by BeachRock Bill
Coming onto the San Diego beer scene in 2016 with a small brewing space off Miramar Road, Pure has since grown into one of San Diego’s largest and most popular breweries. Recently expanding the majority of their brewing production to a large space in Vista, in the past two years Pure has also opened a modern vibe taproom and adjacent beer garden in Banker’s Hill, as well as a cozy indoor/outdoor taproom in downtown Carlsbad.
While New England or Hazy IPAs, dubbed “Murky IPAs” by the folks at Pure, have been the crowd favorite since their opening, Pure has also been gaining a reputation for making some of the most unique and delicious BBA Imperial Stouts and BA Sours. So It was with great anticipation and excitement that BRBill and supermodel wife Helen attended last Friday’s grand opening event.
Converted from an old auto repair shop, the new space’s focal point is the stunning sleek bar area done up in wood and metal. To the side of the bar is a large indoor seating area with comfy sofas, tables, and chairs. The entire indoor area is opened up by three roll up garage doors to a large landscaped patio area with tons of chairs, picnic benches, heaters, and the crowd favorite — lounge swings. There is even more seating on an elevated wood deck with a view of the street.
Being the Grand Opening, I was concerned Friday’s crowd would be a shit show, but the folks at Pure had the event well-thought-out by limiting the crowd to match the seating, and by having five Beertenders to keep the line moving and everyone’s glasses full.
The beer choices were typical Pure — styles to please most palates. Helen wanted to start out with a “while supply lasts” smoothie slushy special she saw online called Boulevard Blizzard. This “concoction” consisted of putting Pure’s amazing barrel-aged Beast Below Imperial Stout along with Madagascar vanilla ice cream into a slushie machine. Beer sacrilege, yes, but I have to admit it was decadent and delicious — the perfect way to start our evening.
I opted for a pint of The Boulevard, which was created especially for the grand opening celebration. A nod to El Cajon Boulevard, where the new tasting room is located, The Boulevard is a double West Coast IPA brewed with Citra, Cryo Citra, Simcoe, and Idaho 7 hops. It had an amazing tropical aroma, a pleasing mouthfeel and body, and a wonderful finish with just a hint of lingering bitterness. It was the perfect hor d’oeuvre in pint form.
SOTS and Flights
Next, I waited in the fast-moving line to grab a flight for myself and a 10 oz pour of Shepherd of the Stars for Helen — a high-alcohol, boozy, slightly sweet Hazy IPA that has become her favorite style. Tonight’s SOTS was what Pure calls a Murky Quad IPA, and it checked all the right boxes for her.
For my flight, I put myself into chill and knowledgeable Beertender Chris’s hands. Chris told me he had been with Pure for three years now, and just loves working there. He guided me towards five unique and tasty choices along with detailed descriptions of how they were made. As a homebrewer, I greatly appreciate having a knowledgeable server give me the low-down.
- To start, we decided on Once in a Lifetime, labeled as an American Pub Ale. While not an “official” style (yet), this ale looked and tasted just like it sounds- a deep amber, slightly malty, smooth, quaffable brew. It reminded me a lot of an English Strong Ale found in every London Pub.
- My next sample was Phuture 1, a Hazy (oops Murky) IPA brewed in collaboration with San Diego’s North Park Brewery and Harlan. I love Hazy IPAs, and this beer didn’t disappoint, showing big tropical aromas, juicy flavors, and a nice soft pillowy finish.
- Third, I sampled Emmeline, a straw colored Farmhouse Saison, that had just the right balance of crispness, tartness and spicy barnyard flavors to make it very drinkable and complex.
- Server Chris also steered me to the next sample on our board, Lief Batch 4, giving me the run down on the Methode Traditionale process involved in it’s making.
- The boiled wort is packed in a mobile coolship type vessel, then driven up to Mt. Laguna where it is left exposed to the elements overnight to pick up all the wild yeasts needed to begin the spontaneous fermentation.
- Chris actually went along with the Head Brewer Winslow Sawyer and others on this epic overnighter to expose the wort under the stars. Chris just grinned when I asked if there was any partying involved while the wild yeast was doing it’s magic.
- The result of all this madness becomes Lief, and the “Batch 4” version on tap Friday was a blend of batches over the last three years.
- Light amber colored with the perfect amount of tart sour and unique “can’t put my finger on it” flavors that only wild yeasts can bring, Lief B4 blew my mind it was so good, enough so that I bought a bottle to take home when I closed out my tab.
Finally, after guzzling her 13% ABV Quad, Helen demanded I get a taster of the other smoothie slushie on tap for the evening- dubbed Sacred Sunset (beer purists would call it Sacrilege Sunset). This creamy “aleshake” consisted of blending Pure’s Sacred Constellations, a hibiscus and blueberry-infused Imperial Sour (wonderful on its own), with pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orgeat.
Purists be damned. I gotta admit, it was sweet and sour slushie decadence in a glass and was the perfect way to finish off our tasting.
All in all, it was a wonderful night outdoors at Pure Project’s comfy and cool new space in North Park. The staff did a great job organizing and managing the sizable crowd, and many thanks to our server Chris for taking the time to guide and give background color on all our selections.
Finally, special thanks to my supermodel wife Helen, for not only being a beautiful human being but also loving to hit breweries on date night!