Got back to San Diego for a few days and, well, had to drink a lot of beer. I've said it before and I'll say it again, San Diego really has one of the best craft beer scenes around. Here's the rundown:
Pizza Port (Solana Beach): Another fantastic visit to a beer and pizza mecca. Shared the garlic vegetable pizza and an order of pizza bite things (not as good as Russian River's similar offering). As always, great beers, but missed the Hop 15. We had Baja Session Ale (5% but tasty -- like a better Sierra Nevada Pale Ale); Hop Through It (not quiet as good as the Hop 15): Swami IPA (favorite available IPA of the night -- got a growler to go even - less hoppy, but very flavorful); Old Viscosity (what can you say -- fantastic -- what is that stuff); Dawn Patrol Dark - cask condition (excellent).
The Linkery (SD): We're spoiled in the Bay Area, but we have nothing like this place. Wow. A great combination of farmer-direct food and a great bottle list. Only two beers on tap, but they definitely know their stuff here. Food-wise, we shared the stone fruit salad and sikil p'ak (ground pumpkim seed dip) to start, then followed with a picnic plate with the fresh asian pork sausage and choucroute plate with the housemade polish sausage. Ended with a nice cheese plate, with spiced pecans and three cheese from a farm in Virginia. But what about the beers, right? All I can say is wow again. Alesmith Yulesmith (great, great hoppy double IPA -- need to buy this now); Lost Abbey Farmhouse Saison (okay, a little disappointing -- not as good as the RRBC offerings); Avery 14 Anniversary Ale (intersting and good...dark but hoppy, a bit like the Old V); Avery Mephistophiles Stout (16%!!! Crazy Strong and good...really a dessert beer. Need to go to Boulder now); Green Flash Trippel (pretty good--beats the Lost Abbey, but not quite up to RRBC style); Alesmith Decadence (beautiful and strong).
Hamilton's Tavern (SD): Great beer selection, fantastic juke box and great beer-loving clientele -- who could ask for more? It was Coronado Brewing Company keg night, so we got to try some more great local stuff. CBC Red Devil (a good strong hoppy red); CBC Hoppy Friar - fask condition (very good, but I prefer DIPA not casked); and Lost Abbey Judgment Day (have to admit to not remembering that one....).
Stone Brewing Company (Escondido): Must make prilgrimage to Stone. This is a fantasic facility and a perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. Foodwise, we started with the very garlicky cheddar cheese soup (topped with a tempura brocolli floret), then had duck tacos (great sauce) and Arrogant Benedict (rich, served on foccacia). Too full to enjoy any desserts (we're going to get that smoked porter float one of these days). Enjoyed Port's Hop 15 (had to have it once in SD), Alesmith Grand Cru 2006 (strong, but refreshing...as a slight sour/lambic note), and Green Flash Hop Head Red (excellent -- name says it all).
We wanted to hit Pizza Port (Carlsbad), Liar's Club and O'Briens, but we were sadly beered out (never thought I would say those words). Altogether another fantastic trip -- San Diego is a very lucky town.
3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
Pizza Port-Solana Beach Brwry
135 N Highway 101, Solana Beach, CA 92075
1521 30th St, San Diego, CA 92102
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
Citracado Pkwy, Escondido, CA 92029