“The West is the best. The West… is the best. Get here, and we’ll do the rest.” The timeless words of the Lizard King beckoned to us from across a nation, and we were compelled to follow (though we landed a bit south of his mark). Yep, you heard right – IDGB dusted off its wings and took flight. The vacation was much needed. I honestly would have been satisfied with a week on the couch, but a failed attempt at attending the Great American Beer Festival in Denver left the team with a bad case of wanderlust. A whirlwind three day tour of the San Diego city proper, along with its incredible local beer culture, left us equal parts excited and satisfied – San Diego is a city with a helluva a lot already going for it with some great things coming down the pipe (literally and figuratively speaking). Read on as we unravel our adventures! Before we departed, we had an East Coast IPA (Bengali Tiger) from Sixpoint – one last taste of home.

The flight out was tolerable at best. We watched the first season of Eastbound and Down to pass the time, and honestly couldn’t wait to touch down in beer heaven so we could get some drinks on the reg.

Landing late in the evening, we decided to hang at the apartment with some store-bought goods. As soon as I saw this I had to grab it: Pliny the Elder from Russian River.

So many breakfast spots in San Diego! The Eggery Etc was one of many breakfast havens we sampled on our journey.

Breakfast burrito anyone?

I fell in love with the coastline. If I hit the millions, I am getting a house here for sure. Pacific Beach and La Jolla lived up to all my expectations of the California dream.

We only managed to visit one brewery on this trip – Green Flash. They had just moved into a new facility this past June which will enable greatly increased production and distribution. Stay tuned for our write up on them in the coming days.

You have to  drink local when in San Diego. Here we have the wonderful Karl Strauss Red Trolley Ale.

Another Karl Strauss brew, Tower 10 IPA, was one of my favorites of the trip. Separate post coming on this soon.

When you’re in Pacific Beach, do yourself a favor and hit Lahaina Beach House. A nice little spot flush up against the sand with an awesome draft selection from all the locals: Green Flash, Stone & Karl Strauss.

Having had the Karl Strauss bottled the night before, we tried the Tower 10 and Red Trolley on draft for comparison. Survey says: awesome!

We decided to hit downtown on day two. We heard the Gas Lamp Quarter was a great spot to tour for bars, food and shopping.

Good beer sightings happened almost immediately.

First bar of the day was The Hopping Pig, a little pub serving lunch and dinner with a rotating selection of sixteen taps.

Bill Cutting prefers the West Coast these days.

Right across the street is the famous Rock Bottom Brewery Restaurant.

As if San Diego doesn’t have enough beer already.

We did a little shopping at 5 & A Dime. Owner Jason Huggins is an awesome guy with a great collection of hats, t-shirts, dress shirts and pants. He has cultivated an atmosphere of class and style within the shop with some very cool displays of vintage merchandise, and was happy to tell us about some of the local events through which they ingratiate themselves into the community.

Another delivery truck bearing portents of greatness.

Our journey downtown culminated with a stop at Neighborhood. Great tap selection, awesome food, lovely help. I sampled the pork belly sandwich (my first foray into the realm of belly meats) and it was divine.

This was an amazing trip and we didn’t even hit a quarter of our intended beer destinations. Needless to say, we will be back very soon, as San Diego was certainly not the whale’s vagina we had been led to expect.  Stay tuned – we have tons of content coming at you from all the bars we hit and beers we drank.

-Brian & Steve