US - Pacific San Diego Visitor’s Guide

Discussion in 'Beer Travel, Events and Releases' started by Sage, Oct 15, 2013.

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  1. Sage

    Sage

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    Last updated 26 December 2018.
    • To get a map of SD breweries, click on the latest West Coaster issue here (I recommend the E-Reader link), then go to the last 8 pages or so. Or if you’re already in SD, you can pick up a physical copy of one of these magazines at most local breweries.
    • List of California breweries’ growler fill policies. This is a spreadsheet run by me – please let me know if you run into any discrepancies. Note that per California law, you can’t get growler fills at bars, as they are only allowed to be filled at the brewery that made the beer.
    In previous iterations of this guide I grouped breweries into a top tier and a secondary tier. This was easier to do when we had fewer breweries, but now we have so many that it’s a bit harder for me to get a general consensus of where to place things, so I’ve decided to just list any notable brewery/pub/tasting room, grouped by location.

    Starting north west and working roughly south east:

    San Clemente (not technically San Diego county but it’s sort of “Honorary San Diego”)
    • Pizza Port, San Clemente
    • Artifex
    Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas
    • Bagby
    • Burgeon
    • Modern Times, Encinitas
    • Pizza Port, Carlsbad
    • Pizza Port, Bressi Ranch
    • Rouleur
    • Urge, Oceanside
    San Marcos, Vista, Escondido
    • Wild Barrel
    • Mother Earth
    • Rip Current, San Marcos
    • Churchill’s Pub
    • Lost Abbey
    • Urge, San Marcos
    • Stone, Escondido
    Solana Beach
    • Pizza Port, Solana Beach
    • Bottlecraft, Solana Beach
    Rancho Bernardo
    • Abnormal
    • Urge, Rancho Bernardo
    Sorrento Valley, Miramar
    • Alesmith
    • Amplified, Miramar
    • Pure Project
    • New English
    Pacific Beach
    • Amplified, Pacific Beach
    Kearny Mesa
    • Societe
    • O’Brien’s Pub
    Grantville
    • Benchmark, Grantville
    Bay Park
    • Benchmark, Bay Park
    Ocean Beach, Point Loma, Liberty Station
    • Pizza Port, Ocean Beach
    • Modern Times, Point Loma
    • Bottlecraft, Liberty Station
    • Stone, Liberty Station
    Downtown
    • Resident
    • Bottlecraft, Little Italy
    • Monkey Paw
    • Stone, Downtown
    University Heights, North Park
    • Small Bar
    • Eppig
    • Tiger Tiger
    • Modern Times
    • Rip Current
    • Toronado
    • North Park Beer Co
    • Bottlecraft, North Park
    South Park
    • Hamiltons
    • South Park Brewing Co
    El Cajon
    • Burning Beard
    Alpine
    • Alpine Beer Co
    Chula Vista
    • Bar Sin Nombre
    • Thr3e Punk Ales
    ------------------------

    Bottleshops
    • The best bottleshops in the county are Bine & Vine (Normal Heights), Bottlecraft (locations listed above), Olive Tree Market (Ocean Beach) and Holiday Wine Cellar (Escondido).
    • Additionally, most Whole Foods carry a pretty good selection.
    • To get a good idea of what kind of bottles are currently hitting SD, just take a look at the Bine & Vine or Bottlecraft Instagram accounts.
    ------------------------

    Great reuben spots

    • Antonelli’s
    • DZ Akin’s
    • Corvette Diner
    • Milton’s
    • Cheers Deli
    • Tip Top Meats
    • Hungry Bear Sub Shop
    ------------------------

    Asian food


    I work near Convoy Street (Kearny Mesa), which has a massive selection of asian food, which is most of what I eat, so here are my personal recommendations (note these are mostly lunch suggestions, as I rarely eat dinner along Convoy):
    • Ramen: Nishiki for black garlic ramen, Santouka for toroniku (pig jowl) ramen, Menya for ajitama (Menya is by far my favorite place, but it also has by far the longest wait times – get there during off-hours). Those are all tonkotsu places: for shio, miso, or nagoya I’d recommend Yakitori Yakyudori (I don’t recommend their shoyu or tonkotsu though).
    • Japanese, non-ramen: I don’t really have any cheap Japanese recommendations other than Sushi Yaro. If you’re willing to shell out some coin though I can highly recommend Otan and Okan (yes, they’re owned by the same people), and Yakitori Yakyudori for yakitori (after 5 pm).
    • Korean: Convoy Tofu House for my favorite sundubu. Note that there are two Tofu Houses, both on Convoy, but this one is very specifically named “Convoy Tofu House” (it’s south of Balboa).
    • Thai: Mekong for Issan style Thai and Lao food. If you go to Linda Vista, I also highly recommend Sab-E-Lee (arguably the best Thai food in San Diego), and J&T Street Food (get their “steamed chicken rice”, which is actually khao man gai).
    • Vietnamese: Phuong Trang for pho. Pho Duyen Mai for broken rice dishes, and they have these $4 ribs that they use to make the pho stock that are (usually) fucking awesome. Pho Fusion if you want bo kho.
    • Chinese: Shan Xi Magic Kitchen. Can be a bit busy, so get there early. Get the sheng jian bao.
    ------------------------

    Tips for travelers
    • Keep in mind that the San Diego county is quite large (the size of Connecticut), thus part of the reason I broke it up into regions. Our public transportation is garbage unless your starting and stopping points are all along train/trolley lines, so you’ll generally need to rely on car-based transport. You can get a Lyft pretty much anywhere relatively quickly, unless you’re out in Alpine (you might be able to get one out there, but I wouldn’t rely on it). North Park is your best bet if you want a centralized location with lots of places you can easily walk to. Also, San Diego was one of the first cities to allow almost unrestricted bikesharing and e-scooter proliferation, so we’ve got plenty of those if you need to travel short distances (as of this writing, Bird is the most prolific one, but it’s a fast-changing market so—).
    • If a brewery/bar doesn’t have a tap list posted on their website or social media, a trick that I use is to Google “untappd activity at [name of brewery/bar]”. Usually the first result will be that location’s Untappd listing, and you can often get a decent idea of what’s on tap by looking at the last 24 hours of check-ins.
    • Alpine is a complicated issue that keeps changing over the years, so drop into the SD thread if you have specific questions.
    • Let’s also address Pliny. Pliny bottles are somewhat hard to get – you have to hit a bottleshop soon after they receive a shipment. O’Brien’s and Toronado almost always have Pliny on tap. Seriously though, drink Alpine or Societe or Rip Current or Pizza Port IPAs if they’re on tap. Srs.
    • Say hi to us over in the SD thread. We’re a chatty bunch and love sharing beer with fellow TBers, and can also give a heads up on any local events happening when you make your way here.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2018
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  2. Sage

    Sage

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    I tried to be as unbiased as possible with my top/not-quite-top lists (e.g. two of my favorite breweries aren’t in either list) but I’m amenable to suggestions.
     
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  3. nanobrew

    nanobrew

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    nice list, have two likes!

    Few suggestions:

    Add the Neighborhood to the second list, as it seems a lot of people who are visiting SD are in the Gaslamp area.
    Lyft is another great option for cheap "taxi" service





    Also, so glad to see reuben's didn't make the list.
     
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  4. 1v1willwreku

    1v1willwreku

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    Gene
    Feel free to add this to the OP.

    Known great reuben spots:
    Antonelli's
    DZ Akin's
    Corvette Diner
    Milton's
    Cheers Deli
    Tip Top Meats
    Hungry Bear Sub Shop
     
  5. stupac2

    stupac2

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    OP can edit OPs indefinitely in this forum, so Sage can do it too.
     
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  6. 1v1willwreku

    1v1willwreku

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    hmm...

    and if he won't?
     
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  7. stupac2

    stupac2

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    Well, if he's against it or something then he can always edit out what Gene puts in. Fortunately your post is pretty high up so I think anyone coming here for info will find it regardless of Sage's nefarious desires.
     
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  8. nanobrew

    nanobrew

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    damnit, I knew we should have gotten MarkIntihar to lock the thread
     
  9. preacher

    preacher

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    I'm planning a SD outing with my wife next Fri. and Sat. The mission is to first hit Alpine on Fri. for lunch but looking for some advice on some of the go-to smaller up and comers. We don't know where we are staying yet Friday night.

    Having never been to Julian is it worth hitting...Julian and Nickel? We would probably stay there if we went after alpine.


    Any thoughts on Benchmark, Culture or Amplified.. Maybe hitting those on way back Saturday?

    Skipping Julian on Friday and working way back to solana beach and going to belly up and staying there for the night? Recommendations of places to stay that we won't get bed bugs?
     
  10. Sage

    Sage

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    If you don’t end up going to Alpine, Bad Boy should be on tap at Obriens after 5pm on Saturday. Have you been to Societe?
     
  11. HeavySpeedway

    HeavySpeedway

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    i got bad boy at toronado on thursday afternoon they also had hoppy birthday and keene idea
     
  12. preacher

    preacher

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    Thanks for the heads up!! Yes I have been to Societe (few times) and think their beers kick ass. Having met the brewers at festivals/events they are also very nice.

    Going to alpine to fill growls, bottles and show wife.... But otherwise.... Looking to try something new/different/under the radar.
    I will be bringing blank growlers with the hopes of getting some samples to bring back to the OC crew.
     
  13. Sage

    Sage

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    I run the californiagrowlerfills.com website, which’ll give you info on places that do blanks. As for under the radar + blanks, I think Automatic is very underrated – Lee is doing some really awesome stuff, and Tiger Tiger has some of my favorite food in the county (first time I went there, I balked at the idea of a $10 banh mi, but I’d easily pay $15 for what they do, and even more for the weekend brunch fried chicken). His brewing strategy though is mostly one-and-done, so if you love something you probably will never see it again.
     
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  14. blue_bleeder

    blue_bleeder

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    I wanted to give a brief :rolleyes: review of my San Diego trip. If anyone hasn't had a chance to go to SD and touch tips with all of the the SD homies that are there, you are missing out. I know OakedCanuck has been recently but I didn't see if Colin put up a post anywhere on the details of his trip. Let me say that the guys I did get to meet were awesome! Some of the best dudes in the beer scene and what I want to emulate in how I deal with people.

    Even being there for most of 4 days I didn't get to meet everyone and I surely didn't get to go to every brewery/pub that I wanted to but what I did get to do/see was awesome. First let me give a big thank you to Sage. He was my "tour guide" for my whole trip. He was able to meet me for every stop along the way except for lunch on Monday and Tuesday when he had to work o_O. Sage is a wealth of local beer knowledge. He introduced me to many a brewer and the history of so much that is the SD beer scene. After I landed (and ate some In-n-Out) I headed to Liberty Station and met Sage and then PeelBacks showed up to hang for a bit. Will had to jam out for the rest of the week so this was the only time I got to hangout with him but he is a great guy, especially for a Giants fan;). Liberty Station was cool but next time I am in SD I really want to hit the Escondido location. Everything I have heard about it's beauty makes me want to see it. I had a Hoppy Birthday and this was my first "San Diego style" IPA. I gotta say that this whole trip has changed my view of what an IPA can taste like.

    Next stop was Council Brewing. Another amazing place with some cool owners/brewers. Gavel Drop was amazing. Even better than the Hoppy Birthday I had. :oops: We went to Societe which was really close by and there I met VaTechHopHead and his wonderful girlfriend beerwench. Andy and Andrea are great people. Gracious and outgoing. All around fun to be with. Societe is their jam. And why wouldn't it be. The Pupil? The Dandy? Yep, yep, yep. Give me all of it please. At this point, I actually wondered why anyone in SD would actually trade any beer. srs. I also ate dinner here off of the food truck. Grilled cheese and lobster sandwich. hhhhhnnnnnngggggggg. I got to share a couple of bottles with Andy and Andrea that night and we had a great time before Andy had to fly out the next day for work.

    On Sunday after church, I met Sage for brunch/lunch at Tiger! Tiger! Anyone who is a foodie should make this a requirement on a San Diego trip. This was some of the best food and beer pairing I have seen at a pub. The food was amazing. It was fathers day so I spent the rest of the day with my 17 year old son who was by now tired of my beer adventures (that he got drug to) :oops: That night Sage and I met the infamous ehammond1 at Churchill's. Eric is everything that I hoped and wanted him to be. He should be the official TB ambassador. We ended up being there for hours talking about TB, it's history, why it is so important to us and the relationships it creates. We also got to talk politics, work, and zoo keeping. :D It was an amazing night. I had to get up and see customers the next morning so as it approached 2am it was time to go.

    Monday at lunch (in between seeing customers) I took my sales rep to Pizza Port OB to meet up with Mr Hammond, nanobrew and HeavySpeedway. More amazing TBers. Brian brought a couple of his homebrews with him. UNBELIEVABLE! I am not just saying that. Up until that time everyone I had met talked about nanobrew and his homebrews with reverence. There is a reason for that. Some of the best wild ales I have ever had. Blows CS out of the water. srs. Brian should be a must see/meet on any trip to SD.

    That night I met up with Sage (told you he was my tour guide:) ) at Carnitas Snack Shack. More amazing food and good beer. From there we went to Toronados and met up with Tyrsis. Eric (3 of them on this trip!!) is a seriously funny guy. I was busting up most of the night. And Toro is his jam. We shared some beers, some laughs and just overall enjoyed ourselves. I said goodbye to my tour guide, Sage, and called it a night.

    My last beer stop was the next day after I spent the morning visiting customers. I went to the mecca, Alpine. I showed up before they opened. They seated me anyways. I drank all of their hoppy beers. Nelson, Duet, Keene Idea, Pure Hoppiness, Bad Boy and then the DuHop blend. And the food.... damn.

    I had a great time. Through out the trip I stayed in contact with so many of you checking in to make sure I was having a good time and what I thought of the breweries and beers. The beer was amazing but it was all of you guys that I met and hung out with that made it an amazing trip. Thank you so much!!!

    TL;DR: Go to SD, drink all of their beers, hang out with all the TBers you can. Every beercation should be like this.
     
  15. Sage

    Sage

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    Thanks for the shoutout! You were amazingly gracious and giving and really representative of everything that I love about TalkBeer and the beer community. :) Visit again soon!
     
  16. nanobrew

    nanobrew

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    Glad you had a good time. Thank you for the kind comments. Definitely let us know when you are headed back this way.
     
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  17. gregkoko

    gregkoko

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    God damn. Must get back to SD ASAP
     
  18. blue_bleeder

    blue_bleeder

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    nanobrew

    ^^^^^^^^^Trade for this man's beers!!!!! :D
     
  19. gregkoko

    gregkoko

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    Pretty much praying for a Phish stop in SD for the fall tour, or enough time between LA and Vegas that I can make a side trek to SD. Though I am already pretty much planning on running the marathon in SD at the end of next May
     
  20. grandmeaulnes

    grandmeaulnes

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    nice thread. nothing to add other than to stress the world beating importance of pounding 3+ nelsons and crushing brisket at the source any time you make it to town
     
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