West coast really is the best coast… for beaches, beer and… well, everything.
Picking up from my Las Vegas adventures, I hop in my hybrid car and start driving through the desert. Lesson 1- the desert is scary. Lesson 2- Cali is mountainous. My arrival in Newport Beach 4+ hours later was heavenly. Hand me a beer.
Newport Beach Brewing Co.
Located in Newport Beach, CA (of course) this brewery was super close to the ocean and pier. The food was decent and beer was okay, but not anything special. I definitely wouldn’t recommend driving all the way here on your way to San Diego, that’s for sure. But if you’re in the area, check it out. Definite beach surfer vibes!
For the record, we tried:
Balboa Brown Ale
Village Idiot IPA
Pelican Pale Ale
Back on the road to San Diego. Another hour later we make it to Oceanside.
Bagby Beer Company
I loved this brewery in Oceanside, CA. I believe it’s newer because I don’t remember it from my last trip a year or two ago, but the whole area seems like it’s getting re-developed. The place was very modern/industrial with awesome indoor and outdoor spaces. Plus the outdoor area was heated, for those oh-so-cold Cali nights (no sympathy here).
Needless to say from my love of the place, the beer was great and so was the food.
Hop Whompus (Imperial Red Ale)
Struggle Bus (Pale Ale)
Alright, head out from there and twenty some minutes later, you’ll reach Solano Beach– an artsy little beach town.
This was the smallest of the breweries and didn’t have much seating, but there was an outdoor area with benches, places to stand and games. It seemed like a low-key hangout, but at this point I was exhausted from our trip and just wanted to sprawl out on my hotel bed. We tasted a few beers and quickly got back on the road. P.S. breweries with un-inventive names bother me.
Ahoy, La Jolla! After spending 15 minutes “relaxing” in my room, either the barking seals drove me nuts or I decided to man up and do my job– drink more beer! You think this is a fun trip or something? Drinking is hard work.
Our final stop was a short walk from the hotel, meaning we could load up on food and beer, drag ourselves back and sleep away the overstuffed-ness. #CaliforniaDreamin
This brewery has quite a few locations out there, but it’s not like a typical chain restaurant I’d think of. It still has a great vibe, a little on the upscale side, with really good beer and scrumptious food. LEVELS above BJ’s Brewhouse.
On top of an appetizer and dinner, we tried 8 beers:
Mosaic Session IPA
Whiskey Sour (Wild Ale)
Wreck Alley Imperial Stout
Thumping Rabbit (IPA)
Two Tortugas Belgian Quad
Red Trolley Ale
Pintail Pale Ale
Columbia Street Amber
Quite the end to the day. Beer-ed out is a thing and that we were. Oh, and just so you know, seals are loud a-holes all night long so don’t stay on the cove and expect a good night’s sleep.
And that’s it for part one!
I think if I had to choose an overall favorite, factoring in atmosphere and beer, the round one winner is Bagby. Check back next week for part two covering North Park breweries!