Monday 21st May 2012
Monkey Paw is located on the eastern edge of downtown at the point where small industrial premises hand over to residential streets in just a couple of blocks. When I visited it hadn't been there long, as it had opened in August 2011, with its brewery turning out the first beers in October the same year. Strangely once inside, it gave me the impression of being in existence for a lot longer than that.
It was absolutely packed on this early Monday evening and I suppose if it is like that every day, fixtures and furnishings wear out just that little bit quicker, giving it a lived-in quality very soon.
This is very much a neighbourhood pub and although they do have a limited food menu, the main business here is drinking beer. Although it has its own brewery there is a vast amount of draught beers from home and abroad. I ordered some beers and eventually found somewhere to perch and enjoy them. I had a selection of brews from Monkey Paw, the home side, and these were as follows.
Sweet Georgia Brown Ale (5.8%) (I thought it was fairly innocuous but nevertheless pleasant); Low and Slow Rauchbier (5.4%) (It had a lighter colour than the original, was definitely smoky, but was not quite bitter enough); Oatmeal Pale Ale (5.4%) (Very likable, quite bitter, couldn't taste the oatmeal) and Rich Man's IPA (8.7%) (Not as assertive as some yet very good). Finally I had a Monkey Paw / Stone collaboration: Monkey Stones (7.7%), An American Black lager (This was only just OK in my mind, only a bit of a lager taste but rather too sweetness).
To give a flavour of the ethos of this pub I feel compelled to list the American beers that they were serving on draught:
ANCHOR STEAM (San Francisco) Beer (4.9%) (California Common);
AVERY (Boulder, CO) White Rascal (5.6%) (Witbier);
BALLAST POINT (San Diego) Sculpin IPA (7.5%);
BEAR REPUBLIC (Healdsburg, CA) Cher Ami (4.7%) (Belgian Pale Ale);
CORONADO (Coronado, CA) Idiot (8.5%) (IPA) and Mermaid Red (5.7%) (American Red Ale);
DRAKES (San Leandro, CA) Denogginizer (9.7%) (Double IPA) and Simian Sauce Brandy (9.0%) (American Strong Ale);
EEL RIVER (Fortuna, CA) Exultation (9.7%) (Old Ale);
FiRESTONE-WALKER (Paso Robles, CA) DBA (5.0%) (English Pale Ale);
GREEN FLASH (San Diego) Linchpin White IPA (7.0%) and West Coast IPA (7.0%);
KARL STRAUSS (San Diego) Tower 20 (9.5%) (IPA);
MARIN (Larkspur, CA) Airporter (9.5%) (Chocolate Porter);
MISSION (San Diego, CA) Hefeweizen (5.0%);
SIERRA NEVADA (Chico, CA) Knightro (5.0%) (Irish Dry Stout), Ovila (7.5%) (Dubbel) and Summerfest (5.0%) (Pilsener); Stone (Escondido, CA) Suitable for Cave Aging (8.9%) (Imperial Porter);
UINTA (Salt Lake City, UT) Wyld Organic XPA (4.0%).
This was nothing less than a beer festival! No wonder it's so busy. I think the above list is testimony itself that this pub is worth visiting.
The Monkey Paw Brewery, 805 16th Street, San Diego
Open: Monday to Wednesday 12.00-24.00; Thursday to Sunday 12.00-02.00
Happy Hour: Daily 17.00-20.00
Probably the easiest way to get here is use the San Diego Trolley Orange and Blue Line to the City College station. Then walk four blocks east on Broadway, turn right into 16th Street and two blocks down is G Street with Monkey Paw on the corner. It is not a very long walk from other brewpubs.