Wednesday 23rd May 2012
This brew pub is fairly new, dating from 2008 and has a good central location being only five minutes walk from the Oceanside Railroad station. It was the first time I'd visited the town and really only heard about it from a book by Raymond Chandler (I can't remember which one) when Private Investigator Philip Marlowe is involved in a case where a suspect lives in Oceanside, I think he visits the town during his investigations. The pub is newly-built and is on a street intersection. Inside there are references to the ocean and surfing. It has a fantastic selection of beers, both from the in-house brewery and many others.
Brewed by Breakwater there was Beach Honey (5.2%), a wheat beer; Alpha Bravo Pale Ale (5.8%) in the American Pale Ale style; Kali Kush (6.9%), Pale Ale infused with local Sage Brush; Railslide Red Ale (6.6%); Strand Stout and Del Mar Jetty IPA.
Further beers from the home side were Hill Street Hibiscus (5.4%), a beer flavoured with Hibiscus flowers; Beachbreak Brown Ale (7.3%); Maverick's Double IPA and Tripel A Downgrade (8.5%), a strong Belgian type ale. They also make Rasbiscus Mead (10.0%). If you think some of the above beers are a bit weird, how about Bière de Jour (6.9%). A Belgian style ale? Not on your life; it's a blend of Rasbiscus Mead, Honey Ale and Stout which has been matured in a wine barrel for three months. It must taste better than it sounds!
I had a sampler set of six of the house-brewed beers and must admit I liked the method of ordering, so simple yet effective. I was given a laminated menu of their beers and a marker pen. This I used to mark the list and it was taken away to dispense the appropriate ales, see photograph.
This is what I thought of them: Railslide Red had some malty notes yet had good bitterness for a Red Ale. Alpha Bravo Pale Ale was extremely good with nice bitterness and is made with 100% Bravo hops. Kali Kush is the beer flavoured with local Sage Brush and it certainly showed in the taste with the Sage flavour overwhelming everything else. Maverick's Double IPA was super intense, a beer not to be trifled with! Del Mar Jetty IPA was very dry but not over bitter, very nice indeed. Strand Stout was pleasant but a bit thin and could have done with a bit more bitterness.
There was also an impressive collection of guest beers; mostly from California, yet not exclusively. From Ale Smith of San Diego were Nautical Nut Brown Ale (5.0%); Horney Devil (11.0%), a Belgian-style Strong Ale and Speedway Stout (12%), a massive Imperial Stout. Ballast Point Brewing of San Diego supplied Long Fin Lager (4.6%) and Sculpin IPA (7.0%). Firestone-Walker of Paso Robles, CA, provided Solace Ale (4.8%), Humboldt Brown Hemp Ale (5.7%) and Wooky Jack IPA (8.3%), a Black Rye IPA.
From Green Flash of San Diego there was West Coast IPA (7.3%) and Sierra Nevada (Chico, CA) supplied Hoptimum Imperial IPA (10.4%). Widmer Brothers of Portland, OR offered Brrbon II (7.2%), a Winter Warmer.
There was also American Amber Ale (5.1%) from Rogue Brewing of Newport, OR, and from Russian River Brewing (Santa Rosa, CA) came Pliny the Elder (8.0%), a Double IPA.
Dogfish Head, all the way from Milton, DE, provided Shelter Pale Ale (5.0%) and 90 minute IPA (9.0%). From Stone Brewing of Escondido, CA, there was Ruination IPA (7.7%) and Mix Tape (6.6%) a beer made with herbs and spices. Finally from Karl Strauss of San Diego there was Off the Rails (8.5%) and, in cask, Tower IPA (6.5%).
When I discovered that the Karl Strauss Tower IPA was on cask I couldn't resist a half and it was absolutely fantastic. Apart from that they make themselves, they also sell mead from The Redstone Meadery of Boulder, Colorado. There were four offerings Nectar of the Hops (8.0%), Sunshine Nectar with apricots (8.0%), Honey Wine with Juniper berries (12%) and Traditional Mountain Honey Wine (12%). No I can't tell you what they taste like!
The food is mainly pizzas and you can make up you own, as I did, and I thought it was excellent.
So, to summarise; this pub is a permanent beer festival and shouldn't be missed if you are in this area.
Breakwater Brewing Co., 101 North Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA. 92054
Tel: (760) 433 6064
Open: Daily 11.00-23.00
If you arrive by train you won't see the ocean on your walk to the pub as it is inland. Oceanside Transit Center, so-called because it is a Train and Bus station, is no distance away. From the station turn left into South Tremont Street, almost immediately turn right into West Topeka Street and one block on is North Coast Highway, go left and on the next corner you'll find the pub.
Apart from local buses the Transit centre is served by four separate rail services. Most Important is the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains that run from San Diego through Oceanside to Los Angeles and a few continue to Santa Barbara with one going all the way to San Luis Opispo, halfway to San Francisco. The Coaster is a local service to San Diego that stops at a few more stations than Amtrak does.
Metrolink is the local service to Los Angeles (Orange County line) and Riverside and San Bernardino (Inland Empire line). Finally there is the Sprinter that runs from Oceanside up the valley to Escondido and runs every half hour for most of the day.