As I heard another patron say to his friend, “I LOVE good beer. The trouble is there are so many that aren’t good.” That sums up my feeling about this place, too. While this place isn’t bad exactly, when there are so many other, better places all over San Diego–for both product and atmosphere–I can’t imagine a good reason to come here. I could see it as an after-work hangout if you live or work really close by. All that said, my impression might not be yours: There were quite a few people there late one weekday afternoon, and many seemed to be regulars.
As usual, I had a flight to start off. Sarah let me try her pint of Belgian Single as well. As you will see, of the five beers I tried none rated above a 3/5 or “okay” in my book and several were quite a bit lower.
Fede Express (6.5% ABV). Nicely hoppy but there was a slightly odd funky flavor that dominates too much and holds this beer back from reaching “good” status. 3/5
Belgian Single (5.0% ABV). Belgian yeast flavor and aroma dominates, creating a single not-very-pleasant note. Slightly sour, and an aftertaste that is not pleasing. Clear golden in color. 2.5/5
The design of the room is good, with your taproom-typical rough wood and stainless steel industrial aesthetic, including two open garage-style doors for air circulation and a polished concrete floor. The blue lights reflecting off the brew tanks are a nice touch. The outdoor patio is large but very loud because the 8 highway is literally a stone’s throw away, even if you don’t have a good arm. For the same reason, I suppose, the sound system inside is turned up much too high. The smell of car exhaust from the highway permeates the room. Dogs proliferate and are not well controlled by their owners or staff, at least at the time I was there. The access street is one-way so it is a little hard to get here. The parking lot is small but there is street parking nearby as well. If you look closely and trust the sign there is a back way in from another street through an industrial parking lot. The whole area is run-down industrial, which makes it a little less than welcoming especially at night.
San Diego Pale Ale (7.7% ABV). This is a decent SD Pale. A little more hopped than a traditional pale ale. 3/5
Coffee Pale Ale with Swell Coffee (6.0% ABV). The coffee is definitely present in both the aroma and flavor. The brew is a slightly brown golden color. The coffee is on the acidic side, and this coupled with the apparently increased carbonation means the rest of the beer is masked and overwhelmed. Bile/sour finish. 2.75/5
‘merican Stout (6.66% ABV). Unpleasant on the first taste. Burnt plastic? Sour but it isn’t a sour. Coffee-ish but it’s not a coffee stout. 2.25/5
There are 16 brews on tap, available in a flight of four 4 oz samples, 8 oz and 16 oz pours plus 32 oz and 64 oz growlers. Price varies a lot according to the beer, from $15 to $25 for the 64 oz growler. I predict that I won’t be coming back, with so many better (and quieter) tasting rooms all over San Diego.
www.baycitybrewing.com 3760 Hancock St, San Diego, CA 92110