We should know better by now, we really should.
After spending 2 years to visit every brewery / brewpub in Washington State, we've learned that - for the most part - any large, franchise brewery is not going to be able to compete with the smaller, craft brewers when it comes to taste and variety. The "big boys" need to keep their beers fairly innocuous so they appeal to a wider range of people...don't want to "turn off" the people by having the beer actually taste unique.
My God, No! Don't do that!
Back Street Brewery fits in this category.
Located in a small mall, set off one of the main drags in Vista, this place looks inviting and, it is. An outdoor "garden" overlooks part of the mall and right next to a multi-plex cinema so plenty of opportunity to people-watch. Unfortunately, IF you like good beer, you won't stay long.
As far back as we can remember, wife Persimmon and I have never encountered a brewpub / brewery where we didn't find at least 1 brew that was drinkable...or as she said, "IF you had to pick one...IF a gun was point to your head...which one would it be?"
Well, I can honestly say after visiting Back Street...shoot me. Shoot me now.
Even the IPA (and I am NOT an IPA fan) was simply non-consumable. No taste. No hops. No flavor. Water, pure and simple.
Most Back-Street's are located in and around Los Angeles county and this particular brewery / pub is a good 20 minute drive from where we live so it's safe to say that, even though San Diego was voted last year as the Best Beer City (and I would dispute that at any and every occasion), I have to believe they did not include the North County. If they had, this place by itself might just have swayed the voters.
I love my hobby! Discovering new brewpubs...trying new beers...meeting the people, the owners...and that includes places like Back Street. It's an old adage but, let me repeat it, it's a tough job and someone's got to do it. Fortunately experiences like Back Street don't happen very often.
Who was it that said, life is too short to drink bad beer.
Someone needs to tell the folks who own and run Back Street.
I was in Rancho Bernardo on business recently and stopped in at the Back Street Brewery in Vista, CA on a Saturday evening. This is one of about ten locations in the area. This brewery is co-located with Lamppost Pizza. I had a beer sampler with dinner. The sampler included a Heritage Hefeweizen, Chava Lager, Pacific Pale Ale, Rita Red Ale, IPA, Back Street Blonde, Sexy Sadie Stout, and a brewer’s select. They also had a Rye Pale Ale on tap. I preferred the Rye of all I sampled. Since this brewery is co-located with Lamppost Pizza most of the menu items were Italian/pizza related. One of the locals recommended the lasagna and I wasn’t disappointed. The service was a bit slow even though they were not that busy. There is plenty of parking out front or in the neighboring movie theater parking lot.
Ok, I’m convinced that in the California South Coast area, pizza and really good beer go together. Every pizza-brewery combo I visited served nice “house” brews. Back Street’s selection included seven house brews plus a few regional and import guests thrown in for good measure. The highlights were the Skunk Spray IPA, Southern Nut (toasted GA pecans) Brown and Dirty German Chocolate Hefe. This location includes a good size L-shape bar with additional table seating inside and out. The brewery was located on a catwalk around two side walls and the pizza parlor was in the adjacent room. I didn’t sample the pizza but after the brews, I’m sure it would have been great. There is parking on the street and in the theater lot right around the corner.