Durango, Colorado, where I’ve lived for the past year and half, isn’t a bad place to be a beer geek (check out my old beer blog from Durango). But it’s not San Diego. It’s also in the middle of nowhere. Durango has four breweries and but it’s also about 300 miles from Denver, which means the many beers brewed in the Front Range, and those from out of state breweries that get distributed in Colorado often don’t make it down here. I don’t mean this as a complaint about Durango but rather a way to show how excited I am about returning to San Diego. Below are ten (of the many) beer related reasons I’m glad to be back.
Hanging out on the patio at the La Jolla Brew House with my dog. The patio at La Jolla Brew House isn’t a bad place to drink a beer, and it’s made all the better because I can bring my dog. Firehouse Brewing Co.’s beer garden is also dog friendly so I’m sure we’ll be enjoying some pints there too. Before I left San Diego Hamilton’s allowed dogs, if anyone knows if they still do please leave a comment below.
Festivals and Events: Summer typically means beer festival season no matter where you are, and because of the number of breweries and beer lovin’ folks in San Diego, there are plenty of festivals. Pizza Port’s Real Ale Festival, Stone SourFest, San Diego International Beer Festival, San Diego Festival of Beer, San Diego Beer Week’nd and Stone’s Anniversary and Invitational Beer Festival. I’ve probably left a few out, but those are the first that come to mind.
QUAFF: Quality Ale and Fermentation Fraternity is a San Diego based home brew club. Their member’s beers have won numerous American Homebrewer Championships over the years. I’m excited to check out and join the club and hope I can learn some skills to further my home brewing.
Beer Box Tijuana. Sure Tijuana isn’t San Diego, but to me they’re inseparable. I came across Beer Box Tijuana while visiting friends and was amazed at their beer selection. In Tijuana terms (where Tecate pretty much rules to the city) they have an impressive beer selection. They have a good selection of San Diego craft beers, but of more interest to San Diegans they have plenty of Mexican craft beers that don’t get distributed in the US and many beers from Europe. In addition to all that the folks at Beer Box Tijuana are homebrewers and often host homebrew club meetings and tastings.
Beers: Regardless of everything else, beer blogging is about the beer. And there are plenty of beers I haven’t been able to easily get out here in Durango that will be much more accessible in San Diego. Here’s a short list of some I’m most looking forward to: Alesmith’s Speedway Stout and Grand Cru, Port Brewing’s Old Viscosity, and so many Lost Abbey beers I’ve never tried.
Stone Bistro and World Gardens: This is one of my favorite places to have a beer and eat dinner. And since it’s all the way up in Escondido I don’t make it up to often, which keeps is special and ensures it will never become ordinary. I’m hoping to make it up for a few movie nights this summer as well.
The beer bars that have opened in the last year or two: Blind Lady Ale House, Small Bar, The Station, Ritual Tavern, Toronado just to name a few. I’ve been to BLAH, Small Bar, and Toronado but I’m looking forward to spend far more time at each.
The Liquor Stores: South Bay Drugs, The Best Damn Beer Shop and Keg N Bottle just to name a few. The beer selection at these stores is phenomenal. I’m like a kid in a candy store every time I walk in.
The Newer Breweries: I’ve never had any beers from Airdale Brewing Co., New English Brewing Co., or Mother Earth Brew Co. There are plenty of other small breweries that have opened tasting rooms or expanded their lineups recently. I’m excited to try them all.
Tap Hunter: Tap Hunter is one of the coolest ideas and websites around. I’m sure every San Diego beer geek already knows and uses it (if you don’t click the link above to check it out) and now I’m happy that I’ll be able to also. Tap Hunter launched shortly after I left San Diego last year. What Tap Hunter does (in a nutshell) is crowd source a list of what beers are on tap at various bars and restaurants. You can check the website before you go out to see what is most likely on tap and use your smartphone to report corrections if a new beer has gone on tap or a keg is empty.