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Jul 16, 2007 05:28 PM

SD Beer Report - The Sequel

Got back to San Diego for a few days and, well, had to drink a lot of beer. I've said it before and I'll say it again, San Diego really has one of the best craft beer scenes around. Here's the rundown:

Pizza Port (Solana Beach): Another fantastic visit to a beer and pizza mecca. Shared the garlic vegetable pizza and an order of pizza bite things (not as good as Russian River's similar offering). As always, great beers, but missed the Hop 15. We had Baja Session Ale (5% but tasty -- like a better Sierra Nevada Pale Ale); Hop Through It (not quiet as good as the Hop 15): Swami IPA (favorite available IPA of the night -- got a growler to go even - less hoppy, but very flavorful); Old Viscosity (what can you say -- fantastic -- what is that stuff); Dawn Patrol Dark - cask condition (excellent).

The Linkery (SD): We're spoiled in the Bay Area, but we have nothing like this place. Wow. A great combination of farmer-direct food and a great bottle list. Only two beers on tap, but they definitely know their stuff here. Food-wise, we shared the stone fruit salad and sikil p'ak (ground pumpkim seed dip) to start, then followed with a picnic plate with the fresh asian pork sausage and choucroute plate with the housemade polish sausage. Ended with a nice cheese plate, with spiced pecans and three cheese from a farm in Virginia. But what about the beers, right? All I can say is wow again. Alesmith Yulesmith (great, great hoppy double IPA -- need to buy this now); Lost Abbey Farmhouse Saison (okay, a little disappointing -- not as good as the RRBC offerings); Avery 14 Anniversary Ale (intersting and good...dark but hoppy, a bit like the Old V); Avery Mephistophiles Stout (16%!!! Crazy Strong and good...really a dessert beer. Need to go to Boulder now); Green Flash Trippel (pretty good--beats the Lost Abbey, but not quite up to RRBC style); Alesmith Decadence (beautiful and strong).

Hamilton's Tavern (SD): Great beer selection, fantastic juke box and great beer-loving clientele -- who could ask for more? It was Coronado Brewing Company keg night, so we got to try some more great local stuff. CBC Red Devil (a good strong hoppy red); CBC Hoppy Friar - fask condition (very good, but I prefer DIPA not casked); and Lost Abbey Judgment Day (have to admit to not remembering that one....).

Stone Brewing Company (Escondido): Must make prilgrimage to Stone. This is a fantasic facility and a perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. Foodwise, we started with the very garlicky cheddar cheese soup (topped with a tempura brocolli floret), then had duck tacos (great sauce) and Arrogant Benedict (rich, served on foccacia). Too full to enjoy any desserts (we're going to get that smoked porter float one of these days). Enjoyed Port's Hop 15 (had to have it once in SD), Alesmith Grand Cru 2006 (strong, but a slight sour/lambic note), and Green Flash Hop Head Red (excellent -- name says it all).

We wanted to hit Pizza Port (Carlsbad), Liar's Club and O'Briens, but we were sadly beered out (never thought I would say those words). Altogether another fantastic trip -- San Diego is a very lucky town.

3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

Pizza Port-Solana Beach Brwry
135 N Highway 101, Solana Beach, CA 92075

Hamiltons Tavern
1521 30th St, San Diego, CA 92102

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
Citracado Pkwy, Escondido, CA 92029

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  1. Great report. What would you consider the United States top 5 beer metro-areas? Portland, Oregon and San Diego, California are surely in there?

    1. Check out The Brewer's Association (a national association) as every single brewery in San Diego County is a member. There are several dozen. You can also check out the San Diego Brewer's Guild which most of the local players big and small are members off. Also don't forget to go to the 2008 World Cup of Beer festival which is being held in San Diego next year. It's one of the largest beerfests in the world plus it is an excellent opportunity to brews from thousands, yes thousands, of different breweries big and small from around the globe. I went to the World Cup of Beer last time it was in San Diego (2000 or 2001 I think) and had an absolute blast. Just remember to have a designated driver because if you try even one or two percent of the beers on offer you will be trashed. ;)

      1. AleSmith Brewing Company
        9368 Cabot Drive
        San Diego 858-549-9888

        AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego's most award-winning brewery. Inspired by the classic ales of Britain and Belgium, AleSmith is a growing artisan brewery whose exquisite craft brews have gathered more awards than any other brewery in San Diego. About the Brew master:

        Alpine Beer Company
        2351 Alpine Blvd
        Alpine 619-445-2337

        Alpine Beer Company opened its doors in the fall of 2002. Years before, an interest in craft brewing developed into an actual goal for the future. There were years of home brew competitions, brew science classes, and extended beer runs thinly disguised as vacations. Always looking for a challenge, Pat apprenticed at a local brewery.

        Ballast Point Brewing Company
        5401 Linda Vista Road, Suite #406
        San Diego 619-298-2337 10051 Old Grove Road Suite B
        San Diego 858-695-2739

        Ballast Point Brewing Company is one of San Diego's Premiere Breweries. We started out modestly as Home Brew Mart in 1992. Our goal was to teach others how to brew quality handcrafted beer at home. In 1996 the brewery was installed by New World Brewing Systems in the space behind our retail store and production began in September. We currently distribute five of our favorite beers, Yellowtail Pale Ale, Calico Amber Ale , Big Eye I.P.A., Black Marlin Porter and Wahoo Wheat to a thirsty San Diego. Come to our brewery and we will gladly give you a tour and allow you to sample our newest selection of beers.

        Back Street Brewery
        15 Main Street
        Vista 760-407-7600

        Our Brewmaster uses traditional brewing methods along with the finest ingredients available. We brew our beer in small batches to ensure freshness and quality. Although our methods are more expensive, we believe this process creates the best tasting beer.

        At Back Street our Ales and Lagers are heartier and more interesting than many of the beers you may find elsewhere. We encourage you to discover the wonderful taste and many different styles of beer that we offer..

        Coronado Brewing Company
        170 Orange Ave
        Coronado 619-437-4452

        Our Brewing Company's specialties include a variety of delicious micro-brewed beers, gourmet wood-fired pizzas, calzones, fresh seafood, steaks, unique pasta dishes, an array of brew house favorites, weekly specials, and a number of all you can eat dinner items Wednesday thru Monday.

        Firehouse Brewing Company
        7696 Miramar Road
        San Diego 858-752-1878

        Our American Pale Ale is a delightful example of the classic American Pale Ale style. It has a deep amber color and a full bodied, complex character with no after taste. This beer has quickly become one of San Diego's favorites.

        Gordon Biersch
        5010 Mission Center Road
        San Diego 619-688-1120

        At Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants, our passion is to produce and deliver to our guests the highest quality and freshest products. Our tradition of on-site brewing and food made fresh, from scratch, are the most evident examples of this passion.

        Green Flash Brewing Company
        1430 Vantage Ct. #104A
        Vista 760-597-9012

        Green Flash Brewing Company is a producer of finely crafted modern ales using the best all natural ingredients available. The unique ales brewed at Green Flash are crafted using modern equipment and techniques while borrowing from brewing traditions and adapting old world methods for the best possible result.

        Karl Strauss
        1157 Columbia Street
        San Diego 619-234-2739

        1044 Wall Street
        La Jolla 858-551-2739

        9675 Scranton Road
        Sorrento Mesa 858-587-2739

        5985 Santa Fe Avenue
        San Diego 858-273-2739 5801 Armada Drive
        Carlsbad 760-431-2739

        Karl Strauss is one of the world's most accomplished Master Brewers. In Minden, Germany, where his father was the president of a small brewery, Karl was born on the brewery premises and lived in the family quarters at the brewery while he was growing up (hence the claim that he has beer in his blood). As a young man, Karl left Minden to study in Bavaria where he earned his degree in the science of malting and brewing from the Technical University Munich at Weihenstephan.

        La Jolla Brewhouse
        7536 Fay Avenue
        La Jolla 858-456-6279

        BEER, FOOD & FUN !
        What more could you possibly want?

        La Jolla Brew House is a casual LOCALS establishment featuring high quality, moderately priced food and a distinctive selection of craft brewed and specialty beers served in a comfortable and entertaining atmosphere.

        Lightning Brewery
        13200 Kirkham Way Suite 105
        Poway 858-513-8070

        Fine handcrafted beers

        Oceanside Ale Works
        3800 Oceanic Dr. Suite 105
        Oceanside 760-721-4253

        Oceanside Ale Works crafts award-winning ales in the first microbrewery to find its home in beautiful Oceanside, California. Using the freshest hops and finest malted barley, our ales are hand-crafted to exacting standards ensuring a taste experience you are sure to remember. We are located along the North Coast of San Diego County.

        Oggi's Pizza and Brewing Company
        2245 Fenton Parkway #101
        San Diego 619-640-1072 425 S. Melrose
        Vista 760-295-3851 10155 Rancho Carmel Drive
        San Diego 858-592-7883

        Pizza & Brewing Company began in August 1991 as a Franchisee of Stuff Pizza Franchise Corporation. Back then it was known as Stuff Pizza Restaurant. It was known as Stuff Pizza, Stuff Pizza Café and Restaurant, as well as a number of other names as we searched for an identity that would truly differentiate us in a very crowded pizza market. Although we started off with a full compliment of pasta and salad dishes to compliment our pizzas, we felt that further differentiation would be needed to survive. Our first attempt was to buy delivery vehicles.

        Pizza Port
        135 N. Highway 101
        Solona Beach 858-481-7332 571 Carlsbad Village Drive
        Carlsbad 760-720-7007

        Pizza Port is devoted to total customer satisfaction by providing the highest quality and the best service humanly possible while having too much fun. We take ultimate pride in our standards by offering a completely unique dining and drinking experience. Our goal is only met if we make you happy and you have a great time EVERYTIME!

        Rock Bottom Brewery
        8980 Villa La Jolla Drive
        La Jolla 858-450-9277 401 G Street
        San Diego 619-231-7000

        Rock Bottom built its foundation on a tradition of fresh, handcrafted beers and a diverse menu that make up the cornerstones of the 29 Rock Bottom locations across the United States.

        San Diego Brewing Company
        10450 Friars Road #L
        San Diego 619-284-2739

        (Note. They own both the S.D. Brewing Company in Mission Valley and they bought the old Callaghan's Brew Pub in Mira Mesa. I've been a big fan of Callaghan's Blueberry Wheat Ale since I celibrated my 21st birthday there 10 years ago. Their Chocolate Porter is also to die for since they have real bits of unsweetened chocolate floating in the foam.)

        San Marcos Brewery & Grill
        1080 W. San Marcos Blvd
        San Marcos 790-471-0050

        Stone Brewing Company
        1999 Citricado Parkway
        Escondido 760-471-4999

        The Stone Brewing Co. is the brainchild of beer-lover/brewer Steve Wagner and beer-lover/business guy Greg Koch. Between the two of them, there have been visits to over 140 different breweries in the US & Europe.

        Taylor's Restaurant & Brewery
        721 Grand Ave.
        San Diego 858-270-3596

        2 Replies
          1. re: oerdin

            Thanks to The Dive for a very nice report on his SD beer adventures, and thanks to Oerdin for gathering all that info on local breweries! I'm going to cut-n-paste that into a document to keep!

        1. The Linkery looks like a place I'll have to visit. No-tips policy sounds interesting too. It might not be at the same level (based on my look at The Linkery's website), but I've always thought Rosamunde next door to Toronado in SF has been pretty good. Is The Linkery really on such a different level?

          3 Replies
          1. re: clarence6ybr

            Yes. The sausages at Rosamunde are very good, but it really is a grab and go place. The Linkery is a full-fledge restaurant, with great vegetarian options and other entrees. Everything is very fresh, well-made and well-documented (the menu explains where all the vegetables, cheese and meats/fish come from). With the additional of a stellar bottle list, it really is a unique and great place.

            1. re: The Dive

              Thanks for the report. I'll be in SD next month, I'm adding Te Linkery to the list of 'must visits'.

              1. re: clarence6ybr

                Great report from the dive. Looks like alot of fun. You went to some of my favorite spots. As many of you may know, San Diego is soon getting their very own Toronado, right in North Park. Can't wait.

          2. If you liked the Linkery you might want to try their sister restaurant, Ritual Tavern:


            They also have an incredible Beer List, with all taps being local breweries & a really nice selection of local & import bottles; actually nicer than their wine list.