice, but not something I could drink all afternoon.

Slightly disappointing event last night.What will happen tonight? Anything? I'm not optimistic. And I'm usually Mr. happy trousers. Good to see Grant and Sheldon. And to have a proper session afterwards. However hazy my recollections of it are. A beach, brewing kettles, a taxi home.

I’m so excited about Mexico tomorrow. Grant has set up a really cool itinerary.

Black Marlin 6% ABV, $5 for 16 oz.
This fun. Just me and you (metaphorically), sitting at the bar. Nothing to do and nowhere to go. A Porter, black as a miner’s kecks and beaded with condensation staring back from atop the bar. The sexy curves of the glass inviting an embrace. You cheeky temptress. I’m going to wait a while before succumbing to your seduction. Which I inevitably will. I’m only flesh and blood. First I smell your perfume, ashen as cinders. Then that first long kiss as you roll around my tongue. You naughty girl, you must smoke. Ok, this has gone far enough. Quite a pleasant Porter.

There’s a real black-eyed beauty with her beau at the bar next to me. Buying a growler. Not sure why I’m telling you that. Other than it being a great opportunity for gratuitous alliteration.

The prices are very reasonable here: $5-7 for a US pint. It puts Amsterdam to shame.

The barmaid has just had a crafty drink, knocking back a quick couple of four ouncers. Can’t say I blame her.

Sculpin 7% ABV, $6 for 16 oz.
Pale and clear – no fucking murky sludge here. I’m going to have to keep some photos of San Diego IPA to show to twats when they try to tell me a beer should look like cream of chicken soup. That’s really nice – very zesty. I think I’m starting to get this IPA thing. I’ve heard good things about this beer but don’t believe I’ve drunk it before. Effing bitter, but effing nice, too.

I can’t believe it. I’m cold. There’s a real draught coming in through the door and I don’t mean a pint of Tankard. I’m almost in Mexico, it’s June and I’m feeling cold. Bloody global warming. The barmaid has put on a thicker top. Wish I had one with me. For some crazy reason I was expecting it to be warm.

I like the Sculpin so much, I get me another one.

I’ve worked up a bit of an appetite. Time for a burger. The one I had here last year was pretty good. It’s my first food of the day. Unless you count the liquid food I’ve been slurping down.

Dorado (cask)
It’s a bummer I can only get a half. But it is dead good. And 10%. Probably just as well they limit me.

I want to finish with something different. What about an IPA using an experimental hop?

IPA Experimental hop 06277 6.4% ABV, $7 for 16 oz.
Smells like tea. Not as good an aroma as the Sculpin. Mmm. Not sure I like this hop. Tea and earth come to mind. But not in a good way. This hop is never going to make it. Horrible flavour.

I just heard someone utter the immortal: “What’s the lightest beer you have?” I’d serve them a glass of water.

My thing at Coronado is even quieter than yesterday. Only the the chance to chat with Peter Symons saves it from total futility. That and the tacos from the food truck.

Ballast Point Tasting Room & Kitchen Restaurant
2215 India St
San Diego, CA 92101.

Coronado Brewing Company Tasting Room
1205 Knoxville St
San Diego, CA 92110

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