6190 Fairmount Avenue, Suite G, San Diego
There I was, walking the floor of the Great American Beer Festival, the country’s largest annual beer-tasting free-for-all. Breweries from all over the U.S. show up and bring out their best to wow the American ale- and lager-loving public. With more than 3,100 beers available and unlimited pours, it’s a terrific opportunity to get a feel for the wares of brewing companies whose beers never make it into our market. As such, I generally try to steer away from local breweries and beers I’ve had many times over.
This year, I did pretty well, sneaking in only some rarities from my own Stone Brewing Co. (Hey, when you put in ten hours of pouring duty, some of that beer’s bound to make it into your own glass.) But when I passed by the booth supplied with beers from San Diego’s new Benchmark Brewing Company (6190 Fairmount Avenue, Grantville), I couldn’t help but break my self-mandated methodology. Homer or not, I had to have some Benchmark Oatmeal Stout.
One of the single best beers I’ve tasted all year, the brew is simple and true to the style’s traditional make-up. Roast is at the forefront and provided in a pronounced yet balanced manner. Oats lend added viscosity that’s creamy and spot-on, allowing the beer to coat taste buds with nice dark chocolate notes that keep me coming back for more, whether at home or abroad.