Sip Trips #126: San Diego Sipping (Part 2)

Part two of our month in San Diego County began with an outing to Belle Marie Winery, where Mrs. Sip enjoyed a tasting. As Mrs. Sip sampled a few wines, I changed a Baby Sip poopy diaper. Alas, this is life now! The other reason I didn’t join Mrs. Sip was because I’m still not a fan of the way tastings are done in the San Diego area. Whereas I’m accustomed to typically paying $5 for a tasting at home, which is waived if you buy a bottle, here the price was $10 and bottle purchases don’t lead to a free tasting. To be fair, this is one of the more decent tasting prices we’ve encountered in that region. Don’t even get me started on the Temecula Valley Wine Country.

Following the winery, we visited Plan 9 Alehouse, taking advantage of their progressive keg pricing ($3 pint at 3pm, $4 at 4pm, $5 at 5pm). I selected The Lost Abbey Farmhouse Lager, which went well with our appies of Garlic Fries and Chips & Guac. En route back to our resort, I restocked our beer reserve with Kona Brewing’s Liquid Aloha Variety Pack. This case included the brewery’s Island IPA, Magic Sands Mango Saison and Wailua Wheat.

guacamole good fat

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we decided to spend the occasion doing a bit of a brewery crawl. The journey started at Mother Earth Tap House, where we built two flights of six 6oz beers, allowing us to try much of the tasting room’s extensive lineup. Our favourites were the Xtra Nuts and Cali Creamin’, which seemed to be very popular around the region.

Next up was the Belching Beaver 980 Pub, which we had been advised had fantastic Philly Cheesesteaks. That advice couldn’t have been more accurate. As we scarfed down the delicious sandwiches, I tried the Phantom Bride IPA, while stealing sips of Mrs. Sip’s PB&J Blonde, which was fantastic. We also tried samples of the Peanut Butter Stout, Horchata Imperial Stout, and Mexican Chocolate with Dark Cherries cask option. With good fortune on our side, as we finished our pints, they began stocking the “to go” fridge with a limited release beer, so I implored Mrs. Sip to go investigate. The Belching Beaver/Deftones Good Morning Beautiful Brown Ale (with Coconut, Coffee and Maple Syrup) was the prize and so we snagged a bottle for the road.

Our crawl wrapped with a quick stop at Iron Fist Brewing, where we split another flight, including their Renegade Blonde, Spice of Life, Seven-Seven, and Ken Schmidt’s Pillow Mint. The Pillow Mint was the highlight of the visit, reminding us of a liquefied After Eight chocolate.

After Eight Chocolate

The next day, we got together with friends of ours who live in the area, meeting at their local favourite: Booze Brothers Brewing. While Mrs. Sip ordered a flight made up of their Peachy Monkey, Blackberry Cruiser, Easy Rider Brown, and Honey Bloom, I enjoyed a pint of their Green Eyed Amber, which I had read online was a very popular choice. The place was very neat, with lots of comfy seating and food trucks on hand for munchies.

Following the brewery, we had dinner at Tekila Cocina Mexicana, where Mrs. Sip and I split their Queso Fundido and Carnitas Quesadilla. To quench my thirst, I ordered a Jalapeno Cilantro Margarita, which had a decent level of heat and interesting flavour blend with the addition of Cilantro. Mrs. Sip tried their “Build Your Own Magarita” option, selecting Hibiscus Liqueur and 1800 Reposado Tequila.

No visit to San Diego is complete without seeing the San Diego Zoo. Best of all, folks can drink craft beers throughout the park, with different options on tap at locations spread around the attraction. I started with the Stone Tangerangutan Express IPA and later added the Mike Hess African Leopard IPA. Other animal-themed brews included the Ballast Point Koala Kolsch (which Mrs. Sip tried) and Karl Strauss African Penguin Pale Ale.


After our day at the Zoo ended, we went for dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Here, I paired the Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA with an order of Spaghetti Vesuvius. The IPA worked well to cool the heat from the spicy sauce of my main dish.

Part three of our travels includes journeys to Temecula and Carlsbad, for beer, wine and other shenanigans!


Sip Trips #125: San Diego Sipping (Part 1)

Mrs. Sip, Baby Sip and I spent most of the month of February in San Diego County, which meant a lot of craft breweries, a few wineries and other adventures. Here’s part one of our experiences:

Upon arriving, we did some grocery shopping to stock up on supplies. While deciding on a case of beer, Mrs. Sip came across the New Belgium Blend Like A Brewer Variety Pack. This set has an amazing concept with a recipe guide that allows drinkers to blend the six beers (Black Lager, Sour Ale, Belgian White, Tangerine IPA, Belgian Dubbel, and Belgian Trippel) that comprise the case to make some very good mixes. Our favourite was the Monk’s Pajamas, which combined the Belgian Dubbel and Black Lager. I would get this pack again, just to do my own experimenting.

Abs Craft Beer

The resort we were staying at offered a weekly craft beer tasting, followed by pub trivia. We attended the tasting once, which allowed for a sampling of six different beers for $12. The brews offered were Belching Beaver Me So Honey Blonde Ale, Mother Earth Cali Creamin’ Vanilla Cream Ale, Latitude 33 Blood Orange IPA, Novo Brazil The Mango Beer, Ballast Point Mocha Marlin Porter, and Belching Beaver Mexican Chocolate Peanut Butter Milk Stout. This was a great introduction to the San Diego craft beer scene, some breweries which I was familiar with and others I was not.

Following the tasting, we won the pub trivia, earning us a prize pack that included a bomber of one of the beers we had just tasted. We selected the Belching Beaver Me So Honey Blonde Ale. The next two weeks, we would also come out on top at trivia, earning us bottles of AleSmith My Bloody Valentine Ale and Coronado Orange Ave Wit.


A few days later, we travelled across the US-Mexico border into Tijuana for the craft beer tour we had arranged with Border Tours. Once we made it to downtown Tijuana, we hit four different breweries, getting to enjoy a flight or pint at each. The breweries included Norte, Border Psycho, Teorema/Ludica, and Mamut. We also stopped for delicious goat meat street tacos in the middle of the tour, which made sure we didn’t end up too blitzed. The tour cost us $108 each, after getting a special discount through the vendor. A Groupon for the tour also exists. Mrs. Sip and I both recommend the company, who provided us with a knowledgeable guide and was always quick to respond to any questions we had.

At this point, our vacation was just ramping up. In part two of our travels, we continue to explore San Diego County, including a self-guided craft beer tour for Valentine’s Day and a visit to the world famous San Diego Zoo!