Day Four – All Points West
Today we hit all points west of where we’ve been so far, and essentially the remaining breweries (Well technically there are still about 95 others, but the big ones). We’re going to spend the day in the sun, by the surf, and even catch a famous sunset on the cliffs at the obviously named Sunset Cliffs. C’est apropos. Did I use that right?
Let’s begin at Stone, the biggest name in San Diego craft brewing and the biggest brewery location as well. It’s hard to believe there is another one up by Lost Abbey of similar scale. The Liberty Station location is insane because of the size and how packed it gets on weekends. This is a hugely popular hangout spot with the bro-skies and Liberty Station because of the market is packed as well. You may not have a hard time finding a table here, but sadly they are only for food, not just drinks.
For drinks you need to go to the bar and there aren’t many tables there. The place itself is magnificent in size and grandeur. The inside is adorned in red velvet curtains and marble and another room has a water stream literally running through a table. Outside is a mission style courtyard with a huge koi pond with turtles and lots of rocks. The beer is tasty and goes beyond the two IPAs you always see in the store, and most is even brewed on site. This is the kind of place you want to hang out at all day if you can grab a good seat early.
If the beach is more your style, head over to Ocean Beach to Pizza Port. Though they do in fact have really good pizza here, don’t let the name fool you. It’s also an insanely good brewery. The selection is mind boggling for what seems like a small brewery.
There are over two dozen brews on tap as well as a few guest taps. For fear of sounding like a broken record I won’t mention it’s probably ½ IPAs though the remainder includes some awesome wheat and ale styles as well.
The inside is great with tons of long tables perfect for large groups, but you want to be out on the patio under the palm trees. The shade will keep you from burning, but the sun will still keep you happy. It’s the perfect spot to be. If only it actually faced the beach.
Next up, head over to the island of Coronado either via the ferry or if you get lost and can’t find the parking lot by the aircraft carrier and the ferry only runs once an hour so now you’re in a fight, take the equally convenient giant bridge over (I speak from experience in case it wasn’t obvious).
Here you’ll find both a great view across the water to the downtown skyline and the bodacious Coronado Brewing Company. Coronado has been around for a while, since 1996 and though they’ve expanded a lot and the restaurant is huge, the beer has stayed true to it’s excellent roots. You’ll find a great IPA next to a surprisingly good in the summer pumpkin ale on the menu.
Sadly there isn’t an outdoor space. But sitting next to you at the bar may be a former air wing commander for the pacific fleet on one side and a woman who just bought a boat and is about to take it to Hawaii to launch her own whale watching business on the other. It can actually make you a bit depressed for what you’ve accomplished in life. But the beer will cheer you right up. I again speak from personal experience.
Take the ferry (or bridge for me) back over toward the Pacific. Now we head down as far south as we can to Cabrillo Monument. Our beer today has kept us inside too long so we need some vitamin D.
Along the cliffs here facing out to the Pacific and back east over the city we’ll take in both sun and amazing views. Also a pretty swanky statue of Senor Cabrillo in his finest exploration regalia. I like your swag Senor. There’s also a nice little lighthouse but it has no swag unless you consider the fine ice of the light itself which is covered in crystal.
Now from the south, we head back north along the water to La Jolla, a cool little surf town. La Jolla is cool, but a bit pretentious, instead, we grab coffee at the far more chilled back Bird Rock Coffee.
This is a far better surfer dude vibe and yes, they have garage doors that open up and you can even sit half outside straddled over the window sills. The coffee is pretty epic too brah; just like the surf.
Further up the coast past La Jolla proper is Torrey Pines, both a golf course and an excellent park along the beach with cliffs worth walking up for the amazing view over the ocean.
Halfway up you may doubt the view will be worth it as the incline is pretty steep, but it definitely is. You can see all the way down the shore to La Jolla and the waves crashing along the beach are awe-inspiring. Plus some of us need to work off that beer.
After a day exploring the cliffs from sun-up to sundown, it’s only fitting that we end at the cliffs for sunset. For this, there is aptly no better place then Sunset Cliffs. From here the Pacific sunset will be one you’ll never forget.
Just try to get a view in between the drones buzzing overhead that seem popular here. Also make sure to stand in front of the cars parked there, or you’ll be treated not to a beautiful sunset but to high school couples making out like Fonzie and Pinky Tuscadero at Inspiration Point. I didn’t even have to look up that reference. How does my brain retain these things? Trust me though, that sunset view is worth the hastle.
Sadly all good things must come to an end (and even less good things like this blog), so it’s time to fly back home.
If you can, spend an extra day out at Palm Springs where the dream of the 60s is still very much alive. The beer isn’t amazing there, but the food and weather definitely are. The aerial tramway up to Mt. San Jacinto is awesome to escape the heat and take in some incredible views.
From there you can also day trip to Joshua Tree National Park where you can really find yourself along with Bono.
The natural beauty is something to behold there as are some of the old still standing man made additions to the landscape from the mining and ranching days of yore.
Luckily before cramming into a tiny space barely fit for a shipping crate much less an adult human being on your plane, you can enjoy one (or two or three) last beer(s) in San Diego. Unfortunately the bar is past security so you won’t be drinking al fresco, but Stone brewing at the airport is nearly as good as the brewery in town.
There are about a dozen taps with both the more famous brews as well as a few small batch and experimental ones. Unheard of for an airport. Service is not the best, but it’s the perfect place to sip an IPA while frantically charging your iPad you forgot about until the flight.
Once the wheels are off the ground you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that it will be a while until you can enjoy a beer nirvana as rich as San Diego again. The best news is that there is always a reason to visit again. After all, there are still over 90 breweries that we didn’t make it to!