9715 Carroll Centre Road #107, San Diego
With flavors of all types swirling about like planets within a rather delicious galaxy, I’d be hard-pressed — and likely entirely unable — to name the style of the beer business owner and brewmaster Alex Van Horne brewed to celebrate Intergalactic Brewing Company’s (9835 Carroll Canyon Road, Suite D, Miramar) first anniversary. Flavors of chocolate, caramel, toffee, figs and prunes poke their way through an onyx, mildly roasty, overtly bitter liquid curtain. In some ways, this 11% alcohol-by-volume behemoth tastes like an imperial stout. In some ways, it’s more like a doppelbock. But, it turns out it’s a barley wine; and a black barley wine, at that.
Midnight wheat malt gives it its jet black hue. Originally, Van Horne planned to brew a black barley wine and a blonde barley wine. Like everything at his sci-fi-inspired brewery, it was a nod to space flicks; in this case, the opposing “sides” that form the crux of the Star Wars movie franchise. In the midst of an expansion that has so far seen Intergalactic take over the suite next door, and will eventually include installation of a three-and-a-half-barrel brewhouse, 30-to-40-barrel cellar, expanded cold storage and canning by local outfit, Mobile West Canning, he simply ran out of time. So, the "dark side" got sole billing during last weekend’s anniversary festivities. The planned blonde barley wine won’t likely enter our atmosphere until next year’s anniversary fete.
If the force of Intergalactic 1st Anniversary Black Barleywine seems a bit heavy for you, a brilliant and much lighter alternative is Unite Pale Ale. The recipe for that beer was brewed up by dozens of breweries around the world on International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day back in March, with each brewery taking a base pale ale recipe and adding its own twist. Locally, Ballast Point’s Little Italy R&D brewery, Mike Hess Brewing Company’s North Park brewery, and the brewpubs of Stone Brewing Co. and Pizza Port made their versions of the beer, all of which have gone over well. Intergalactic’s is brewed with hefeweizen yeast and vanilla, making for something of a banana cream pie beer without all the sugar of the dessert. Luke Skywalker would approve.