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San Diego Breweries

What is everyones favorite local beer and which do you wish was carried more at restaurants? My personal favorite is ballast point yellowtail pale ale.

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  1. Heh, that's funny.

    For myself, AleSmith X and Anvil should be served anywhere that food is served.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Josh

      Guess I'll see you at 2nd Saturday then?

      1. re: Josh

        Here's a 2nd for Anvil and X!

          1. re: Josh

            Went to Counterpoint on Friday night and their beer selection wasn't anything crazy but is very good from a pairing standpoint.
            Alesmith Anvil
            Alesmith Lil' Devil
            Alesmith IPA
            Lost Abbey Lost & Found
            Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye (for the pastrami on rye pairing)
            Mad River Scotch Porter
            and there were a couple more too

            The Lost Abbey
            155 Mata Way Suite 104, San Marcos, CA

          2. Ballast Point's Big Eye IPA is my refridgerator beer; the one I keep at home. Their seasonal Victory at Sea (Imperial Porter?) and Sculpin IPA are both incredible special occasion brews.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Uncle Lefty

              Victory at Sea is very good. Green Flash makes great beers, I'm particularly fond of the 30th street Pale Ale. Alpine Pure Hoppiness is really good too.

            2. Mermaid Red by Coronado Brewing Company is really good. Nice color too.

              1. My single favorite all-around beer is AleSmith's Nautical Nut Brown. I wish they bottled it, and I wish it was available in more restaurants, but at least I can get growlers when their hours permit.

                1. Poor Man's IPA Pizza port Cbad

                  1. I am so happy to see no Karl Strauss beers on anyones reply. It pains me to see so many taps wasted in this town on Strauss beers.

                    4 Replies
                      1. re: SeanT

                        When is that brand going to go away? It's a poor representation of what San Diego has to offer!!!

                        1. re: mmjgam

                          Hopefully never. They have been getting a lot better, recently. They have a nice tripel, some other interesting brews, and they announced they were bringing their bottling operation back to San Diego, so the more interesting brews may be more likely to be bottled.

                          1. re: The Office Goat

                            Karl died and the owners decided to give the brewers a lot more leeway...as such they have been vastly improving the lineup the last 2 years. I still skip the main line of beers.

                      2. Alpine Nelson, Alpine Exponential Hoppiness, and Ballast Point Sculpin are probably my 3 favorite San Diego beers (that aren't 1 time brews), but I'm not sure if I'd really want any of them carried regularly for pairings at restaurants. All 3 are pretty big hop bombs and can easily blow out your palate (i.e. I had a Big Eye after drinking Nelson once and it almost tasted like water).

                        A few beers that I would like to see at restaurants: Lost Abbey Carnevale, Lost Abbey Avant Garde, Green Flash Hop-Less, Alesmith Speedway Stout (dessert pairing), Alpine Tuatara, Port None The Weisser, and Stone Cali-Belgique

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: DougOLis

                          That Nelson sits at the very top of my list. Beerfection.

                        2. Anything by Alesmith passes the test and I am also partial to Callaghan's Blueberry Wheat Ale (which is made by their parent company San Diego Brewing Company) but that's only available at SD Brewing Co owned restaurants/breweries. I used to like several Stone Brewing Co beers but the truth is all they produce are big over hopped ales and that gets boring after a while. I can't believe no one has mentioned Pizza Port/Port Brewing Co in this thread yet as they are up there with Alesmith in terms of quality & taste.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: oerdin

                            I guess you did not read my post. If the poor man's is out I'll go for a wipeout.

                            1. re: SeanT

                              Sorry, it seems you did mention Pizza Port/Port Brewing Co.

                            2. re: oerdin

                              >>I used to like several Stone Brewing Co beers but the truth is all they
                              >>produce are big over hopped ales and that gets boring after a while.

                              Smoked Porter
                              Smoked Porter with vanilla bean
                              Smoked Porter with chipotle peppers
                              Sawyer's Tripel
                              Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee Macadamia Nut Porter
                              The last two years of their Special Holiday Ale (collab with Nogne-O and Jolly Pumpkin)...

                              ?? Overhoppage not found in the above brews. Sure a lot of beers they sell have a lot of hops, but if you can't find the ones that don't, you just need to look a little harder. Heck even their regular Pale Ale isn't overhopped (and you can get cases at Costco): my wife is not a fan of a lot of hops and even she'll go for that.

                              1. re: The Office Goat

                                Levitation and IPA are also not excessively hoppy, either. And Old Guardian gets amazing with some age on it. I has a thee year old bottle of that which was really good.

                              2. re: oerdin

                                I mentioned 2 Lost Abbey beers and a Port

                              3. At Prado in Balboa Park, I asked the waiter what they had on tap...going down the list was nothing local except Prado Pale Ale that the waiter recommended....where is that from? I tried to do an internet search & didn't find anything about it. It was a pretty good beer. At Old Town Mexican Cafe they had a sign up for a Ballast Point Pale Ale but the waitress (whose English wasn't good) said they didn't have it. I ended up getting a Dos Equis b/c they didn't have anything else decent on tap.

                                Old Town Mexican Cafe
                                2489 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110

                                Balboa Park
                                1549 El Prado Ste 8, San Diego, CA 92101

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: CurryLover

                                  If I were a betting man, I'd say that El Prado's pale ale was being brewed by Karl Strauss or Gordon Biersch. Anything else would be too edgy. :)

                                  1. re: RB Hound

                                    According to a friend who buys a "private label" beer for his restaurant, Anheuser-Busch (or the A-B distributor) offers them, i.e., it takes a beer it already brews and brands it as the restaurant's. If A-B offers that, I'd guess that Miller-Coors does too.

                                    Some small-to-midsize brewers will offer to brew private label or contract (you may recall Reaper Ale from a few years back which was brewed for contract by a very good local craft brewery); and there are breweries that specialize in contract brewing (none in SD that I know of, but a couple in Southern California, I think).

                                    So a "private label" beer such as the one you mention could be anything from, say, Busch Light, to a craft beer handmade by a World Beer Cup brewmaster of the year. I've seen both, and plenty in between.

                                    1. re: jayporter

                                      Gorden Biersh and Firestone Walker make contract (private label) beer for many restaurants, as well as Trader Joes. I think the Oggis group does also (as well as the Reaper stuff).

                                      1. re: MrKrispy

                                        I love Firestone's Double Barrell.
                                        ***Does anybody know if the old Mission Brewery has reopened yet?

                                        1. re: sd4life

                                          I believe New English Brewing is using that space.

                                          1. re: Josh

                                            You are correct sir (although not open to the public yet)


                                2. To answer the original questions - Favorite beers are Stone IPA, Ballast Point Yellowtail), and Lost Abbey Damnation (at least I think that was the name of the beer - my memory is a little hazy. heh). Anyway, I really wish more restaurants would carry Lost Abbey beers.

                                  By the way, has anyone figured out why San Diego's beer scene is so, so much better than the rest of Southern California? I travel to LA a fair amount for work, and the beer scene is pathetic. In San Diego, at every bar or hotel, there's at least one local beer (granted that beer is sometimes Karl Strauss, but my point remains). In LA, you're lucky if they carry Stella. Any thoughts?

                                  The Lost Abbey
                                  155 Mata Way Suite 104, San Marcos, CA

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: jmtreg

                                    And, on a slight tangent, any thoughts for a good brewery/place with good beer selection with good food for a beer-lover's bday dinner? No stone, Ritual Tavern or Toronado or Blind Lady (because we have been to all those recently) but something along those lines would be good. Preferably somewhere that takes reservations because this group might get cranky waiting forever for a table for 10-12.

                                    Ritual Tavern
                                    4095 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                                    1. re: pooch

                                      Well, the Linkery would fit into that category.

                                      3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                                      1. re: jmtreg


                                        Alchemy and Sea Rocket are other good options too. And maybe Neighborhood but space could be an issue there.

                                        1. re: DougOLis

                                          lol Sea Rocket isn't exactly an expansive space compared to Neighborhood!

                                          1. re: MrKrispy

                                            Yeah, but I'm sure they could work something out. There is that room to the left when you come in too.

                                  2. On a related note, San Diego did very well at the World Beer Cup last weekend:

                                    Ballast Point - Best Small Brewery, 3 Gold
                                    Alesmith - 1 Gold, 1 Bronze
                                    Rock Bottom La Jolla - 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
                                    Alpine - 1 Gold, 2 Bronze
                                    Lost Abbey/Port - 2 Silver
                                    Pizza Port - 1 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Bronze
                                    Karl Strauss - 1 Gold
                                    Green Flash - 1 Silver

                                    And the 2 other big SoCal (ish) breweries did well too:
                                    Firestone Walker - Best Medium Brewery, 2 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze
                                    The Bruery - 2 Gold

                                    Green Flash
                                    701 Thomas Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: DougOLis

                                      Nice to see Ballast Point getting recognition. I've always felt they're kind of underappreciated.

                                    2. My favorite SD beer is the one I have in my hand at the time. I love so many of them I can't pin down a favorite. I wish more local restaurants would carry SD beers. I had dinner the other nite at Ba Ren (fabulous Sichuan) and they once did a Beer Week event. SD beer would go great with this type of food, but sadly, all they had was QingDao.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: steveprez

                                        The Beer Week event at Ba Ren was set up by fellow hounds Kirk K. and Josh.