Mike Hess Brewing - Miramar

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Cream Ale
Ranked #133
Ranked #40,164
3.68 | pDev: 11.96%
Mike Hess Brewing - Miramar
California, United States
Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 147 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Beaver13 from Colorado

1.58/5  rDev -57.1%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

12 oz can. Pours light reddish amber with a small white head that quickly goes to a thin collar.

The aroma is sweet floral cream malts.

The flavor is sweet vegetal malty cream ale with some bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little thin.

Overall, not my favorite.

Mar 03, 2019
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BucannonXC5 from California

3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Type: 12-oz. can
Glass: Modern Times 16-oz. Willi Becher glass
From: Trader Joe’s in La Mesa, Calif.
Price: $1.50
Purchased: Nov. 25, 2018
Consumed: Dec. 1, 2018
Reviewed as: Cream Ale
Misc.: Canned on Oct. 25, 2018

Not that big a fan of Mike Hess beer, but I keep buying them. I do respect their beers and love the idea of rotating hops for Solis. Can’t believe I’d never had this one even on Untappd. Online description called for, “Grazias is a mash-up of the second largest city in Austria, Graz and our second favorite word in the Spanish language, gracias. Grazias is a twist on the old-world classic Vienna style, malty and perfectly balanced with German “noble” hops. It has a creamy, smooth texture; a deep amber color from the malt; and flavors of chocolate, vanilla, and light toast, which play off the German hops for a sublime result.” Not a lot of experience with cream ales with just five reviewed so far (out of almost 2,200).

Poured a clear copper color with two fingers of khaki white frothy head. Small amount of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. Excellent uneven lacing. Very good retention. (Sight - 4.25)

Smelled caramel, toffee, wheat toast, grain, roasted malts, light chocolate, faint vanilla and notes of maple. Got more earthy grain notes from the can. (Smell - 4.00)

Taste was not quite as good as the nose, but does follow it. In order got caramel, wheat toast, rye spice, toffee, toasted grain, roasted malts, maple, light chocolate, light vanilla and pear. (Taste - 3.75)

Medium body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Abrupt finish. (Feel - 3.75)

Really a solid beer overall. Would have it again for sure. (Overall - 3.75)

3.84 | 86 | B+

Dec 10, 2018
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brewerburgundy from California

4.01/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz can, rocks glass, canned 10/25/18.

The color is definitely in the Vienna Lager spectrum, a coppery chestnut. There isn’t a ton of head, though that may be my pour and glass issue.

Vanilla, toasted malt, nutty, for a rich aroma.

Taking a sip of this thing brings you layer after layer of malt flavors and is a great showcase of a malts flavors rather than sweetness. There’s initially a sweet toast that gives way to nuttiness, and finally a caramel fullness.

Grazias is what I call medium bodied and has an exquisite balance of body, carbonation, and finish.

I really like this beer and can see drinking it occasionally as an alternative to a Porter or Stout when I want something not hoppy and pale. It’s called a Vienna Cream Ale, which isn’t explained on the can. Is it a Vienna Lager fermented at warmer temperatures? Is it a Cream Ale brewed with Vienna-like ingredients? Is there a difference? It is good though and comes in one of those cool cans where the whole top comes off.

Nov 29, 2018
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

not my favorite from these guys so far, this is a vienna amber type beer and cream ale fusion, with some corn in the mash and what must be a cold conditioning, but im not sure this is a lager. its just okay for me, a little sweet in the malt complexion up front, and sort of heavy for a beer across a couple of usually easy drinking styles. there is a nice chestnut character to the vienna malt, toasted and earthy and with a maple sweetness to it. the yeast is bready and old school, but it cannot dry this out, and while i like the autumnal flavor palate, i think the beer is pretty average overall. i wanted it to be more interesting with the corn in here, and i think i wanted it to be a bit more drinkable, especially from the pull top can where the whole lid comes off, those are pounders usually, but this one is a bit slower for me. the mike hess so far has been really back and forth in my limited experience. this one was forgettable, although its nice to see a brewery stick to their guns on a year round malty beer, i feel like these are a dying breed in this beer climate...

Dec 23, 2017
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Can dated 4/4/17:
Ok, a Vienna cream ale - I'm going ale version of Mexican lager?

A nicely clear brown ale, a little dark for the compared to style, but not outrageously so. The head is not grand, but lasts quite nicely.

Nose does have the Vienna malt aspect, but there's an earthy bitterness that overcomes it a bit.

Taste sticks to the malty (and adjunct) side a little more than the nose indicates. A bit more full than a typical Mexican lager, the malt drives most the taste until the end. The anticipated earthy bitterness comes in late.

A tasty option, though a little heavier than my own pseudo-style comparison.

Sep 21, 2017
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TheManiacalOne from Rhode Island

3.69/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Acquired via trade from Wasatch so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 16oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright golden brown color with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, honey, some fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out bready with a hearty but not too heavy malt character up front. Then some sweet flavors of caramel, honey and some fruit come in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while.

Jul 30, 2017
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Wasatch from Colorado

4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. Can
Canned On: 01/27/17

Poured into a Squatters true pint glass a pretty nice clean/clear dark golden brownish color, pretty nice carbonation, with a really nice thick/creamy two-finger light tan head, which also leaves some very nice creamy sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, slight hop, caramel, kinda bready. The taste is malty, kinda hoppy, bready, with a good dose of caramel, spicy. Medium body, ABV hidden fairly well. Overall, not that bad.

Jun 09, 2017
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Red5StandingBy from Maryland

3.32/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 16oz can into USS Ronald Reagan standard pint glass. Canning date of February 22nd 2017.

L: Dark mahogany, thin light beige head. Mediocre retention. Some nice lacing.

S: Caramel malts, with that cream note.

T: Rich caramel and toffee with a lingering cream aftertaste. Meh.

F: Medium body, crisp.

O: This is not a bad beer but this inst good either.

May 17, 2017
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charlzm from California

3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Consumed September 17th, 2015. Poured from can into Sam Adams "perfect pint" glass. ABV on can is noted as 6.5% ABV.

Beer is certainly darker than one would expect from a Cream Ale - on the dark end of golden. Three finger white head disappears soon but leaves nice sheeting on the glass.

Aroma is caramel malt and a faint hop spiciness.

Flavor is familiar to anyone who has ever had a Vienna lager - caramel malt first and foremost. Very faint spice note on the finish followed by a lingering but moderate bitterness. Simple and well-executed, but a touch boozy.

Mouthfeel is creamy, as should be expected. Otherwise, a little thin and hot with alcohol.

Seems to me as if the ABV is just a touch too high form this beer to handle. The flavor is a bit on the simple side as well, but this style isn't really about complexity.

Sep 18, 2015
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remingtonsteele1987 from California

3.86/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

My first Mike Hess beer from the can, and I love it! It's dark like a brown ale with dank aromas. The first thing that hits you is the creamy texture. Has a molasses and slight bitter chocolate taste. Even though it's pretty dark, it's on the lighter side, although the creamy texture gives it some body. I've had a few cream ales, but this is my favorite by far! I could drink this everyday! Mike Hess Brewing...!!!

Aug 27, 2015
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SensorySupernova from California

4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had it on nitro tap, super fresh.

Appearance: Looked like chocolate milk right out of the tap. Bubbles slowly raised to reveal a clear, very dark amber with a tan head. Left absurd amounts of lacing along the sides of the glass.

Smell: Roasted malts.

Taste: Sweet right off the bat, into a creamy roasted malt backbone, vanilla. A little bitterness starts to peak in at the end as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Like drinking cream-of-beer soup.

Overall: Creamy texture makes it so easy to drink, but still has plenty of roasted malt flavors to keep it interesting.

Dec 18, 2014
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the_awesometeer from California

4.13/5  rDev +12.2%

Appearance: Orange/amber color. Nice head that laced the glass where the head, but did not continue down the glass (4.5/5)

Smell: Malty, nothing really stands out (4/5)

Mouthfeel: smooth, lightly carbonated (4/5)

Taste: Malt tasting for a cream ale. Slight hint of sweetness and a very very low bitterness. Very smooth and easy to drink (4/5)

Overall: good beer. Light, easy to drink, and not too complex (4/5)

Aug 19, 2014
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Modernrickk from California

3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer looks awesome! I was expecting a lighter color for a cream ale but the darker caramel looking color is foreshadowing a hoppy take on this style - extra dark orange like a hoffner bass. Creamy froth up on top of this brew. Really sexy looking head that hangs out for a while.

Malts dominate the aromas with lighter German hops in the back. No booziness in the smell. Kinda smells like Boston lager -

Taste is similar to smell straight up malt forward brew with German hops- I would say this is a hoppy take on this style - not bitter but the hops do stand out for a cream ale.

Mouthfeel is rather thin for a 6.3 abv. Creaminess was not turned up to 11 bro. Slippery and goes down real easy

Overall I still need more cream ales on my resume. This one is the best one I've had yet. The 4 pack o' pint format is awesome and I will definately be purchasing this again

Jun 30, 2014
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rawfish from California

3.81/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Awesome and elegant white can. This is a dark amber beer, smooth carbonation nets a small off white head. The retention is excellent as is the lacing.

Tons of grainy pilsner malt, doughy biscuit and slightly nutty. The ale yeast adds some dried red fruit. Noble hops add some earthy tones. As the beer warms earthy coffee and sweet cocoa nibs rise.

Robust pilsner malt carries a steady breadiness that features hazelnuts and cocoa. Raw grain husks and a twinge of metallic near the finish are the only off notes. Yeast is a bit fruity but maintains a mostly benign task of featuring noble hops which are zesty lemon and grassy. Nutty flavor carries into the finish with low bitterness.

Robust cream ale, run somewhat heavy with smooth and creamy carbonation, not quite Alesmith smooth but still very nice. Alcohol is low rising only after the drink and bitterness follows suit failing to completely dry the punchy malt.

A flavorful vienna cream ale, a definite step up to something local that will knock Boston Lager or a Karl Stauss amber off its perch. While a bit too heavy to session this hard, I'd be proud hand one of these to anyone.

Apr 18, 2014
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EricOgg from California

3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I have had this beer a couple of times. First on-tap at Hess's tasting room, also at Bruski in Scripps Ranch. One of their beers that I would consider a signature because not many have something like this.

First the smell. The smell is not overly sweet, but you definitely know it has a higher level of malts. The aroma I can describe as butterscotch, warm vanilla, and honey. One might expect that this would be characteristic of a red versus an amber.

The taste is what really shocked me though. The beer is lighter than you might expect because the smell is so malty, with low carbonation and a thin milky texture. A complex body with a light finish reminds me of a high quality root beer float or cream soda type finish. There is a soft, partially nutty taste.

Overall this was my favorite beer tasted there. I really believe that Hess could make this signature beer as it is very unique for what San Diego has to offer.

Jan 09, 2014
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.67/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Hess Brewing Company in San Diego, CA.

Pours a slightly murky orange-brown with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, grain, and some slight caramel aromas. Taste is much the same with a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but nothing all that exciting.

Aug 07, 2012
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tobelerone from New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A really tasty and easy drinking lager that set my visit to Hess off on the right foot and got me prepared for the bigger beers to follow. Dark brown/amber in color, with a decent head and lacing. Simple but appealing aroma is mostly toasty caramel malt and a light nuttiness. Full flavored for this style, with great malt character and an undercurrent of toasted bread and nuts. Very lightly hopped and mildly sweet.

Lively carbonation on a medium body makes for crisp drinking. Smooth and subtly creamy mouthfeel overall despite the carbonation. Very well done take on a simple classic style. Session beer, Hess style.

Jan 12, 2012
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mactrail from Washington

3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Fortunately, this is nothing like any Mexican beer I've had. More rich and malty than you're likely to encounter with a burrito. At first sip, a plain malty stew that needs a crisp touch. Grows in dimension as you sip. Lovely amber color. With a bigger head and maybe a dose of shy hops this could be the ideal American Amber beer. Still, it's quite drinkable and clean.

Nov 11, 2011
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HopHead84 from California

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


On tap at Hess. Vienna Cream Ale.

A: Dark amber with a frothy beige head. Nice retention and scattered lacing.

S: Notes of corn blend with vanilla (?) and baked bread. It's quite estery, exhibiting a mixture of apple and pear.

T: Light vanilla with orange and corn. I get a little apple and pear as well. Well balanced with a smooth bready and fruity finish.

M: Lower medium in body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, and silly.

Overall: An interesting mixture of characteristics that work well together. Unlike any other Cream Ale I've had, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Jul 16, 2011
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d4114 from California

3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light brown with a creamy white head. Smells of grains and malts. Taste is similar to a stout without any intense roasted flavors, very creamy and refreshing. Silky smooth mouthfeel, to be expected on nitro. Overall pretty good sessionable beer with a lot of flavor, this was my first in this style so I wasn't sure what to expect but defiantly enjoyed it.

Jul 11, 2011
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cocoapuph from California

3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a cloudy roasted nut or caramel color with a nice creamy head. Appears to be a thick looking full bodied beer at first glance.

Smells slightly nutty and sweet like kettle popcorn. Malt definitely comes through on this one.

The first few tastes were deceiving for me because the beer was poured a bit too cold. Though refreshing, the true flavors become more apparent after the beer hit a few degrees warmer. Off the bat, I get a bit of the creamy flavors and caramel malt but the beer comes off a bit watery or thin. Let this one rest at room temp for a few minutes and then you start to get a roasted, sweet and fuller taste. A lot more enjoyable and recommended.

As with the taste, the feel of this one gets better when not as cold. The body becomes a little more complex and rich.

Overall I have been happy with everything I have had at Hess. Grazias Vienna Cream Ale is no exception. Bring home a growler/prowler and pull it out of the fridge 5 mins before you pour. You will like it.

Jun 05, 2011
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Retsinis from Arizona

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at the brewery.

A: The beer pours a hazy dark golden amber brown, with a white cream colored head that rose a good inch and half, and retainded well. Average lacing.

S: Very light sweet toffee malt, light citrus hops, and biscuits.

T: Creamy sweet toffee malt, caramel, toast, light grass. Cold, maybe a bit too much, but it's the lightest beer they pour anyway, and it was a warm day. Alcohol is not noticeable.

M: Medium to high carbonation, but smooth, and slightly sweet.

O: I enjoyed it, it was good. Lager's, to me, are generally light, simple, refreshing, but with light flavor. In contrast to the simple part, this beer actually has a lot more going for it than is typical, but is still smooth, and refreshing, and creamy.

Apr 08, 2011
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kbrady9 from California

3.37/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at Tasting Room. Cool nano brewery in a small business park outside of the Miramar Air Station in San Diego.

A-Very cloudy brown color. Reminded me of Baileys Irish Cream a little. Nice head with average lacing.

S-Smelled fairly sweet and of malts, very little alcohol or hops came through on the nose.

T-Cold from the tap seemed to mask a bit of the flavor. As it first hits the palate, its hardly distinct but it gets better near the end. Average hop profile.

M-Very smooth beer with a very good medium body. Could enjoy a few of these with a meal.

O-Solid beer overall, although I wish the initial flavors were more distinct. Because they did not really stand out to me, I can't say it was anything more than an average beer. I enjoyed it though, would buy a growler to take home.

Mar 18, 2011
Grazias from Mike Hess Brewing - Miramar
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 147 ratings