A Summer Refresher At Lightning Brewery- Poway
Beers of Summer
“Beering up” for summer starts early in San Diego County. Although Memorial Day is next week and summer solstice is still a month away, days are already long and warm. Time is right for drinking summer refreshers.
Few beers refresh like pilsner, so I just started touring San Diego County craft breweries searching for them. I’m looking for other lagers, too. When I find them while out on the beer trail, I’m going to drink them. Especially pilsners. Check back for my reviews of more San Diego craft lagers in future posts.
Pilsners. Why are they considered summer refreshers? For one thing they are sparkling clear, spicy, and thirst quenching. Perfect for hot summer days and warm nights. For another, they are low in alcohol and big on flavor. And they are great out on the patio paired with barbecued sausages, swordfish, tuna steaks, and spicy foods.
For years I’ve been drinking bottled Elemental Pilsner (5.6% ABV) brewed by Lightning Brewery. It hits the spot for me, and I love pairing it with the foods of summer. Having never enjoyed it where it is made, however, I figured it was time to visit the brewery.
From downtown San Diego the brewery is fairly quick and easy to get to: up I-15 to Scripps Poway Parkway, then east a few miles to Valley View Business Center. Brewery and tasting room are toward the back of the beautiful business park, where Lightning has been brewing for nine years.
If you follow my craft beer reviews you know I’m big on quality customer service at breweries. Read my article about it here. I believe that customer service should match the quality of the beer being served at a brewery. I even have a mental checklist of quality indicators that I look for when I visit a brewery. When all the indicators are checked off the list, the brewery is exemplary.
Lightning Brewery is exemplary when it comes to quality customer service. Their customer service matches their carefully crafted beer. Evidence of a caring attitude toward patrons is everywhere, from small details like signage to big ones, like having the friendly founder/brewer on site to talk the chemistry of beer.
Elemental Pilsner is a classic German lager brewed with Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Law) in mind, meaning this beer is made purely with water, hops, barley-malt, and lager yeast. Not mentioned in Reinheitsgebot is the amount of time, labor, and love that goes into making a lager such as Elemental Pilsner. Taste this pilsner at Lightning and you’ll understand. It’s complex. Here are my tasting notes:
Golden-bronze color, crystal clear, with a classic head of white foam. Fresh aromas are floral, spicy, earthy, and slightly toasty in nature. Delicious flavors of toast and honey, with a bit of spice, are encased in medium sweetness and snappy bitterness. Full bodied, firm and smooth, with pleasing carbonation and a crisp, refreshing aftertaste, this beer is exemplar of the style. A true German Pilsner and summer refresher.