With a blur of beer events that have happened here in Los Angeles, I had to wait to talk about a recent beer excursion south to two new beer refuges in San Diego County, until now.
Starting in Oceanside on the 101 near Breakwater Brewing and the Local Tap House is the much acclaimed (and duly so as you will read) Bagby Beer Company. Jeff Bagby reclaimed a former car lot, and the brewery is well-designed around every single corner. There is a bar where you can look out onto the street while sipping your beer. Or you can sit at the bar with two big screens detailing tap offerings. Behind the bar there is outside seating under the beachy sun. There is even an upstairs area away from it all.
Once you find your seat, you will need plenty of time to navigate all of the choices on tap. There is a multitude of styles to select from. I chose a sampler tray, and then ordered another sampler just to get a small survey of styles. My favorites were the Keller bier and the Imperial IPA with the great name of Dinkus. You also can pick from their tightly curated guest taps as well.
Did I mention they have an ice cream sandwich sampler dessert?
Further down the highway in Solana Beach is Culture Brewing and their taproom within steps of the Amtrak Surfliner stop. It is another well designed beer stop. Great logo, surf and beach photos on the wall, great big tap list with all sorts of details on each beer. Their growler is not made of glass or aluminum, but a bag with a spout that can hold 64 ounces of beach- and trail-friendly beer.
I sampled three wet-hopped IPAs, each focusing on a different hop. Citra, Mosaic and Equinox. All three were fine but none really leapt out at me and none really showcased the advertised hop. The coffee IPA and the oak-aged Triple IPA were more effective, but both seemed to be missing a third flavor component to tie it all together.
Luckily, a five-minute walk brought me to Pizza Port’s Solana Beach. This brewery is where Jeff Bagby got his start and where beers will often surprise and delight.
The Beer of the Week is from El Segundo Brewing and it is, no shock, a hoppy IPA. This time, Rob Croxall and company have collaborated with someone outside the realm of beer and inside the squared circle. Stone Cold Steve Austin of wrestling fame will be pouring the Broken Skull IPA on November 13 for the first time. Buy a ticket now and have him pour you a pint.
Speaking of El Segundo, your Homework is to drink local at the Rock & Brews 5th annual Local Craft Beer Festival on Sunday, November 15, from 12-5 p.m. This year’s event features a brewer’s panel and 13 local breweries as well as comfort food, popcorn, ice cream and games. Participating breweries include El Segundo Brewing, Strand Brewing Co., Smog City Brewing Company, Three Weavers Brewing Company, King Harbor Brewing Company, Angel City Brewery, Monkish Brewing Co., Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Golden Road Brewing, Wolf Creek Brewing Co., Barley Forged Brewing Co., Ohana Brewing Company and Absolution Brewing Company.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.