In honor of my soon to be brother-in-law’s soon to be marriage we headed out to San Diego for the bachelor party! Now my last beercation post about Atlanta really wasn’t a true beercation. It was Christmas vacation in Atlanta where I drank a lot of beer. This time we are going to San Diego solely for awesome breweries, brewpubs, and bars that abound there.
San Diego has a number of companies that offer public or private brewery tours to the various breweries around town. They all differ slightly in pricing, transportation, pick up/drop off, and breweries covered. I’ll be honest that our first choice was Brew Hop but they were all booked up… because they let a bunch of their staff off for MLK day weekend and had some vehicles in the shop, not a great way to run a business IMO. We ended up rolling with Brewery Tours of San Diego and while they were pretty full up as well Jon was extremely helpful in working out a time and giving suggestions on the best tour route. What we ended up with was:
Lost Abby tour/tasting
Green Flash tasting/tour.
Lost Abbey reminds me of a bigger Rivertown while Stone is a massive brewery and has some awesome grounds. I was psyched for the food and beer at Stone but the food was so-so and the beer menu lacked the kind of crazy awesome one-offs or rare Stone beers I was hoping for. Green Flash is a pretty sweet place to hang out and, as with Lost Abbey and Stone, is full of great beer. Luckily in the case of Green Flash, unlike Stone, they were serving a lot of stuff I’ve never seen around town.
If you’re staying in San Diego this is definitely something you want to look into as Stone is 40 minutes north and would be an almost $200 cab ride round trip. Plus Jon brings a lot to the table himself. He seems to know all the important people at each place we visited and those tours of the breweries aren’t with some huge group they’re personal tours led by Jon just for your group, very relaxed and very informative affairs. Riding around in a nice big van and having bottles of water there is far better than 4 dudes crammed into a cab or renting a car and having 1 designated driver.
A 50/50 burger, a black bean pizza, and a beach!
I had 2 flights while there and tried many of the samples my friends got as well so I wouldn’t be surprised if I tried most of their beers. However one stands above all the rest. That one was Fisticuffs, a dry Irish stout a la Guinness, very deliciously tasty perhaps especially so as a reaction to all the IPAs I’d been drinking since Thursday night. After a short diversion to the beach we headed back for more beer and this time Pizza. I split a Pizza San Clemente - Black bean sauce, tomatoes, olives, red onions, topped with cheddar, mozzarella, Spanish spices and fresh cilantro – and damned was it more amazing than I would’ve guessed, that black bean sauce really kicked ass.
An island in the sun
We spent the next afternoon at Coronado Brewing Company. Coronado is an island across the bay from San Diego, we figured heading out there was an excellent excuse to take the ferry… and drink more beer. Besides seeing a dolphin and getting a bad ass view of San Diego the ferry is by far the fastest way to Coronado. Coronado almost exactly matched my concept of southern California; bright sun, blue sky, palm trees, 70 degrees, good looking women, and great tasting beer! They had plenty of good beer but nothing super astounding to jump out in my mind and report back here.
The hunting of a Roman philosopher.
The above pic of 4 pints of Pliny The Elder on draft was achieved courtesy of Hamilton’s Tavern. I had long heard that Pliny the Elder was best fresh, then even more improved on draft. This is abundantly true. I will still not say that Pliny The Elder is “the best (or 2nd best) beer in America” but it is an amazing beer that everyone should be given the opportunity to try, preferably on draft if possible.