2Kids Brewing Company, Miramar
I dropped into 2Kids on a Friday, just before the after-work rush. There are three craft beer breweries (Align, Protector and 2Kids), a sake brewery (Setting Sun Sake) and two wine tasting rooms in this little spot, so the parking lot fills up. Across the street you'll find Thunderhawk Alements and a soon-to-open cidery called Serpentine. It is quite the confluence of craft beverages on one corner of Miralani Road, and Miramar is already so well-known for its many craft breweries that it has the nickname Beeramar.
The 2Kids space is small and a bit haphazard. It feels somewhat less polished than most of the other tasting rooms in the area. The patio furniture with which they have filled the tasting room is clearly not expensive (I'm guessing Costco or Walmart) but it is also perfectly serviceable and comfortable. The bar is small with no seats and there is no outdoor area. They were pouring 12 beers across a variety of styles when I was there. Generous-sized tasters are served in small mason jars, onto which they write the beer name with a wax pencil--a great idea for helping drinkers keep track of what they are having. Here's what I had.
Incredulous (English Bitter, 3.1% ABV). I love the fact that they had the guts to brew this to traditional (low) strength even in San Diego. It has nice bready malts and a slight butter note (which may be an off flavor?). It is smooth with an almost cream-ale mouthfeel. It didn't taste like a traditional bitter to me (London Pride remains the standard to which I compare all bitters, and it is one of my favorite beers overall). But Incredulous did just win a silver medal at the 2017 San Diego International Beer Festival. I'm guessing that was a different batch than I tried. 3.25/5
Rattle Can (Red Ale, 6.8% ABV). Well hopped with floral/fruity notes. There's a perfect level of the sharpness typical of red ales, but I don't love the finish. 3.25/5
Tribute (Blond Stout with coffee, 5.6% ABV). Blonde stouts are always a surprise to me--they don't taste like they look, if you know what I mean. This one had flavors of crackers and cream ale, though the mouthfeel was definitely stout-y. The coffee aroma is strong, but the coffee flavor that dominates is just acidity. In my opinion, the beer would be better without the coffee added. 3.5/5
Winning (Chocolate Stout, 6.2% ABV). In a sign of just how fleeting pop culture is, it took me a week before I made the connection between this beer's name and Charlie Sheen. I had it on nitro. There's a delicious aroma of smoked bacon before the sip, then you taste the smoky dark toasted malts. I didn't detect any chocolate. Overall I thought it was a bit thin but very tasty. 3.75/5
Service was excellent and the bartender was eager to talk about the beers and tell the brewery's story. 2Kids offers an unpretentious, solid craft beer experience; although they are a already few years old now, I feel like these kids are going to continue to grow.