Beer Maverick

Escondido Brewing Co., Escondido

Though tiny and entirely outdoors, the tasting area at Escondido Brewing is quite pleasant (if you can get one of the 25 seats). But on the day I was there, at least, the beer was bad.  #craftbeer #sandiego

I went to Escondido Brewing on a Friday night. That’s pretty much the only time you can visit, actually: they have extremely limited opening hours, open only on Fridays and Saturdays. I gather that’s because the owners have other jobs, and because they can’t make enough beer to supply more customers than they are getting in just two days a week.

This is one of the more unusual brewery spaces you’ll find, and not just because it is located next to a feed store. While the brew tanks, restrooms and bartender side of the bar are inside, the only customer areas are outdoors. There are three picnic tables, five bar seats and a few seats at the railing next to the street, but that’s it. They did a good job of making the small, rustic space look nice, with a trellis and fairy lights, and good design in general. Kudos, too, on the logo, which is well done. They had a full crowd (i.e., about 20 people) on the Friday evening I dropped by.

I was very unimpressed with the beer, unfortunately. I think the most likely explanation is that the lines were not clean. The beer sits in the line for five days a week, and even then there isn’t a lot of volume flowing, so it would be especially easy for nasty things to grow in the lines and pollute the beer. There also seem to be problems with the brewing process. The result was that I found a lot of off flavors and didn’t finish any of the four tasters I tried, a first for me.

Grape Day IPA (6.8% ABV). Odd, and not in a good way. Dust, sweat, funk. A Belgian-y yeast flavor does give it a slightly grapelike note, but I’m guessing that Belgian flavor was not intentional. 2/5

Hopscondido (IPA, 6.5% ABV). Floral note, a touch of juiciness, but also a background note of bile. My guess is butyric acid, an off flavor arising from a bacterial infection of the beer, or bad lines.  3/5

Cruisin’ Cream (Cream Ale, 5% ABV). The name is obviously meant to draw comparison to Mother Earth’s Cali Creamin’, one of the best cream ales in existence. This is not a cream at all, or it is badly infected; it is nowhere near Mother Earth’s version. Also, it was a completely different color and haziness than the version with vanilla (next). The taste was so awful I couldn’t finish more than a mouthful. 1/5

Cruisin’ Cream with Vanilla (5% ABV). Looks way different than non-vanilla. Cloudy, lighter. The Belgian yeast flavor is less offensive in this one but it is still not good. 2.5/5

Escondido Brewing is still only a few months old, so maybe they will improve. If they want to compete in the crowded San Diego craft beer market they are going to have to do a lot better on beer quality. They should start by not selling beer that is off. So far their neighbors 1.1 miles away, Jacked Up Brewing, are blowing them out of the water. And why come here when you can go to the Stone Brewing main brewery, one of the best venues in the county and maybe the country, just 2.5 miles away?     649 Rock Springs Rd Suite B, Escondido, CA 92025