Walter Mencken 9:01 a.m., April 29
Vista Beer Tour: Prohibition Brewing Company
When an industry experiences such immense success, people who shouldn’t be brewing on a professional level see others who are jumping into the ring and succeeding. They figure they can too, but unfortunately, they aren’t ready for prime time, and paying customers, indeed, pay. Enter Prohibition Brewing Company, a brewpub that’s far removed from the rest of Vista’s brewhouses, both geographically and from a quality standpoint.
Now, before going into my brief comments about this business, I’d like to point back to a post of mine that I’ve received a great deal of feedback on. Several months back, I wrote a negative review of a small start-up brewery in Carlsbad called On-The-Tracks Brewery. Their beer was so poor that it was my duty, as a journalist devoted to covering not only the happenings but the quality of the local brewing scene, to notify readers that they were not brewing good or even decent beer. While I relish the opportunity to be an advocate for my fellow craft beer consumers, I must say nothing is more miserable than having to call out a brewing company, restaurant or any business in this manner. That said, this unfortunate necessity has arisen once more.
Upon arriving to Prohibition, I ordered a sampler flight of the five house beers they had on tap. Of those beers, three of them had such serious problems that the only reason I took a second sip was to document the errors in flavor. A wheat beer smelled and tasted like a Band-Aid. A pale ale was so minerally a traveling companion of mine (who is in the commercial beer business and has a homebrewing background) described drinking it as being "like chewing on a sidewalk." Others showed signs of oxidization. None of them exhibited the correct body or carbonation for their styles and, as evidenced by the photo above, an oatmeal stout (far left) had zero head. Not wispy…non-existent. Hardly any of the beers tasted the way they should according to traditional, universally accepted style guidelines—even the two that were drinkable (and I use that term loosely). I would disclose which two achieved that pedestrian goal, but to do so would imply that there’s something beer-related worth traveling to Prohibition for and, aside from taps stocked with offerings from AleSmith and other viable craft breweries, there isn’t.
I could go on, but I won’t. My point has been made and, though this isn’t the fun part of my job, fair notice needed to be given to consumers. Good craft beer is worth seeking out, but beer this bad must be avoided, especially when there are no positive signs for improvement on the horizon. Prohibition Brewing Company is located at 2004 East Vista Way.