San Diego advice needed

Discussion in 'Pacific' started by clonebrewer, Apr 29, 2013.

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  1. clonebrewer

    clonebrewer Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2009 Iowa
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    Alright, I know you're jacked to see another thread about travel advice in San Diego! Don't hate though- be thankful you live in a great spot for craft beer. I've actually done my research and have a couple specific questions regarding a trip my wife and I are taking in 2 weeks. After work obligations are taken care of we'll have Friday and Saturday to explore, so here are my plans and I welcome any input:

    Our hotel is near the convention complex so we're within walking distance to the Gaslamp area. On Friday we plan on hiring Brew Hop, a lcoal brewery chauffeur, to take us on a 5 hour tour of 3 breweries and drop us off at beer bar. Its $140/person and we can pick the 3 breweries. Since Stone and Lost Abbey are further out of the city I though we'd use this service to hit both of those and then either Ballast Point or Societe on the way back. Questions are- has anyone had any experience with Brew Hop? Any better itineraries? And, whats better- Ballast Point or Societe? I've only had Sculpin from BP which is great- but heard really good things about Societe. I really wanted to go to Alpine but sounds like they get packed and its pretty small plus a long ways from everything else. Thinking Blind Lady or Toronado to end. Saturday is wide open but would love to hit another brewery and beer bar or find a music/beer festival outside. Thanks for the help!
  2. mhksuccess

    mhksuccess Zealot (580) Jul 7, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    another case of the mondays lol

    well i would prefer to hit societe over ballast point anyday
    if i were you i would pass on stone maybe try greenflash it is lot more fun has good food truck
    definite would try to hit alesmith always a good time small tasting room
    not usually impressed with lost abbey would prefer hess brewing
    dianimal and claspada like this.
  3. besaunders

    besaunders Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2007 California

    If 30 minutes is too far from everything else, skip Alpine. Otherwise, why not make it your first (lunch) stop on Friday or Saturday?
  4. SageO

    SageO Initiate (198) Jul 13, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    +1 for Alesmith. Their tap list lately has been killer.
    dianimal likes this.
  5. Xul

    Xul Crusader (776) May 18, 2008 California

    It depends what your stylistic preferences are. Societe makes consistently better beer, especially on IPAs, but Ballast Point covers a broader array of styles. Societe essentially has IPAs, Belgians, and stouts. If you and your wife both are fans of those styles, Societe makes high quality beer across the board. However, if you prefer variety, BP makes good beer as well.

    Another option would be Alesmith - not sure if you're in their distro network, are a fan, not a fan, or never had them, but they've been putting on some damn good taprom-only beers lately, and their normal lineup is very high quality. I would recommend them over Ballast Point, and Alesmith vs. Societe would come down to stylistic preference.

    As an aside, you can see what's on tap at Ballast Point via their tapcam. It will change a bit over the next couple weeks, but that gives you an idea.

    Alpine is a half hour outside of San Diego - some people swear "it's not that far," but a half hour each way is an hour of time spent driving, and there's really nothing else out that way. When you're only in town for a couple days and have limited time, that extra hour may or may not be worth it. However, Toronado will almost certainly have two or three Alpine beers on tap. If you're not dying to try all of Alpine's beers, head to Toronado after your Brew Hop tour and enjoy what they have on tap.
  6. besaunders

    besaunders Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2007 California

    This is a good point. O'Brien's usually has an Alpine choice or four on tap too, and it is fairly close to Societe if you are going to do that. They also are quite will to do half pours, too - which is nice. :slight_smile:
  7. nanobrew

    nanobrew Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2008 California

    Cannot go wrong with either Blind Lady or Toronado. I would give the edge to Toronado, plus they are close to Tiger!Tiger! (owned by the same people as Blind Lady), so you can walk there afterwards.

    And just because, here is a link to a beer map, I just added a few new ones today.
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  8. besaunders

    besaunders Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2007 California

    The last time I pointed out an omission, it mysteriously appeared in your map.

    So I'll ask why Belching Beaver North Park and Bottlecraft North Park are omitted, so they can mysteriously appear as well. :slight_smile:
    nanobrew likes this.
  9. nanobrew

    nanobrew Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2008 California

    was unaware about Belching Beaver North Park, is it a 2nd location or did they move? Is it open yet, didn't see anything about it with a quick search on their website.

    Thanks for the reminder about the new Bottlecraft! Can they do tasters there or is that just the little Italy location?
  10. Xul

    Xul Crusader (776) May 18, 2008 California

    Also a good point, only issue with O'Briens is that transportation back to their hotel near the Convention Center will be a lot pricier. If they have Brew Hop drop them at Toronado, they're a $15 - $20 cab ride from the Convention Center, or they can hop on the Route 2 for $2.25 each and get back downtown. O'Briens would probably be at least $40, if not more.

    And the new Belching Beaver tasting room is right around the corner from Tiger!Tiger!. If they're doing Toronado after Stone, Lost Abbey, and Societe/BP/Alesmith, tacking on Belching Beaver and T!T! would probably be overkill, but Toronado + BB + T!T! would make for a decent Saturday.
  11. Xul

    Xul Crusader (776) May 18, 2008 California

    nanobrew likes this.
  12. nanobrew

    nanobrew Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2008 California

    very true. Though with Stone, I think it is almost more about the atmosphere over the beer. Worth going to, but don't go crazy drinking there, you will find better beer on your journey. Lost Abbey is almost the same. Nice feel to it, but tasters are best there. However, I would go crazy at either Societe or Alesmith. Though you can get tasters at both (get the tasters at Societe, they are nearly half pours for only a buck), I typically find myself drinking more at these two places over LA.

    Thanks for the info on Belching Beaver!
  13. besaunders

    besaunders Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2007 California

    Nano - I think I read somewhere that Bottlecraft North Park does not have tasters, at least on draft (I didn't see if you could consume a bottle on the premises).
  14. CoolEthan

    CoolEthan Initiate (0) Jan 9, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    $280 for two people is pretty frickin ridiculous. Rent a car for the day & I'll take you & your lady for a beer tour that'll will blow doors off anything Beer Hop is offering.
  15. nanobrew

    nanobrew Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2008 California

    Everyone, please keep the advice coming on new bottle shops, breweries, or beer bar that should be added (or taken off). I know some of the places I have listed are not the best, but I like to add some places in areas that may be deficient in any other good options. That way if someone is stuck in an area they will at least know of some place to hit.

  16. tyrsis

    tyrsis Disciple (321) Mar 13, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Seriously. I'll drive you around the county for 279.99.
  17. alesmithabby

    alesmithabby Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2011 California

    La Jolla Brew House is closed!
  18. nanobrew

    nanobrew Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2008 California

    hmmm, thanks for the update, that seems out of the blue...well not that I keep up to date with their news...and not that it is a surprise.
  19. sandiego67

    sandiego67 Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2008 California

    I went by for lunch on Thursday and they were dark. I assumed that they were just open for dinner.

    The website doesn't say anything about closing.
  20. CoolEthan

    CoolEthan Initiate (0) Jan 9, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    That's sad news. If I'm not mistaken their predecessor La Jolla Brewing Co was the 2nd brewery to open in town after Karl Strauss. That had to have been close to 20 yrs ago. Not a bad run
  21. Jeffreysan

    Jeffreysan Initiate (0) Apr 12, 2013 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    A few years ago two buddies and I did a BrewHop tour of AleSmith, Stone and Lost Abby and had an awesome time! Though expensive, I recommend it. They took care of everything, from obvioulsy the driving to getting us our beers at the brewerys. All we had to do was sit down at a table and wait a few minutes for our beers. Our driver was even able to cut the lines at each brewery, which was CLUTCH at Stone as the line of people trying to get beers at their bar was insane. We were able to drink in the car between brewerys as well, which was great, nothing like a Lost Abbey Lost and Found on the way back to the hotel to finish the tour!

    Also, I really, really like the bar Neighborhood. Great beer bar!

    Have a great time!!

  22. nanobrew

    nanobrew Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2008 California

    :grimacing: OMG is the brewing bubble bursting!!1!!Eleven!! First ECBC and now La Jolla Brewing, what is next? Stone? Ballast Point? I am going to be stocking up on cases and kegs of stouts, barleywines and even IIPAs for the beer apocalypse.
  23. clonebrewer

    clonebrewer Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2009 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    I thought that was pretty high and by the sounds of it I think we could get by much cheaper if we take a cab everywhere- especially if we skip Stone and Lost Abbey. If we did Alesmith, Societe, and Ballast Point and just used a cab does that sound like a good day's coverage? What about Pizza Port? There was a good reply that Toronado usually has a decent selection of Alpine beers. Specifically looking for Nelson, Duet, and Pure Hoppiness. Thanks for all the info guys!
  24. Xul

    Xul Crusader (776) May 18, 2008 California

    Yes, those three are all pretty close to each other - you could throw Green Flash in there if you wanted, but the three you named would be a good grouping.

    Yellow Cab of San Diego has a Fare Estimator on their website if you want to play around and figure out approximate costs - . It looks like you'd be $50 - $60 from the Convention Center to BP Scripps Ranch, < $15 between breweries, and then $50 back down. Definitely under $200 for the whole round trip.

    Pizza Port is awesome, the Ocean Beach location would be closest to Downtown. Probably about a $35 cab ride, give or take a few dollars.
    tourdot likes this.
  25. drewzline

    drewzline Initiate (0) Dec 12, 2006 California

    I have never used BrewHop but one day we did a little trip to Societe and Green Flash and both places we bumped into the same group from BrewHop. Talked to the lady driving and giving the tour and she was really cool. She has really good access at the breweries so if you want to do a tour of the facilities and just have a different look at the operations, I'd think it would be worth it. And I believe you are able to drink in the BrewHop car as well, so maybe that helps...or at least makes it more fun.

    If you are staying in the Gaslamp I definitely suggest Neighborhood. I love that place and it's so close. However, if you have someone driving you and dropping you off at the end of the day, I'd end up doing the Toronado-Tiger!Tiger! combo. I just went to Tiger!Tiger! the other day and the food I had was awesome. I love the vibe there as well and the tap list was incredible.

    My vote would go for a Green Flash, Societe, Alesmith brewery trifecta with a drop-off at Tiger!Tiger! for dinner. If you need some lunch or apps close to your hotel, hop on over to Neighborhood.
    dianimal likes this.
  26. MiScusi

    MiScusi Savant (994) Feb 12, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    As far as Alpine goes, as people have said, Toronado is your best bet, but any bars on/close to 30th street will have a fairly good chance of having at least one of their beers on. Aside from that, O'Brien's is ususally the 2nd best bet behind Toronado, although O'Brien's is up by Societe. You can keep a tab on their taplist here

    My recommendation for a beer bar near Toronado is Live Wire. Nobody goes to Live Wire and has a bad time.
  27. SageO

    SageO Initiate (198) Jul 13, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Saturday the 11th or Saturday the 18th? If the latter, there's this going on:
  28. Piddmeista

    Piddmeista Initiate (0) Apr 15, 2013 California

    two great apps to download when you arrive if you don't already have them are Taphunter & Untappd. Both will help you get info on what's currently on tap where. I live a block from Toronado and lately it seems they'll have 1 or 2 Alpine beers on tap occasionally - doesn't seem as regular as it used to be unfortunately, so if you are on the hunt for some Alpine, taphunter shows it's at O'Briens much more often.

    Also to confirm, bottlecraft NP doesn't have a tasting room...yet (but I'm hoping soon).
  29. clonebrewer

    clonebrewer Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2009 Iowa
    Beer Trader

  30. Slateriesling

    Slateriesling Initiate (0) Sep 1, 2006 California

    If you go to Stone, remember that the timing is important. They get really busy on Fri. nights and Sat. can get bad all day. You may find that you will want to have a beer, enjoy the gardens then leave. Staying for food could take up a lot of time if it is not the right timing. If you arrive B4 4pm on Fri. you should be good. After 6 could be a cluster. Also check if they have any special event, the will only increase the problem.
  31. clonebrewer

    clonebrewer Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2009 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    Anyone been to this shindig? 17th Annual so maybe someone went last year? Looks like a good selection of breweries....
  32. VanHorneDog

    VanHorneDog Initiate (0) Dec 26, 2010 California

    North Park festival is a good one. Usually 2-3 beers from each brewery. Great way to try a few from the smaller newer guys.

    As far as brew hop. They are good. Usually a smaller crowd. If $280 is worth it to you, then do it. Lost Abbey is a good choice, i would avoid Stone. The tour is fun plus free beer. But... not the same atmosphere you get at almost all the other tasting rooms, which is what San Diego beer is really about.

    My suggestion. Lost Abbey >>> Ballast Point >>> Society (though personally i wouldn't go here as I find their beer monotonous, but if you want to) >>> Mission (They are downtown by the ballpark, walking distance from the Gas Lamp So you can get dropped off there) Then Grab a cab to North Park, Hit Toronado or Hamilton's. Cab back to the Hotel.

    Now, if you want to get crazy. Talk to these guys. They do custom beer tours. They can hit 4 breweries for less. Nice guy owns it.

    Personally. I would do this. Lost Abbey, Hess Brewing, Ballast Point. A very good mix of beers here.
  33. CoolEthan

    CoolEthan Initiate (0) Jan 9, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    If brewing super tasty, brilliantly crafted beer is monotonous than sign me up for a life of monotony.
    SageO likes this.
  34. SaigonDaze

    SaigonDaze Initiate (0) Dec 24, 2012 California

    Pizza Port OB is celebrating their 3rd Anniversary that weekend. I believe the celebration begins on 5/9 and goes until at least 5/11.
  35. clonebrewer

    clonebrewer Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2009 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    Just noticed that May 13th - 19th is National Craft Beer Week....and I'll be in San Diego. Pretty happy about that.
  36. VanHorneDog

    VanHorneDog Initiate (0) Dec 26, 2010 California

    I'm not saying its not well crafted, It most measurably is well made beer. I dont think anyone could make that argument and win. Just that. its all IPAs and Belgian Style Ales. Again monotonous. I think you would be better served hitting up places with more variety if you only have one day or so to check stuff out. 2 cents.
  37. RedBeeron

    RedBeeron Initiate (0) Jul 7, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

  38. nanobrew

    nanobrew Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2008 California

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