170 Orange Avenue, Coronado
10151 Prospect Avenue, Santee
10450 Friars Road, Allied Gardens
With the camaraderie between San Diego County breweries, collaboration beers are natural and frequent occurrences. For many brewers, the only inhibitor to embarking on a group project is the inability to fit a collaboration into a busy brew schedule. That was the case with Coronado Brewing Company head brewer Ryan Brooks and Manzanita Brewing Company brewer Daniel Cady, both of whom wanted to conspire with mutual friend and San Diego Brewing Company head brewer Jeff Drum. The pace at Coronado and Manzanita is so break-neck that there simply wasn’t an open fermentation tank. Fortunately, Drum was able to free up some cellar space and the result is Play Date Stout.
An imperial stout coming in at whopping 10.2% alcohol-by-volume, Cady reports that it's massive, yet pleasantly drinkable. The idea to go the Russian imperial route was Drum’s. From there, the trio conceived of a way to go “an alternative route” with the beer. That involved engineering a malt bill that, though free of strongly kilned barley, would impart light roasty flavors along with big toast notes. Play Date is currently on tap at San Diego Brewing Company. Its flavor is most akin to milk chocolate, and subtle notes of dark fruit and graham cracker are also present. But the main focus was to keep the beer from tasting overbearingly roasty. Think of it as a gentle breakfast blend from the corner coffee shop, versus a super-charged venti cup of Starbucks Sumatra; six very careful hands working together to create something more playful than monstrous.