Tuesday Tastings: A trio of Coronado beers

This week for Tuesday Tastings I catch up on the beers from Coronado Brewing that were sent to me as samples. Coronado, located in San Diego (actually Coronado Island, in San Diego County), has been brewing for 20 years this year and has been undergoing a fair amount of growth and expansion in recent years. They’ve been very generous with sending out samples as well; the three I’m reviewing now are from two such shipments.

We first visited Coronado back in 2007 and I’ve been a fan since. They make pretty consistently good beers and I’m glad to see more of them reaching beyond the California market.

Stingray IPA

Coronado Brewing Stingray IPAThey classify this as an Imperial IPA, but at 7.9% abv and 48 IBUs I don’t think it quite hits that “Imperial” mark. (Should I tweak some noses and suggest this could be a “Session Imperial IPA” (SIIPA)? Imperial Session IPA? Little DIPA?) Stingray is one of the newest in their core lineup, launched in January—“the first time in four years the company is adding a brand new year-round offering.” Additionally they say:

Named after a serene Coronado shoreline where locals soak up sun and suds. This easy-drinking IPA will transport you to a tropical paradise the moment it hits your lips. Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe and Southern Cross hops provide flavors and aromas of tropical fruits and sun-kissed citrus with soft accents of nectarine and peach.

Appearance: Very clear, honeyed golden color, with a lacy white head with a nice amount of carbonation.

Smell: Bright, tropical citrus fruits—pineapple, tangerine, lemon. Juicy and fresh, it smells like summertime in a fresh fruit market.

Taste: Really good; full of delicate malts spiced with fruity, peppery hops that eschew the “San Diego style” in favor of late addition flavor. Subtle notes of ripe stone fruit, soft bready malts, hoppy cotton candy, white pepper. Delicious and super drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a nicely sweet aftertaste.

Overall: Really good, a masterfully crafted DIPA that doesn’t feel (or is quite up to spec to) a DIPA.

Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer

Sock Knocker Imperial IPA

Coronado Brewing Sock Knocker Imperial IPAThis one is definitely more Imperial than the Stingray, with 8.5% abv and 90 IBUs. This is part of their Crown Series Seasonal lineup, one the brewery notes is a fan favorite. Their description:

Amarillo, Centennial, Columbus and Simcoe hops unite to produce an immensely floral, botanical nose and a veritable explosion of citrus and pine on the palate. With an even more obscene hop overload than our infamous Idiot IPA, it’s an India Pale Ale truly deserving of its imperial crown.

Appearance: Very light yellow, very clear, with an ample, crisp white head. Nicely effervescent.

Smell: Big nouveau-American hops fulls of resin, floral piney-garlic along with the citrus blossom tropical fruit salad bowl.

Taste: A nice interpretation of the style, with a lighter malt body giving the hops plenty of canvas to paint their resins upon. More in the Southern California style than I’m used to, meaning it tends for big sticky bitter character over late-addition hop flavor. But it’s well-brewed, with herbal hints of menthol/mint, and spicy greens.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium-bodied with a resiny (but clean) finish.

Overall: Nicely done and well brewed, though not as good as the Stingray in my opinion.

Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer

Imperial Blue Bridge Coffee Stout

Coronado Brewing Imperial Blue Bridge Coffee StoutThis is their Crown Series seasonal release that’s a jacked-up version (in a good way) of their regular Blue Bridge Coffee Stout. An 8% Imperial Stout with a post-fermentation addition of cold-brewed coffee, I will spill the beans a little bit (har!) and say this is one of the most intensely coffee-forward beers I’ve had.

Prepare to rise and grind. This coffee stout will send you across the water to a new state of java-nirvana. Two-row malt, roasted barley, and Guatemalan coffee come together to celebrate the beer’s sweet chocolate and earthy flavors. Staying true to the name, we source our beans from right under the bridge via hometown coffee shop, Café Moto.

Appearance: Very dark brown, opaque, with a light tan head that is frothy at first then breaks to a light skiff of foam.

Smell: Freshly-grown coffee, earthy as though it was a coarse grind. Roasty malts, oily roasted coffee beans, very dark, and it’s that dark roastiness that dominates the aroma.

Taste: Very intense with bitter-cocoa and dark roast coffee flavors, which reminds me very much of drinking a (cold) cup of strong dark coffee. Some slightly-sweetened dark chocolate makes itself known. It’s almost a coffee-dark chocolate syrup. No astringency, fairly smooth, and so very coffee.

Mouthfeel: Roasty, medium-full body, with a very coffee-like finish.

Overall: Can I say “coffee”? One of the most overt coffee beers I’ve ever had, nicely roasty and fairly balanced, considering. Could easily drink this in the morning without batting an eye.

Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer