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Since hitting the East Village this summer, Monkey Paw Pub and Brewery has only been living up to half its billing. With a solid tap and bottle selection and cozy, unpretentious neighborhood vibe, it had the pub component down flat, but had yet to release any beers from their brand new brewing system.

That all changed on Friday when head brewer Derek Freese and owner/brewer Scot Blair debuted the first four of their house beers. It’s a varied assortment that comes through on Blair’s pre-open promises to produce interesting beers that are mostly low alcohol with several rare and exotic exceptions.

Hoppy session ales are becoming all the rage and Monkey Paw’s opening line-up includes one—Pineapple X-Press. Aptly named and 5.2% ABV, it delivers tropical flavors against a light body. On the other end of the spectrum is Mighty Joe Young, a 5.9% ABV American Stout named after the star primate from the 1949 film of the same name.

The beer features all the roasty, coffee notes one expects from a stout, plus a nice dose of hops (the “American” component of this stout). Sweet Georgia Brown, a 5.8% ABV malty brown ale with light caramel sweetness, and Santa’s Pet Monkey, the brewpub’s 9% ABV chocolate and vanilla imperial porter holiday ale, round out the quartet.

Next up on the brewing schedule are brews that go beyond everyday styles. Some, in fact, have never been produced in San Diego, and that’s saying something for a region that’s spawned at least one iteration of just about every known style of ale or lager in the world.

Experimentation is what’s made San Diego a standout brewing region and it’s what makes Monkey Paw a brewpub to keep an eye on. Monkey Paw is located at 805 16th Street.

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