Culture Brewing Co., Encinitas
Culture's original location and brewery is just four miles down Highway 101 from their new tasting room in Encinitas. Anyone who knows the beach traffic on the 101 will recognize that four miles can be a long way in this particular case, so it makes sense to have this second location here. The soft opening was just last week. Culture is the first of several tasting rooms set to open in coming months in Encinitas. The locals I met at the bar are really happy that this location has opened up, saying that this is something Encinitas has needed for a long time.
If you have been to Culture's Ocean Beach tasting room, the look and feel of this one will be familiar. They have done a good job of creating a "corporate style" that defines and unifies their several locations (like Karl Strauss has, for another example). This small storefront has a polished concrete bar, a garage door window that opens up to the street, a few barrels as tables, and a few chairs. The interior design has a hip vibe (concrete floor and wall, a wood accent wall and exposed roof beams). Both are very similar in style to the original brewery location in Solana Beach, though the latter boasts a patio/loading dock where people can gather outdoors that the two tasting rooms do not have. (Not to be obsessive or anything, but all three locations need way more seating than they have--there is plenty of room, just not enough places to sit!)
The service was great on my visit, and the beer is exceptional. Besides winning awards, all of Culture's beer is gluten-reduced which is appreciated by those with gluten intolerance (and it does not change the taste).
Culture's Brown Ale deservedly won a gold medal at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival. It has a medium mouthfeel, a medium brown color, flavors of mild toasted malts, and it is deliciously smooth with a clean finish. My original rating of 4.25/5 still stands: it is an exceptionally good beer.
There are several other Culture brews I really like, including the Black IPA, Mosaic IPA and the Milk Stout. What is perhaps most remarkable about Culture's beer is that it is so consistently good--across styles and over time. They deserve every bit of their success--frankly they deserve to be much better known than they are.
On this particular visit they were pouring twelve beers. I had a pint of the Rye IPA (6.6% ABV). I found it clean and crisp with a perfect dose of rye spiciness. It has some citrus notes up front and an earthy, bitter finish. 3.75/5
This location is a great addition to Culture's portfolio and to the Encinitas main drag.
https://culturebrewingco.com/ 629 South Coast Highway, Encinitas, California