BattleMage Brewing Company, Vista
After a long day of work and driving, I pulled up to BattleMage Brewing at 9:40pm on a Tuesday. I love that they are open late: more breweries should do this.
And the place was hopping! Fourteen people were sitting in the main room, at the bar and at small tables, chatting and/or playing board games. The gaming theme comes through not just in the BattleMage logo (a wizard who brought back my days playing Dungeons & Dragons) but also in the entire wall of Magic--The Gathering cards, plus foosball and other games in the back room. Everything looks good.
The vibe was relaxed and happy, and I sensed a strong affinity between the patrons and the place.
These are all good signs in a relatively young operation; BattleMage just opened in April of 2017.
The newness of the operation also comes through in the beers, however. They aren't as polished as they should be. In fact, two of the four beers in my flight had significant off-flavors (one metallic, the other acetate esters); a third had a slight acetate off-flavor that was masked/mitigated by barrel aging.
I was a little surprised they were serving beers in those conditions (the one with strong acetate esters was undrinkable). On the other hand it isn't just new operations that drop the ball in this area: I was just at Mikkeller in Miramar a couple of days ago and found their (very famous) Beer Geek Vanilla Shake (average Untappd rating 4.2/5) had a prominent metallic off-flavor, too. (The bar manager at Mikkeller had been unaware of the problem but agreed with me when I pointed it out.)
My impression is that the beer at BattleMage WILL be good; in fact the red ale they call Summon Ifrit is already good and I'd happily drink it again (3.5/5). When the beer catches up with the excellence of the theme, the popularity of this place will only increase.
www.battlemagebrewing.com 2870 Scott St, Vista, CA 92081