It is Kearny Mesa week for me. I did Kilowatt right after Council. Coincidentally, Kilowatt is also a small-batch brewery that does a lot of sours. They are not at all far from each other, so they could make a two-fer sour tour if that is your kind of thing. Like Council, Kilowatt also offers a variety of other kinds of beers.
Craft beer lovers are used to tasting rooms that are pretty uncomfortable–often they are bare industrial spaces with little decoration, rough wood furniture (even picnic tables), cheap uncomfortable stools, and no air conditioning. Kilowatt deserves props for trying to do more than that. There are some nice touches in the interior design, including some cool hop flower shaped lights and a fancy bar that is lit from underneath in ever-changing patterns (which also fits the “kilowatt” theme). But unfortunately the lit bar actually works against them. Humans taste with their eyes as much as their mouths or noses, so it is a little off-putting to have harsh blue light illuminating your beer (one of the ever-changing bar top displays, all of which are too bright for comfort when sitting at the bar). And although it was a chilly night, they kept the garage door to their unheated space open to the elements. It was so cold in there even with a sweater that I couldn’t stay long.
The beer impressed me less than I had expected given what I had heard. Again, I wimped out and didn’t have the sours they focus on (my bad–I don’t like sours) so perhaps you should take this with a grain of salt.
The bartender was friendly and engaging and knew his products well.
250 KWH IPA (7% ABV). This is a straight-ahead IPA. Hoppy, drinkable–fine but nothing notable. 3/5
Belt Notcher Brown (6% ABV). With a malty backbone and a little spice almost like a red, it was surprising that the end of the taste felt “empty.” (Curiously, West Coaster also wasn’t a fan of this in 2015 even though the recipe seems to have changed.) 2.75/5
Holiday Tart (Porter, 7.6% ABV). This opens smooth and sweet, with notes that remind me of Christmas meat pies and pecan pies. The tartness is odd; this is nothing like a porter. I couldn’t finish even a taster of it. 2.25/5
Obliquity (IPA, 10.5% ABV). The bartender told me this one is popular. I thought it was fine. 3/5
Gin Barrel Aged Imperial Wit with Boysenberry (Witbier, 7.6% ABV). This sounded too weird so I had to try it. (An imperial witbier? Barrel aged? In a gin barrel? With boysenberry?) It was interesting, and the berry flavor was nice. I didn’t get much flavor or aroma of gin. 3.25/5
I wouldn’t say I had a bad experience here, but I won’t be rushing back. Your mileage may vary, especially if you are a big fan of sours.
www.kilowatt.beer 7576 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111
Don’t Just Take My Word For It (Links to Related Beer Writing)
San Diego Magazine’s Brewery Guide entry for Kilowatt Brewing.
San Diego Brew Review from right after Kilowatt’s opening in 2014.
West Coaster on Kilowatt from 2015.