San Diego Breweries, Day 1: Big Operations

Driving south on Interstate 5 from Orange County towards San Diego, (one of the current craft beer meccas), Lindsay opened the area’s beer map, boasting 38 locations in one county.  Oh, my, goodness. How would we get them all in over one weekend?

Though my type-A nature actually began strategizing a method to complete such madness, I knew a half dozen breweries over two days would be a great goal. There’s absolutely no need to over-indulge, be irresponsible on the roads, or confuse our palettes with yes, too much beer. So we opted to spend our first day in the Mission Valley area, visiting some of the well-known, larger craft breweries: Ballast Point and Green Flash, and then a Port Brewing location in Solana Beach. Without a doubt, we sacrificed visiting some other heavy hitters in the area, but we can always return to savor more SoCal craft beer.

I could go on and on about each of these places, though there are three highlights that make each operation well-worth visiting:

Ballast Point

– A solid variety of production beers that represent style and taste to near perfection, and offer an unrivaled clarity of beer color in each style.

– Once past the standard six, the brewers have designed an almost over-whelming menu of options, including a series of chile beers, a selection of smoked beers, and some craft releases I’m still craving to revisit nearly two weeks after our visit.

– A major hub for beer enthusiasts . . . we followed the Brewery Tours of San Diego bus (co-run by an editor of The West Coaster) into the parking lot for the 11 am opening.  It seems that everyone agrees, Ballast Point is not to be missed. Continue reading