A First Visit to Societe Brewing Yields Tasty Beers
Last month, I went down to San Diego for a couple of days to visit as many breweries as we could and drink their beers. On our second day, after starting off at Ballast Point, we then headed over to Societe Brewing*. Located in a spacious facility, one notices that the beers are listed in a very different fashion than are typically shown in breweries, as one of my drinking compadres remarked, “they’re not into labels; they’re not into putting the IBUs on the board.” In the listing of their beers, they simplify and dumb it down, but that’s not meant to be condescending; they want to make the beer more approachable. As our bartender described it, if you are “making good quality, consistent product, people will come to your door.”
We started off drinking beers from their Old World section (“Continental European Ales and Lagers”), beginning with The Bachelorette with Czech Saaz (5.4% ABV), a single hop lager, which was a really nice, crisp lager with a bready character. Next up we had The Harlot (6.0 % ABV), a Belgian extra, which was crisp, a little farmhouse funkiness coming from the yeast, and nice maltiness from the pilsner. Then we tasted the The Debutante (7.0 % ABV), a Belgian amber, which was pleasant, although quite the body. We then drank the The Widow (9.0 % ABV), a Belgian strong dark, which had more raisininess than the Debutante and more enjoyably darker. Finishing up this section, we drank The Gleaner (7.1 % ABV), a saison, with California sagebrush, which I found fantastically yummy and maybe some apple juice-yness to it – I enjoyed this beer the most out of the first flight. Just like with the “It’s Pizza Time” oregano saison at Stone, my drinking compadres couldn’t stand more than two sips of this beer, while I savored every sip (and finished the taster glass). This beer was quite the treat!
The Out West section (“Hops, Hops, and More Hops”) was next up in our drinking order, starting off with The Coachman (4.5% ABV), a really small IPA, which had really nice hops character of pineyness (“pine sappy”) and dankiness, with a small, easily drinkable body. We then drank The Publican (5.5 % ABV), a small IPA, which had breadyness a bit in the body with some applejuiceyness and, despite an increased ABV, it has less of a flavor than the Publican, I didn’t enjoy it as much, and it might have had a touch more body. We then drank The Bachelor with Galaxy hops (6.5 % ABV), a single hop ale, which was piney, had some herbal/floral notes, crisp, and refreshing. Following that, we tried The Apprentice (7.5 % ABV), an IPA, which was less hoppy/piney, but smoother than the previous IPA and some fruitiness. We then drank The Pupil (7.5 % ABV), an IPA, which was similar to the apprentice, with some dankiness, which is good and subtle. The final beer of this section was The Scrapper (7.7 % ABV), a San Diego Dark Ale, which had a dark fruit nose and some roast on nose, with nice bitterness and a medium body. As one of my drinking compadres noted, it was a “well-conditioned beer.”
Our final section was the Stygian section (“Dark, Roasty, and Sometimes Evil”), beginning with The Pugilist (4.8% ABV), a dry stout, which was roasty, coffee-y, pretty dry and crisp. The second of this section was The Bellowsman (6.0 % ABV), a smoked stout, which had some smoked notes, coffee, maybe some chocolate, with a crisp tail. And our final beer of our visit was The Butcher (9.8 % ABV), an imperial stout, which was delicious, somewhat lightly boozy, dark fruits, and semi-smooth. It had gorgeously rich dark fruits remain on the finish in addition to being strong on the palate; one of my drinking compadres found it to be too much, too boozy, although I greatly enjoyed this beer.
My favorite beers at Societe Brewing were The Cleaner and The Butcher, which were quite tasty. It seems like Societe is making some cool beers and quite the variety of styles, as well. Of course, one of the coolest facets of their tasting room is the approachability for less advanced beer consumers, which is very welcoming. I am curious how this brewery continues to make tasty beers 🙂
* Yes, it’s Societe Brewing and not Société Brewing (confusing for the Francophones…).