San Diego (Grantville), California:
San Diego Brewing Company
Tuesday 22nd May 2012
The first San Diego Brewing Company was founded in 1898. It closed in 1942 when the Navy acquired their property in 32nd Street to build a new shipyard. I'm not sure when the current brewery opened in the East Mission Valley. I arrived here by bus and took my life into my hands whilst trying to cross Mission Gorge Road. The pub is not that noticeable from the other side of the road as there it quite a large parking lot in front and it was full.
The brew pub is in the middle of a row of retail premises yet is quite large inside. You see the brewery as you enter the building. The main room has an L-shaped bar and to the right of it is another area that seemed to be dedicated to dining. This pub is more than just a brewery and bar; it is a destination beer bar. On this there were no less than thirty-five beers from the USA and other parts of the world. To add to that, it is very much a sports bar and advertises itself as such.
There are six regular beers brewed in house and these are San Diego Amber (5.5%), a Red Ale; their biggest seller. El "Hefe" Weizen (4.5%), a wheat beer, Grantville Gold (4.5%) and Old Town Nut Brown (5.6%). Choco-Latte (7.5%), a Chocolate Porter and Hopnotic DIPA (9.0%), a double IPA. These beers were all available when I visited with the exception of the Weizen which I probably have not sampled. There were also three specials: Callahan's Blueberry Wheat (4.5%), Hopo-Potomus (9.0%), an American Strong Ale and Don Diego Oaked Belgian IPA.
I tried four and this is what I thought: Choco-Latte Porter tasted exactly like I thought it would, like liquid dark chocolate. It had good body and there was some bitterness in the after-taste following the effect of the chocolate malt. Hop-o-Potomus is a Red IPA. I thought it was acceptable but unbalanced. Old Town Nut Brown was the real deal, a true Brown Ale. Hopnotic DIPA was very bitter, there must have tons of hops in it but there wasn't the citrus taste of many American hops.
However I saved the best till last as Don Diego Oaked Belgian IPA was available on cask and had a pint. I wished it had been the Brown Ale but I cannot pass up the chance of a cask beer when it is offered. It was better than I thought it would be, but a trifle weird. There was the taste of Belgian yeast and it had rather a sweet taste yet the after-taste had quite medium bitterness; not bad at all.
Apropos nothing at all; the other cask beer was Fuller's ESB yet the declared abv was 5.9%, stronger than the 5.5% found in the UK. Is there an export version?
You could, in fact, spend several days here and not drink the same beer twice!
San Diego Brewing, Company, 10450 Friars Road, San Diego 92120. Tel: (619) 284 2739
Open: Monday to Thursday 11.00-24.00; Friday 11.00-01.00;
Saturday 09.00-01.00; Sunday 09.00-23.00
Food: Monday to Thursday 11.00-23.00; Friday 11.00-24.00;
Saturday 09.00-24.00; Sunday 09.00-23.00
I used the 13 bus. This comes all the way from 24th Street Trolley station on the Blue line near the US Navy base and crosses both of the other two trolley lines on its hour long journey. I caught it from Grantville Trolley Station on the Green line, around a fives minutes journey. This station is high in the air yet when you arrive at ground level the bus stop is convenient. The destination is the Kaiser Foundation Hospital, which is opposite the pub. Make sure you tell the driver that you are going to Friars Road or else you will end up on the opposite side of the hospital, as I did!
The pub is located close to the intersection of Friars Road and Mission Gorge Road, both wide thoroughfares and extra care should be taken as vehicles come from all directions. There appears to be no other way to access the pub from the eastern side of the road.