Now that Zak was done his race (he finished 10th overall – it was a 100 mile race – yes, that is kind of a big deal) and got a couple of hours of sleep and a well timed California burrito in him, it was time to return the rental car to San Diego and begin our day long vacation (we had a total of 24 hours to explore San Diego with a break in between those hours being reserved for the fact that neither he nor I (and he ran 100 miles) had slept for the past 48 hours) and beer exploration.
After the rental car was dropped off and cleaned (I had used the car as a “workplace on wheels” for the past three days) we found ourselves in a familiar area and made our way to get a doughnut and coffee. The doughnut was very good.
And we were very early. So, yes, we were the two tired and disgusting humans carrying all of their luggage with them standing in front of Ballast Point at 11 sharp in the morning, waiting for them to open. We were glad they let us in.
The Little Italy Brewery of Ballast Point is typical of a layout you’d expect: high ceilings, expansive draft list that stretches the length of the wall, a open view of a brewery worker (obviously on a R & D system – as it was around 5 barrels) toiling away at some point in the process, taking samples and trying to ignore the people with their noses pressed against said window (I used to be you, friend, I know the feeling). We’ve had a lot of Ballast Point’s offerings in the past so I wanted to extend my streak of drinking Pilsners in a town known for their hoppy offerings and went with things that are made in their R & D shop; I was blown away by both.
Because it was 11 AM and we hadn’t slept but because we were both officially on a vacation of sorts we settled with having two each and then retreating to our Air B & B to shower and probably pass out. I had each of the Clean Escape offerings that day, where both were Pilsners (more in the Czech Style than anything – both had the same softness and hoppy profiles), each had their own really fresh take on how different a beer can be when one or two controls are changed.
After finally coming back from the near dead it was time to eat and cross something off the only list that we had as far as accomplishments for our time in San Diego: we knew we were going to get to try some good beers and all but, we wanted to take this opportunity to A: put our feet in the Pacific Ocean (something neither of us had done to that point) and B: see a Padres game.
In order to accomplish A we took a Lyft to Ocean Beach, which just so happens to be where one of the Pizza Port breweries is located.
PIZZA/WINGS/SOME WEIRD VERSION OF A GARLIC KNOT/BEER:
More Pilsners. This one, their Pick Six Pilsner, was kind of like when someone asks me what my favorite beer is: it’s all situational.
Sitting at a bar in a brewery in a city that’s near the ocean, eating pizza (no comment on if it was good or not – it did the trick) and wings and some weird version of a garlic knot with my best friend, the beer didn’t need to be the focal point. I was just pleased to be there. By the way, it was a really good Pilsner.
Switching directions (and a couple hours later), we decided to actually head to a brewery as our actual reasoning behind being someplace; not just “hey, let’s check out this whole Ocean thing and just so happens that there’s a brewery close.”
We had both heard of Societe Brewing before (and tried a little here and there for the past couple of days) and decided to take the trek (read: Uber – our only Uber of the day and then we quickly went back to Lyft – no sponsorship here) to check them out.
Wouldn’t you know it?
The Heiress was more minerally than I expected with the tag of a Czech Style Pilsner but it was super clean and perfectly balanced, probably my favorite of the whole trip.
Another one that I truly enjoyed (Zak stuck to the IPAs here – all were, as expected, delicious, with a lean towards balance opposing the hops) was the Publican, their “Small IPA” that, according to Vermont, would be called an American Pale Ale. I could have drank nothing but these two beers the whole trip and had been completely satisfied.
After some other places and more food (I had emphasized the need for Zak to stuff his face that day and we tried our best to eat something every 4 hours, regardless of where we were – we did it – we succeeded) we made it to our Padres game and drank Pacifico out of a tall boy can. I didn’t take a picture but I did take this one of the place we snuck after the game got out of hand and they stopped checking where you are actually supposed to be sitting:
And then, just before heading towards the airport and leaving San Diego forever (maybe – I inquired about the R & D brewer at Ballast Point before I left) we opened this:
It was a great end to a great trip, all the while getting my brother across the finish line of yet another 100 miler and partaking in everything we could with 24 hours of older than we used to be debauchery.
Until the next trip,
Post Script: we staying in a really fun neighborhood: