Beer of the week: Golden Phenix

Golden Phenix is infused with Best Friend Blend coffee from Dark Horse Coffee Roasters.
(Courtesy photo)

Beer: Golden Phenix
Brewery: North Park Beer Co.
Style: Golden Breakfast Stout
ABV: 6.2%

Known and widely respected as one of the most-awarded homebrewers in San Diego (hello Hop-Fu! IPA), Kelsey McNair brings expertly crafted brews to North Park. Nestled on the corner of University Avenue, North Park Brewing Co. is a warm, welcoming space overflowing with beer and also housing Mastiff Sausage Company for tasty food pairings. PACIFIC spoke with Kelsey about his delicious and eye-catching twist on the stout, the Golden Phenix.

What’s the story with the name Golden Phenix?
KELSEY: We named this beer after Lucky’s Golden Phenix, a breakfast diner that is something of a North Park institution. Our Golden Phenix beer is essentially a golden breakfast stout.

Why a golden stout? How does that differ in flavor from a regular stout folks would expect?
KELSEY: Golden Phenix was designed to be total mind-bender. We serve it on nitro to give it the same cascading appearance and creamy foam that you would find in a nitro stout. However, when the foam settles, the liquid is clear and golden in hue. The flavor is unexpectedly nutty, roasty and chocolatey like a traditional stout, but none of those flavors come from malt.

What’s in it?
KELSEY: All of the makings of a complete breakfast! We use oatmeal, creamy milk sugar, wheat and malts such as Pilsner, Vienna and Munich that lend toast and breadlike characteristics. We finish it off by infusing the beer with Best Friend Blend coffee from Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, which transforms the beer from complex golden ale into a golden stout.

North Park Beer Co.'s Kelsey McNair
(Courtesy photo)

What should someone trying Golden Phenix for the first time expect?
KELSEY: Heady aromas of bold coffee, chocolate and a light roasted nutty character. The flavor is deliciously rich and malty with toasted bread, chocolate, fruity medium roast coffee and a nutty finish. The mouthfeel is silky smooth, creamy and full-bodied. It goes down way too easy.

Perfect pairing?
KELSEY: It goes great with just about anything brunch! Sweet treats such as Belgian liege waffles or a savory breakfast sandwich pair perfectly with Golden Phenix.

This beer gal’s take:
I’m definitely drinking this beer with weekend brunch. A surprise to many when it’s served with its golden color, the aroma and flavor is complex and comforting, and smooth as silk on the palate. I’m going to pair mine with homemade coffee cake and vegetarian sausage biscuits and gravy.

Where can I get it and how long?
KELSEY: Thanks to a very loyal following, it’s pretty much always available at our taproom. We distribute Golden Phenix in kegs to craft beer bars and restaurants such as West Coast Smoke & Tap House, Board & Brew, Churchill’s Pub & Grille, Common Theory, Eureka!, Fernside and Seven Grand. We are considering packaging Golden Phenix in nitro cans sometime in the future.

Extra juicy tidbit?
KELSEY: We just finished brewing a couple of new collaboration projects that we’re super excited about. We had Derek Gallanosa from Moksa Brewing in to make a seriously thick and massive stout that will be conditioned on toasted almonds and vanilla beans. We also brewed our very first barleywine with Jonathan Porter from Smog City, which was infused with a bucket full of old fashioned caramel hard candies. We will be barrel aging both of these collaborations, but look out for the non-barrel aged versions in bottles before the end of the year.

North Park Beer Co. is open noon to midnight Monday through Friday; 10:30 a.m. to midnight Saturday; and 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. (619) 255-2994 or