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Enjoying a beach and a buzz

Huntington Beach Beer Co. is just two blocks away from the Pacific Ocean.

Two things about myself that I am certain of: 1) I really like beer and 2) I really like to travel.

So naturally, when I find myself engaging in the latter, I usually try to include the former. My road trips aren’t just road trips, they’re brewery tours.

Most breweries or brewpubs usually include a restaurant, so it’s easy to work them in with your on-the-road meals (I highly recommend the duck tacos at Stone in Escondido, by the way).

During my most recent trip to Huntington Beach, however, my travel companions and I didn’t plan to embark on any beer sidetracks – we just sort of stumbled upon one! While walking down the beach city’s main drag we spotted the Huntington Beach Beer Co. & Restaurant, and after seeing their sign advertising $4 Bloody Marys we were intrigued.

Nursing a mild hangover, I decided to start with the enticing midday special. Huntington’s Mary was just how I like the classic hangover cure: spicy and strong with an olive garnish. Delicious.

And then came the beer.

Knowing that we wanted to take home a growler or two of our chosen favorites, my buddies and I asked to sample the establishment’s offerings. A flight of beers ensued: the Brickshot Red, the Huntington Beach Blonde, the Indicator IPA and the Imperial Porter. Huntington’s 19th Anniversary Bock and its “Thug Life” Malt Liquor were on tap as well, but I’m not really a fan of either style and decided to opt out.

All four were exceptionally tasty--the blonde was light and refreshing, the red was smooth and somewhat sweet, the porter was full-bodied and the IPA wasn’t overwhelmingly hoppy.

One of my companions really liked the blonde, the other enjoyed the IPA. As for myself, the porter won me over – no surprise there, I tend to dig high-gravity stuff and this beer was a whopping 9 percent! It was a difficult decision, but in the end we chose to take home growlers of the IPA and the porter.

I cracked the two growlers open just last night – no special occasion, I just wanted to drink some good beer. Both tasted just as fantastic as the first time – and this was four days after the brew was bottled!

And with more time to savor, I give you a more-comprehensive review: The porter was stout, chocolatey and rich, with a dark black coloring and an odor reminiscent of freshly ground espresso beans. It’s now one of my favorites of the style. The IPA had a golden coloring, a somewhat hoppy smell and a fantastic taste to it – it was light, and like I said, the hops weren’t overwhelming at all. It’s definitely a tasty brew.

Though we wanted to stay and grub on the scrumptious-sounding food (you can score a meal at Huntington for around $10), we had little time left to spend in the gorgeous beach community. Beer and burgers are awesome, but nothing beats the sand between your toes on a sunny day at the beach. Especially with a slight buzz acquired at an awesome local brewery.

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Mark Adams joined the Las Vegas Weekly in 2010 and now serves as the magazine’s web editor. You can also ...

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