Encinitas Ale House
Taps: 32 / Bottles: 350
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 14 | Reviews: 11 | Show All Ratings:
4.35/5 rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.75 | $$
They have a good, but not great beer selection that tends to be heavy on Belgian ales. So, if that's your thing, it's a great spot. They also have some good local beers on tap. Also, close to some great surf spots. Their Burgers are AWESOME. Seriously, some of the best, if not the best burgers I've had in San Diego County. Delicious french fries as well. It's pretty small and kind of dark. Pretty laid back atmosphere when I've been there.
02-26-2014 00:16:34 | More by hops_and_waves
3.84/5 rDev -7.5%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$$
Came here for a Russian River Framboise for a Cure event, and since it took place on a Monday night, we were lucky to walk in and find a table right away. I suspect this place gets very crowded and the seating is fairly limited. It's a pretty cramped space, with some of our chairs impeding the walkway for the servers. It was also very loud.
The beer was good, and they update their tap list daily. However, they need to update their god damn bottle list. I tried to order 3 different beers. All out of stock. Don't even bother asking if they have the Alpine beers listed on the menu. They won't. They do have about 300 bottles, including some Cantillon and some rare Eclipse, so you're bound to find something that is actually in stock.
The food was pretty good. Not like, mind-blowing or anything, but my Wagyu burger was pretty damn delicious. I wasn't impressed with the service, though. Towards the end of our meal, I ordered another bottle, and by the time they came back 10 minutes later to tell me they didn't have anymore, we were done and ready for the check. But whatever, I got the Russian River beer that I came for.
It is pricey, though.. With 2 beers and 2 entrees coming to around $70 with tip. I'd be back, but only if we ended up walking past it by chance.
10-22-2013 15:30:27 | More by dwagner003
3.95/5 rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
On a recent visit to San Diego, I went here to kill some time while my wife had an interview nearby. From a brief review of the area, appeared to have the best selection available. I thought they had a decent selection overall, but was hoping to try more local beers, as I am not from the area. In addition to their draft list, they had a pretty lengthy bottle list. However, upon inquiring about some of the stuff on the bottle list, they seemed to be out of everything I was interested in such as their Alpine and Russian River listings.
I was there right at open with not much of crowd, so I can't speak to the atmosphere much. The place was small, so I wouldn't think it would take too much to get a lively crowd in there. Service was very friendly and attentive.
Overall, a nice to place to stop for a couple of beers, but I wouldn't say there is any reason to seek this place out if your are in the area.
06-10-2013 13:41:49 | More by JamLand
4.3/5 rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25 | $$
Small pub. 7-8 tables and maybe 15 seats at the long bar. This places is pretty full from Happy Hour to close. Last call is early (10pm?) Their tab list is one of the top 3 for North San Diego Coastal area. Food menu offers many options and above average quality. They always have around 30 taps going on with about 1/3 Belgium offerings. Both beer and food price are average or just a little higher than average. Service have been good and consistent. They get PtY during the annual release but they offer it to their 80-beer-in-80-days members first before opening to the public. Overall this place and the Carlsbad Pizza Port are the best craft beer options near I-5 in North County San Diego.
05-20-2013 18:51:38 | More by mookihouse
4.6/5 rDev +10.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
You can't just start a day buying a bunch of beer, only to tease yourself that you aren't going to be drinking any of it until much later. Compromise that with a visit to a watering hole filled with goodies. With extra time to spare before the Exponential Hoppiness release, I drove further south on the Coast Highway, finding that the Encinitas Ale House had just opened their doors when I arrived. You'll need to park on the street if you want to visit.
The place has an intimate feel. The bar is large enough to accomodate 20 people, many tables are scattered about, especially towards the back. Brewery signage hanging on the walls of the place. A number of large format bottles of different beers sit at one section of the bar (and I'm talking about 3 liter bottles and larger, not measly 750s).
A friendly bartender got the flow going for the place. I spotted a couple of Founders bottles in one of the coolers and asked if they were for sale. Unfortunately, no. But she did explain that the owner will spontaneously opens these types of bottles and share them with customers, which I think is really cool.
I got around to seeing a beer menu, and the selection was nothing short of outstanding. 30 taps get the adrenaline going, and nearly one-third were from Mikkeller (including Barrel Aged Texas Ranger!). Me thinks there was a Mikkeller day not long ago. There were also drafts from Great Divide, La Chouffe, Beer Here, Wells, Telegraph, and Unita. Because the tap selection wasn't enough, over 200 bottles are available. In the bottle are Alpine, Ommegang, Blanche de Namur, Petrus, Oud Beersel, Dieu du Ciel, Bruton, Baird, and many more. To sweeter (or sour, depending on your viewpoint) the pot are some grey market beers, including Boulevard, Bells, Ska, and Perrenial. Complimenting the great selection are 30 different pieces of glassware, reasonable serving temperature, and fresh pours. In general, the prices are fair.
One of its claims to fame is suppose to be their burgers. I wasn't ready to eat, so that will have to wait for next time. And their will be a next time. The selection and serving of the beers is awesome, it's closer than San Diego to my Orange County residence, and I feel comfortable drinking in this setting. Without a doubt, a must stop.
01-28-2012 17:10:45 | More by DoubleJ
3.85/5 rDev -7.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $
On tap: two nitros, eight IPAs, couple of Pilseners, twelve Belgians, and some Belgian stylers from Great Divide, Allagash, Goose Island, and North Coast. You can get 5 oz pours of anything, including the Belgians for $2.50, which seemed to be popular.
Handy location on old 101 near Swami's with a bunch of other eating and drinking places in the vicinity. Noisy and a bit smelly-- beery floors, dishwasher fumes, perfume, disinfectant. Lots of stools along the long bar, a few tables out on the busy street. Seems to be pretty busy even in the early evenings with the young and restless crowd.
The salmon salad I had was OK for ingredients but too much sour dressing. They have wild boar burgers and venison burgers with an egg on top. Salads, more burgers, fish and chips, tacos.
I like finding local beers, but they do have more Belgians than most beercentric places in San Diego County.
10-21-2011 05:15:36 | More by mactrail
4.33/5 rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
Fairly typical beer bar atmosphere...tons of beer signage, handles hanging from the ceiling, a bunch of glassware behind the bar, etc. Additional points for the crowd, as it lacks the hipster scene I see at many other SD spots. Minus points for the size of the joint, it's tiny...it feels like it's 100 degrees in there during the summer when crowded.
Definitely a high quality establishment. Great beers, great quality food.
Service can be hit or miss, however most of the bartenders and servers know their stuff, and are happy to make some suggestions if necessary.
The selection is pretty deep. Definitely a focus on Belgians and other Europeans beers, however they do well with local offerings as well. Somewhere around 30 taps and an ever growing bottle list (150+).
The food is very good. The burgers are fantastic, as are the pizzas. I've eaten here plenty of times and I don't recall ever being let down by the food.
Just be prepared to spend some $$. The draught offerings run a bit more expensive than what you would typically see around town, and the tasters are not free. Bottle pricing is actually quite good, with a few exceptions.
08-16-2011 23:24:26 | More by Brewzer1010
4.13/5 rDev -0.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
This was such a great find in Encinitas. I would definitely come back here again, 100%, if not just for the burgers.
Huge selection of beers and I was please to see they had Pliny the Elder on tap. Heavily favors Belgian styles and big beers, but they had pretty much all styles covered on their list. Would have liked to have seen more local brews, especially visiting there as a tourist to CA. I'm not too disappointed, though.
The service and food are excellent. The burgers are unreal and absolutely huge. They have a very creative lineup of burgers, and other entrees for that matter. My wife had the steak salad and there was an entire skirt steak covering her salad. Awesome! I would have loved to try pretty much everything else on the menu.
The place was a bit small and loud but it was a really cool bar scene. Not a ton of room at the bar but enough seats along the walls and towards teh back to seat everyone on a Tuesday night. The bathroom is in a strange place, but I found it really fun. You have to literally leave the restaurant and out onto the sidewalk, take a right, pass the bush, take a left down an alley, and there it is.
PS - they've got an 80 beers in 80 days challenge that I would be all about if I lived nearby.
05-02-2011 16:34:26 | More by MrIncognito
4.45/5 rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
I visited for lunch on Wednesday, December 29th, 2010.
They were a little behind in opening today - I arrived at 11:15 and they were still pulling chairs off tables and getting ready. No biggie. Within 5 minutes, everything was squared away and I had ordered beer.
I am very happy to report they have an awesome, varied and extensive tap selection with no pilseners, no macro brews and a healthy balance of non-IPA brews. Yeah!
The space is a bit smallish with only room for a few tables, but there is plenty of bar seating. Dark wood and a cool glass wall looking into the kitchen are memorable features.
My partner and I both ordered burgers: she had the mysteriously named 33.0384°N, 117.293°W cheeseburger (Google Map the coordinates) and I had the Harmonica Bill burger. Both were excellent if a bit much; I managed to down all mine, but she had only half and took the rest to go.
Service was swift and attentive which is not surprising, considering we were the first in the door and were down before the lunch rush started in earnest.
Another plus - the bill was line-itemized and the recommended gratuities listed on the bottom were based on the pre-tax amount (as they should be). Best bill I have seen at any restaurant anywhere!
Overall, the best bet for beer in Encinitas and a welcome variation on the gastropub/Father's Office/microbrew meme that has swept south from Los Angeles. Oh, and the music? Well, if you like Cake and Death Cab for Cutie, you ought to like it.
12-30-2010 04:08:12 | More by charlzm
3.45/5 rDev -16.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$$
I'm still on the fence about the Encinitas Ale House. It's no secret that the North County coastline needed a good craft brew house, but one can't help but think this place is only halfway there.
Lots of brews, both bottles and on tap, heavily favoring the Belgian styles, but definitely representing the locals too (Alesmith, O'side Ale Works, Port, etc). Service seems rushed and the staff's knowledge of what they're pouring seems limited. Oh, and they charge for tasters!! Who charges for a taster? Especially when the waiters or bartenders can't describe or recommend what they're pouring. Not cool.
The burgers here are really great though and some of the best I've had recently. Decent overall selection of food, which does get served fairly quickly.
Overall, good food, decent selection (need more locals and domestic craft though), and less than memorable service keep this bar from being great.
05-21-2010 17:59:19 | More by teerinmybeer
Encinitas Ale House in Encinitas, CA
92 out of 100 based on 14 ratings.