980 Park Center Drive, Suite A, Vista
4223 30th Street, North Park
For all the mixed emotions about the company’s branding, Belching Beaver Brewery makes some mighty fine beers. That sentiment is nearly unanimous across top-level local beer enthusiasts. Those who don’t spend their time hitting up every tasting room, taking notes and analyzing to an almost unbelievable degree — you know, regular folks who just like beer (i.e., the majority) — pretty much know The Beav’ for one thing: its milk stouts.
Belching Beaver Milk Stout was the first of the company’s beers to really get traction. It’s actually quite impressive considering stouts don’t do all that well in hop-heavy, IPA-addicted San Diego County, and goes to show how good that mild, dark, creamy beer is. And when they upped the ante, adding a higher-alcohol peanut butter milk stout to their year-round offerings, even those who’d never heard of the brewery went crazy for it and became evangelists. It’s almost a shame, because the brewery’s hoppy beers are very good as well, but one must play to their strengths. To that end, the Vista operation is set to release the newest member of its lactose-tinged family of beers, Belching Beaver Horchata Imperial Stout.
Like its peanut butter brother, this brew is higher on the alcohol-by-volume scale (9%), but its intense flavor and sweetness hide that. Unlike in other beers, such as pale ales or IPAs, that sweetness is not a defect. Milk sugar is added during the brewing process and, because yeast is unable to process it, a residual sweetness and creaminess are left behind in the finished product, hence its dairy-inspired name. But there’s way more to the brew than the milk sugar. Rice malt, vanilla, and cinnamon are added during the boil with even more of the last two added during secondary fermentation. Overtones of cinnamon mix with flavors of chocolate and vanilla, making this smooth-drinking brew dessert in a glass, and a delicious one at that. The beer will debut in bottles and on draft next month. It will also be on-hand as the celebratory number at Belching Beaver’s two-year anniversary event on October 18.