There are all sorts of wonderful things about San Diego. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting it 4 times in the last 5 years and 5 times in my life. It’s warm, friendly, safe and there’s lots and lots of local food and beverages.
And then there’s their beer scene.
The photo below shows the tap list at The Hopping Pig from a few days ago. 32 taps (and that doesn’t include their bottles or oak-aged cocktails). 32 taps in a place with about 60 seats.
I found myself in Hopping Pig 3 times in 6 days. I sampled much of the menu but kept heading back to Habanero Sculpin IPA. Sculpin is a proud local favorite and to find a spicy variant of the brew was an awesome experience. It was an easy drinking beer with a legitimate kick from the hot peppers.
I also found myself back at Neighborhood Bar which is a little off the main strip. Neighborhood may be a smaller bar than the Hopping Pig but it’s beer list is just as mighty – and that’s just in the front room! Neighborhood also had a 32-person SpeakEasy hidden behind a fake wall (that looks like a bunch of kegs stacked to the ceiling) called The Noble Experiment. I didn’t call ahead for reservations so my visit was brief but it’s on my list for my next visit and it should be on yours as well.
I watched the Superbowl in Downtown Johnny Brown’s (DTJB’s). It’s a craft beer bar that’s way off the beaten track (a local San Dieogan met me there and had a tough time finding it) and is notorious for it’s close proximity to the Opera. This was the second time I’ve watched the NFL Championship game with a bar full of opera singers and musicians.
The owners at DTJB’s showed me a behind-the-scenes peak at a service they use called Tap Hunter. This system is going to change the way craft beer drinkers drink. As a beer drinker you can find beer around you, share your updates and see what friends are drinking. There are several apps that do that. What makes it remarkable is that the bar can use the app to list their beer and the moment they update the listing it notifies their fans on Facebook, followers in TapHunter and it changes the digital ‘chalk board’ that serves as a menu in the bar! I can’t wait for this system to come to Toronto.
There were a tonne of other fantastic places and wonderful beers to try. San Diego has a remarkable love affair with beer. And I love it for that.