As I get older, I find it more and more fascinating how easily I get a hangover from one night, but another night I’ll be totally fine. What’s my body trying to tell me?!
We woke up on Monday slightly feeling the aftershock of Sunday night; with some breakfast at Mimi’s Cafe, mimosas, coffee, red bull and ibuprofen we were off yet again! One thing I will say, remember to check what days breweries are open! We ran in to a few that weren’t open at the beginning of the week; luckily we were there for a few days so we got to check out those said places on Tuesday!
Our first stop on Monday was AleSmith Brewing, which I’ve ran in to here in Washington but completely forgot they were San Diego based (thanks for the recommendation, Knotty Barrel)! This brewery has been around since 95′ and the taproom is beyond awesome- hidden at the dead end of mixed in with some warehouses, we weren’t even sure they were open. The space is around 100,000 square feet, holds an 80 bbl system and has a very industrial vibe to it. I mean, it has an actual Tony Gwynn Museum in it. One of their seasonal brews I graced my tastebuds with was their Speedway Stout with Vietnamese Coffee; with four vietnamese coffees, this twist on their original Speedway Stout was damn delicious. Seriously, you immediately got hit in the face with this intense yet tasty coffee aroma and the taste to match it as well. Another crazy beer these guys have cooked up with their Reforged XXI, which is a combination of three different barrel aged beer goodness. First they take a rum barrel aged barley wine and mix it with their bourbon whiskey barrel aged english style porter. Yeah. Try and say that five times fast. I could go on and on about these beers so to save yah you basically need to check out this place when you’re in SD. You’re welcome.
Possibly the most interesting place we checked out this trip was White Labs Pure Yeast and Fermentation. This place was suggested by the ever-fantastic Craft Beer Mik and oh my god was it fantastic. This place provides yeast to a whole lotta breweries around the country and their lab/tasting room is like the Willy Wonka of… yeast factories? Basically they have a handful of styles of beer from Pales to IPAs and each one has 2-4 different yeast strains they are brewed with.
It’s beyond interesting to taste four different IPAs that have completely different tastes, but I think it’s safe to say we completely nerded out. It would have been even crazier to take their class in San Diego, so take one for me!
One of the most anticipated spots for us to check out was Stone Brewing at their World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido, California. This place was out of this world, but only 30 miles north of downtown. Driving up to the building was almost confusing- just a giant building barely labeled. From the parking lot you walk through this tunnel-esque area surrounded by boulders (stones.. do you get it?!) that leads up to huge wooden doors. I don’t even think my description of this brewery will even do a smidgen of justice to how epic this space was! This inside offers bar seating and restaurant seating and has a GD rock fountain and pool while the outside offered a walkable garden, multiple seating areas (chairs I could see myself taking a nice long beer nap in) and waterfalls/pools with actual fishes. Honestly, I don’t know if the beer or the actual venue got me more pumped. But on a real note, if you haven’t tried their Mint Coffee Milk Stout you need to jump on it! With not TOO much mint, I got more of an Andes Mint vibe from it- in the most delicious way possible. You’ll also find their staple beers on tab like their Smoked Porter, Enjoy By IPA series, Delicious IPA and seasonal rotations. Also, if you go to Stone you HAVE to get their hemp seed pretzel because I’m telling you right now it will change your life forever.
We decided to hit up Stone’s Bistro & Garden because it was also on the way to Belching Beaver, but since that location didn’t open up until 4:30 we decided to check out Lost Abbey and Port Brewing Co. in San Marcos. I’ve had a few of Lost Abbey’s beers but tend to stay away from Belgian style beers; being part of another brewery that offered more of your standard Washington-beer-lover options we decided to give it a go. Overall their beers were pretty tasty and the taproom was something more that I’m used to- not too over the top, a little darker and had definite chill. Admittedly, I drank more from Port Brewing Co. but my family really dug Lost Abbey (so if you’re in to Belgian style ales, this is your jam)! You can also find them around town in Seattle at local restaurants and bottle shops too!
I’ve had a few Belching Beaver Brewery beers in Seattle, but they’re definitely hard to come by. When asking around and seeing what breweries to check out, a lot of people dismissed Belching Beaver or were more like ‘meh’; well, thank god we went with our gut and still tried this place out because it was damn delicious. Favorite? Well, they make a Mexican Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout that, I’m pretty sure, made my heart skip multiple beats. I love anything peanut butter, and if you add chocolate in I will for sure lose it, so this beer seriously hit the spot, Only problem is they ran out of 22s when I was there! Any of their stouts are going to be amazing, along with their Great Lei IPA that I wrote about a few months ago!
We all know how obsessed I am with pizza, so if you’re going to give me a brewery that also makes that delicious goodness you better believe I’m going to check it out! Our final stop was Pizza Port Brewing was almost written off because of the name (I know, I will forever be ashamed), but turned out to be one hell of a pizza spot! Almost 20 years ago a At this point we were all pretty toast and we settled for a fresh hop IPA pitcher to accompany our pizza selections. I’m not even exaggerating that this was some of the best pizza that has ever graced my lips! We got four pizzas and scarfed down almost all of it within minutes. Definitely check this place out! There’s also six locations around California so you have no excuse!
Going through and listing all the breweries and talking about them is giving me so much pride in the amount we drank and a sense of accomplishment. I don’t know if you guys realize how hard it is to drink so much beer! Woof- my life is rough.
I also want to thank every beertender who didn’t murder us for ordering flights on flights; you guys are the real MVP.
Stay tuned for our final day!