Little Miss Brewing, La Mesa

I really don’t like giving bad reviews. I know how hard people work, how much time, energy and money they put into brewery projects, and I would really love for all of them to be great. But they aren’t all great. I’m sorry to say that, at least in its first ten days after opening, the new Little Miss tasting room in La Mesa is not great.

What was great was the service. I had the same bartender as I did when I visited the East Village tasting room. She is friendly and helpful and tries hard to guide people to a beer they will like.

This is the fourth Little Miss location after the East Village and Normal Heights tasting rooms and the brewery in Miramar. Their fifth location, in Escondido was supposed to open a little while ago but I guess that means it is coming very soon.

The original brewery is themed after the US military in the WWII era, and each of the other locations is supposed to reflect one of the Allied nations. This one is Canada. Or should I say, “Canada.” I am Canadian, so I need to be careful not to be too sensitive and too harsh (at least, that’s what my wife, Sarah, reminded me when I came home unhappy from this visit). Even trying to take account of that, however, the decor at the La Mesa location is at best a caricature. There is a fake moose head, some framed tartan on the wood-paneled walls, fake fall leaves under the glass of the bar top and—covering the entire ceiling—a rather rough, homemade Canadian flag. There are three rough copies of Canadian WWII recruiting posters, but that’s the only nod to the military.

Which is a shame, because the Canadian contribution to WWII is interesting and a bunch of iconic imagery would have been available. Canada was the training site for over 130,000 Commonwealth air crews, sent a huge number of men into the merchant marine and navy to convoy troops and supplies to keep Britain going, and liberated the Netherlands. I could go on.

There are about ten seats at the bar and then a set of very narrow communal tables and folding chairs.

The whole thing is rather slapdash and unpolished.

None of that would matter (much) if the beer were good. Unfortunately, it isn’t up to San Diego’s (admittedly high) standards. I recognize that my tastes are not everyone’s tastes, so others might have better opinions of Little Miss beer. Looking back at my Untappd records, I see a trend: their best are good but I’ve never had anything of theirs that was very good, and there are a lot more less-than-good beers thrown into the mix than I typically find at San Diego craft breweries and tasting rooms. The beer board always has twenty or so varieties—maybe they could pick ten and make them excellent instead of going for variety.

Getting in/out of the strip mall is tough (either going or coming you have to drive the wrong way, take a U-turn and come back), and on a Friday mid-afternoon there were very few parking spaces available. I suppose that would be less of a problem in the evening.

Littlemissbrewing.com 5208 Jackson Dr ste 113, La Mesa, CA 91941

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