It’s All About the Beer
In October of 1810, 40,000 citizens of Bavaria, Germany, gathered for the royal wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. For 16 days the guests relished in the festivities, dancing, horse races, and, of course, drinking. The popularity of the event inspired a reprise the following year, and again in 1812. Consequently, Oktoberfest was born.
While the traditional Oktoberfest began over 200 years ago, the title “Oktoberfest” has become synonymous with brewing beer and, more prominently, its consumption. The present day festival draws over 6 million devotees to the holy beer grounds and commences with the ritual tapping of the first keg, offering thirsty souls a great excuse to savor frothy suds at the hint of autumn. Here’s a look at some of North County’s breweries and beer bars.
Stone Brewing Co.
Location: 1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido
Known for: Bold, hop-centric brews; Being the largest brewery in Southern California; Organic gardens and cuisine
Beers on tap: 36 craft and specialty beers such as Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone IPA, Stone Smoked Porter, and 100+ bottle selections
Something special: Hosts special events like farm-to-table FRESH! Dinners, Meatless Mondays, Beer U educational classes, Stone Late Night Movies, Master Pairings series, as well as beer festivals Stone Sour Fest, Stone Oakquinox and Pour it Black
On the menu: Duck Tacos, Arrogant Brisket, The Stinky Cheese Platter, Cheddar, Garlic & Stone Ruination IPA Soup
Get your art: Discover “Live Music in the Gardens” with homegrown acoustic tunes on Thursdays.
Goodwill: Donated over $3 million to charity and practices sustainable environmental methods: solar panels, water reclamation system, and composting.
Photo Credit: Stone Brewing Co.
Encinitas Ale House
Location: 1044 S. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas
Known for: Cozy beer bar with Locally World Famous Burgers & Ales, elevating basic pub fair with fresh ingredients
Beers on tap: Eclectic varieties with close to 500 beers and changes daily including Acoustic Ales, the brewing “experiment” by owner Tommaso Maggiore
Something special: “80 Beers in 80 Days,” an exclusive beer club challenge that enters successful patrons into a raffle for a destination brewery trip
On the menu: Try a “Locally World Famous” burger or Encinitas Original Mac & Cheese Pizza followed by a Beer Float
Get your art: Local artist SCROJO designs the “80 Beers in 80 Days” artwork as well as the bottle labels for their sister brewery, Acoustic Ales.
Goodwill: Participates in fundraisers including joining Russian River Brewing Company in the fight against breast cancer by hosting annual event each October.
Photo Credit: Schnack Studios
Culture Brewing Co.
Location: 111 S. Cedros Ave, Solana Beach
Known for: Great flavors and great aromas giving beer its distinct personality, yet focus on keeping things simple
Beers on tap: Barrel Aged Oaked Russian Imperial Stout on Nitro, Black Currant Kolsch Blonde on Nitro, Keyhole IPA infused with fresh grapefruit. This fall, look out for a series of wet hopped IPA’s in addition to seasonal favorite Dunkelweizen.
Something special: Culture encourages patrons to educate themselves through exposure to ingredients, equipment and brewing processes. Beer tenders are selected carefully to ensure stellar front-of-house experience.
On the menu: Guest appearances from local craft food vendors Mishmash Gourmet with Goat Cheese Stuffed Angus Burger, Red Brick Oven’s Napolitano Pizzas, or It’s A Raw Poke Hawaiian food
Get your art: Pop-up fashion galleries exhibit local talent in a monthly art show, “Culture + Art + Beer,” that launches the first Friday of the month.
Goodwill: Collaborations with not-for-profit or community-focused organizations are held regularly contributing 20 percent of bar proceeds to their efforts.
Photo Credit: Troy Brajkovich
Bier Garden Encinitas
Location: 641 S. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas
Known for: Gastropub with a solely SoCal lineup of craft beers and a large dog-friendly patio
Beers on tap: 32 handles flaunt breweries sourced within a 64-mile radius
Something special: A magnificent tree of woven liana vines from East Asia sprouting up through the pub and sprawling across the ceiling took the owners more than 80 hours to create
On the menu: What else would be expected from The Bier Garden than bier-12 infused cuisine and Bloody Mary’s served with bier chasers. Executive Chef Ruben Zamarripa’s menu offers New American gastropub dishes with specialties such as a Lobster BLT and Ribeye Steak Crostini.
Get your art: The Bier Garden owners wanted to keep the integrity of this beautiful and historic building by conserving the original shape from the late 40s and adding authentic, historical photos of Encinitas throughout.
Goodwill: Proudly support local businesses, suppliers, and purveyors, and a recycle program that includes reclaiming fryer oil into biodiesel fuel.
Location: 9045 Carroll Way, San Diego
Known for: A lot of quality products stemming from their philosophy of “making what we love to drink.” Always experimenting with new flavors.
Beers on tap: Sculpin IPA, Calico Amber Ale, Yellow Tale Pale Ale, Black Marlin Porter, Wahoo Wheat Beer
Something special: View the 100 percent-copper kettles acquired from a German Brewery amidst the brewing action from the tasting room floor; 14 Spirits round out the Ballast Point family comprising of Three Sheets rums, Devil’s Share whiskies, Old Grove gins, Fugu vodkas.
On the menu: Crispy Duck Nachos or Beer Steamed Mussels followed by a signature IPA flat bread
Get your art: San Diego native Paul Elder is the artist behind every original label with his marine-inspired designs.
Goodwill: Support the local community through in-kind donations; Reduce environmental impact through recycling water, materials, energy, and by reducing waste as much as possible.