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San Diego Beer Tour: Day 3

Sunday morning we woke up and wondered why  brewery tasting rooms don’t open sooner. Noon seems kind of late to start drinking beer.

Also, we kept missing the free beer.

Stone is number eleven in craft breweries in the United States, and it was one of the places we had to stop. Being so large means they have the finances to build themselves a facility outside of the industrial parks, which includes its own restaurant.

They have a great restaurant that people come to eat, not even to partake of the beer necessarily.

You can tell a lot of work and detail went into making this facility. Of course, lots of stone is used in the construction.

They have a great outdoor patio with its own bar.

Their beer selection on tap is fantastic, including a lot of beers from other breweries. Knowing I would drink plenty of Stone beers, I opted to start with Russian River’s Pliny the Elder.

BBQ Pork Sandwich.

Prime Rib Melt.

Beer Float, featuring Stone Smoked Porter and Niederfranks Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Both of these stand on their own, but when put together you get something very magical.

We took the tour of the brewery, which starts with propaganda about making good beer and walks you through the manufacturing lines.

If you drink four pints a day from the big fermentation tanks, it would take you sixty five years to finish the tank. That’s close to 12,000 gallons of beer. I’ll just stick to a small tank of beer, thanks.

Unfortunately all these kegs and bottles are empties.

Some goodies to take home. Stone is currently working on building a hotel behind their brewery. I guess people love their beer so much they travel just to get a taste. It’ll be Beer Disneyland!

Port Brewing/Lost Abbey had my favorite tasting room.  This location is actually Stone’s old facility. Although it was in an industrial park like the rest, they put together lots of space for people to sit down and enjoy their beers while watching a Chargers game.

More goodies to take home with us.

The final brewery on our beercation before we returned to our regular lives was Iron Fist. Another small brewery in an industrial park, they had customers drawing on butcher paper and designing their walls. I really like how locals come to these tasting rooms like they would a local watering hole.

Some of Iron Fist’s beers. Hired Hand, Golden Age, Dubbel Fisted, Trippel Fisted.

Totally off topic, but Iron Fist’s head brewer, Brandon looks like he could be the lovechild of Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter. It’s like the “If They Mated” sketch backfired on The Conan Show.

The day’s bounty: Port Brewing’s Wipeout IPA. Two bottles of Lost Abbey’s Judgement Day and a bottle of Ten Commandments. Bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale, Self-Righteous, Belgo Anise, Cali-Belgique IPA, and two bottles of Stone’s Imperial Black IPA. Two bottles of Iron Fists’s Dubbel Fisted and a Renegade Blonde.

Day three was the close of the brewery tour trip, and I have to say it was quite enjoyable. I really enjoy the beer scene down south. They understand that good beer is about more than just inebriation. It’s about community. Sharing a beer next to a total stranger didn’t seem strange at all. It was familiar and comfortable. I like that.

Drinking beer as a marathon activity and hopping from brewery to brewery is very tough. First, you have to stay sober enough to drive. Safety first. Even while staying sober it’s hard to keep up when the beer makes you so full. I have to think that if I were a few years younger, I also wouldn’t have needed the naps. Still, it’s totally worth it. Life’s too short to drink bad beer.

San Diego Beer Tour: Day 2

The next morning we woke up ready for a day full of beer.

First stop, Green Flash! Look at Green Flash, all corporate with a glass front on its new building.

Green Flash has lots of room to grow into their new digs.

Even their tasting room setup gives plenty of space for visitors. There is a whole patio outside, where you can catch some rays while enjoying your beer.

Starting with one of my favorites, Le Freak.

Trippel, Summer Saison, Hop Head Red, and Double Stout.

I absolutely love that all these breweries are in industrial parks. AleSmith looks like it could be a retail store.

I don’t have very many pictures of AleSmith for some reason. I do recall enjoying their brews and that these women were looking at a dog.

Back to Hess Brewing for a pit stop. We couldn’t buy the growler Tim wanted the day before because of their special event. Another nitrogen pour of Ex Umbris and we were on our way.

Tim wanted to drive to the next spot, but I thought he might draw too much attention to himself with the Hess flag flying behind the all terrain golf cart.

The next stop was Ballast Point. While I enjoy their beers, this was my least favorite tasting room only because it was much too small. Even AleSmith’s tasting room was larger than this.

That still didn’t stop us from picking up a few drinks. This is a beer trip, right? Big Eye IPA, Marlin Porter, Sculpin IPA, and Amber Ale.

After finishing up we realized we should probably eat something, so we went with a friend’s recommendation of Lorna’s Italian Kitchen. He said it was the standard by which he compares all other Italian food. We showed up and were quite skeptical when we saw the address was in a strip mall, but we were too tired to look for something else. I don’t know if I would call this a measuring stick for Italian food, but it was very good.

Vegetable Soup. Nice hint of spiciness in this cup of soup.

Meat Lasagna. Cheesy goodness.

Linguini with Clams. This actually reminds me of some of the pasta I ate when I was in Italy.

Lunch was followed by one of the best naps I’ve ever had. We woke up trying to figure out if we could catch the Mayweather/Ortiz fight anywhere, but we just ended up at Oggi’s because all my beer drinking called for some wings.

I enjoy comfort food so much more when I drink beer. That only compounds the calories we drank earlier in the day.

Of course there were hot wings. The wings were decent, and the heat slowly built up, one wing after the other.

What better way to cool down the fire than with a pint of McGarvey’s Scottish Ale. Remember what they say. If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!

The day’s bounty: Bottle of Green Flash’s Le Freak. Growler of Hess’ Ex Umbris. Bottle of AleSmith’s Grand Cru, IPA, and Wee Heavy. Bottle of Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA.

San Diego Beer Tour: Day 1

My buddy Tim has been wanting to check out some of the breweries that produce the beer we enjoy so much. We finally booked a weekend and left an open invitation to our friends, but no one wanted to go. Michelle even declined to go saying, “I don’t want to be a third wheel.” Consequently, the beer we bottled before we left on the trip we called Third Wheel.

Our first stop on our way down was Phil’s BBQ, a very popular food joint that hasn’t made its way out of the San Diego area yet. It’s only a matter of time though, because this place is awesome.

Tri tip sandwich, smothered in Phil’s BBQ sauce. The tri tip was so perfectly smokey. I felt the BBQ sauce covered that too much.

Pulled pork over a bed of cabbage. Although the pork was plenty juicy, this is where I would put more BBQ sauce. The sweetness would compliment this sandwich well.

Their beer battered onion rings are incredible.

We really had no schedule for breweries on Friday, but Hess Brewery was doing an event to support the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. Ian, the guy on the poster, has lost the use of his legs due to MS but is still doing a 150 mile ride from Irvine to San Diego to raise funds to fight MS. Check out his site here.

Hess was busy with lots of people supporting Ian and enjoying good beer.

Hess’ Ex Umbris with nitrogen pour makes for an awesome, creamy stout that makes great cream mustaches.

Unfortunately for me,  I lack the mustache for the cream to take hold, so I get the pervert cream ‘stache at the edge of my lip.

The best part about beer is that you can sit on a curb and ponder life while drinking it, much like whisky, gin, and vodka.


We managed to score some inexpensive tickets to a Padres game.

It was Padres vs. Diamondbacks, two teams we care nothing for, so the game was pretty pouring. Fortunately they serve Stone and Ballast Point on tap at the stadium.

After the game, we headed to Roberto’s to get some carne asada fries. The asada was pretty dry. It’s probably been this way every time I went in college, but just like back in the day, it was pretty satisfying.

Still wanting to drink a few more beers, we headed to Pizza Port. I really enjoy Oskar Blues’ Gubna.

The pizza isn’t bad here other. The sauce doesn’t stand out very much from the big chain pizza joints, but they pile on lots of fresh toppings and the curst is fantastic. I would love to have a pizza joint like this locally that serves great beer.

Up next, more beer.

Another One Bites the Dust

I went away for the weekend in San Diego for a bachelor party. Pictures are few and far between, as they should be during events such as these. I do have a few highlights from the trip to share though.

This was already in the fridge when we showed up.

This was the backup beer.

I tried to greet the bachelor in the morning with some breakfast in bed. He was not having it.

A terrible tradition that started at my own bachelor party, but here in the states they have 40’s so you don’t get whiskey taped to your hands instead.

We all had a blast. Congratulations to the bachelor, a real trooper.