Monday may have been National Beer Day for the rest of the world but, really, it’s nothing special for North San Diego. Locally, craft beer is an everyday staple and Yelp North County has the inside track on where to snag some of the newest kegs on tap in town. Cheers.
Surfside Tap Room (Oceanside)
In bottles, cans and on draft: this is a bar with local libations galore! This place does beer – and only beer – so no food in sight. Also, you better bring your growler. The menu boasts a constant stream of suds, varieties of hand-crafted beers, seasonal ales, porters and stouts from local micro-brewers. With this many options rotating on and off the list, you’ll often find brewers and distributors in-house. Open until 11 p.m. on Saturdays, you can make this new local joint your first (or last) stop for your North County beer tour.
Barrel Harbor Brewing (Vista)
The Swedish Master Brewer at Barrel Harbor Brewing is cooking up concoctions to rave reviews. How about the King Norm’s Gotlandsdricka? It’s a traditionally brewed Swedish style beer, referred to as “The real Viking beer,” and the smoked hops with juniper make it a unique find. Ingredients for other selections on tap include Munich malts and English yeasts. It’s practically a mouthful of the motherland but make no mistake, this spot also has a hefty helping of local California beer culture influence. It’s open weekdays starting at 3:00 p.m. and at noon on weekends.
Dos Desperados Brewery (San Marcos)
Newly opened last month, this brewhouse is channeling the spirits of Spanish garrisons, and their declaration of “We Will Live –We Will Enjoy Life” resonates with local brew fan base. Playing off the old-timey “desperados” theme, this watering hole claims their culture runs off the beaten path and as a result, you’ll find a range of creative craft brews on tap. Try the Mamacita's Crème Ale with hints of sweet corn or the Fugitive Farmhouse Ale, which sips with subtle flavors of citrus and coriander. Des Desperados is open latest on Friday, when the doors stay open until 9 p.m.
Arcana Brewing (Carlsbad)
The Carlsbad beer spot is not exactly new, but rather recently reinvented due to legalities. The new name sure gets your brain brewing and its meaning ranges over adjectives: old, mysterious, unusual, surreal – all descriptions captured in the beers created by the steampunk-inspired team. The Voyager English Ale beats the bitterness with an earthy tone and we’re in love with the coffee and chocolate notes found in Marley’s Ghost Ale. After you’ve ordered your beer, grab a snack from some food trucks, which can be found lurking around this brewery. Business hours vary, so check the website for details.
Sublime Tavern (Del Mar)
Like variety? Well, Sublime Tavern in Del Mar will certainly quench your thirst with its large selection of local craft beer, plus a killer menu. There are about 40 taps here, and they handles are dominated with locally-made craft brews. The beer list is updated on a regular basis with new additions being added all the time, such as the Mansanita Danger Ranger (8.5 ABV American Red Ale) from Twisted Manzanita Brewing Co in Santee. Ballast Point, Belching Beaver, Latitude 33 – all of your local favorites are in the house. Plus, they have that seriously tasty mac & cheese on the menu. What’s not to love?
Trish Sanderson is the community manager and marketing director for Yelp North County San Diego. She leads the local community of Yelp reviewers both online and off.