Wavelength Brewing Co, Vista

{Update April 2, 2019: See my article in Coast News about Wavelength. The sciencey-fun is still there since my review below, and the beer has improved a lot. Definitely worth a visit when you are touring the five (soon to be six) breweries and tasting rooms in Downtown Vista.}

Mother Earth forms one end of an "L" with Wavelength Brewing in the middle and Belching Beaver Tavern and Grill anchoring the other end. That makes for a very high density of breweries in this little area, and an easy three-stop beer tour on Main Street in Vista. That's how I spent my Wednesday afternoon this week.

Wavelength Brewing Company occupies a large space with a huge skylight over the middle of the seating area. The first thing you'll notice as you walk up are the large telescopes in the window, and on the inside the walls are plastered with posters, informational signs, artwork and movie memorabilia related to space and astronomy. It is pretty cool. They even have a TV above the bar with a live feed of NASA's web channel for the International Space Station, showing you where it is in its orbit over the Earth.

That theme is right up my alley--in my professional life, I am a professor with a research interest in the history and philosophy of astronomy. The Star Wars memorabilia dotted around the place is cool, too.

It was with some disappointment, therefore, that I found I wasn't as big a fan of the beer as I was of the theme. A flight of six tasters in a wooden tray (with the names of the beers written in dry erase marker on an accompanying laminated card) comes at a very reasonable price, just $10.  They were pouring sixteen beers, so six is a good sampling.

Octave Orange (Witbier with Orange, 5.1% ABV). This is pretty tasty, with prominent orange flavor up front. It reminds me of Hangar 24 Orange Wheat. Almost exactly.  3/5

Project Vanguard Calamansi Lime (IPA with lime, 6.9% ABV). Although others on Untappd seem to like it, the lime is not working for me. It comes across as tannin/astringent with a sour back-note.  2.5/5

Golden Note (Pilsner, 5.4% ABV). At first I thought it was hopped with Centennial, but the brewer's notes say Sterling. To me there is a strong earthy/dirt flavor--which can come from hops (not typically from Sterling, though) or can be an off flavor. Either way, I couldn't finish even a small taster glass. Untappd ratings are all over the place, which suggests quality control or consistency issues.  2.25/5

Low Earth Orbit (Session IPA, 4.6% ABV). Tropical/juicy aroma, which combines on the palate with earthy flavors. Medium body. Just ok.  3/5

Bruno (Brown Ale, 5.2% ABV). Unfiltered = muddy-looking. Did they put coffee in it? That's not on the menu. I find this beer very confusing. It is not a brown as I understand browns.  2.5/5

Dark Sky (Black IPA, 6.3% ABV). This was the best of the six beers I tried here. It is a good, though ordinary, black IPA.  It is the only one of the six tasters I had here that I completely finished (that's extraordinarily rare for me, I usually drink everything). 3.25/5

Wavelength may simultaneously suffer and benefit from being a couple of doors down from Mother Earth Brew Co. (which I reviewed here) and across the street from Belching Beaver (which I reviewed here). Wavelength suffers by comparison, in that their beers just aren't as good as their good-to-excellent neighbors' beers. The contrast may make Wavelength's beers seem less good than they objectively are. Wavelength benefits by proximity, however, I would guess, in that a good deal of their business probably comes from being next to places where beer geeks flock. (Kind of like how Reckless Brewing stays alive due to splash-over business from Ballast Point in Miramar.) 

I really want to like this place, but they need to up their brewing game. [4/2/2019: And they did! Iā€™m so glad.]

http://www.wavelengthbrewco.com/     236 Main St, Vista, CA 92084

Belching Beaver Tavern and Grill, Vista

Belching Beaver Tavern and Grill, Vista

Mother Earth Brew Co. Tasting Room, Vista

Mother Earth Brew Co. Tasting Room, Vista