3000 Upas Street #102, North Park
When I checked out Modern Times’ original Point Loma tasting room, I made the company’s Black House Coffee Stout a Beer of the Week. So, earlier this week, when taking in the Flavordome — Modern Times’ playfully named new satellite tasting room in North Park (which was mentioned in last week’s column on the growing number of such facilities) — I decided to focus on that very same beer, as well as the two other versions currently being served up there.
Black House isn’t an imposing ale. It’s simple, like a cup of coffee left on a counter to cool. It’s thinner and more refreshing than most java-infused beers and, matched with its relatively low 5.8% alcohol-by-volume, this makes it a winner for dark beer lovers even in summer. It also makes it the type of beer that can be beautifully manipulated with the help of a nitro tap. That delivery method brings forth a creaminess that takes the beer to new heights. It’s so nice, that I preferred it to a bourbon barrel-aged batch of the beer that didn’t quite bring the oomph or vanilla character I’d hoped for. That said, it was pleasant all the same.
Like Modern Times’ first tasting room, the Flavordome would be impressive even without beer. It’s worth a visit just to see a collage of mismatched lampshades hanging stalactite-esque from the ceiling, a bar built on a foundation of VHS cassettes, and a colorful mosaic made using ‘90s-era floppy disks in place of traditional tiles. All of this can be seen from outside through the venue’s floor-to-ceiling windows, but remember, this is no new-wave art gallery — it’s a bar. So, head inside, grab a beer, and take in these unique interior touches up close.