Beer Tripping Across the County Line: Artifex Brewing Company- San Clemente
Name: Artifex Brewing Company
Where: 919 Calle Amanecer | San Clemente, California
Cost: Taster $2.00-$3.50 | 10 oz. Pour $4.00-$7.00 | Pint $4.00-$5.50 | Growler fill $14.00-$28.00 | Snacks $5.00
About: Located just across the San Diego County line in San Clemente, Artifex Brewing Company started producing amazing craft beers in August, 2014. They are one of three independent breweries operating in San Clemente, California.
Brewing for Artifex are John Johur (formerly of Pizza Port Solana Beach and Mother Earth Brewing) and Chris Gort (formerly of Stone Brewing). They are brewing on a 15 barrel system in the brewhouse, right next to the tasting room. Their beers are fresh and delicious.
The tasting room at Artifex is beautiful. Its trendy decor and interior design with warm, wood accents and hip lighting, is inviting. The vibe is mellow and relaxing. Island reggae music plays in the background. Picture windows provide natural light and flip-up glass panels open to a heated patio outside. There is plenty of seating inside and out.
Artifex has a beer style for every palate: light lager, dark lager, wheat; two different blonde ales; a pale ale and red ale; two West Coast-style IPAs, and an Imperial Stout.
What I Drank: I sampled their two IPAs and Dark Helmet Schwarzbier (6.1% ABV/14.5 IBU), a Gold Medal winner at last year’s San Diego International Beer Fest. Being that the Schwarzbier style is uncommon in San Diego, and because I love drinking medal winners, I decided to review it for you.
Appears to be black, but Dark Helmet is actually deep, dark, ruby-red in color, with a light tan head. Aroma is slightly roasty, with hints of chocolate and coffee. Flavor profile is similar, with a pleasant, mild sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium creamy, smooth, nicely carbonated, with a clean aftertaste. Overall, this is a very balanced dark lager that is true to style. Delicious and refreshing.
Likes: I tasted three beers at Artifex and they were all very well-made, clean, and true to style. I particularly enjoyed the Schwarzbier and I’m still thinking about how good it was while I write this. Customer service by staff at the brewery was excellent, which by my definition means professionalism and personality. Clean restrooms.
The Verdict: Highly recommended. An excellent craft brewery producing well-made brews to satisfy any beer-lover’s taste. The beers and service were flawless and well worth traveling for. I shall return.