Sip Trips #128: San Diego Sipping (Part 4)

Our three weeks in San Diego wrapped up with us moving from Escondido to the downtown area. After arriving at our hotel, we journeyed to Liberty Public Market, home to Stone Brewing’s Liberty Station location. There, we took part in the brewery’s Cookies on Tap cross promotion with the Girl Scouts. For $15, we received a flight of four beers (5oz pours), each paired with a Girl Guide cookie. Our favourites of the set were the White Ghost Berliner Weisse with Savannah Smiles and Exalted IPA with Samoas combos.

The next day was largely spent exploring Balboa Park, prior to visiting Modern Times Brewing. After a brief wait to get into the popular site, Mrs. Sip and I shared their OG Edition Flight, containing the Lomaland Saison, Black House Stout, Fortunate Islands Wheat, and Blazing World Amber. This was a pretty good deal for $8.

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For dinner, we returned to Liberty Public Market and the Corvette Diner. For beverages, I got the Mike Hess Corvette Grazias, while Mrs. Sip went with a very tasty Chocolate-Peanut Butter Milkshake. As for food, we both went with burgers, with my selection being the Brenda variety and Mrs. Sip choosing the Breakfast at Tiffany’s option. We also received a free appetizer (Ginormous Chicken Fingers), thanks to signing up online through the Cohn Restaurant Group. The diner was a lot of fun with video games and other entertainment going on throughout our meal.

The next day, we tried to stop at Ballast Point Brewing in the Little Italy area of San Diego, but had trouble finding parking and also noticed the place was quite busy. When we finally found a spot for our vehicle, I wasn’t willing to pay $15 to park and then wait to be seated when all we wanted was a drink, so we abandoned the visit. We will have to try again another time.

Instead, we made our way to Coronado Island, home to Coronado Brewing. Although we were told getting a seat would take half an hour, we were seated almost immediately. We decided to split a flight of their brews, picking the Coco Chaos IPA, Large Barge Weizenbock, Mean Tajin Mango IPA, R&D Blonde Stout (Nitro), and R&D Peach IPA. We also added a taster of Barrel-Aged German Chocolate Cake on the side. Our favourites were the Coco Chaos, Large Barge and Blonde Stout.

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After walking around the Coronado Island marina for a bit, we played a bit of craft brewery roulette with Mrs. Sip selecting Little Miss Brewing, simply because of the name and having Baby Sip in tow. What a random choice this was, as we ended up at funky little joint, with a neat vibe. Here, we split another flight, including the Kilroy Irish Red, Riveter American Wheat, Havoc American IPA, Indie Coconut Porter, and Ida Belgian Tripel. The Irish Red was the best of the bunch for both of us.

On our last day, prior to heading to the airport, we ventured to San Diego’s Old Town. Our first stop was Cafe Coyote for lunch, which is a must-hit eatery. Mrs. Sip ordered their Sangria, while I went with an El Burro (tequila, ginger beer, lime) cocktail. For food, we split the Tres Coyote Taco meal (shredded beef, shredded chicken, carnitas), as well as a Cheese Quesadilla, which we received for free, thanks to a coupon from our hotel.

At the airport, we enjoyed a pre-flight beverage at Stone Brewing. Mrs. Sip went with a guest tap of Refuge Brewing Blood Orange Wit, while I went with Stone’s Mammoberries Golden Stout. I had previously seen this brew at the Liberty Station location, but neglected to order it. Thankfully, I remedied that glaring error here, as it was a tremendous ale, with flavours of coffee and raspberry. This was a nice liquid bow on our February in San Diego County and the start of my eight months of parental leave!

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BC Beer Baron #361 – Fuggles & Warlock Hopper Texas Brown

On our recent inaugural journey to the Fuggles and Warlock Brewing tasting room in Richmond, the Sip Advisor was settling his tab when he spotted a bottle of this beer. Having never tried it and it not being available on tap, a swift addition was made to said bill.

The Hopper Texas Brown is a hybrid between an IPA and a brown ale. Using six different West Coast hop varieties, the 6.5% ABV, 65 IBUs beverage is robust with flavours of caramel, nuts and citrus. It is available in bomber-sized bottles at the brewery and private liquor stores.

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I just had to try a serving of this brew, given its unique blend of styles. Ironically, the term Texas Brown Ale comes from California, with companies from that state (such as Sip Advisor favourites Stone and Bear Republic) experimenting with the rare beer type.

I think the beer’s name is a play on the 1990s TV show ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’, starring the legendary Chuck Norris. Leave it to Fuggles & Warlock to come up with such a pop culture reference. I could be wrong, but that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it!

For more BC Beer Baron articles, please visit our main page…

Sip Trips #44: California Dreamin’ (Part 2)

Part one of this week’s Sip Trips looked at our time aboard the Star Princess, travelling from Vancouver to Los Angeles. Part two sees us arrive at our final destination, Escondido, California, for a few days of R&R at the Lawrence Welk Resort.

Shortly after arriving in San Diego, we were off in search of some of the city’s craft beer to enjoy during our stay. I picked up Stone Brewing’s variety pack, which included their Cali-Belgique IPA, Pale Ale 2.0, Coffee Milk Stout, and Ruination Double IPA 2.0 (including the slogan “A liquid poem to the glory of the hop”). My favourite of the lot was the stout and the entire collection made for some good drinking, while relaxing and catching up on TV viewing.

cats watching lion king

Our Lawrence Welk Resort also had a couple of their own craft beers, brewed by Iron Fist. This included the Renegade Blonde and Stout. The beers were decent, but expensive, coming in at $10 and $14, respectively. That said, they did come in 750ml bottles, so we were open to experimenting.

The weather during our stay was a mix of warm, sunny days and chilly nights (it even rained one day), so we managed to get a little pool time in. While soaking up some sun at one of the resort’s pools, we ordered a couple drinks from the pool bar. Mrs. Sip got a Mai Tai, while I enjoyed a Cucumber-Jalapeno Margarita. The cool of the cucumbers provided a nice balance to the heat of the jalapenos and it was a good tanning beverage.

That same day, we toweled off and made our way to the Temecula Valley Wine Country, a beautiful region chock full of wineries. We randomly selected Bel Vino Winery to start our journey and were shocked by the very expensive tastings prices ($17 each for 6 one oz pours), which are not waived with bottle purchase. I’m not sure if other California wine regions operate similarly, but you have to understand that Mrs. Sip and I are accustomed to paying $5 for a tasting, which is typically waived with the purchase of a bottle.

unpretentious wine taster

Hell, for the $17 tasting, I could just buy a bottle and call it a day. Mrs. Sip and I found this business tactic to not be very conducive in encouraging guests to buy wine. After sharing our first tasting, I didn’t even bother participating at our next stop, Leoness Cellars, which was suggested by someone we talked to at Bel Vino, and also operated under a similar pricing structure, with tastings costing $18.

The wineries we visited and drove by we all packed with people – some very, very intoxicated – so perhaps doing a tour bus would be the better way of hitting the region and saving money with whatever package you pay for. Joining the winery’s respective clubs is also an option and includes perks that make the prices more tolerable. All in all, I was pretty disappointed with how the Wine Country operated and their business practices.

We travelled back to Temecula a couple days later to visit Garage Brewing, but sadly, they are closed on Mondays. I had looked them up after returning from our wine afternoon and they had some interesting brews on tap. It just wasn’t meant to be, but another time will hopefully provide more success.

start drinking on monday

While we were visiting, San Diego was enjoying their annual Craft Beer Week, but being located outside the city, we didn’t get to attend any of the festivities. We made up for it on our journey to the airport by stopping at a few locations, starting with Lost Abbey and Port Brewing. There, we tried some samples of their Red Barn Saison, Witch’s Wit, Serpent’s Stout, and Mongo IPA. I thought each beer was quite good, with the Saison perhaps edging out the others as my favourite, thanks to its ginger bite on the back end.

Our final stop was to Stone Brewing, which has a new beautiful facility, although signage is hard to find, save for the gargoyle mascot that represents the company on bottles and other products. We sat down and had some drinks and snacks in the brewery’s restaurant, testing out beers such as Xocoveza for the Holidays, Sawyer’s Triple, Smoked Porter, and Go to IPA w/ Lemon Peel and Vanilla Bean. The Xocoveza winter ale and IPA were my favourite of the bunch. As we were leaving, we splurged on a bottle of Locoveza (produced in wine and tequila barrels) to bring home. At close to $20 for the brew, we’re saving it for a special occasion.

The return to the real world is always harsh, but next week’s Sip Trips will be full of goodies (they always are!), as Vancouver’s Hopscotch Festival has been ongoing and Mrs. Sip and I have been busy attending a number of the event’s proceedings!