Undistributed beer of the week: Helldiver

There can only be one undistributed beer of the week. The competition is fierce in San Diego's beer community, but someone has to take the title. This week's best undistributed beer is ...

Little Miss Brewing: Helldiver

Style: IPA

ABV: 6.5 percent

Pair with: Thai food

The Helldiver is crisp, balanced and filled with fruity notes of nectarine. It has a nice, bitter bite and provides the necessary hop characteristics San Diegans look for in a brew - while still being quite drinkable. The flavor profile is classic and doesn't offer too strong of a fruit nose, despite a citrusy finish. Overall, it is a great, balanced IPA that offers its own taste and take on the popular style.

The story:

This beer comes to us from Joe Lisica at Little Miss Brewing. Lisica, a former brewer with Green Flash Brewing Company, has taken on a new role as brewmaster at Little Miss, where he brews beers that aren't what you'd expect from the notably hop-aggressive beers at Green Flash.

"I think most breweries have their own style of beer where you can say, 'Oh, that's a Societe beer or that's a Green Flash beer,' and I'm not sure we have found our flavor yet," Lisica said. "I knew I didn't want to do something exactly like the Alpine and Green Flash beers that I had been making, so I veered away from the West Coast-style IPA. The Helldiver is a bit more tropical, with pit fruit, like nectarine and peaches - but it also has some pine characteristics in the background."

The IPA holds its own among the already growing lineup that includes a coffee porter, a Berliner weisse, a Belgian wit, a pale ale, two hoppy sessions and more on the way.

The beer is made with a variety of different hops, which aren't the same as some of the others on the San Diego IPA scene right now. Lisica went with some old-school style hops, such as El Dorado, Centennial, Green Bullet and Mosiac, he said.

The crisp beer is bursting with tropical notes and not lacking on a strong hop flavor, despite its relatively low alcohol by volume for an IPA. The beer's journey takes about three weeks from brewing to being on tap at the tasting room, where it lives as a sort of flagship beer for the brewery.

"I like everything about Helldiver," Lisica said. "My favorite thing is how different it is from other IPAs out there. It's not on the same page, not as big. It sets it aside from the other guys a bit.

"That's why I didn't use Nelson or some of the tastes that are super popular and big right now. These are classic, classic hops that people have fallen away from - I want to bring those back into the mainstream."

How did this brew get its epic-sounding name? From an epic and historically important airplane, of course.

"The whole brewery has a '40s, World War II theme to it," he said. "So, most of the beers are named after something from that era. Helldriver is named after an airplane that was used in World War II, for example. Our beer New Deal is named after Roosevelt's New Deal and Rosie is named after Rosie the Riveter."

This beer is currently available to try on tap at Little Miss Brewing. Get it while it's cold!

7949 Stromesa Court, Suite Y, Miramar.

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