Dawn Patrol Dark
Pizza Port Solana Beach

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English Dark Mild Ale
3.75 | pDev: 7.2%
Pizza Port Solana Beach
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Also known as Dowson's Dark when served at Churchill's.

This is the base beer for Red Poppy.
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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 52
Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on cask at Churchill's in San Marcos

Look: Dark brown with traces of red throughout with a 1/4 inch head a exceptional retention and some circular lacing

Smell: Mild dark fruits, plums and raisins are very noticeable

Taste: Similar characters as the nose. Plums figs and raisins but in a more muted form and at room temp I was hoping for a bit more

Mouthfeel: Slightly watery which is a bit of a let down with mild carbonation

Overall: I would have to say that this is just a average English mild just due to the lack of flavor the nose was good but the flavors were just lacking. However this beer has a high drinkability

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Photo of kojevergas
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served on-draught into a 4 oz taster glass at Lost Abbey's taproom in San Marcos, California. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were high given the brewery. I'm fairly sure this is my first beer in the style. Cost was $1.00.

A: Pours a one finger head of nice cream, good thickness, and decent retention. Very fluffy. Nice lacing. Colour is a caramel brown.

Sm: Caramel, brown ale nut notes, cream, milky lactic notes, and a woody note. An excellent, intriguing aroma of moderate strength. I'm dying to try it.

T: Silky cream with milky notes, clean light malts, and some light nut notes. Incredibly well balanced. Well built, though simple. Refreshing. Subtle.

Mf: Creamy silky smooth, nicely wet, and brilliantly complementary of the flavour profile. Perfect thickness. Remarkable. Light dryness on the finish.

Dr: Incredibly drinkable. I could down this all night. An ideal session beer. I quite fancy it, especially its creamy feel. It's ABV is low, but well concealed for what that's worth. Fans of the style should definitely give this one a try.

I had to bring the drinkability score down to get the letter grade I wanted.

High B-

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Los Abbey/Port tasting room in San Marcos, CA.

Pours a slightly murky copper with a khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small chunks of lace form randomly around the glass on the drink down. Smell is very malty and nutty. Taste is of roasty malt and toasted nuts. There is a nice roasty bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good low ABV beer with some nice roasty and nutty aromas and flavors.

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Photo of mactrail
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quaffable, light-weight thirst quencher. Pleasant watery mouthfeel. Dark brown in the pint glass at Pizza Port in Ocean Beach. Roasted malt comes through the modest flavors. Touch of crispness but only a kiss of hops. Wee touch of burnt malt. Well carbonated-- wouldn't be mistaken for an English dark mild, but that's the general idea. One of the better American mild style browns.

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Photo of Phelps
3.61/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed from the tap and inside a shaker pint at the Lost Abbey tasting room.

Dawn Patrol’s an undistributed and rarely-seen English mild that’s brewed as the base beer for Red Poppy.

Like the beer it becomes, Dawn Patrol’s gorgeous — a perfectly clear dark cherry hue. One finger of frothy beach sand-colored head becomes a silky, lingering top layer, leaving anthill streaks of lace.

Smells like a farm. Grainy, like malt or wort. Hints of spicy hops in the background.

Mildly flavored. Some of that malt character akin to spent grain appears again, along with a light English hop earthiness and hints of peanut skins. It’s so clean and light on the palate, the finish makes you wonder whether you even just took a sip.

Light, watery body with subtle massaging bubbles. It gets very fizzy as it moves around, but it’s gentle. Crisp and clean.

Light, flavorful, poundable. It’s not an exciting beer (which milds are?) but it was exciting to get the opportunity to taste prepubescent Red Poppy. Incredible, the transformation this beer goes through.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap @ Blue Palms in Hollywood - served in a nonic.

Dark brown body, clear with bright auburn highlights and a buff finger of foam resembling a nitro-pour. Cakey lacing and superior retention.

Dusty leaf piles, weeds, wheat toast, and fresh rain in the nose. Odd.

Toasted nuts, brown bread, and maybe a hint of diacetyl on the palate. Straight-forward yet addictive profile. Faintly grassy/earthy English (?) hops in the finish. Relatively dry.

Light-bodied, brisk, and well carbonated.

Always pleased to see a true session ale, though this one could stand to be a bit more flavorful.

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Photo of m1ked
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- poured into a pint glass, with a brief thin splotchy off white head. Has the color of a cola, with the brown/garnet edges. A couple of bubbles percolating to the top.

S-sweet & roasted grains. Slight hint of coffee grounds. Touch of raisins.

T- Sweet roasted grains, with a touch of coffee bitter and some milk chocolate, and subtle nuttiness Finishes with a smooth bitterness.

M- very light bodied. Given the dark color and toasty flavors, my brain was expecting something heavier. Nice crisp carbonation makes it lively.

D- this is a very drinkable and interesting tasty beer. At the abv it is ok to have a couple. I am encouraged by beers like this, high taste quotient AND low abv, especially since I have to drive home.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


The base beer for Red Poppy. Growler consumed during game 5 of the NAB finals. The beer is dark brown with a small beige head and decent retention. The aroma is of baked bread, toffee, caramel, a light roast, and a subtle nuttiness. The flavor displays the same baked bread character with light notes of toasted and nutty malt. A restrained bitterness is evident. A delicious and extremely sessionable beer, though after having it on cask at Churchill's and at the Real Ale Fest I doubt any tap or growler rendition will truly satisfy me. I believe this 64oz serving will go down quite easily.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.51/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at Churchill's

A: The pour is a slightly muddled dark amber/mahogany color with a mild tan head.

S: The nose is mild with some notes of sweet, bready malts and a touch of toffee.

T: The flavors follow the nose for the most part. The primary component of the beer is the malt which is lightly sweet and has plenty of bread and toffee flavor. There is a touch of bitterness to it as well.

M: The body is medium with a very low, smooth carbonation that you expect from the cask.

D: The flavors didn't exactly excite me, but the beer was easy to drink and the low alcohol allows you to take it down easily.

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Photo of charlzm
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed Feb. 6th, 2010.

Very clear dark brown with nitro-like off-white/tan head that lasts a long time. Nice lacing.

Aroma of roasted grain.

Flavor is mildy chocolatey, overroasted malt flavor bordering on burnt. Bitter on the finish. Almost porterlike. Smooth.

Dry, just short of parching on the tongue.

Quite drinkable and much better than the previous iteration I tried two years ago...

On tap at brewery, 01/26/08.

Clear, dark brown with off-white head.

No aroma from taster glass.

Some dark fruit flavor (plums?), grainy aftertaste that didn't work very well. Not especially sweet, malty or bitter. In fact, not much flavor, really.

Don't think I'll have this again.

APP - 3
SM - 2
TASTE - 2.5
FEEL - 3
DRINK - 2.5

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Photo of botham
3.08/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

on tap at the brewpub in Solana Beach. pours chestnut brown with with amber lighlights and one and a half fingers of light tan head. decent retention and no lacings.

aroma is light and grainy with roasted malts and a nutty base. nicely composed with a hearty aura.

taste is lightly roasted with a brown ale-esque character and a crisp profile. the brew falls apart a bit on the finish with only a bit of residual dark malt.

mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth texture and a finish of crisp caramel malts. pleasant on the palate, though a bit grainy.

drinkability is decent. a tolerable brown ale with a good profile, but in the end it falls flat. not bad at all, but not great either.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Port San Clemente, listed as a brown, but then again there is a lot of overlapping with mild and brown styles,

A: Pours brown, who'd of thought, with a soft off-white head, half-finger, solid head retention.

S: Malt, some brown sugar, toasted bread, light molasses.

T: Tasty flavours of dark bread, and noticable molasses, some bitter roast elements as well, it reminded me a lot of Alesmith Nautical, they have a lot of similar flavours.

M: Light/medium-bodied, with a tad too much carbonation, clean, relatively smooth.

D: Didn't know this beer was so low alcohol, I could have ordered another one, a nice session pint if you're at Port.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Port Brewing/Lost Abbey tasting room on 3/14/09. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a deep clear amber with a thin covering of off-white head. Retains solidly around the edges, leaving some good swathes of lace back that stick. The aroma is light bread and chocolate sweetness, with a faint nuttiness and floral notes. Not overly assertive by any means but quite pleasant.

The taste is much the same but packs just a touch more punch. Light mix of roasted bready grains, chocolate and caramel sweetness, and some solid mellow hop character. The mouthfeel is more medium bodied feeling (surprising given the ABV) with an extremely mellow and creamy texture in the mouth.

Very nice! I had no idea (until I started doing this review) that the ABV was so low, which makes the flavors going on in this that much more surprising. Well balanced and smooth, I could have drank this all day if there hadn't been so many other excellent beers to try.

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Photo of Overlord
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Probably my first Dark Mild. Excellent.

Pours a dark brown. Nice bubbling tan head. Smells like roasted chocolate, nuts, and a bit of caramel malt.

Taste is incredibly smooth and very refreshing. Chocolate, roasted malt and caramel, the nuttiness really comes through. This is an incredibly pleasant beer. Wish I saw it around more often. Satisfying, bubbly yet meaty mouthfeel.

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Photo of largadeer
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: 64 oz growler into an imperial pint glass, Dawn Patrol pours a dark yet perfectly clear chestnut color with two fingers of tan foam. The head is solid and lasting, leaving sheets of lace as it drops. The name makes me want to listen to some oldschool Megadeth.

Smell: Toasty and nutty. Faint whiff of chocolate and whole grain bread. Mild in aroma (no pun intended) but quite clean and spot-on for the style.

Taste & mouthfeel: Toasted whole grain bread and nuts spring to mind immediately. Dry, soft mouthfeel. Mild bitterness, very smooth and balanced. Light bodied and clean, but remarkably flavorful. 3.2% ABV? Really? This puts any light lager to shame - the amount of flavor packed into this low alcohol beer is remarkable.

Drinkability: Through the roof. Finishing a growler of this is nothing; hell, I could go for another.

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Photo of Brewsmith
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a half gallon growler filled at the San Clemente location yesterday. Color is a deep ruby brown with a tan head. Aroma has notes of roast and a little coffee. Flavor compliments the aroma with malt, some coffee and a touch of roast. A little sweetness and a soft bitterness in the background. Drinkable and smooth.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sample at the brewpub. This beer is a dark brown color with a thin, compact and creamy light beige head that diminishes steadily. Sheet of lacing. Aroma of malt, grain and dark fruit. Medium, smooth body with sweet malt, caramel and mild hops flavors. The finish is roasted malt with a touch of chocolate and lingering hops. Overall a decent session beer.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.74/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On the cask @ Solana Beach. Pours nearly opaqe brown with a huge cascading tan head. Aroma of caramel and cocoa. Creamy mouthfeel. Taste is roasted malt, cocoa, light coffee, and light oak/wood flavor. Dry aftertaste. Big beer for having such a low ABV.

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Photo of hopdog
3.31/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the Pizza Port in Solana Beach.

Poured a dark brown color with a larger sized off white head. Aromas of caramel and some nutiness. Tastes of caramel, roast, and some chocolate. Armoas nad tastes on the softer and subtle side. Lightly sweet.

Notes from 11/30/04

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Photo of Floydster
3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pint at Port Brewing Company in San Marcos

Pour was a medium brown color that was a little on the darker side, not much of a head, about 1/5 inch and light tan which settled very quickly, left small amounts of lacing

Smell was a letdown with nothing other than a little nut and caramel, expect some strong smelling sweet malt but it was absent here

Taste was good, smooth with a dry aftertaste, roasted malt at first leads to a slightly dry and hoppy aftertaste that sticks around for a little while, a very mild sour flavor that I have tasted in some brown ales before but nothing to get excited about, pretty mellow overall, dry finish keeps its ground for a while, wish this one had a little more bite to it, either from the dryness of the hops or the sweetness of the malts, but I guess the whole point of it is to be mild

Highly drinkable, especially because it is only three percent alcohol, super light, could easily drink six pints of this if I wanted to, goes down easy and light on the stomach

Recommended if you want a semi-light beer or you plan on drinking a lot of it, nothing special but not bad for a mild ale, still not one of my favorite beers from Port

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Photo of scottoale
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass from the tap, a very dark brown with a 1/2 inch cocoa-brown head, followed by some sticky lacing.

Mildly sweet malty aroma, toffee and a toastyness with nothing overpowering or really standing out...smells very mellow.

The taste is much like it smells with a nutty and chocolate flavor coming through and a mild bitterness to the finish...courtesy of the hops.

An easy drinker with a medium-plus body, good carbonation and a pleasant mouthfeel...the alcohol was well hidden and seemed fairly tame. A tasty ale that suits it's style...cheers.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Pizza Port San Clemente. The beer had a dark copper color and a malty aroma. There was a slightly burnt malt flavor early on, with a mild hops flavor at the end. But the flavors were subdued overall. Nothing outstanding, but it went down easily and paired well with the Lahina pizza I ordered.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on-tap at the Solana Beach location.

This mild ale poured a clear, dark brown color with tan foam that settled to a thin layer and clung to and coated the glass. The smell was lightly malty with a touch of caramel and only a hint of sweetness. The taste was malty with a bit of caramel and a very low sweetness. The hops were mild, but there was a hint of bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel was crisp with medium body and moderate carbonation. There was a pleasant, lingering malty aftertaste. This was a good mild.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Had a couple of Pints of this brew whilst visiting the Solana Beach Pizza Port today with my good BA friends xlperro, Mzwolinski and EyeChartBrew.

Appearance: Served in a straight sided Pint Glass, or sleeve, the first pint had some Cold Tea looks that were not very enticing. Thankfully, the second Pint from a collective Pitcher was much better and had some semblance of a light tan head, but this too disappeared all too quickly. The main body of the beer had a murky dark brown appearance. Light conditioning but enough to satisfy.

Nose: Soft malts and a subtle hint of chocolate. Predominantly malty but with some dark fruitiness.

Taste: Light malts and delicate hops mingle with a little hint of milk chocolate. Malty at first with a fading bitterness. A low gravity Mild that is nonetheless a tasty thirst quencher on its own, or an easy going au pair with food.

Mouthfeel: Fits the style perfectly, decent feel with a light body but enough taste to carry you to the next mouthful. Nicely put together.

Drinkability: Very easy going and highly quaffable. The conditioning from the normal tap was perhaps the only draw-back here.

Overall: My pal EyeChartBrew tells me that this is better on Cask, I concur, if only for a little more head in the appearance and conditioning in the body. Nevertheless, a solid brew, an easy going accompaniement to any of the excellent Pizzas, and at 3.2% its a relatively 'safe' brew if you’re driving like I was.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this beer 10/2/04 at Pizza Port in Solana Beach. The beer was served a cloudy amber color with very little head retention. From the bar to our table it was gone. The flavor is sour and hoppy with mild hop floralness. The flavor of this beer was a bit disappointing. I was expecting something stronger but instead this beer had the "force" of an average pale ale. I would even describe it as a bit weak overall. There is a definate maltiness but it lacaks complexity. Not bad, but I doubt I'd ever order it again. There are too many other good beers from Pizza Port to waste time with this beer.

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Dawn Patrol Dark from Pizza Port Solana Beach
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 52 ratings