Garrett Harris 10:11 p.m., May 23
The latest libation to debut on the SD craft beer scene has a most interesting name. Dubbed "The Angry Panda," one might think it's an homage to the most storied residents of the San Diego Zoo, but that explanation's too black-and-white...and incorrect. The newest brew from Airdale Brewing Company, Angry Panda is named after owner Tony Clarke, who — before founding his brewing operation in 2008 — was a Navy pilot who went by the call-sign "Angry Panda."
"It was given to me because I was usually calm and collected but could quickly become bold and aggressive when I needed to be," says Clarke, adding that he gave the beer his name because it matches his personality. "I really love this beer because it is well-balanced, but big in flavors. It has a nice, smooth caramel maltiness with a touch of spice, coupled with an aggressive hop profile that doesn't overpower the beer, coupled with a nice high-gravity heat."
Clarke says the beer goes well with food, especially when it reaches a 55-degree F temp. If you want to test that theory, pack your thermometer and head to Urban Solace in North Park. There, the Angry Panda is being served for the first time as part of a three-beer flight that includes Airdale's Afterburner Amber Ale and Dark and Stormy Imperial Stout. Chef Matt Gordon will be preparing a small tasting to accompany the Panda and its stout companions.
Angry Panda will remain on tap at Urban Solace through the week, but if you can't make it to 30th Street, it will be available while supplies last at Bottle Craft in Little Italy, Best Damn Beer Shop downtown, Clem's Bottle House in Kensington, California Liquor in South Park, and the Pizza Port Carlsbad Bottle Shop. Clarke brewed only 15 barrels for the initial batch.