Tag Archives: SAN DIEGO CA



Three miles west of Oggi’s Pizza inside Mission Valley’s congested mall zone, friendly sports-pub SAN DIEGO BREWING is a true crown jewel discovered April ‘07. Opened in ’94 by the same folks who operate similar-styled Callahan’s, its tremendous tap selection (Belgians, Cali microbrews, etc.) and diligent original brews will please anyone with a thirst.

Mid-sized open space included wraparound L-shaped left side bar, sundry arcade games, several televisions, and a few stool tables. Reasonably priced food complemented brewer Dean Rouleau’s representative libations.

Steep woody-hopped orange peel bitterness saturates apple-peach tang of rapturous Admiral Baker Bitter. Even better, Hopnotic IPA’s piney grapefruit profundity and perfumed hop bitterness subtly catapult its tangy orange-apricot-peach blitz, finishing more dryly embittered than Admiral Baker.

Buttered nuts soften tea-like Old Town Nut Brown; Belgian candied yeast absorbs complex floral-banana respite of equally buttery Hefe Oscuro; bitter hop fizz recession leads to wild oats-sowed wheat-straw backed Grantville Gold; and a subtly hop-spiced blueberry-raspberry tartness spangles Callahan’s Blueberry Wheat.

For dessert, Chocolate Porter’s sweet hazelnut easement led to mild brown chocolate, vanilla bean, and ground coffee sedation.

Only unacceptable brew was enzyme-like phenol-hopped stone-fruited alcohol-burned San Diego Amber.



Oggi's Pizza - Mission Valley 2245 Fenton Pkwy San Diego, CA Brew Pub -  MapQuest

With 15 locations in California and Arizona as of April ’07 jaunt, OGGI’S PIZZA & BREWING may be the greatest franchise brewpub in the country, bettering Hops, Rock Bottom, John Harvard, and Karl Strauss by wide margin. One mile west of San Diego Chargers stadium lies Fenton Market Place, where Oggi’s tan stucco sports bar draws large weekend crowds.

Front deck near small water fountain provides outdoor seating while medium-sized interior offers left side wood bar, right side dining, rear brew tanks, and multiple televisions.

Excellent thick-crust pizza, pasta, and sandwiches went perfectly with softly elegant fare such as buttery fig-seized quince-teased Sunset Amber Ale, mild floral-hopped lemon-buttered Paradise Pale Ale, and dainty caramel-malted molasses-sugared hop-embittered tea-like Mc Garvey’s Scottish Ale.

Bitter lemon rind-lingered, piney-edged Torrey Pines IPA packed mightiest bite. At opposite ends, sweet-corned wheat-maize astringency California Gold appeased Miller Lite fans while dark chocolate-y oatmeal-dried coffee-snipped Black Magic Stout suited heartier thirsts.

Worthy specialty brews included Sanctuary, where gin-like alcohol burn catapults sticky sugared malts, overripe peach-mango, and bruised orange-cherry, as well as Hop Juice, a lemony clove-endured orange-bruised plantain-dried bitter abridging bubble-gummy honeyed wheat base.



Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Visit Carlsbad

All the way down coastal road Route 5 from San Clemente to Oceanside to La Jolla to stunning San Diego in July ‘02, I drifted into every store imaginable and picked up first-rate brews from Bear Republic, Humes, Moylan’s, and Old Rasputin. During brunch at Mission Beach, I quaffed light-bodied Ballast Point Yellowtail Pale Ale and dry-hopped Chinook Copper Ale on tap. The following day before body surfing south of San Diego at tiny Tijuana border town, Imperial Beach, found Minnesota’s overly sudsy Quake brews. On the way to San Diego’s renowned zoo the day after, I stopped at Hennessey’s Irish pub to throw down a burger and plow Guinness on tap.

Week-long April ’07 journey with kids and wife proved mighty impressive, as we sojourned to local mainstays Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Oggi’s Pizza, and San Diego Brewing before heading north to La Jolla Brewhouse, Solana Beach’s Pizza Port, and Oceanside Ale Works.

At Mission Beach hideaway, Liar’s Club (defunct as of January ’09), a teensy black-fronted bar with old wood floors, white brick walls, great jukebox, ancient televisions, five front deck tables, and seven interior tables, served 50 tap beers. I discovered Alpine Mc Illhenney’s Irish Red and Pure Hoppiness, plus Consorcio Tijuana Guera and Lightning Fulminator (reviewed in alphabetical section) at this loud dingy dive while family ate nicely priced crabcakes, quesadillas, nachos, and burgers.

Scavenging through local bodegas, I found excellent beer selection at Imperial Beach’s South Bay Drugs: Alesmith IPA, Wee Heavy, and Speedway Stout; Ballast Point Wahoo Wheat; Reaper Ritual; Green Flash Third Anniversary; and Alpine Ale. 

Ivy-covered with black awning and railed patio, KARL STRAUSS BREWING COMPANY’S corporate-dwelling downtown site had meticulous brick-walled interior, elongated wood bar with glass-encased brew tanks, left side dining, and a few flat-screen televisions. Opened in 1989 and named after a respected now-deceased German-born Pabst brewmeister, Karl Strauss incorporated six Southern California pubs as of ‘07.

Fine Americana cuisine (salads-burgers-turkey clubs) was served alongside biscuit-y malted, hop-spiced, lemony grapefruit zested, astringently finishing Woodie Gold Pilsner, dry wheat-maize-ensconced, yellow-fruited, Kolsch-styled Endless Summer Light, and muskily lemon hop-spiced, caramel toasted, Vienna-styled flagship Amber Lager.

A tad worthier were caramel-roasted, date-fig-soured, black currant-dashed Red Trolley Ale (Strauss’ most popular libation), dried banana-clove-soured, lemon rind-embittered Windansea Hefeweizen, and hazelnut-chestnut-buttered, molasses tea-licked, mocha latte-backed Downtown After Dark Brown Ale.

Nutty coffee-dried Strauss Stout outdid watery black chocolate-y, walnut-tinged, burnt toast-finishing Oatmeal Stout. Best buys: dry citric-hopped, pine-soaked, twiggy-bottomed Stargazer IPA and pine needled, crisply hop-frisked, red-orange-fruited Pin Tail Pale Ale.