Aztec Brewing Company*, Vista
Name: Aztec Brewing Company®
Where: 2330 La Mirada Drive Suite 300 Vista, California
Cost: 4 oz. tasters $2.00 | Flight of 4 tasters $6.00 | Pints and 13 oz. Premiums $5.00 | Growlers $9.00-$10.00
About: Aztec Brewing Company® is celebrating their 4th Anniversary this month. It’s one of San Diego County’s great breweries with an old brand name with an interesting history behind it. Artifacts of that history are on display in the tap room. Be sure to see them when you visit.
Their name is taken from the original Aztec Brewery® founded as Cervecera Azteca in Mexicali, Mexico in 1921. After Prohibition ended in 1933, old Aztec Brewery® moved to Barrio Logan in San Diego, where it was eventually sold twice before being closed in 1953. When sold the first time, however, its brand name was purchased by a brewing company in Los Angeles who brewed Famous ABC Beer (a pale lager) until 1957.
Then in 2008, John Webster discovered the brand name and according to Wikipedia, “began bringing it back to life with his partner, Claudia Faulk.” You can read more about this interesting story here and on the brewery website.
“Although we are working to revive an old-style brand, we are also working hard to be conscious of the importance of being green and being natural.” –from About Us on the brewery website
The brewery serves eight to ten brews ranging from Blondes to Imperial Stouts. Beers are brewed with Mexican adjuncts like coconut, almonds, vanilla beans, tropical fruit, hibiscus petals, coffee, agave, chocolate, spices, and chipotle. In addition to their fine beers, the brewery hosts events and music regularly.
What I Drank: Since it was my first visit to this brewery and the beers looked interesting due to the adjuncts being used to brew them, I decided to sample a flight of four tasters. At the recommendation of bar staff my flight consisted of Hibiscus Wheat (4.7% ABV/20 IBU), Agave Wheat (5.2% ABV/26 IBU), Macaroon Nut Brown (9.9% ABV), and Noche de los Muertos (10.2% ABV/64 IBU).
Likes: Although I enjoyed all four beers I tasted, Noche de los Muertos impressed me most.
Noche de los Muertos is an Imperial Stout, black in color, with a tan head. It has aromas of coffee, roasted grains, and cinnamon. The flavor is intense, and like any good Imperial Stout, it has a medium hop bitterness with notes of coffee and roasted grains. A hint of cinnamon adds to the complexity. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, and the aftertaste is warm from the alcohol. I’m a fan of Imperial Stouts, and overall, this is a good example of one.
I like the laid back atmosphere of the place and the ancient Aztec décor. It was a treat to see the artifacts from the brewery’s namesake on display.
Verdict: A very nice craft brewery on “Hops Highway” with beers worth traveling for. Next time I visit my plan will be to time it when a food truck is there. I want to pair some of their fresh beers with some fresh savory dishes.
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