A First Visit to Smog City Brewing
Along with a few other guys, I visited a few breweries in Torrance one evening last week. After starting off at Monkish Brewing, we then made our way to nearby Smog City Brewing. Housed in a warehouse, with several hops vines outside, ascending up to the roof, our experience with Smog City Brewing was really good. They are doing some interesting brewing and, as one member of our group described, their beers are “not going crazy, they are cutting it down the middle.”
Just as we had done at Monkish Brewing, our group ordered the entire flight of all of their beers, which was actually easier than at Monkish Brewing, since they could easily pour taster glasses for all 13 of their beers on-tap and load them up on a taster platter. We drank them in the order we were served them. Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be any particular order in their arrangement, neither by ABV, nor by hoppiness, nor by bigness, which was unfortunate. They were still mostly good, though.
We started off with the Little BoPils (4.4% ABV), a pilsner, which was nice, light, biscuity, and refreshing. Next up was the L.A. Saison (6.0% ABV), which was clean, sort of fruity, and with a yeast nose. Next up was one of my favorite beers of the night, Hoptonic IPA (7.3% ABV), which I found to be lovely, with a great nose – it was both fruity and piney! On the palate, it’s quite gorgeous, being both piney and fruity (papaya, perhaps). As someone else in our group (not an IPA fan) said, “That’s a great, great beer”, which it is – it’s delicious!
Next up, we had the Sabre-toothed Squirrel (7.0% ABV), which had some hops – perhaps, it was an amber or pale ale, with some fruitiness, perhaps like a fruit juice (an ESB?). Next up was Coffee Porter (6.0% ABV), which was very pleasant, with a strong coffee nose and continues on the palate. A delightfully coffee, and bitter taste – dark, bitter roast. Deliciously coffee! Next up was Bloody Knuckle (6.0% ABV), which was on nitro and it reminded us of Guinness, some of our group liked it, while I was not such a fan, but that might just be my palate. Next up was the Chip Shot Coffee Porter (6.0% ABV), it seemed like they had added vanilla and it was smoother than the Coffee Porter. It reminded one of our group of walking into a coffee shop, with its aromas.
Next up was the Kumquat Saison (6.0% ABV), which was sweet, delicious, and tart, with a pronounced kumquatty nose. It was enjoyable. Next up was the Unity Saison (5.3% ABV), whose tartness and dryness I also enjoyed. Following these two enjoyable saisons were two meh beers: first was the Zwickel Bo (4.4% ABV), which was kind of like a pilsner on nitro – meh, creamy and grainy and (more) meh. Then there was the Alesner (4.4% ABV), which might be an okay summer beer and better than the Zwickel Bo, but also meh.
We then had the Double Dry-Hopped Little BoPils (4.4% ABV), which was honey and grainey on nose and, on the palate, had some pilsneryness, which was okay. With three not-so-great beers, these led the way for the greatest beer of the visit: Me and Brett, Orbit the Galaxy (6.0% ABV) – everything is great about this beer! The nose is very special and a lot funky, fruity (mango or papaya?). The entire group (even the people not into IPAs) enjoyed this beer. Wow – it was complex and fruity and bretty. Oh my!
One of the aspects of trying Smog City Brewing’s beers was that they’re trying a variety of styles and doing some interesting things. While I thought the Coffee Porter was good and the saisons all quite deliciously tasty, the IPAs stole the show. I would definitely return there to try the beers again, especially the IPAs, but even the saisons.