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Aztec’s serpentine double IPA

Vista brewery turns out what may be its best beer yet

Place

Aztec Brewing Company

2330 La Mirada Drive #300, Vista

It’s common for brewing company owners to be high on the skills of their brewers (ironically, I type this shortly after the head fermentation specialists at Barrel Harbor Brewing Company and Helm’s Brewing Company have parted ways with their former employers). So, when Claudia Faulk from Vista’s Aztec Brewing Company goes on and on about brewmaster Paul Naylor, it’s not surprising. That said, after tasting one of Naylor’s latest creations, Aztec Hop Serpent Imperial IPA, it’s easy to see why Faulk’s so enamored.

This 9.9% alcohol-by-volume double IPA may be the best beer in the history of this revitalized early post-Prohibition brand. Bitterness — a massive 103 IBUs (international bittering units) worth — is imparted by Cascade, Centennial, and Columbus hops. A substantial malt bill helps to balance all that lupulin bite, while Galaxy and Summer finishing hops give the brew nice peachy aromas and flavors evocative of dried, sweetened mango and papaya.

Aztec tends to apply Mexican spins and twists to traditional beer styles. That MO helps them to fit into the San Diego scene in an authentic way, but even without the addition of cinnamon, Mexican chocolate, or agave, this straightforward West Coast-style brew falls comfortably within the parameters of what hop-hungry drinkers expect — and look for — when it comes to San Diego beers. Naylor nailed this one. Get a taste Saturday, September 6 during Aztec’s three-year anniversary festivities at its tasting room (2330 La Mirada Drive, Suite 300, Vista).

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Place

Aztec Brewing Company

2330 La Mirada Drive #300, Vista

It’s common for brewing company owners to be high on the skills of their brewers (ironically, I type this shortly after the head fermentation specialists at Barrel Harbor Brewing Company and Helm’s Brewing Company have parted ways with their former employers). So, when Claudia Faulk from Vista’s Aztec Brewing Company goes on and on about brewmaster Paul Naylor, it’s not surprising. That said, after tasting one of Naylor’s latest creations, Aztec Hop Serpent Imperial IPA, it’s easy to see why Faulk’s so enamored.

This 9.9% alcohol-by-volume double IPA may be the best beer in the history of this revitalized early post-Prohibition brand. Bitterness — a massive 103 IBUs (international bittering units) worth — is imparted by Cascade, Centennial, and Columbus hops. A substantial malt bill helps to balance all that lupulin bite, while Galaxy and Summer finishing hops give the brew nice peachy aromas and flavors evocative of dried, sweetened mango and papaya.

Aztec tends to apply Mexican spins and twists to traditional beer styles. That MO helps them to fit into the San Diego scene in an authentic way, but even without the addition of cinnamon, Mexican chocolate, or agave, this straightforward West Coast-style brew falls comfortably within the parameters of what hop-hungry drinkers expect — and look for — when it comes to San Diego beers. Naylor nailed this one. Get a taste Saturday, September 6 during Aztec’s three-year anniversary festivities at its tasting room (2330 La Mirada Drive, Suite 300, Vista).

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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