CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Previous Beer Columns >> 2 Pubs in Vista

Previous Pint Pleasures - January 29, 2011

guinness eileen

Backstreet Brewery, 15 Main Street, Vista, California

guinness eileen

Green Flash Brewing Company, 1430 Vantage Court Suite 104A, Vista, California

By this point I'm sure some of my British readers are wondering if I'll ever get back to writing about UK pubs. I promise that net month I will. But first I have one more column about the Southern California pubs I visited last summer.

On our tour of the North San Diego County coast our home base was a motel in the centrally located town of Vista, seven miles inland. With a population just under 100,000, Vista was originally the home of the Luiseño people. In 1798 Spanish settlers established the San Luis Rey Mission, and 84 years later a man named John Frazer named the settlement Vista. By the 1900s Vista was largely agricultural and had become known as the avocado capital of the world. In 1963 the city was incorporated, and in 2008 it was rated as the seventh best place in the US to raise a family.

But we were there to rate the beer. For lunch one day we parked by the centrally located Krikorian Cinema and walked over to the Backstreet Brewery, part of a brewpub chain with additional locations in Corona, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Yorba Linda, Orange, La Quinta, and Ladera Ranch. We sat outside in the side patio area where we had a view of the front of the cinema and a nearby sushi bar, with a small creek populated with ducks not far away.

For lunch we shared one of the Lamppost Pizzas, a surprisingly big "small" pesto and artichoke eight-slicer. Rick's pint was Ali Rae's IPA (9.0%, Backstreet Brewery, Vista, California). Described as a West Coast Imperial IPA this pint has that vertical feeling of traditional hops while still being quite hop-hoppy. It's a classically nice hoppy IPA. I had a pint of Rydin' Dirty IPA (6.8% ABV, Backstreet Brewery), described as a West Coast IPA with rye malt. It definitely has a good dose of both hops and rye. It's spicy hoppy and orange-y, a great pint for al fresco summer imbibing. It's like an orange Harley Davidson, like orange leathers ridin' into an orange sunset, man!

Our next stop in Vista was the Green Flash Brewing Company. Opened in 2002, this brewery occupies a unit in a business park. It's named after a rarely seen phenomenon similar to the Northern Lights that occurs just before the last part of a red sunset on the beach, caused by atmospheric refraction and scattering effects. Apparently owners Mike and Lisa Hinkley witnessed this rare phenomenon that inspired the name of their brewery.

Inside we found a small but enthusiastic crowd of beer lovers. We shared two pints that, at $3.00 each, were refreshingly inexpensive. The first pint, 30th Street Pale (6.0% ABV, Green Flash Brewery, Vista, California), is named after 30th Street in North Park, San Diego. It's a pale ale with a bitter malt following. The second pint, Imperial Red Ale (8.5% ABV, Green Flash), is an amber velvet bitter reminiscent of the Maritime Flagship Red Ale I used to drink when I lived in Seattle. It's very red, almost the colour of manzanita. It tastes like a walk on a wooden bridge over a little stream. One could say it's a bark brew if one so desired -- or perhaps just plain barking.

Before we left we shared a taster of Coffee Stout (8.8% ABV, Green Flash). WHOA! This is a true CoffeeBeer, coffee and beer at the same time. In fact, this is such a great coffeebeer that I shot this video of Rick tasting it.

Thus comes the end of my Summer 2010 Southern California beer tasting adventures. One of these days I'll have to return for more.