Poor House Brewing Company- San Diego (North Park/Normal Heights)
Poor House Brewing is an interesting place. In the midst of the craft beer culture of San Diego County, they have developed a culture unto themselves. Set on the corner of 30th and Monroe on the north edge of North Park in San Diego, it’s a neighborhood beer bar that happens to pour its own artisanal, handcrafted beers brewed in back. Their building is not all shiny and new like Fall Brewing up the block, but Poor House is hip and cool inside; plus it’s popular with the locals.
When I showed up on a Sunday afternoon thirsty for my first beer of the day, a lot of neighborhood residents were already there. When I went inside through the saloon doors, patrons were playing pool beside a stack of Briess Malt sacks, typing on laptops, watching sports on a couple of TVs, and relaxing with friends and family by the roll up door open to the warm San Diego air. Arctic Monkeys were playing on speakers above the bar, and a couple played a game on the shuffleboard table under the beer menu boards. I was greeted by Cynthia who knows a lot about beer and helped me with selections.
There were quite a few tasty beers on tap, among which my clear favorites were IPAs and Specialty Ales. I decided to start with the 30 Hop IPA, 7.1% ABV, because I’ve never tasted an IPA with 30 hops. I should have asked for a list of them, but I didn’t think of it at the time. Anyway, I’m glad it was served in a snifter so I could enjoy the color, aromas, and tastes:
30 Hop IPA has a pretty, copper color, clear, with an ample foam head. Its aromas are subtle, but I sniffed out orange-lemon, pine, and honeysuckle, and it has a pleasant citrus/pine taste. Together, the aromas and taste provide a smooth, gentle flavor common to the style, with a leafy bitterness at the finish. Overall, it’s a mellow IPA that I enjoyed drinking.
Panty Dropper, on the other hand was wild! Created for the holidays, this Specialty Ale is brewed with Atomic Fireball jawbreakers and aged with whiskey chips. It’s only available in 2 ounce mini-jars, but at 18.5% ABV that little shot is enough. Panty Dropper started sweet, tart, and velvet soft with cinnamon flavors, then developed toward a tongue buckling, bitter heat, with an astringent finish. Wow!
My tasting experience at Poor House was a good one. Although quite different from most of the craft breweries in San Diego County, I like it because it is small, laid back, and unique. It’s a hospitable place, too– they gave me good service and didn’t even know they were the 45th brewery on my quest.