Ricky and I have been wanting to take a “beer trip” to San Diego for a while now, seeing that it is only about a 5-hour drive away and there are a LOT of breweries there. So, along with our friends Michelle and Brian, we decided that the Thanksgiving holiday weekend would be a perfect time to do this. So we did!
Trying to blog about this now is going to be a bit difficult, since I know we went to a ton of breweries, beer bars, and bottle shops, but I’m going to try. We left on Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving, and since pretty much all of the breweries were closed on Thanksgiving Day, we took a dinner cruise for Thanksgiving dinner (which basically sucked… the food was not very good at all) and then visited a couple of local beer bars. One of those was Toronado, where among some other good beers we tried, Ricky and I managed to split a bottle of Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws from 2010. It’s a barleywine, and a great one. This is what a barleywine should taste like, in my opinion.
Friday was a bit of a bigger day. Ricky and I both had to work, but we started early so we could be done early and make it to more breweries. I took a break during the day to go to lunch with Michelle and Brian. We were staying really close to the harbor, and I wanted some seafood. We found this great little place on the harbor called Mitch’s Seafood that had the best crab cakes ever! I had a mixed seafood plate for lunch and it was delicious. I definitely plan to visit that place when I’m in San Diego again.
Our first brewery visit was to Stone Brewing Liberty Station. Now, all of us had been to the main Stone Brewing before in Escondido, but we wanted to check out this new location. It is big! We got to try a few good beers there before visiting a Stone company store in yet another location. We found some good stuff there, including a 2004 Stone Russian Imperial Stout. Really good stuff!
The next brewery we hit was a newer one called Modern Times. This place was really cool. They had a cool mural on the wall (of, um… Michael Jackson and his monkey, apparently) made of Post-Its, plus we happened to get there on the day they were having a special tapping. We blogged a bit more about that on 1001 Bottles.
After that, we hit up Societe, which was another newer brewery with a cool name and cool names and logos for their beers. They are called things like The Apprentice, The Butcher, The Harlot, The Debutante, and The Publican. I love the concept. We met up with our friend Erick there and some friends of his.
Next we visited AleSmith, which we made it to just before they closed. We had just enough time to order a flight, which came with ALL their beers on tap – 17 in all! Fortunately we had plenty of help from friends to get all these beers tasted before the brewery closed and they kicked us out.
I’m getting my times, days, and breweries mixed up, but I know we also made it to Green Flash on Friday, and I think we actually went to Ballast Point as well, where we met up with our friends Sarah and Matt. We didn’t stay long, as they were closing down too.
Saturday we got a much earlier start. Our first stop was at Erick’s house to pick him up, and we also surprised him with a bottle of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout that we all split (so delicious!). After that we visited several bottle shops that day, including Distillers Outlet, who I follow on Instagram and who is always posting great beers that they get in that I am jealous of. It was fun to meet the guy behind that account.
We happened to discover while visiting one of the bottle shops that a nearby bar, Urge, had not only the Bourbon County Stout on tap, but also the Bourbon County Barleywine, plus they had the Bourbon County Coffee Stout (my personal favorite) in bottles. We rushed right over to try them all!
It was about time to visit another brewery. The next one we made it to was Lost Abbey/Port Brewing. We had a great experience there. We tried several of their beers on tap, but then we got the chance to meet Director of Brewery Operations there, Tomme Arthur, who graciously brought us a bottle of Track #8, one of the beers from their highly sought after Box Set series. Yum!
We also made visits to some smaller breweries, including Rip Current and Belching Beaver. I think Belching Beaver was one of my favorites, partially due to their fun name. They also had some great beers, including a peanut butter milk stout that was awesome. Plus, all of their bottles had different tweaks to the beaver in their logo. It’s probably hard to tell in the photo below, but the Beaver’s Milk has him as a milkman, the Peanut Butter Milk Stout has him holding a peanut with a nipple on it, the Hop Highway has him dressed as a highway patrolman, etc. Fun! I’m a sucker for a brewery with clever, consistent marketing.
On Sunday, we visited a few more bottle shops and hit up Alpine Beer Company on our way home. What a fun weekend, and a lot of great beer! Thanks to Erick for joining us as well. I think he and Ricky bonded over beer (or maybe because of it)!