San Diego (Coronado), California:
Tuesday 22nd May 2012
Please forgive me for a small digression as, before going to this pub, I made a detour.
The Silver Line of the San Diego Trolley only runs on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. It makes a circle of the downtown area every thirty minutes during the middle of the day.
What makes it different is that it is operated by a historic streetcar (tram). At the moment there is only one, no 529, which was built in 1949. However another five are under restoration to join it and provide an extended service.
I enjoyed my thirty minute circuit of the city on the 10.00 departure. Please see my photograph of it leaving after I'd alighted at America Plaza station. It was just over five minutes walk from there, passing the classic "Mission" style railroad station to the Broadway Pier of the Coronado ferry for the 11.00 departure.
It only takes around twenty minutes but there is a lot to see. I watched a small ship leaving to go on a whale watching trip and one could not be but impressed by the bulk of USS Midway, it is absolutely huge; by far the largest naval ship I have ever seen.
It saw action in the Second World War and the Korean conflict. Nowadays it is a museum of Naval Aviation and there are 27 preserved aircraft on deck and in the hangers.
Given an unlimited schedule I would have definitely visited.
After passing the Midway, the ferry seemed to be heading for the massive Coronado Bridge that carries traffic over from San Diego but then, turned slightly right to berth on Coronado.
Beyond the bridge I could see commercial shipyards and the massive naval base that is home to the US Pacific Fleet. Coronado is often referred to as an island but is actually a spit, although it is a very long drive from San Diego if you come via the isthmus. The most northern part of Coronado was actually an island but it was artificially joined to the rest during World War 2 and is a naval training base. House prices here are amongst the highest in the USA and it is a very affluent place, as I noticed on my way to the pub.
After just under ten minutes from disembarking I was walking through the flower bedecked entrance of the pub.
They have a range of five regular beers which are: Coronado Golden (5.4%); Orange Avenue Wit (5.5%); Islander IPA (7.0%); Idiot IPA (8.5%) and Mermaid's Red Ale (5.7%). There were also three specials: Four Brothers Pale Ale (5.5%); Stingray Point IPA (6.9%) and Blue Bridge Coffee Stout (5.4%).
There were also three beers from other breweries: Karl Strauss (San Diego) Wreck Alley Imperial Stout (9.5%) and from Sierra Nevada (Chico, CA) Pale Ale (5.6%) and Torpedo IPA (7.2%). I had a taster tray of five of Coronado's beers and these are my notes.
Mermaid's Red Ale was much better than most Red ales, I thought; being a bit more bitter than normal. Four Brothers Pale Ale was wonderful, being very hoppy yet balanced. Stingray Point IPA was very bitter yet very dry; it was all right. Islander IPA had a softer taste than the previous IPA yet was still quite dry with a citrus aftertaste. Idiot IPA must have been a special version of this beer as it was 8.5%. I thought it was normally a 5.7% beer. It is very bitter and has many intense and complex tastes. I thought it was great.
In the pub I noticed that it was divided in to two major areas with a restaurant with a traditional pizza oven on the right as you come in. The area straight on is the pub with lots of bar stools and booths. The brewery is out the back. There is one hand pump that dispenses cask ale occasionally, but not when I was there. The brewery was founded in 1996 as a brew pub and developed, slowly at first; until in 2006 it expanded greatly, tripling its capacity.
However this was not enough to satisfy demand for the beers and the latest progression is to open a brand new brewery on the mainland, so to speak. This will have a capacity of 30 barrels and, although delayed, is expected to open in 2013. It is located on Knoxville Street in the Tecolote Canyon area of San Diego and will have its own tasting room.
I believe the existing brewery will continue to supply the Coronado pub.
This is a great pub with a superb journey to get there; highly recommended.
As an example of this; whilst waiting for a few late running passengers to board the ferry, I noticed a seal in the bay with a fish in its mouth frantically trying to kill it. This attracted the attention of two birds, one of which, in a flash noticed the seal lose control of the fish. It swooped, grabbed the fish, got it into the air but then dropped it. The seal didn't need reminding that the fish was its dinner, grabbed it and swallowed it head first. You don't see that on the Woolwich ferry! I photographed all of this but it was too far away to reproduce here.
Coronado Brewing, 170 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118. Tel: (619) 437 4452
Open: Sunday to Thursday 10.30-21.00; Friday and Saturday 10.30-22.00
Happy Hours: Monday to Friday 14.00-18.00
As mentioned earlier the best way to get to the pub is on the ferry. It operates daily and is hourly from Broadway Pier between 09.00 and 21.00 with a 22.00 departure on Fridays and Saturdays. It returns from Coronado from 09.30 to 21.30 with a 22.30 departure on Fridays and Saturdays. There are also some local buses that get there over the bridge.