Beer 511

Exploring the Craft Beer and Homebrew Scenes in Peru (Country Code 51) and the USA (Country Code 1)

Category: California

Drake’s Aroma Coma 2x IPA

In July, San Leandro’s Drake’s  Brewing Company released their latest edition of Aroma Coma IPA.  The company sent me a sample bottle, along with a nifty branded glass to drink it in, which I found waiting for me upon my return from Peru.

The 2017 Aroma Coma is double IPA.  The brewery press release indicates that they have added more Citra hops and more rye malt and light caramel malt. The ABV has also been bumped up to 8.0%.

I found Aroma Coma 2x IPA to be intensely hoppy –as befits a double IPA– with citrus notes, particularly grapefruit and a touch of orange. It is malty, which helps balance the hoppiness.  It is a big beer, but not over-the-top in any regard, and is easy to drink. I’ve gotta say, I found it altogether pleasant and a lovely way to treat myself after the workday.

 

Monterey Coast Brewing Co. (Salinas, CA)

Monterey Coast Brewing Co., is located about 10 miles inland, in downtown Salinas, and has been around for at least a dozen years. Until recently it was Salinas’ only brew-on-premises establishment open to the public. (Monterey’s Alvarado Street Brewery now has a production facility in Salinas with an attached tap room.) The brewpub is actually located in what was originally a bank, and later was a gun smith’s and armory, below the studios of a now long-defunct public radio station that I worked at while in high school. Thus, I have a fondness for the place, and have lunched there on several occasions.

The restaurant has a simple, old-fashioned wood bar with a over a dozen taps, backed up by what looks like four or five 10-bbl fermenters.

A curious detail I noticed on my latest visit is that the mash tun has two manways. It appears that the orientation of the original one must not have allowed enough space for comfortably removing the spent grain given its proximity to the nearby wall, and thus a second manway was cut into the tun.

I’ve always enjoyed the food there, and when they say on their website that it is “where the locals eat”, it is no mere marketing or exaggeration.

Of course, the main reason I chose to dine there when I’m in Salinas is to support a local, independent brewer.  Which, brings us to the beer:

Monterey Coast Brewing has a modest lineup of eight house beers, ranging from a pale ale to a stout. Given that they only sell the beer on premises ($7 32-oz growler refill on Thursdays!), it is probably prudent that they keep the number manageable.

From L to R: Scottish Red, IPA, Belgian Ale

On this visit, I ordered a flight for the first time, tasting five of their beers. This horizontal sampling allowed me to discern a notably similar character in their brews.  I expect that the brew staff has perhaps been harvesting  the yeast from one brew for use in the next, and that, over time, it may have evolved into “house” strain.

I’ve never found their beers to be outstanding, but always enjoyable, albeit with a few allowances –for example, the IPA doesn’t fully deliver on the “heavily hopped…intense and complex” character promised in the description.  One’s most solid bets, I think, are the pale ale, the porter, and the stout.

 

Monterey Coast Brewing Company
165 Main St.
Salinas, California

montereycoastbrewing.com

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