San Diego’s brewing scene is booming these days, and we in North County are lucky enough to experience the best of the boom right here in our own communities. Craft breweries, also known as microbreweries, are independently owned and produce small amounts of beer, allowing for higher quality and greater individualization than traditional breweries. Perhaps nowhere is this industry growing faster than in San Diego, which has become a beer-drinker’s dream destination – and not just for the beaches any more. Local breweries have been stepping into the international spotlight with their award-winning beers. The industry’s exhilarating growth shows no sign of slowing down. In celebration of the 6th Annual San Diego Beer Week last month, we’re excited to offer an insider’s look at the best breweries North County has to offer. The craft brewers we speak to have a huge variety of differences in technique and taste, but they all share a deep-rooted passion for their products. We invite you to read along and see what the buzz is all about.
IN THIS FEATURE:
• Local Beer Tasting Cheat Sheet
• Brewery Profiles
• San Diego Beer Industry Facts
• North County Brewery & Tap Room Directory
Five years after the first Slater’s 50/50 opened, the best of burgers, bacon, and beer has found a new home in San Marcos. Scott Slater founded his restaurant on the concept of his 50/50 patty, which he invented years ago for a Chargers tailgate party – the patty is 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon, bringing together two of modern America’s most celebrated meats in delicious unity. The creativity continues with the menu of unique gourmet burgers and comfort dishes. Scott and the rest of the Slater’s 50/50 team like to use a new word to describe the overwhelming excitement felt when indulging in the Slater’s 50/50 experience: excesstasy.
To accompany the great food, Slater’s 50/50 is proud to offer the largest selection of local and regional craft beers, with 100 or more beers on tap at each location for novice beer drinkers and experienced connoisseurs alike. “Our goal is to always have a really well balanced beer selection for our guests to choose from,” said Scott. “We really believe there is a beer for everybody and that they can find it at Slater’s 50/50.” To learn more visit www.slaters5050.com.
Oggi’s has been brewing beer in San Diego since 1995 and is proud to continue the craft tradition with the new Oggi’s Vista location, helmed by Co-Owners Brian and Craig Rustad. With a completely remodeled restaurant and a centerpiece bar with thirty taps, Oggi’s Vista is perfect spot to enjoy sports, pizza, and brews in a family-friendly environment.
Oggi’s also launched a sister business in 2002 called Left Coast Brewing Company. Today, this brewing company provides all the beer for the family of Oggi’s restaurants – no small task considering the quality and variety the restaurants provide. “Our beers include ales, ambers, barrel-aged, Belgians, lagers, hefeweizens, IPAs, double IPAs, triple IPAs, Scottish, stouts, and more,” explained Shawn Hadjis, Oggi’s Director of Operations. “We offer award-winning beers with stellar service.”
Oggi’s emphasizes the importance of giving back to the North County family and takes pride in their involvement in various charities throughout the community. For more about Oggi’s Vista visit www.vista.oggis.com.
Stumblefoot Brewing Company
Stumblefoot Brewery founders Bill Randolph and Pat Horton began as home brewers in 2001. To honor their experience in those beginning years, Bill and Pat chose the name Stumblefoot to pay tribute to both their failures and successes, and most importantly, to their continued willingness to experiment. As an integral part of the North County brewing community today, Stumblefoot takes pride in their continued dedication to learning and sharing information with their fellow brewers and friends. Together the founders participate in many of San Diego’s home brewing clubs, from the Society of Barley Engineers to QUAFF Brewing Club, North County Home Brewers Association, and Mash Heads homebrew club.
In 2012, Stumblefoot started their commercial adventure in San Marcos. At their tasting room on La Costa Meadows Dr., you can learn about their award-winning Imperial Dragon Kiss Stout, which recently earned a silver medal at the California State Fair. Or kick back and try their Schwarz Be With You Black Lager which won a gold medal at the 2013 San Diego County Fair International Beer Festival. Many of their brews have been honored for superior quality and taste, so whatever your preference in beer, you’re certain to find something you like. To discover more and see a list of the beers on tap visit www.stumblefoot.com.
In 1987, brother-sister duo Gina and Vince Marsaglia bought a pizza place in Solana Beach. It was in this original storefront on Pacific Coast Highway that Pizza Port – with its classic menu of pizza and chicken wings – quickly became a local favorite. In the early years, Vince noticed the restaurant’s additional storage space and decided to experiment with a new hobby – home brewing. Before long, he was brewing more than he could drink by himself, and after much encouragement from family, friends, and loyal Pizza Port fans, Vince and Gina decided to expand into the brewpub business. Pizza Port offered its first handcrafted beers in 1992. In 1997, they opened their Carlsbad location on the corner of Roosevelt St. and Carlsbad Village Dr. And in 2013, Pizza Port opened their Bressi Ranch location, which houses a brewing facility, brewpub, commissary, and their corporate office. Here Head Brewer Sean Farrel has been concocting a few new brews that will soon be the first three beers to launch in cans. Stop by this location to try ChronicAle, a mellow amber ale, Ponto, an IPA, and Swamis, a traditional IPA. Pizza Port’s continued success comes from their dedication to producing high-quality beer, delicious pizza, and a fun environment for people and families of all ages to enjoy. To learn more visit www.pizzaport.com.
DID YOU KNOW?
In 2011, brewers and brewpubs generated a $299.5 million direct economic impact in San Diego County.
The economic contribution of craft brewers is more than 1 ½ times greater than the economic impact of Comic-Con International,
San Diego’s largest annual convention.
Since 2011, the total number of craft breweries in the region has more than doubled.
The largest craft brewing event in the region is San Diego Beer Week, which features more than 500 events and lasts from early to mid-November. Beer Week brings more than 20,000 participants to San Diego County.
Sources: National University System Institute for Policy Research and the Brewers Association