Rolling up to Rouleur Brewing in Oceanside, you’ll see plenty of signage. It is just the beginning of the fine welcome you’ll get inside. (They are right next door to Wiseguy Brewing in the Carlsbad Brewery Igniter…except that Wiseguy shuttered at the end of September after only about five months in business. I just missed them. Presumably the Brewery Ignitor folks will get a new brewery in the space soon.)
On the day I visited, the bartender was a guy from Montreal, and a group of French Canadians was sitting at the next table chatting–since I’m from there, too, I recognized the French-Canadian accent. It felt good to be among my people for a few minutes. There’s another French Canadian running Quantum Brewing in Kearny Mesa, too. I’d say they are rather over-represented in brewing in San Diego. Maybe it is the Unibroue influence. Maybe, like me, they just wanted to get away from harsh winters!
The theme at Rouleur is Tour de France-style bike racing. There is a neat kinetic art piece on one wall made of fourteen bike wheels joined by bike chain, all spinning at different speeds since they are all geared differently. Clever, and appropriate. There are photos and other pieces of biking memorabilia around the room as well, and the beer names are all related to bike racing. It is pretty cool.
The high communal tables that fill the front of the bar provide enough seating for a fairly large crowd. And I can see why the place would be popular: There is a good vibe from the staff and the ambience, and the beer is also quite good.
In my flight, I had:
PUNCHEUR Pale Ale (5.9% ABV). The yeast lends a nice subtle fruitiness to this, and there is a bright hop presence. Overall, it is a really well balanced beer. 3.75/5
BONKEUR Pale Ale (5.5% ABV). Piney, mellow, clean, fresh. 3.5/5
GRIMPEUR Dark Ale (6.7% ABV). Mouthfeel on the thinner side, deep malts, and a slight sharpness on the finish. 3.5/5
GRIMPEUR Dark Ale Nitro (6.7% ABV). Nitro didn’t change this one much. The slightly muted flavors were compensated by a thicker mouthfeel, so the overall rating is the same. 3.5/5
As I was leaving, my fellow-Canadian bartender gave me a can of Rouleur, one of the beers I hadn’t tried yet. It is his favorite, and after getting home and cracking it open, I can see why. The photo I took of the can resting on my own bike was even picked up from Instagram and published in the November issue of West Coaster Magazine. (Thanks West Coaster!)
DOPEUR Juicy/Hazy IPA (6.6% ABV). An explosion of balanced hoppy flavors: tropical, stone fruit, juicy, light floral background note. Nice mid-swallow bitterness. Very drinkable. 4/5
Rouleur sometimes hosts weekend or evening bike rides that look like quite a bit of fun. If you are a cyclist it would definitely be worth checking out, and you can be sure that the beer at the end of the ride will be very good. Even non-cyclists should visit: Just being around all the athletic gear will make you fell like you exercised more than your elbow while drinking!
rouleurbrewing.com 5840 El Camino Real Suite 101, Carlsbad, CA 92008