Beer of the week: Dawn of the Deft

This English porter from Deft Brewing has a complex balance of flavors like chocolate, caramel and coffee


Beer name: Dawn of the Deft
Brewery: Deft Brewing Company
Style: English Porter
ABV: 6.0%

Located near Bay Park and the University of San Diego, award-winning Deft Brewing cranks out European-inspired beers to craft lovers in San Diego. With styles like English ordinary bitter, sticke altbier, English IPA, and Belgian single, this isn’t your ordinary local brewery.

PACIFIC caught up with Morris “Mo” Nuspl, co-founder, head brewer and “Chief Eternal Optimist,” to find out more about Dawn of the Deft English porter, winner of the gold medal at the Los Angeles International Beer Competition and silver at the San Diego International Beer Competition.

What was the inspiration behind the name Deft?
MO: To be “deft” is to show skill and cleverness. It’s an English term that is rarely used in the U.S. but you’ll occasionally see it in print, and it is more commonly used in conversation in the U.K. and overseas. It typically describes an artist or something artistically done. Engineers, like myself and my (business) partner, Kevin Malik, strive to be described as “deft” also. It’s actually a fun word to use, and we hope to someday get more people using it in their everyday conversations. Ultimately, we hope that our guests at Deft Brewing will leave happy and think, “that staff was so friendly and deft, and that beer was so deftly crafted!”

What about the name Dawn of the Deft?
MO: The first beer of this series - and one of the original eight beers on our menu at the opening in 2017 - was our oatmeal stout, which we named Day of the Deft in honor of Dia de los Muertos. That name actually was a suggestion from one of our favorite customers. When we later debuted our English porter, we continued the theme with Dawn of the Deft. We thought it was a catchy name, but we also knew this was a fantastic beer and wanted to leverage the name to announce that Deft Brewing has arrived, signaling the “dawn” of Deft Brewing.

How is an English porter different than an American one?
MO: Technically, there are numerous subtle differences between English and American porters, but the most prominent of those are that English porters tend to be lower ABV, a little sweeter and less bitter than their American cousins.

What’s in an English porter?
MO: An English porter is probably best defined by the roasted, but not burnt, flavors imparted by a variety of European roasted malts used in the mash, and the light sweetness and slightly fruity/estery character that comes from the use of English yeast.

What should someone trying the Dawn of the Deft for the first time expect?
MO: Our English porter has a fun and inviting, yet fairly complex, balance of aromas and flavors, including hints of chocolate, caramel and coffee. It has a slight sweetness to it, yet is much drier than many other porters and stouts, and there is only a slight hint of hop bitterness on the back end. The Dawn (as it is called by many of our guests) also strikes a nice balance in terms of body, with a smooth, somewhat creamy mouthfeel, yet not at all heavy. Comments we hear all the time in the tasting room about this beer are usually something like “so rich and flavorful, yet so smooth and drinkable”.

Perfect pairing?
MO: This beer goes great with most spicy foods like a nice chili or some barbecue. In fact, the beer itself makes an excellent ingredient within a chili or a barbecue sauce.

Where can I get it and how long?
MO: Our Dawn of the Deft is offered year-round in our tasting room, but can also be found on tap in a few select bars and restaurants in the area. We don’t currently do any bottling or canning, but we hope to do so starting in 2020. We also just started doing 32-ounce can fills in the tasting room for take-out.

This beer gal’s take: Known for notes of chocolate, caramel, toast, and touch of sweetness, English porters are a delicious match for a variety of foods, including roasted or grilled meats and veggies, meatloaf (meaty or vegan) and my personal favorite, dessert. Pair the award-winning Dawn of the Deft with caramel bread pudding, chocolate mousse, or for a simple weekday treat, Nutella spread on toast.

Extra Juicy Tidbit?
MO: We have our annual DEFToberfest celebration going on Saturday, Sept. 21 and Sunday, Sept. 22 at Deft Brewing. There will be nine German beer styles to enjoy, German Food from Currywurst Frankfurt, traditional German music, a German potluck event, Keep-the-Glass specials, and more. We will be open on Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

We also recently did collaborations with Serpentine Cider on an Apfel Weizen (Dunkelweizen with apple) which was released on Sept. 13, and with Duck Foot on a Wee Heavy that will be debuted during the Karl Strauss Collabapalooza event in October. Both beers will be available in our tasting room for a limited time after these releases.

Deft Brewing is open 4 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; noon to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays. 5328 Banks St., Linda Vista. 858.999.5728;