November 19, 2009

San Diego Brewery Tour

Just got back on Tuesday from a nice 5-day vacation in beautiful San Diego. Had a great time. The weather was perfect - blue, cloudless skies every day. Temps in the 60s-70s. I even went for a nice, 10 mile run on the boardwalk by the beach and along the bay in preparation for the 1/2 marathon I'm running Sunday.

What really made the vacation perfect was the brewery tour I went on while I was out there. The tour included stops at Stone, Ballast Point, and San Diego Brewing. What an amazing day!

We started with a stop at Stone. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. The grounds are amazing and there's a beautiful garden in which you can enjoy your brews. They had some hops growing on the vine, although, admittedly, California isn't the best climate for growing hops. The main bar area is all light and huge windows overlooking the garden. We had 5 tastings there, including the Pale Ale, Porter, and IPA. I finished with an oak-aged Arrogant Bastard that was heavenly.

Next stop was Ballast Point. The best part about a brewery tour? Not worrying about driving yourself and roadies. Enjoyed a Sublimely Self Righteous on the way.

We were led on a tour of the brewery at Ballast Point. This is a much different brewery than Stone. Truthfully, it's a store front in an industrial park. (Actually, a lot of breweries are in industrial parks.) It reminded me of the post office or a FedEx location. I mean, obviously the coolest post office EVER since there were taps right there with some of the best beers, but it was a small window you'd walk up to and give the girl your order. I had some Big Eye, Wahoo and Yellowtail Pale Ale. I've mentioned before - Ballast Point can do no wrong in my mind, and being there proved it to me all the more.

Our final stop was San Diego Brewing, and I treated myself to the Ballast Point Sculpin for the ride.

San Diego Brewing Company is a restaurant/brewery. Here I had the wonderful Hopnotic and the San Diego Amber. I also, thankfully, had lunch! It was about time to get some food in me. I had a wonderful mahi-mahi sandwich. We'd made our food choices earlier in the day, and I'd chosen fresh fruit as my side order. As usually happens with a couple of beers, I decided to put healthy eating on hold for a bit and changed up the fruit for french fries. Wise choice!

This was a really great way to spend a day. Our guide, Mindy, was very knowledgeable and told us lots of fun facts about the breweries. She also put up with us as the day wore on and we got louder and - I can only imagine - more annoying. If you're going to be in the San Diego area, check out Brewery Tours of San Diego. You won't be disappointed!

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