Going on a trip to San Diego usually means two things, a trip to taste some exceptional good beers & a nice outing to the beach is not far away. This time Georgette & I got to do both... in a big way.
It seemed that each time we traveled down to SD we would make our usual pilgrimage to Stone Brewery, alas, this time we felt we should try to extend our palette to any other the fifteen plus breweries in the San Diego area. Most being within a 20 minute drive of our home base.
Ultimately achieving 7 different breweries and getting to taste a mouth watering FORTY TWO NEW BEERS! Standing out amongst the crowd of all the business park breweries for several great reason is the recently opened (6 months) Aztec Brewery in Vista, CA. In just a few words, unique flavors (Hibiscus Wheat brought us back a second day!), great atmosphere, owners serving the patrons, & great conversation all around.
That night, we both made it out to the local bar to see a good friend of mine play some rock n roll in the group Hell or Highwater. Strangely enough, it is not often I am in my hometown and a local favorite is playing. Most of the time these guys are generally out on the road playing shows, this aloud for an interesting crowd, everyone's parents had come out to watch; making for a wonderful bonus to see and chat with parents that I hadn't seen in many many years! This being one of the most fun day/nights I had since leaving San Diego almost a decade ago.
It seemed that after one whirlwind day (plus working a graveyard shift beforehand) the next could not be topped by a second. Although Sunday brought different adventures, it still ranked up there as an awesome San Diego day. Starting a bit earlier Georgette and I sped down the 5 FWY toward Torrey Pine State Park for some backpack training and hiking. With both of us caring a fair amount of weight we set off into the most crowded hiking area I have ever been to! Topping Chantry Flats here in LA by a long shot. However, smaller size, being a Sunday and proximity all play a major factor in the crowds here.
After a nice mile or so down to the beach we slowly walked north along the shore, admiring the pink sandy cliffs with swirls of brown in them. Finding a good spot to rest against the rocks we sat, enjoyed some refreshing water and watched the waves roll in with endless people watching from the crowds walking the cliff and beach circuit.
With a nice climb back up to the cars we had put in a nice and mild day out on the trails. Now time for more beer! Since we had traveled to a much further destination in SD to hike, we opted for some breweries in this part of town we didn't get to the day before. Steering our car towards Mira Mesa, we were off to Ballast Point.
With only the motivation to move on to another brewery, it was hard to leave Ballast Point. Their more unique beers had won me over, the Fathom being my second favorite of the whole trip, a double pilsner & IPA blend, if I remember correctly. Also interesting to note, the Sculpin IPA was significantly different out of the tap then the bottle.
Moving towards north county again, our beer marathon would not be complete without filling out growlers at Stone Brewery & sampling one unquie beverage they had to offer. A dark Anisse beer & an Oaked Arrogant Bastard later we were off to search for The Lost Abbey.
Our final destination was a two in one, Lost Abbey Brewery & Port Brew, under the same business park warehouse. Quite a crowd could be seen from the parking lot, a good and bad sign for the experiences we have had so far. None the less, neither left us high and dry. One flight from Lost Abbey revealed the 10 Commandments brew to be an overall favorite & Port offered great IPA with fun cat stories. I guess I gotta get back to the graveyard shift tomorrow....... till next weekend.