Oceanside Ale Works- Oceanside
Coming home to San Diego from a L.A. beer trip last Saturday I was tired of traffic and thirsty. Knowing that Oceanside Ale Works was on my list to visit, I got off the I-5 in Oceanside figuring it would be close. Little did I know it was 9 miles east on busy Oceanside Boulevard! As the I Ching says, “Perseverance Furthers,” so I took a deep breath and made the trek east.
Oceanside now has four craft breweries, and Oceanside Ale Works was the first one, founded in 2005. They claim to be “one of the few manual brew houses in the USA.” One of the owners told me they still brew all their beers by hand, meaning valves are turned by hand, tank levels are checked with a stick, and temperature throughout the process is controlled by the brewer, not a computer. Actually, their brewing system is simply a big version of equipment they homebrewed with over a decade ago, now proudly displayed in the lobby of the brewery.
Although I wanted to taste all their beers that are made this way, I could only have one, so I decided on one of their flagships, Pier View Pale Ale, 5.7%/55 IBUs. On their website this beer is described as, “Light aroma, malty then balanced by hops and a clean finish.” Served in a plastic cup, here’s what I got:
Golden color, white head, good retention. No to low aroma until it warms, then maple syrup, honey, and walnut aromas come up with the bubbles. Flavors are sweet and juicy orange. This beer is malt balanced with low bitterness. It has a soft body, delicate carbonation, and short finish with no astringency. Overall, it is sweet, smooth, and easy to drink; quite different from other American Pale Ales I have tasted in San Diego County.
Incidentally, there is a faster way to get to this brewery: from the I-5 take Highway 78 (Hops Highway) east to College Boulevard, then north to Oceanside Boulevard, where you’ll make a right. Stay on Oceanside Boulevard, right on Peacock, then right on Ord Way.