In San Diego, you get quite a range of breweries, encapsulating everything from “Wow, there’s a ton of corporate money behind this place” to “Did we accidentally step into a college kids’ basement?” Somewhere along that spectrum lies the people who are just doing it right. At the end of the day, it’s about the beer that we get to drink, but it never hurts if the place looks nice and the people manning the bar seem to know what they’re doing. Enter Dos Desperados.
The wife and I rolled in on a Saturday afternoon to a decent crowd. We had scooped up an online deal for two flights and were eager to try yet another new brewery. We were greeted as we bellied up to the bar and immediately dove in. As we were wading through our tasters I surveyed my surroundings. My normal preference is for a brewery stuffed back into the corner of an industrial park like a hooker corpse, with a decorative motif of “brewing equipment.” Dos Desperados puts a handy little spin on this idea. While they are in a commercial park, they did some ACTUAL decorating. You can still see the brewing equipment, but there’s also thematic items throughout the location. And one random picture of Henry David Thoreau. I still haven’t figured that one out. Overall, it looks very nice and well thought through.
Now for the beers. THE BEERS! We had the good fortune to be served by Steve Munson himself, so we got to surreptitiously pick the brain of the head brewer as we sipped our swill. I say surreptitiously because absolutely zero people know who I am as a beer blogger. Deep sigh. The failings of my hobby aside, Steve steered us in a good direction. In all, I tried six different brews on his recommendation, and all were without reproach. Of particular note were the Gunsmoke Habaneros Scottish Ale and the Vanilla Oatmeal Stout. The Gunsmoke had this nice smoky malt taste that fades into a nice, solid heat. It wasn’t punishing, just pleasantly warm. The Vanilla Oatmeal Stout has a really nice, balanced flavor. No particular taste overpowers any other, making the velvety gulps very delightful.
As I was downing my final taster of the Belgian Trippel, Steve swung back by. After asking me if there was too much banana flavor in the beer (there wasn’t), he confirmed what my wife had guessed earlier on; he’s retired and has brewed for quite some time, but with an empty nest his wife got after him to find something to occupy his time. I’m not certain that this was what she had in mind, but I’m glad she wanted him out of the house a little more. When you stop by, you’ll be happy too.