Little Miss Brewing, East Village
Conveniently located right next to the Park and Market trolley stop, Little Miss Brewing’s East Village tasting room is their third of three (soon to be five) locations. It opened in January 2019, right across the street from Duck Foot’s tasting room, and within a few blocks of a total of eight other craft breweries and tasting rooms in East Village. See my neighborhood beer tour of East Village for all the details.
The main Little Miss location is the brewery in Miramar, and they have a tasting room in Normal Heights. They have announced plans to open additional tasting rooms in La Mesa and Escondido, probably before the end of 2019. Little Miss was somewhat delayed in executing their plan to open six tasting rooms (as allowed under the typical brewery license in California) by the fact that they spent a lot of time and money getting ready to open a tasting room in Ocean Beach and then the city blocked them from opening.
Tap handles in the shape of a grimacing bomb, in the style of bomber nose cone art from WWII, are to be found at all their locations. Each location is themed after a different Allied nation. The main brewery is themed American, the Normal Heights location is English, and the East Village spot is, I’d say, “lightly French.” There is a large French flag painted on the wall behind the bar, and the ceiling is crisscrossed by blue and white fairy lights in a nod to Paris as the City of Lights, or so I guess. A few of the signs (e.g., “Biere” over the menu) are in French. But it is subtle, so I can’t blame the newly-employed bartender for telling me the East Village location was themed American rather than French. (I didn’t have the heart at the time to point to the huge French flag behind her, she was so nice and so enthusiastic about good beer and good service.) I’m not sure which Allies the next tasting rooms will be themed after. The Russians wouldn’t be a good look in the current political environment, what with them hacking US elections and all. Maybe Canada? That could be fun.
The location is comfortable, with plenty of seating at communal tables and at the bar. The interior design is not as polished as nearby Duck Foot or Melvin, but it is comfortable. The service was great. The six beers I sampled were a mixed bag, with some of them being quite good.
At Ease (Cream Ale, 4.8% ABV). This doesn’t taste like other cream ales I know. It lacks the sweet/vanilla character I have come to expect, and the mouth feel is not creamy. Maybe it was a bad keg? 3/5
Helldiver (IPA, 6.5% ABV). Nice. This definitely is a malty and bitter old-style West Coast IPA. It has a slight earthy and a slight floral note in the background. Finishes clean. 3.75/5
Tropic Thunder (IPA, 7.8% ABV). There is nothing wrong with it, but there’s not much “there” there. It is supposed to be citrusy but it certainly isn’t. 3.25/5
Purple Heart (fruited sour, barrel aged, 5.5% ABV). This is sweet and tart with berry flavors and a tiny funky note. Quite tasty. 3.75/5
Wartime Chocolate Cake Porter (English Porter, 5.6% ABV). This has a lot of potential but doesn’t quite succeed. It’s a bit too ashy/burnt and the finish came off thin. No detectable chocolate. 3.25/5
The bartender also offered me a taste of a mixture of the Purple Heart with a mango sour, and that was delicious.
Bucking trends in the craft beer industry, there was only one hazy IPA on the menu.
In my experience, the homelessness problem in East Village impacts all the breweries and tasting rooms in the area. I would love to see the East Village business owners get together and contribute to a real solution. The transit police were out in serious numbers when I left Little Miss: TWENTY-SEVEN officers were on the platform, mostly to give tickets to homeless people as far as I could tell. I’m not sure that’s a good way to deal with the problem, or a very good use of police resources. Of course, I don’t know what was really going on, just what I saw.
Little Miss has taken heat from other members of the brewing industry for their Friday night “$20 all you can drink” promotion—which just seems like bad form, and encourages dangerous binge drinking. They have an offer to buy a pint and then get a crowler to go for $4 ($1-3 off the pint price). They also sent me a code for 20% off my next purchase with my e-receipt. It is a nice gesture, but doing ALL these discounts smacks a bit of desperation.
https://littlemissbrewing.com/ 545 Park Boulevard, San Diego, California 92101