San Diego brewscape
[The Chowhond team split this post from the California board]
Josh, LOL! This entire conversation is just hilarious.
Anyway, this is totally off-topic, but I've enjoyed reading your comments on beer. Are you by any chance on ratebeer or beeradvocate? I've recently returned to SD after a brief hiatus in Michigan (grad school) -- I'm still unable to tolerate to words "Boone" or "Appalachian" without feeling sick! :). Anyway, I'd love to hear your opinion on the current state of brewing in SD. When I left SD 3 years ago, Alesmith, Stone, and Pizza Port were the top dogs. Since returning, I've liked Green Flash and Alpine. Oh yeah, I know it's not San Diego, but whatever happened to Craftsman brewing? I really liked their stuff!
The mods will probably not like us discussing this here...
I'm on Beer Advocate.
San Diego brewing is blowing up, even more than it was 3 years ago. AleSmith, Stone, and Pizza Port are still big, but Ballast Point has been doing more interesting stuff too.
Port Brewing took up Stone's old location in San Marcos, and that's definitely worth a visit. They have a tasting room, open 6 days a week. Lost Abbey is another project of Port's Tomme Arthur, producing some incredibly complex Belgian style beers. It's quite a sight to go up there and see dozens of giant barrels with beer aging in them.
One brewery that I've seen no bottles from, but some great beer on draft, is Lightning Brewery in Poway. That guy makes some top notch stuff. I had an old ale he did that was really legit tasting.
In the 3 years since you've been gone, there are three great new places to go for beer. Hamilton's Tavern in South Park, Stone's World Bistro, and The Linkery in North Park.
Linkery is a restaurant, but they serve a lot of good local craft beer. The beer is pricey, but it's nice to have the option of something good with your food.
Hamilton's has a great selection of drafts and bottles. The owner is a madman for beer, and really knows his stuff. It's a good complement to O'Brien's, as their focuses are a little bit different.
I'll have to try that. I wasn't that keen on the Lost Abbey Farmhouse Saison -- is this different? I am just too spoiled with the riches of RRBC.
More on topic, I can't get enough of the San Diego beer scene. Port and Alesmith are probably my favs, followed by Stone and Green Flash (although the order changes all the time). I feel like Ballast Point and Alpine are little more mixed.
re: The Dive
The Red Barn is their farmhouse ale (aka saison). "Farmhouse saison" is kind of redundant. The key with the Lost Abbey brews is to have them bottled. Draft does them no favors. I envy your proximity to RRBC. Temptation is probably my single favorite beer, if I was forced to choose.