OUR FAVORITE FIVE STARS & DIVE BARS
BEST DAWG & SUNSET Located on the Mission Beach boardwalk, Eat Drink Sleep’s latest creation Draft is serving up around 70 beers on tap and 30+ bottles. Come hungry and experience a fresh take on casual dining – like the SD Dog – a bacon wrapped Nathan’s all beef dog, w/ hot peppers, spicy green sriracha & just a hint of cilantro. Whoa! Try the decadent Belgian cheese fries, topped with a sunny-side-up egg. Next up? Ahi poke w/ wonton on top. So fresh! Leave room for a dessert – the Lemon Merinque Milkshake & Churro Bites are crazy good! www.draftsandiego.com
BEST BEEF RIBS & SAUSAGE On the corner of Morena & Bueno Ave – this family owned joint is nothing shy of epic BBQ. Service is exceptional – the beer is cold & the food is dynamite! The secret to the GIANT beef ribs? The chef removes every other bone, leaving basically 3 portions on each rib. Smoked for hours to perfection. 3 mouth watering choices of sauce for spicy to sweet palates – Start with the Spicy Andouille sausage (always) & make sure to try the corn bread (suh-wheet) Dog friendly patio w/ giant screen for sports & movies – Great Happy Hour prices – Tell Tony we sent you. www.bullssmokinbbq.com
BEST HOT WINGS & NIGHTLIFE One of our oldest friends in the industry, Eric Leitstein (and company) opens another stylish location at the beach – I’d say a home run on Garnet Ave. Dog friendly patio w/ cool cabana style booths. Friendly (knowledgable) servers & great menus for both food & craft brews/drinks. Hot wings were just the right amount of smokey mixed w/ classic hot sauce – the ‘kicker’ is the size of these wings. HUGE! Also ravaged the Smoked Brisket Dip. Ridiculous! After dark the outdoor patio & 3 bars fill up with beautiful people entertained by local artists. www.backyardpb.com
BEST BURGER & PING PONG San Diego Tax Man Dennis O’Connor has done it again – after his uber successful launch of Thorn St. Brewery & tasting room in North Park, he (& partners) bought up the divey Kelly’s Pub & transformed the venue into our new favorite for Craft Beers, great bar food & sports (both on TV and on the dog friendly patio) Ping Pong, Korn Hole & giant Jenga are just some of the highjinks you’ll encounter in this stylish new joint. Try the food. All good. Smoked pork tacos w/ some crazy heat will bring tears to your eyes. www.homeandaway.com
BEST TACO & TAP HOUSE In the heart of Oceanside – Local Tap House – a different sort of pub & eatery – taking as much pride in sourcing local designers/contractors & artisans for the build as they do for sourcing local produce & seafood on the menu. Great take on a classic, with the 3 Crispy Calamari & Agave Bacon Street Tacos. Chef’s specials are simply incredible and change daily. Two thumbs up on the local craft beer selection. CHEERS! www.localtaphouse.com
BEST BREWERY AND TASTING ROOMS
THE BELCHING BEAVER
4223 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92104
We have been raving about our local craft beer scene for years now. With well over 100 craft breweries up & running in San Diego, we need to take aim & focus our sights on the really good ones. We appreciate great beer & know the hard work that goes into producing said beer; but space and time is limited. So when we come across an outstanding product, we have to give credit where credit is due. Belching Beaver is one such brewery.
Belching Beaver has been operating at or somewhere near ‘Defcon Four’ for the past year – either they’re busy opening their newest tasting room on 30th, attending seminars and winning awards at Craft Beer festivals, hosting & catering events, planning another Belching Beaver expansion (…whaaaat?) Or making their incredible craft beer.
Owners Tom Vogel and Dave Mobley have put together a great team. Troy Smith is the brewmaster behind the funny label. He has a remarkable brewing pedigree from time well spent at Coronado Brewing Co. His knowledge ranges from “How to make the finest beer on the planet” to “What you do not want to do… Ever.” He’s a fan of offroad racing and knows where to find the freshest seafood in San Diego. Very impressive resume´ for such a young guy.
Robert Kilborne is our liason to liquid nirvana. You may recognize his name from an earlier profile on PB’s Barrel Republic. Yes, same Robert and still the busiest man in the business. Happy now as Beverage Director (cool title) for BB & everytime we’ve met with him, his passion for the craft is apparent. This time he is beyond proud, of who and what he represents – the constant parade of beer samples has lead to us (4 times now) forgetting completely what our mission was in the first place – instead of finishing a review, we wind up laughing and sharing great stories – just a bunch of friends drinking great beer.
Reasons for Belching Beavers fast success – Troy’s knowledge. Immaculate brewing conditions & the no fear attitude & willingness to take chances. Combine that with the great new location in North Park & you have Lightning in a Bottle… or pint glass. Keep an eye on these guys in 2015. This is a formidable brewery in a packed house of competitors. Highly recommended.
Try These: Hop Highway IPA; Now the go-to / icebreaker pint everytime we visit. Hints of grapefruit, passionfruit, and citrus make this sessionable brew both clean & refreshing. ABV: 7.3%, IBU: 65
Easy Beaver; Brewed for the Spring and Summer seasons; designed to keep you refreshed and loaded with hops (without getting ripped). A session Wheat IPA – Crisp, clean, and aromatic. ABV: 4.7%, IBU: 45
Me So Honey; Smooth – a subtle taste of honey. It’s made in Poway with wild flowers and cloves. This is a very drinkable beer for both the novice craft beer drinker to the experienced triple IPA beer guy. ABV: 5.5%, IBU: 19
Peanut Butter Milk Stout; This is like dark chocolate Reese’s in a glass! Rolled oats and Lactose add to the creamy body of this beer while the aroma of peanut butter and chocolate greet you with every sip. Try this out with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a real treat! ABV: 5.3%, IBU: 30
Bay City Brewery is focused simply, on beer… 100%. No Gimmicks. No tricks. They don’t give a shit about clever names, they don’t give a shit about adding things to their beer. They want their beer to taste like…beer. Cool by me.
The new tasting room off the 8 – directly behind the Sports Arena on Hancock is a work in progress. Clean, stark, full of brewing equipment & not much else. Cool by me.
Dog friendly, so you can bring your best friend & chill either inside or out back on the fenced-in outdoor patio. Food trucks & various caterers bring food when it is needed – otherwise…it’s all about the beer. Again, cool by me.
Bay City Brewery has been operating at a grassroots level thus far, just selling their beer from the tasting room we visited & 30 nearby bar & restaurant accounts. Owners Benjamin Dubois and longtime Mcgregor’s Grill & Alehouse owner Greg Anderson have put their faith in Chris West as the Head Brewer & creative force behind the no-nonsense beers.
Chris has a great outlook on their positioning among the hundred or so brewers in SD, ”We decided that instead of going elsewhere in the country & creating a San Diego style beer, we wanted to stay right here, open our doors & create the best San Diego beers possible”.
Reasons for Bay City’s fast success – Chris’s knowledge he gained while working at Monkey Paw. Immaculate brewing conditions & the no shit attitudes. Combine that with a lot of positive word of mouth & social media and the highly visible location in Point Loma & you have a recipe for greatness.
Follow Bay City Brewery on Facebook & Instagram @baycitybrewingco
Coffee Pale Ale / Nitro – Simcoe Hops & Swell Roasters Coffee. Hints of fruit & infused with beans roasted down the street at Swell Coffee Co.’s Point Loma roastery. Nice & smooth on the palate thanks to the nitro.
Vienna Lager – 100% Vienna Malt – hints of berries, bread & honey. Straight forward easy to drink single malt lager.
BCB Stout – Grahm crackers & dark chocolate forward. Not meant to be sipped. You can actually handle a full pint of this stout without it being overbearing.
Nitro Porter – Bay City’s hommage to Guinness. Think coffee, dark espresso forward – slight bitterness & Nitro smoothness on the backend.
Belgian Dubbel – 7% abv – Their first crack at Belgian style beer – 3 different crystal malts make for a super complex malty brew w/ a sweet forward & a dry finish.
San Diego Pale Ale – 7.7% abv – #1 Top selling Bay City Brew. Citrus & pine flavors forward. A perfect balancing act between hops & aroma. This is a great example of Bay City’s quality control. Take home a growler for the Holidays!
Owner & brewmaster, Peter Zien. is a BJCP “Grand Master level 1” beer judge, the only one in San Diego County,
In 2008, AleSmith was recognized by the Great American Beer Festival “Small Brewing Company Of The Year” and in 2014 was rated #1 Best Brewery in the World and Rated #1 Brewery in California.
To be recognized as #1 among both the 400+ breweries in California and the 16,000+ breweries worldwide is a huge accomplishment
AleSmith’s beers are inspired by the brewing styles of Great Britain and Belgium.
This is a brewery that is here to stay.
Jack White & Yuseff Cherney have created a craft beer Dynasty. Skulpin IPA is one of the most desired IPA’s on the market today. In mid-2014, Ballast Point finished construction on a 107,000 square foot brewery in the Miramar area equipped to support the brewery’s growth.
Two large copper kettles discovered in a brewery in Lohr, Germany are the showpiece of this new brewery headquarters, which also features a state-of-the-art lab, tasting bar and restaurant.
“Whether serving up new flavors, collaborating with seasoned brewmasters, or training the next generation at Home Brew Mart, we not only want to challenge our own tastes, but expand yours.” www.ballastpoint.com
Ray Astamendi, formerly worked at Mission Brewery and was the founding brewmaster of St. Archer Brewing Company – he has also brewed for Maui Brewing and Left Coast Brewing Co.
Now, he’s both the brewmaster and captain of his own brewery, Fall Brewing Company –
Ray is the master of sessionable ales and lagers. Spirit of 77 & Loadspeaker are both remarkable IPA’s – or try the 2 a.m. Bike Ride – a Dark Horse coffee and vanilla bean stout, with an easy 4.6% ABV
The tasting room is dog friendly – if they’re not running their legendary food pairings with gourmet food trucks (street tacos, sushi, dogs & sliders, etc.)… then outside food is welcome. www.fallbrewing.com
Mike Hess Brewing, has become a leading member of San Diego’s segment of nano-breweries. Brewing in the heart of North Park (ground zero for craft beer in San Diego) on a state-of-the-art Super 30 from Canada. The success of Hess Brewing has been the result of brewing distinctive, high quality beers that appeal to a broad range of tastes.
The Grazias (Vienna cream ale), Hooligan (Irish stout), Coffee Grazias (cream ale), Helicon (American Pale Ale), and Habitus (American IPA) are all outstanding and come highly recommended by our staff.
The unique setup at the tasting room allows you to walk above the entire brewing process. A must see. www.mikehessbrewing.com