Taking my role as a new writer for beer in North County very seriously, today I visited Churchill’s for their Peter Reeves 6th Annual Sourfest, and let me tell you, the reputation of this event , and this classic brew pub, did not disappoint. Churchill’s is known for being one of the prime locations in North County to access craft beer. They have partnered with many breweries in the area to make beers specifically released for their restaurant and special events that they have hosted. They also often hold festivals where most of their taps feature specific styles (such as Sour Fest).
We (some friends and myself) arrived at about 10:30am to beat the expected crowd for the 11 opening…
Churchill’s, a noble establishment.
Anxiously awaiting the event….
After the doors were opened we went immediately to the bar to place our orders. The beer list included around 40 sours, many of which were special releases, as well as a great selection of other styles (Including Russian River’s Pliney the Elder) for those that can’t handle a whole day of sour beer drinking….newbs.
Also some additional information for those readers who might not be familiar with a sour style beer. A sour beer is a beer that is brewed using wild yeast or bacteria. Using this type of culture creates a more tart, sour, and often sweet taste to the beer. Some common styles of sour beers include lambics, gose, and “wild” ales.
The beer list from the event 🙂 Heavenly.
Some of the highlights in my personal and not-so-professional opinion were:
Firestone Walker Sour Opal- This wild ale aged in viognier barrels hits the spot as being a twist on the typical taste of this regularly brewed saison by Firestone Walker. This already excellent beer, with it’s bready refreshing flavor, was given a crisp tartness. It was not overpoweringly sweet as can occasionally happen in this genre of brews (I tend to prefer the tart sours over the sweet/fruity ones).
Lost Abbey Churchill’s Finest Sour 2015- This limited release beer is an annual creation by Lost Abbey to be released by Churchill’s. Though they had kegs from the 2013 and 2014 releases as well, I found the 2015 release to be the most worthy of praise (not that the others weren’t delightful). This round, however, aged in wine barrels with apricots and nectarines had that crisp flavor that makes you pretty convinced it is more hydrating than intoxicating, in spite of the 6.5% ABV.
Along with a day of great beer, Churchill’s concocted a special menu for the festivities featuring wild game dishes that would make both Teddy Roosevelt and Ron Swanson proud. My group shared the bison brisket bbq sandwich and the wild boar sliders. Both of which were just as foodie and pretentious enough to match our day of sour beer drinking. Loved it.
Some light drinking at Churchill’s Sour Fest
This event was great. However, Churchill’s is definitely a spot worth your time on any other given day, as well as for their events. The restaurant never disappoints in grub or suds. Always sporting a rotating and fantastic beer list, this spot is definitely a gem in San Marcos. To top it off their menu is also frequently changing but includes English pub-style menu with some unique So-Cal twists. All in all, delicious and worthy of a stop next time your on the 78.
Churchill’s Pub & Grille
887 West San Marcos Blvd
San Marcos, CA 92069
Words and Pictures by Katie Cobb