It has been awhile since I have been to San Diego, but with the 2014 Beer Bloggers Conference taking over the super-charged craft beer scene for a weekend, I had the opportunity to visit some new locales.
First stop though was Carlsbad / Bressi Ranch to see where Pizza Port cans Ponto, Swami’s and Chronic. To clarify, that would be their session IPA, regular IPA and amber. However, I had none of those beers when I visited their east Carlsbad spot, down the hill from Palomar Road and near the airport. Sharknado Red IPA was on cask and you could try a Biere de Table with the playful name of Draft Punk. Plus get the quality pies that the restaurant is known for, and if you sit at the bar, you can see all the canning action. Just be sure to get there early because the beer line grows long within an hour of opening.
Then it was the FlavorDome of Modern Times Beer. Now this may be too quirky or twee for some. The bar is constructed of old VHS containers. Lampshades adorn the ceiling. Floppy Disks (you do know what those are?) are your coasters. Plus their auto growler fillers seem to glow with an unearthly light. But the beer is solid and you can order tacos from the nearby Perlas and have them delivered to your table. Oh, and did I mention they do cask offerings and a nitro one too? The grapefruit Fortunate Islands was a stand-out as was the Pinot Grigio accented Universal Friend Belgian ale.
I also checked out both Bottlecraft bottle shop locations. If you like cheese, then head to North Park. They also have Pubcakes, beer accented cupcakes for sale plus an excellent selection of beers. The Little Italy outpost has two taps and a well-appointed Local section. Plus I saw L.A. favorites like Monkish and 750ml bottles of their excellent Selah and the latest Tickles Double IPA from Noble Ale Works. And it is only steps from the last stop…
Lastly, Ballast Point Brewing in Little Italy. You want almost anything Ballast Point? Then this well-lit with a bay view restaurant and tap room is the place to be. Order your food at one counter and then order your beer at another, then grab a seat and enjoy a Chargers game or simply stare at your beer. You can also get bottles and cans to go. Plus the food is really strong, from the basic burger to their chicken sandwich and the meat and cheese tray.
Your Beer of the Week is from Rough Draft Brewing Company and their Weekday IPA. A really fragrant and light burst of hops that shows off San Diego hops and drinkability. The brewery describes it as the IPA you can imbibe even if you have an early morning meeting the next day. I simply call it a great example of hops without the palate-wrecking bitterness or alcohol.
The Homework for the week is to check out the websites, Pints and Panels and Beer Labels in Motion. It is hard to pick just two beer blogs to suggest after spending a weekend with over a hundred beer bloggers, but these two have a really unique spin to the worlds of beer, art and blogs. P&P takes the comic form to review beers. They are short but still insightful. Plus pretty funny too. BLiM takes your label and really does set it in motion. No matter if you have had the beers featured or not, seeing the people, places and things on the labels move ever so subtly is just eye-catching.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.
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