BattleMage Brewing Company ~ Vista

Here is the full report on our visit to BattleMage Brewing Company in Vista

All words and photography by : Justin Kunert

A little over 5 months ago, BattleMage Brewing Company entered the densely populated brewing scene of southern Vista, joining a long list of great breweries in the area (at least 10 breweries in a one-mile radius!).  Chris and I ventured into this region, which embodies what beer dreams are made of.  In a crowded field, BattleMage rises to the occasion by providing delicious beer, a solid array of styles, affordable prices, and a friendly, knowledgeable staff.

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The display board of beer offerings

Amid the decorations and artwork, I drew my focus to the most important part – the beer.  To put it simply, BattleMage is making really tasty beer.  I elected to order five tasters of the eleven beers on tap: Summon Ifrit (Hoppy Amber, 6.1%), Hooded Assassin (Old Ale, 10%), Chaotic Evil (Hazy Extra Pale, 5.9%), Shroud of Mist (Hazy IPA, 6.9%), and The Beer is Dark and Full of Caffeine (Milk Stout, 6.3%).

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Our weapons of choice

All five of my samples were outstanding.  My personal favorite was the Shroud of Mist.  As the co-brewer, Chris, informed me, it is currently their most popular beer – and for good reason.  The tropical fruit aromas and refreshing taste makes it a worthy pint to satisfy anyone’s craze for hazy IPA’s.  Chris, the co-brewer, recommended we try his personal favorite – the Summon Ifrit.  With hoppy notes underlying a great balance of malt flavors, it is a beer that can be enjoyed by hop heads and malt lovers alike.

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Entryway decorations and artwork

The brewing quality, the diverse range of options, and the correlation to beer style makes BattleMage an excellent choice for satisfying that beer craving.  Pair this with an engaging, accommodating, and friendly host, Chris, the co-brewer, was eager to give us recommendations and describe the influence and style behind each of the beers, making the experience that much more enjoyable.

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Additional decorations and the seating area

Lastly, I really enjoyed the decorations and theme within the brewery.  While being unfamiliar with the rules or characters in games like Dungeons and Dragons, I found all of the decorations and artwork really well done.  The ambiance never felt over the top or tacky, but appropriate to create a fun drinking environment.  Whether you are part of the crowd playing Dungeons and Dragons on Tuesday nights or just enjoying a beer on a regular Thursday evening, the brewery and staff are very welcoming, making this new spot well worthy of a visit.

BattleMage Brewing Company

2870 Scott St #102, Vista, CA 92081

#ipa #beer #brewery #craftbrewery #vista #dungeonsanddragons #magic #ale

How to grow your restaurant business with video.

So, we have a great restaurant community up here in North County. Another thing we have, that may go over looked, is a great number of businesses that support that community. Whether it is Cyclops Farms providing great, local, organic produce to local eateries, or organizations like Mainstreet Oceanside and Visit Oceanside helping new restaurant owners build their networks and contacts. We are pretty lucky.

Another member of that community is “The King’s Touch Video” who specialize in video photography. I met the owners, Shawn and Roberta, over a year ago at a Mainstreet  promotions committee meeting. Not only was I struck by their experience and scope of work but also themselves as people. Since that time I have introduced them to a number of local restauranteurs and chefs, who they ended up doing video and photography for.

Because I am always doing one project or another, or just stuffing my face, I talk to these Chefs and owners over and over again and have heard nothing but high praise for the quality of work and customer service provided by Shawn and his wife .

The reason I am mentioning them here is because they want to focus more of their business on restaurants, chefs, and food as it is a passion of theirs.

Press play above to see their work. They also have a lot of food based examples on their website.

This is not a paid ad for their services. I just believe in their ability and think they are a great support business for the local restaurant community.

So, if you are in the market to expand coverage of your restaurant or bar through video, I would highly recommend their services.

The King’s Touch Video

#video #food #foodporn #business #northcounty #cyclopsfarms #mainstreetoceanside #visitoceanside #localbusiness

Halcyon, Stella Public House, plus bonus ~ San Marcos

So, I recently went to check out the new Halcyon Coffee + Bar + Lounge and their sister establishment Stella Public House located in the new mixed use enclave that is called “Block C” North City in San Marcos.  North City is set to be, once finished, an urban living utopia or dystopia, depending on your point of view. My friend Beau said it best. “High rise upscale apartments with cacti and bicycles on the balconies and hipster coffee houses and restaurants on the street level.” Pretty dead on actually. Luckily I like hipster coffee places and restaurants, good ones anyway.

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Block C ( Why does that name conjure up images of Judge Dread and Mega City One for me?)

Halcyon, and Stella Public House, are part of a small chain with two locations in Texas. The new San Marcos location is actually a relocation of their East Village spot in San Diego.

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Halcyon Coffee + Bar + Lounge

Open 7am till 2am Halcyon is a coffee bar during the day serving up breakfast items, salads, and sandwiches. At night it turns into a lounge with wine, beer and cocktail service.

It has a bright, laid back atmosphere with lots of large open roll up windows. The space flows across a couch filled lounge area into their sister establishment Stella Public house.

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Iced Tea and a daisy:)

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Stella Public House calls itself a “Farm to Pizza” establishment. I can see that. Its menu is designed around shared plates and wood fired pizzas. Plus, to be a Gastropub I think it’s law you must have a $14 burger, pork belly, and ceviche on the menu ( though technically I think you can sub the ceviche for poke and the burger for sliders.).  I do not recognize the farms they are sourcing from listed on their website but the food we had used top quality, fresh product. Plus, to be honest, I only know like six farms by name anyway.

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A beautiful open kitchen and bar area run along the North wall. Flowing and / or seamless would be good adjectives to describe the space.

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The large roll up windows / doors continue the indoor out-door theme from Halcyon. Justin ( beer contributor for NCF ) stuck with water, as due to being in soft opening mode they were not serving beer yet. They open officially 10/6. Justin lived, we went to a brewery right after this:)

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Burrata Plate ~ Burrata, prosciutto, and accompaniments.

Delicious, fresh burrata with great prosciutto. We both loved this. Easily enough for two as a starter.

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Texas Bee Sting Pizza ~ house mozzarella, serrano, sopressata, parmigiano, with local honey drizzle and cilantro.

I was not that hungry but still devoured 3 slices of the pizza. It had a nice balance of saltiness from the cheese playing off the right amount of sweetness from the honey and a little bit of spice from the serranos. A really nice pizza, I would order it again.

Also shout out to the staff for being friendly and dealing with the slight chaos that comes with a new establishment opening perfectly.

Halcyon & Stella Public House

250 North City Drive Suite #3 | San Marcos, CA

BattleMage Brewing….

As I mentioned in the title, a little bonus. After Eating at Stella we headed over to check out Battle Mage Brewing Company. Justin will do a full article on them and their beers, but I just wanted to mention them.

BattleMage started up about five months ago and is a fantasy themed brewery ( Dungeons & Dragons, Magic The Gathering, Game of Thrones ). Their beers have names like Goblin King, Chaotic Evil, and Hooded Assassin. They have D&D nights every Tuesday, Magic the Gathering Wednesdays, and board games available to play anytime. Basically, I love them:) Here are a few pics till Justin writes them up. Good beer in a variety of styles. I highly recommend checking them out.

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Wall of Magic The Gathering Cards.

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Beer list and kick ass mascot art work. Really good prices, flights of 4 tasters are $5, pints $5, and growlers $15. Yes, I bought a T-Shirt, wearing it right now:)

BattleMage Brewing Company

2870 Scott St, Vista, CA

#food #foodporn #foodie #pizza #coffee #beer #brewery #craftbrewery #sanmarcos #northcounty #D&D #games #vista

 

 

 

 

Coming Soon ~ New Ramen & Beer Places ~ Encinitas

Really excited about both these projects. The first is Rooster Ramen from Chef David Volk. Rooster Ramen used to be a nightly pop up at the Encinitas Bull Taco. David pulled out due to factors I won’t get into with the owner, but I am happy to see some of the best ramen I have had in North County coming back. You can read about the concept here, though I do not think this location will have outdoor seating.

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Rooster Ramens new home at 914 South Coast Highway, Leucadia. Right before Leucadia Blvd.

Also, Modern Times got approval (barley) to open their new tasting room at 470 South Coast Highway. The location is across from the La Paloma Theater between Ironsmith Coffee and Filberto’s.

#beer #craftbrewer #ramen #food #chef #encinitas #tastingroom #food #restaurant

Stumblefoot Brewing & Mother Earth Brewing ~ San Marcos and Vista

Stumblefoot Brewing Co. and Mother Earth Brew Co.

All words and pictures by Justin Kunert

Near San Elijo Hills at the bottom of San Marcos, and south of the brewing and tasting room cluster where Vista, Carlsbad, and San Marcos meet, you’ll find Stumblefoot Brewing Company.  Open since 2012, it’s likely you’ve heard of or visited this spot before, or perhaps seen their sour ale, Quadraven, at bottle shops or liquor stores. But this spot may appear different from your last visit, as the company just changed ownership earlier this year.  With the change came a refreshed logo and an updated ambiance in the tasting room.  One thing that did not change is the brewer, and judging by the amount of people in the tasting room, the beer has maintained its quality taste and consistency that has kept it running since 2012.  I was eager to sample as many beers that legal blood alcohol limits would allow.

beer 1The beer line-up

I went for four 5 ounce tasters: Take This Job And Nugget  Session IPA (5.5%), Inner Penguin IPA (6.9%), Chester Brown Ale (5.5%), and QuadRaven Sour Ale (11.5%).  Chris ordered two half pours, opting for Cher-ish the Journey Cherry Kettle Sour (6%) and Strawberry Gose Sour (4.5%).  The standout for both of us was the QuadRaven, providing a noticeable pucker, slight malt backbone, and mild booziness, even at 11.5%.  The Brown Ale was unfiltered, an interesting take on recent brewing trends.  I felt it gave the beer a creamy texture, and lighter body.  The aroma on the Penguin really threw me off, I was expecting a more tropical fruit smell given it being a hazy IPA.  But it smelt more like a Belgian beer would, which I thought was really interesting.  The Session, Gose, and kettle sour were all really refreshing, especially on a hot day.

beer 2The brewing equipment at Stumblefoot

With no food options or food truck at Stumblefoot, we ventured into downtown Vista to visit Urbn Pizza and Mother Earth Brew Co.  Order pizza at Urbn and they will deliver it to you while you drink at Mother Earth.  I love this set up, it’s like having a permanent food truck at the brewery.

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Beers and backdrop at Mother Earth Brew Co.

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Clockwise from left: Say When, ESB, Rooftop, Sin Tax

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Urbn and IPA while at Mother Earth

While here, we both ordered the Extra Special Bitter (5.4%), Rooftop IPA (7.5%), Say When IPA (7.5%), and the Sin Tax Imperial Peanut Butter Stout (8.1%).  I love the ESB here; it is smooth, balanced, light, and has a wonderful maltiness on the nose and on the finish.  Definitely order it on your next visit, as it was a bronze medal winner at the 2016 Great American Beer Fest.  Sin Tax served as a perfect vessel for my last beer of the day.  After the always successful pizza and IPA combination, the peanut butter, chocolately, and roasty stout flavors of Sin Tax made the dessert like beer a perfect finish to the evening.

Stumblefoot Brewery

1784 La Costa Meadows Dr #103,
San Marcos,

 

Mother Earth Brew Co.

206 Mainstreet Vista

#food #foodporn #beer #brewery #microbrew #vista #sanmarcos #stumblefoot #motherearthbrewing #pizza

 

 

 

A Taste Of Oceanside 2017 ~ October 7th

Get your tickets early as it will sell out.  This is the 4th Year and has grown from 400 to 1000 attendees, thanks to the hard work of Mainstreet’s promotional committee, the great restaurants, and of course the attendees.

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Get tickets here.

#oceanside #tasteofoceanside #food #foodie

New Plywood Report W/ Updates ~ Oceanside

A couple of additions to what is coming soon, plus an update.

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The space next door to Dairy Queen on Mission Ave and across the alley from 608 is under construction and the space is divided in two. The owner is reportedly building out a pizza restaurant attached to a brewery. Not sure if beer will be brewed on site or it will be more of a tap-room.

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Panca Peruvian Cuisine and Rotissery is expanding just two doors down from their original location in South O’ with “La Bodeguita De Panca”. Based on the name and liquor license it seems it will be a small Peruvian based market selling Chef Ioli’s great desserts with Peruvian beers and wine. Maybe some Peruvian staples as well. “Bottled Aji sauce please”.

Lastly, as mentioned by a follower, the new “Tequila and Mexican street food spot ” Jalisco Cantina  will in fact be next to Barrel Republic on Coast Highway..

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Thanks, have a great weekend.

#food #foodporn #restaurants #oceanside

Restaurant Re-Visits ~ Oceanside Privateer & TBG BBQ

So part of what I wanted to do this month was do a couple of restaurant re-visits. These are places that I have covered before, but it has been a while. In that time they have gone through changes or are on the verge of expansions. Plus with a lot of new followers since I last covered them, I though it would be a good idea.

First up is Privateer Coal Fired Pizza. Since opening The Privateer has been a staple in South Oceanside, not only as a great restaurant but as a champion for local Oceanside culture.

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Recently, The Privateer went through a Chef change. Original Chef Stephen Reyna left to work with his father in the kitchen of Roosevelt Pizzeria in Carlsbad. Hopefully we will soon see a solo project from this talented Chef.

Not missing a beat, the Privateer brought on a new Chef and has continued to deliver the excellent food they are known for.

I went in and wanted to try dishes that were recent additions to the menu and would give me a glimps at how the new Chef has influenced the food.

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Coal Fired Corn ~ Smoked chili butter sauce.

A beautiful dish, perfectly sweet and tender corn with a great sauce.

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Spice Rubbed 1/2 Chicken ~ Arugula, and lemon.

Perfectly moist chicken with a flavorful spice rub that worked perfectly with the freshness and slight bitterness of the arugula. Spice rub, chicken, fresh arugula, and lemon..all that is needed.

Like the Privateer in South O, TBG BBQ (That Boy Good) has been around in downtown Oceanside since the early days of the North County Restaurant movement. In-fact Friday the 4th marked the 5th year of operation for the Louisiana style juke joint. In that time they have developed a strong consistent following of people who love Chef Mark Millwood’s BBQ, which is based on his family’s recipes, and the restaurants funky and casual feel.

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Within the last year TBG has added a full liquor license expanding on their already established craft beer list.

Poised for an expansion that will add a second location at the top of Pier View Way at 326 N. Horne St. in conjunction with Northern Pine Brewing Company, later / early next year, things are looking good for this Oceanside staple.

The new location will differ in concept, though still focusing on southern food. In the mean time my friend Alex and I headed in for some old staples.

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BBQ Chicken Wings. Mark makes some of the best wings IMO. The secret is they are smoked, par fried, and then finished in the fryer on order. This gives them a depth of flavor and nice crunch, while retaining their moisture.

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Half rack of ribs, fries, coleslaw, and their signature corn bread.

Everything you want from ribs, smokey flavor and fall of the bone tenderness.

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Fried Chicken Thighs ~ Coleslaw, their awesome mac and cheese, and cornbread.

This is my go to, either in platter or sandwich form. I love the use of thigh meat and the slight spiciness to the crunchy batter.

If you have not been to either of these Oceanside staples, go check them out. If like me it has been awhile, go see an old friend for dinner.

Coming up ~ A Panca re-visit and their goings on, new vegan fast food in Encinitas, and hopefully good Chinese and Italian in North County.

Privateer Coal Fired Pizza

1706 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

That Boy Good BBQ

207 N. Coast Highway, Oceanside

Northern Pine Brewing Co.

326 N. Horne St. (upcoming)

#food #foodporn #southernfood #privateer #tbgbbq #fsdm

 

Feast @ The Mission San Luis Rey ~ Oceanside

So, Wednesday the 26th marked the third incarnation of the Feast event at the Mission San Luis Rey here in Oceanside. Not only was this the third event, it was the biggest with 450 tickets being sold prior to the event online. With at the door sales the event attendance easily reached 500 plus.

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The crowd.

The atmosphere is one of the things that make this event so special. It is held in the Mission’s rose garden, normally closed off to the general public.

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The rose garden.

The event hosts 20 restaurants, including a few local breweries, and one distillery. It is pretty much impossible to try everything. Luckily my friend Cheryl of Cheryl’s Carmels housed me with a chair and water behind her booth as respite between food rounds.

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Cheryl’s Caramels ~ Hand made with love and no additives.

So, I started with Chef Willy’s offering from his restaurant 608. Last year he brought frog legs, this year was slightly more tame but still showed off why he is one of the most creative Chefs in North County.

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Tuna in Miso Broth ~ Grade A Tuna from Catalina Offshore in a light Miso broth. Instead of using Miso paste the broth was made with Sunflower seeds. Great refreshing dish.

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Cyclops Farms was there with fresh organic strawberries and wine pours from Chris Lobo of Native Wines. The strawberries could not only be sampled at their stand but found their way into the desserts of……

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Petite Madeline Bakery and Bistro bringing out their full spread.

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Those Cyclops Farm strawberries in action.

Making Their first showing at Feast, they are just coming up on their 1st year in business, was The Miller’s Table and Chef Stacy Miller.

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Watermelon and Feta Salad ~ A good choice to provide a fresh and light dish. There were a lot of tacos and sliders at the event so it was nice to have some contrast. She also brought her indulgent grilled cheese sandwich.

Two of the originals of the Oceanside food movement, as always, brought their A game.

Wrench and Rodent gave us two dishes.

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Wrench and Rodent’s Zucchini Gazpacho. Well it may have not plated the prettiest it was one of the top 3 dishes of the night. Full of flavor with a slight back heat.

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Opah Sloppy Joes and Cyclops Farms vegetables. The Opah Sloppy Joe was served on a bun which I forewent due to stomach space. A great tasty dish.

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Summer Squash Rillette W/ Peach Jalapeno Sauce on Crostini. The Flying Pig, two years in a row, produced what I thought was the dish of the night. A true “Chefs” dish, seemingly simple yet packed with technique and flavor.

One of my favorites, and on my revisit list for August, Panca Peruvian Cuisine and Rotisserie showed up with one of Chef Iiolie’s signature, and one of my favorite, dishes.

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Scallop Won-ton ~ seared scallop, lettuce, onion and carrot served with sweet and sour soy sauce, Huancaina sauce and cilantro.

A great dish that shows the cultural diversity of Peru.

These guys were new to me. I almost passed them up but I am glad I didn’t. Their presentation was spot on and the flavors were great.

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The Jennhouse Catering ~ Vegetarian Won-Ton Tacos and mini corn Elote.

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LTH did a Tuna  Ceviche Tostada. Super fresh tuna and I thought the addition of pine nuts in the ceviche was inspired.

The Privateer brought their classic cauliflower dish.

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Curried Cauliflower ~ A great, tasty vegetarian dish.

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Crostini ~ Tuna and house made humus (I love hummus so much)

Last but not least, Master’s Kitchen and Cocktail played it safe by deciding to roast a whole pig on site:)

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The Masters crew w/ owner Ryan in the back. There is deviance under that grin.

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Pork, pork, pork, pork..gotta be pork wonderful pork. If you change out the meat and know where that song is from you get +10,000 bonus points.

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Pork Taco ~ Tender delicious pork and a great salsa earn it a place in the top three of the night.

So, another great Feast event. I hit 4/5ths of what was there on offer. I do this professionally so I think I picked the right choices. If only I had an extra tummy.

There were a few places I did not try that I am now going to seek out as an individual restaurant review.  My only advice would be, remember people are eating a lot of food, keep portion size to 2 to 3 bites. Sure I can throw some away but that is not a good choice to have to make. Bring you’re A game because others are.

Top 3 of the night in order L to R….

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Flying Pig’s Rillette                    Master’s Pork Tacos            Wrench and Rodent’s Gazpacho

Links are in the restaurant offerings highlighted blue in the post. If you did not get a chance to go this year I highly suggest it for the future.

#food #foodporn #Oceanside #restaurants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oceanside Brewing Company ~ Oceanside

Oceanside Brewing Company           

All words and pictures by: Justin Kunert

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The inconspicuous entrance

Tucked away in an industrial maze just off the 76 in northwest Oceanside, you will find a small square sign above a door.  The unassuming journey and entrance leads you to Oceanside Brewing Co. (OBC).  It is a sizable brewery, complete with numerous tables, an outdoor patio, and most importantly, 22 different taps of local indie beer.  Unlike its brewing neighbor, Legacy Brewing, which is visible from Route 76, OBC is more inconspicuous but surprisingly only one mile away.

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The many beer options alongside our friendly bartender

In addition to beer, you can find an eclectic variety of items in the brewery from games to art installations, and even a miniature brewing library.  Captain your own flight and choose five tasters, and then have the beers served to you in a variety of vessels, from war planes to battle ships.  The battle ship was crafted by a customer and former member of the military, and is designed to hold all 22 tasting options available at the brewery (check out pictures here).

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The assortment of beers

Their offerings include some of the more trendy beers such as the Desert Storm (New England style IPA) and multiple barrel aged beers.  They also have some cool experimental beers, such as the Spongebob Beer Pants (6.9% pineapple pale ale, which made me crave summer) and the Rosemary’s Baby (4.8% rosemary cream ale, which made me crave lasagna?).  Talk about a rollercoaster for the taste buds.  These were among many traditional styles including Belgians, Scottish Wee Heavy, and many German varieties.

For what seems like a smaller sized brewing system, it was amazing to find 22 different types of beer to try.  The bartender was great, and let us sample beers before we bought tasters.  He was eager to explain the inspiration behind each pour and chat about them with us.

The brewing system at Oceanside Brewing Co.

All around it was a great time and I really enjoyed the brewery, the environment, and the beers.  Though off the beaten path, they are definitely worth visiting!  Check them out here.

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The backyard patio

Oceanside Brewing Company

312-314 Via Del N, Oceanside

#beer #craftbeer #brewery #Oceanside