Pure Project, a new San Diego brewery, is opening it’s doors next Saturday, January 30th! We had the opportunity to check out their new space in Miramar this evening for a media preview event to taste 9 of their 12 beers that will be available when they open the doors next weekend. We had few expectations, as this brewery just recently caught our attention. All we knew going in was this:
One of the two partners of Pure Project, Jesse, and his wife Agi were living in Costa Rica when they got an idea to start a brewery there. They went to a Costa Rican beer festival and saw a need that wasn’t being met. It sounded too good to be true. They found it was too difficult to import the supplies needed and ran into some other major road blocks. So, partners Jesse and Mat pulled the plug on Costa Rica and, long story short, moved the operation to San Diego instead. However, their original vision is what sets them apart as a brewery. They are focused on quality ingredients, sourcing locally, sustainability, and the beautiful environment of Costa Rica. Their head brewer, Winslow, even has a degree in Sustainable Agriculture. So, that’s a little about the background of the business which we knew going into this evening. The beer remained a mystery, but boy, were we in for a treat! For them the details matter and it certainly shines through in everything they have done so far.
If you are interested in learning more about their story be sure to check out the SD Beer Talk Radio Podcast: http://www.sdbeertalk.com/2016/01/11/episode-46-pure-project/
We dove right in with a tasting flight, starting with a light Kolsch and ending with a dark stout. Not only were we impressed by the variety of beer, but also the creative use of ingredients in each one. Take la vie en rose; this bright red saison is brewed with locally sourced raw orange blossom honey from Mikolich Family Farms, organic hibiscus flowers from Burkina Faso, and wild crafted grains of paradise from Morocco. Each ingredient is thoughtfully sourced and the result is a myriad of complimentary flavors which make for really delicious brews. These beers are not as outlandish and strong as those we’re used to seeing at other breweries around San Diego, but rather these beers are very drinkable, balanced, and extremely well executed.
Being aliens, we love when humans push the boundaries with beer, but sometimes it’s nice to know that you’ll like pretty much everything on the menu, no matter what you choose. If you want hand-crafted beers that are focused on local, seasonal ingredients with more subtle, elegant flavors, Pure Project is the place you want to be.
Must Try Beers:
- Sensei: This delicate Kolsch style beer made with rice was probably the most unique beer we tasted all evening. Think Saporro, but much better. Some subtle sweetness with a grainy biscuit-like flavor. We could drink this all night, and bring on the sushi!
- Valle pura vida: Not your typical blonde ale, this Costa Rican recipe is taken up a notch with the addition of ginger and Valencia orange peels. A very approachable beer, with a subtle spicy sweet aroma. This is another one that goes down almost too easily.
- Romeo & Julius: One of the favorites of the evening, this cream ale with orange and vanilla tasted just like an orange creamsicle. This smooth, balanced beer we think could be even better with a little more orange flavor, but a favorite nonetheless.
- La vie en rose: The color is what caught our attention at first, with a bright red hue, but this red saison has lots more to offer than just its ability to stand out in a tasting flight. The clean, crisp flavors of hibiscus and touch of honey sweetness makes this a winner.
Milagro – A coffee stout with vanilla on nitro, this beer is brewed with Costa Rican coffee and is balanced out with rich chocolatey flavors, vanilla essence and a creamy mouthfeel. Need we say more?
We gathered from the brewermaster Winslow that next on the agenda will be diving into a sour beer line, as well as some beers aged in craft whiskey barrels.
Walking into this tasting room is as much of a treat to your eyes as the beers are to your mouth. You are surrounded by rustic reclaimed wood walls with some moss peaking through that lets you know you are at the Pure Project. They hand made all the amazing furniture that is there and you can really tell they put their “blood, sweat, and tears” into it. Staying true to their love of Costa Rica they have a very adventurous jungle feel with plants everywhere and a projector with videos of wild animals playing. You feel transformed into an adventure of your own ready to explore what they have to offer. The comfortable lighting and the lit candles make this an amazing spot to take someone for a romantic evening out. We were shocked to also find that the bathroom is as nice as the tasting room. It even had some sound advice written on the door as you walk out, “If no one comes from the future to stop you from doing it, how bad of a decision can it really be?”
Especially if you’re new to the craft beer scene, or just looking for a place that’s no fuss, easy going, and the people are super friendly, you are going to love Pure Project. Don’t miss out on their opening day this Saturday, January 30th, 2016!
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