Beer Maverick

Coronado Brewing Co., Coronado Brewpub

Coronado Brewing is celebrating 21 years of being a leader in San Diego craft brewing. #craftbeer #sandiego

This place was packed at 3pm on a Wednesday. I guess that’s a good sign!

I got the last seat at the bar and ordered a flight. The menu listed 21 house beers on draft (one blown and unavailable) plus three Coronado beers available in bottles.

The atmosphere was lively. The decor is Arts-and-Crafts style (sort of): lots of wood, glass light fixtures, exposed beams. There’s a lot of restaurant seating but not much in the bar area.

Parking in the neighborhood is tough: take the ferry from downtown for a special night out.

The beer is good, though nothing strikes me as truly outstanding. Since I started using Untappd, I’ve logged 14 Coronado beers. Two rated 4/5, and most were in the 3.25 to 3.5 range. According to my scale that means “solid, but not exceptional.” Although 14 beers isn’t by any means their whole catalog (Untappd has over 400 Coronado beers listed!), that’s my general feeling about everything about Coronado Brewing. They are aiming for “middle of the road” it seems; their aim is true, and as a result they have a lot of fans. They aren’t trying to be AleSmith or Mikkeller or Modern Times. They are only trying to be themselves. They make good, drinkable beer. It works.

Sea Monkey (Session IPA, 5%ABV). Aggressively hopped for a session. 3.25/5

Stay Kolschtal (Kolsch, 5.5% ABV). A nice light, easy-drinking beer. Best name ever. (I imagine Sean Connery saying it.)  3.25/5

Berry the Hatchet (Fruit Beer, 4.6% ABV). Well made, just not my style. The raspberries come through strongly, making it pretty tart.  3/5

Beach Town Brown (Brown Ale, 4.8% ABV).  Smooth, simple–a straight-ahead porter. Good head retention, smooth flavor. 3.5/5

21st Anniversary (Imperial IPA, 8% ABV). This uses an unusual hop, Azzaca, that lends a nicely tropical/piney aroma and taste, with fruit notes in the background. The bitter finish has a slight earthiness to it. It is crystal clear and clean.  3.5/5

The food looked good but I didn’t eat. The happy hour deals are modestly good.

The staff seems over-worked. My bartender was friendly and fast but mostly absent–even with 13 people sitting at the bar she was off doing other stuff (they need a bar-back, I guess).

The date of publication of this post coincides with the 21st anniversary of Coronado Brewing. ($10 admission to the party, 2-7pm at the Knoxville brewery.) Happy Anniversary!     170 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118