Brew Review

Rock Bottom – Mary Jane & Cask Mary Jane IPAs

On a recent trip to La Jolla, we stopped at the local Rock Bottom Brewing Company and I selected the sampler. This involves eight 4oz pours. The first 4 pours are the same tried and true beverages that are served at all of the Rock Bottom’s. The last four are the work of the local brew master. In addition, once our server, Will, saw me feverishly taking notes and asking my 7 and 9 year olds to sniff the glasses and offer their opinions of the various brews, I mentioned that I was a bloggers and Will then presented me with two additional tastes of cask aged brews. The cask aged offerings were slightly different takes on two of the “specialty” brews. So, I have provided a side-by-side review of the IPA.

The Mary Jane IPA would be Rock Bottom’s version of a typical California IPA and has the following characteristics.

  • Appearance: Golden with good foam and lacing.
  • Aroma: Slight malt with a lot of hops.
  • Taste: Good body and mouthfeel. Nice flavor with a bitter finish. .
  • ABV: 6.7%

The IPAs looked identical with a nice golden color and good foam and lacing. They both had that hoppy aroma that is typical of an IPA. The taste of the Mary Jane IPA was again typical of an IPA, nice flavor and then a bitter finish. The Cask Aged version was decidedly different. First, it was served almost at room temperature, so that cold, crisp, bitter was gone. Instead, it was replaced with a warm, well-rounded flavor with the bitterness still there but muted into the background. Overall, by cask aging, the brew master has taken a typical IPA and raised it to a whole new level. By far, this was one of the best beers I had at Rock Bottom or for that matter my trip to the West Coast.

5 replies »

  1. I’ve had maybe two or three casked beers so far and I gotta agree with you. It definitely smooths things out a bit. Need to try more!


  2. I don’t think I’ve tried a cask aged beer. And I like the look into how you go about tasting and taking notes. Dedication. Thanks! And you should try Yardhouse if you see one. Good food and a ton of beers on tap and flights.


    • Yo Chad!

      You’re in San Jose, practically the heart of West Coast Beer Culture! Get yourself out to the many many breweries that are near you. I’m sure there is oodles of cask aged beer afoot.



      • You need to take a road trip down to Escondido for Stone’s Oakquinox event. The annual event has over 100 barrel aged beers. Here is the link from this past year’s event.


    • Chad,

      The cask aged beer was a real nice change of pace. The casked Mary Jane IPA was good but the cask aged porter was even better.

      As for the notetaking, I was out with the family and by taking notes, I was able to engage my two older children in the fine art of tasting and it helped to dramatically slow my pace.


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