Take one historical building (built in 1894), add a fabulous solid wood bar and some tables, some brewing equipment, a great staff and you have Mission Brewing. Located right near Petco park and on the outskirts of the Gaslamp District, this microbrewery sports a really neat atmosphere. I loved the open warehouse feeling, the large wood bar and the decor that was reminiscent of sailing ships of olde! This place is HUGE compared to some of the tiny little breweries I have been to. I am guessing they must get pretty busy because of the location. The one downfall is it happens to be in the middle of where there are quite a few homeless people. There were several people napping on the sidewalk across the street and the area was surrounded by the homeless hanging out.

Mission Brewery

But I am here to talk beer and breweries… not discuss the homeless plight- but I do find it sad! And I don’t think I would feel very comfortable going to Mission at night. Just sayin- but that is me!

So, lets talk beer! I enjoyed quite a few of the tasters- sharing with my brother to avoid over drinking! 😉

Mission Brewing

The Dry Hopped Blonde was a nice place to start and the Mission Amber was very tasty! I am die hard IPA fan and I liked the Shipwrecked IPA. At 9.25 it packs a punch but a punch I enjoyed!

My favorite was the Carrack Red, an American Amber/ Red Ale at a hefty 10.2. Wow… delicious in my humble opinion! It has a beautiful deep, dark, amber color, hints of citrus, sweet malt and enough hoppiness to keep me a happy camper. 😀

My advice is definitely take some time to visit Mission Brewery whether you are taking a trip to the Gaslamp district or in town for a game at Petco Park… and then head on over to Monkey Paw- just a short drive away! 😀

In other news… I just got word that there are now EIGHTY FOUR breweries in San Diego County. I’ll be honest- I KNEW it would happen… I will now have to add 2 more to my list- but hey… I am pretty sure I can handle it!

Til next time… See ya soon with more breweries!

“He was a wise man who invented beer.” ~Plato

 

 

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During my brothers visit we started one of our brewery tour days with lunch and tasters at the Pacific Beach Alehouse. I gotta say, this could be one of my favorite places to hang out, have a burger, and enjoy a pint or 2.

PBALehouse

We did the tasters, because we had 4 more breweries on our list. Now I know this is a beer blog but I thought I would mention my awesome sandwich! I had the Grilled Cheese BTA- Alehouse beer cheese, bacon, oven roasted tomatoes, avocado and caramelized onion bread. YUMMY! Oh, and sweet potato fries. Perfect start to the day.

With beer of course. And the Pacific Beach Alehouse has a solid roundup of beers on tap. (They also have several guest beers!)

The Good Time Gold is a most excellent American Lager. A great beer for hot summer days, enjoying with lunch, and a perfect one for those beer drinkers that enjoy an easier drinking beer.

The Amber Wave is an American Amber. Good flavor and another one I would order again.

The Hopulent IPA– A YUMMY Imperial IPA with an abundance of hoppy flavor. If I had been sticking around for a while this would be my beer of choice.

They were out of the Crystal Pier Pale Ale so I will need to go back and give that one a whirl. 🙂

GMS_PB_AleHouse_rooftop

The PB Alehouse is practically on the beach. Check out the view from the patio- Like I said, it is a great place to just hang out and relax! Go Go Go! That is all I have to say!

Cheers to great beers!

~Laurie

I went to Rip Current Brewing in San Marcos recently. We started with lunch at Stone Brewing and headed over to Rip Current from there. This is my 2nd visit to this Brewery but I decided for my 82 Craft Breweries in a year, well, I’d need to go to them all… in a year! (Whether I have been there or not!)

I am actually glad I went again. The first and only other visit was during the heat of summer. It was 100 degrees outside and felt like 100 degrees inside. Despite the heat it was quite crowded and I admit it did not make for a very good beer tasting experience and I went away not too impressed. Honestly, I think I was just miserably hot, and it was #4 on our list for the day so I had already had plenty of beer! Heat and crowds are not my favorite thing in the world, I admit it!

Now it’s 4 months later and a wonderful 72 degrees out, and my brother is visiting so off we go. The weather was perfect and it was practically first on our list!

Rip Current Brewing

Yeah- that’s a lot of tasters.. BUT there were 4 of us drinking, and one designated driver 🙂 , so altogether it is only about a pint each. I enjoy tasting this way because I get to try a whole lot more. Aren’t those glasses great? I took 2 of those babies home. 🙂

My favorites:

Lupulin Lust San Diego-style IPA- An 8.3% IPA. I could taste the citrus, which is a flavor I like in my IPA’s, and frankly I would not have guessed it was an 8.3! Nice and smooth. I do like an IPA and this one despite the alcohol content is pretty easy drinking. Maybe too easy! Be careful!

Hazardous Hazelnut Porter– Yummy! Dessert in a beer which I can roll with. You can definitely taste the hazelnut but it is NOT overwhelming at all. A perfect balance between the nutty goodness and that dark roasty porter flavor you love if you enjoy porters. Try it! I think you will like it.

The Western Swell Weizenbock was pretty good too. I am pretty sure I had never tried a Weizenbock. It is a German Wheat Beer and normally wheat beers are not at the top of my list. But this one I would have again!

I also enjoyed whatever was on the special tap but dang if I can’t remember what it was! I took notes but forgot to write that one down. :/

The atmosphere at Rip Current is nice. There are barrel tables and a long bar and you can see quite a bit of the behind the scenes beer making equipment. There is also an awesome “beer can wall.” It was fun checking out all the vintage beer cans and finding ones you remembered as a kid. Lol…

Rip Current Brewing

Sorry about the glare- my son took this pic. Yeah- This was my sons first time out beer tasting! He enjoyed his day so much he went back to Rip Current this last weekend and bought a growler. (They have awesome stainless steel growlers.)

Cheers!

I figured if I was going to visit 82 breweries in the upcoming year I had better get busy. And what better time to get busy than when my brother comes to visit. 🙂

Me on the left... my brother and my little sis. Kinda dating myself I guess!

Me on the left… my brother and my little sis. Kinda dating myself I guess!

My brother (who lives in Houston) pretty much helped foster my love for good beer. 10 years ago I had hardly had a beer and he was firmly entrenched in the fabulous world of Craft Beer. He has his own beer/ running blog and I have followed it for years. He’s a pretty good bro! (BTW- I just HAD to post this pic… I mean how many chances does one get to post this kind of awesome…)

Last week he treated me to a trip to Boise, Idaho, where we attended the Potato Bowl (Yay, SDSU Aztecs!) and tried some good beer. In the 3 days we were there we visited 8 breweries. They were all great and each one had something that made it special- from Highlands Hollow Brewhouse with it’s neighborhood charm (where we sat and chatted with the Brewmaster and one of the owners) to 10 Barrels and it’s fantastic Category 52 (Mmmm- I still dream about that beer!) From Boise we flew straight to San Diego. My brother was spending Christmas with my kids and me. I am sure it was mainly to visit with us… Wellll, probably not just us, as he is very aware that San Diego has a plethora of craft breweries! 😉

Our plane landed at 9:45 AM on Monday and by 11:01 we were entering the doors to Ballast Point. I have enjoyed several Ballast Point beers in the past (Sculpin is delicious!) but had never been to the brewery. It is a beautiful tasting room off of Old Grove Road in the Scripps Ranch area of San Diego county. I understand the tasting room and gift shop is pretty new (they expanded the tasting room), and that they are expanding more to include a “spirits tasting room.” I also learned they were going to be doing more growing and would be producing a lot more beer!

Ballast Point Brewing

Ballast Point Brewing

I highly recommend making Ballast Point a destination on every Craft Beer lover’s list. There is something for everyone. My brother and I usually get tasters of each one we want to try and share. I like it that way because I can try more! Then if we are planning on sticking around for a bit we will each order a pint of the one we enjoyed the most. Today we had plans to hit several more breweries so we stuck to tasters.

Ballast Point

1. Ballast Point Pale Ale – For me Pale Ales are hit and miss. Sometimes I like them and sometimes I do not. I am still trying to pinpoint for me what makes a good pale ale. This one was nice. I liked it’s smoothness and the slightly sweet taste. I would describe it as a bit fruity and peppery.

2. Fathom India Pale Lager– Delicious! I very much enjoyed the Fathom and bought a bottle for a friend. It comes in at 7.0 ABV and was a 2010 Gold Medal winner. I love IPA’s and found this one a fantastic choice for when I want something a little cleaner and “lighter” but still with some hoppy freshness.

3. Sea Monster Stout– This Imperial Stout rings in at a hefty 10.0 % ABV. Full bodied but not too heavy. I enjoyed this one as well.

4. Dorado IPA– Another 10%’er and one that I found quite good. The major players in this beer are grapefruit and pine. It had a very nice aroma, and great taste! Definitely a sipping IPA!

5. Homework #2– This Belgian Double IPA was my favorite of the 5 I tasted. Not that I disliked any of them but I could have definitely had seconds of this baby. It had a nice blend of hops and a hint of caramel sweetness. If you like BIG Belgian Double IPA’s and you get a chance to try this I think you will find it a winner!

I wanted to try the Tongue Buckler but it was out. Maybe next time! There will definitely be another visit from me to Ballast Point. 🙂

If you are ever in the area be sure and check out Ballast Point. And if you are not lucky enough to be in the area, try your favorite beer store- You can buy Ballast Point in quite a few locations now. (My brother says they just arrived in Houston!)

I enjoyed their story too- you can read it here!

One down… 81 to go! Well…Not really- in the last 4 days my brother helped me knock out 11! The blogging of them all will be the tough part. And dang if I don’t need to pay better attention to my picture taking!

Cheers!

Laurie

PS. Just a reminder- I do not consider myself a beer pro- just a simple girl that likes a good craft beer and is lucky enough to live in San Diego where I am surrounded by quite a few. (82 according to the latest Westcoaster magazine!)

So, I was reading a list of San Diego Craft Breweries the other day and it says we are up to 82! EIGHTY TWO! What is a San Diego Beer Lover gonna do? Go to ALL 82! I have decided that in the next year I will be visiting all 82 Craft Breweries… and I will give MY opinion of them here. 🙂

I can’t decide yet if I will count the ones I have already been to or not. But I will keep you posted on that! In the meantime, I did the math. I will need to try 6-7 craft breweries per month. Obviously trying 6-7 in one day per month would not be the best plan as I could not evaluate the beers properly by the 5th (haha) so I will need to head on out a few days per month.

I admit I am quite liking the idea and I am very much up to the challenge!

I want to point out that I am not a beer pro… I know what I like and what I don’t like. I admit I am an IPA girl and am not a fan of pale ales. That does not mean I have not found a pale ale or two I have appreciated. 😉  (Fallbrook Ale- Lost Abbey! Mmmm) However, beer tasting is subjective. What I like someone else may dislike intensely! But I will do my best to give a fair and honest opinion of what I try and the brewery I am visiting.

beer-flight.jpg-

I sure hope you will join me on my journey. 82 craft breweries in the next year. WOO HOO!