Apr 20, 2015

Ladies at the Beach: Southern California

It is Monday and I am back at work after a wonderful week away from Chicago in Southern California (Oceanside, to be exact).  Between Orange County and San Diego lay a bunch of small, cute, charming beachside towns, and I was lucky enough to get to stay on the beach for the entire week.  Besides the beautiful beaches, charming shops, palm trees and plentiful pools, this area is FULL of microbreweries!  This was great news for my family and me as we all enjoy trying new beers and supporting local breweries.

the view from Oceanside's pier
Right in Oceanside are several breweries, but we only visited one: Bagby Beer Company.  It is off of the main road in Oceanside and I thought it was HUMONGOUS for a micro brew pub.  There were several areas for seating: the inside bar, a tasting room, a large back patio, a large upstairs deck and an upstairs bar.  We went for lunch one afternoon (I highly recommend the burger) and another night for a post-dinner beer.  Their best beer that I tasted was "Pesky Neighbor" an IPA but I also liked "Struggle Bus", a nitro IPA.  They have 25 (!) of their own beers on tap, as well as many other local brews and a few bottles.  All of the servers definitely knew their stuff and it sounded like most of them homebrewed as well.

so many taps!
Bagby is definitely a place I'd recommend for food, as well as for spending an afternoon tasting as many of their beers as possible!  It also seems like it would be a great place for a party, especially on that upstairs deck.  And considering that weather in Oceanside seems beautiful 85% of the time, you probably wouldn't have to worry much about rain outs.

view of the back patio from the upstairs deck
In Solana Beach, another cute little beach town, is Culture Brewing.  My parents stumbled upon this brewery (they have knack for that) on the first day it was open.  It is MUCH smaller than Bagby and consists of the main bar area (with no seating, I guess because of licensing laws?) and the back patio.  I only tried one beer here, their Mosaic IPA, and it was VERY good and "low gluten" (meaning it has 10ppm of gluten or less).  Half of the beers on their list were low gluten, so if you're sensitive to gluten but not celiac, I'd recommend this place to fill up your growler.  Hopefully one day they will have more seating to encourage people to hang around and drink for a while.

you can see the brewing equipment from the patio!
Finally, there is a small chain of pizza/brewpubs in the area called Pizza Port.  We went to the one in Carlsbad on Friday night and it was BUSY!  Luckily we snagged a spot at the bar; it is kind of first come, first serve seating, with no hosts/servers (you order at the counter and they call your name when your food is ready).  The pizza was DELICIOUS and I would tell you to order the beer buddies (basically garlic pizza crust with dipping sauces) for an appetizer while you wait for your pizzas to be done.  

image via
Since this is a pizza place as well as a brewpub the crowd was more mixed with lots of families, little kids, teenagers, etc.  I had the "Off the Chain" double IPA which reminded me of some of my favorite double IPAs and the "Grapefruit Puncher" IPA which had just the teeniest hint of grapefruit.  They had a LOT of their owns beers on tap (also available in pitchers) and many others as well.  Pizza Port offers cans and kegs of their beers to go, and we saw their beer cans in the grocery stores we went to while in the area.

If you're ever visiting the area, definitely research the local microbreweries!  Hopefully I'll get to back again and check out the ones I didn't have a chance to see.  There is more to Oceanside than the beaches!

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