A Tale of Two Beer Festivals part 1.

Culture Brewing Co. out of Solana Beach, celebrated their 9th Anniversary last Saturday and like many beer fans, we were desperate to get out there and reunite ourselves with the San Diego beer culture.

The last time we went to an Anniversary event at Culture was for their 5th Anniversary and it was notable for torrential rain all day long, which made the celebration a bit dodgy and soggy.

This time around, it was sunny all day. The fact that the place was packed with barely a mask in sight, suggested that COVID had long disappeared. I work in healthcare, so for my wife and I, wearing a mask has become a way of life.

For $15.00, we were given six 5oz tastings (from a choice of 26 beers on tap - all Culture Brewing Co. beers), plus we had the option to also purchase full-glass (16oz) pours. Apart from the beer fans indulging in beer talk, we also got to enjoy a host of dogs - In fact, it was a bit like Crafts Dog Show with beer on the side!

Here's my six choices:
1) Manhattan Beach Hazy IPA (6.7%) w/Mosaic and Citra hops. This was my favourite IPA - I ended up getting a full pour of this later on. Bright, tropical and refreshing.
2) Solana Beach Hazy IPA (7.5%) w/Simcoe and Amarillo hops.
3) Mosaic IPA (7.1%) w/Ginger, Thai Chili and Lemongrass.
4) 9th Anniversary Imperial Sour (9.0%) w/Raspberries and Dark Cherries. Despite several attempts, I've not been able to embrace sours. There's been one or two that have caught my attention, but otherwise, this style has not worked for me at all. This one, however, was a little beauty (and fruity). The effervescence was pushed back in the mix and the tartness was not up in your face, making the fruit flavours very tasty indeed.
5) Encinitas Hazy IPA (7.0%) w/Eldorado and Loral hops.
6) Bourbon Barrel-aged Black Barley Imperial Stout (10.0%) w/Northern Brewer and Saaz hops. I was looking forward to finishing on this Stout even though Culture are not known for their stouts. Well, I found out why - this was ghastly. The body was as thin as tap water, while the bourbon component had obviously gone on strike, as I couldn't taste it at all.

The whole thing was completely unbalanced, but in the bigger picture, it couldn't take away from what had been a totally enjoyable beer celebration and the doggies made it even better!

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