The rest of our 2008 San Diego beer tasting weekend commenced with a trip to Stone Brewing and their lovely upscale restaurant on the industrial premises. We had a totally lovely time there, savored an excellent lunch in an impressive setting, and sampled some fine brews. Like the first time we went there, we enjoyed the brewery tour. Stone is in a remote location, with no public transit possibilities, but is worth a visit.
Afterwards we visited Pizza Port in Carlsbad and Solana Beach, two pleasant beach communities. Port is known as one home to many of the great craft brews of San Diego county — and the world — but to local families it’s a big lively loud place to have a pizza and some beer. We revisited some favorites and tried some new concoctions. Fortunately Wipeout and Hop-15 are bottled and distributed, along with the Belgian-style brews under the Lost Abbey label, but each Port locale is still a special destination. Solana and Carlsbad are both on the coast commuter rail line, so there are transit options.
The third day we visited O’Brien’s Pub and Hamilton Tavern, two serious fine beer bars which were each a treat, both for the beer on draft and the conversations to be had with other avid beer fans. The San Diego Brewer’s Guild site is one way to identify destinations for a visit there. The craft brewing community there appears to be intelligent and mutually supportive. Their guild map is the best evidence, and a useful resource.
Just how good a beer town is San Diego?
This was the sight of the weekend for us: a chain drug store on Garnet Avenue, a random stop for us to get some bottled water, revealed this collection:
(Photo by Gail)
That’s six packs from Ballast Point, Firestone Walker, Lagunitas, Alaskan, Stone and other west coast craft beers available when you stock up on sunscreen. Not quite what we picked up at the breweries we visited, but an awfully nice baseline collection. Yes, this is a beer town!
The challenge was how to get the bottles that we’d purchased home safely by air. After some angst based on other trips, we packed the bottles in molded styrofoam wine package inserts wrapped in plastic bags, then placed into
wheel-on luggage. We brought home some fine souvenirs to San Francisco without incident.
Hehe, I know what you mean about random places having great beer selections here. I moved to a new place in San Diego a few months ago and was pleasantly surprised to see that the local grocery market carries Alesmith, Green Flash, Stone, Ballast Point (even had some of their Sculpin IPA), Pizza Port and more. And it’s within walking distance from our house 🙂