On a recent trip to La Jolla, we stopped at the local Rock Bottom Brewing Company and I selected the sampler. This involves eight 4oz pours. The first 4 pours are the same tried and true beverages that are served at all of the Rock Bottom’s. The last four are the work of the local brew master. In addition, once our server, Will, saw me feverishly taking notes and asking my 7 and 9 year olds to sniff the glasses and offer their opinions of the various brews, I mentioned that I was a bloggers and Will then presented me with two additional tastes of cask aged brews. The cask aged offerings were slightly different takes on two of the “specialty” brews. So, I have provided a side-by-side review of the IPA.
The Mary Jane IPA would be Rock Bottom’s version of a typical California IPA and has the following characteristics.
- Appearance: Golden with good foam and lacing.
- Aroma: Slight malt with a lot of hops.
- Taste: Good body and mouthfeel. Nice flavor with a bitter finish. .
- ABV: 6.7%
The IPAs looked identical with a nice golden color and good foam and lacing. They both had that hoppy aroma that is typical of an IPA. The taste of the Mary Jane IPA was again typical of an IPA, nice flavor and then a bitter finish. The Cask Aged version was decidedly different. First, it was served almost at room temperature, so that cold, crisp, bitter was gone. Instead, it was replaced with a warm, well-rounded flavor with the bitterness still there but muted into the background. Overall, by cask aging, the brew master has taken a typical IPA and raised it to a whole new level. By far, this was one of the best beers I had at Rock Bottom or for that matter my trip to the West Coast.