San Diego’s brewing scene is booming these days, and we in North County are lucky enough to experience the best of the boom right here in our own communities. Craft breweries, also known as microbreweries, are independently owned and produce small amounts of beer, allowing for higher quality and greater individualization than traditional breweries. Perhaps nowhere is this industry growing faster than in San Diego, which has become a beer-drinker’s dream destination – and not just for the beaches any more. Local breweries have been stepping into the international spotlight with their award-winning beers. The industry’s exhilarating growth shows no sign of slowing down. In celebration of the 6th Annual San Diego Beer Week last month, we’re excited to offer an insider’s look at the best breweries North County has to offer. The craft brewers we speak to have a huge variety of differences in technique and taste, but they all share a deep-rooted passion for their products. We invite you to read along and see what the buzz is all about.
IN THIS FEATURE:
• Local Beer Tasting Cheat Sheet
• Brewery Profiles
• San Diego Beer Industry Facts
• North County Brewery & Tap Room Directory
Complimenting Gourmet Burgers with 100+ Beers On Tap
Five years after the first Slater’s 50/50 opened, the best of burgers, bacon, and beer has found a new home in San Marcos. Scott Slater founded his restaurant on the concept of his 50/50 patty, which he invented years ago for a Chargers tailgate party – the patty is 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon, bringing together two of modern America’s most celebrated meats in delicious unity. The creativity continues with the menu of unique gourmet burgers and comfort dishes, as well as the “Design It” menu with thousands of potential ingredient combinations. Scott and the rest of the Slater’s 50/50 team like to use a new word to describe the overwhelming excitement felt when indulging in the Slater’s 50/50 experience: excesstasy.
To accompany the great food, Slater’s 50/50 is proud to offer the largest selection of local and regional craft beers, with 100 or more beers on tap at each location. “Our goal is to always have a really well balanced beer selection for our guests to choose from,” said Scott. “We really believe there is a beer for everybody and that they can find it at Slater’s 50/50.” The novice beer drinker can easily find something within his or her comfort zone, while the experienced connoisseur will be blown away by the selection of unique, hard-to-find brews.
Slater’s 50/50 extends the principle of customization to the tap lists, with over 30% of the beers on taps coming from local breweries. “At the San Marcos location, three of our best-selling beers are Rip Current, Belching Beaver, and Mother Earth – all of which are local from San Marcos and Vista,” explained Scott. He works with Mark Schultz, the restaurant’s Certified Cicerone Beermonger, to provide only the best selection of craft beers to guests. “One of the things that truly sets Slater’s 50/50 apart in terms of our beer program is our flexibility,” said Scott. “We select beers for each of our seven locations based on what our guests want in that area – no two tap lists are the same.”
The company likes to stay involved with other local organizations too. Slater’s 50/50 has partnered with Wagging Dog Rescue, San Marcos Pop Warner, San Marcos High School Football, and California State University San Marcos Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. They also recently donated nearly $4,000 to Casa de Amparo, a San Marcos-based nonprofit that supports at-risk children.
By staying involved, sharing the best local brews, and promoting a creative approach to comfort food, Slater’s 50/50 looks forward to spreading even more San Marcos excesstasy in the new year.
Name of Business: Slater’s 50/50 Burgers by Design
Name of Owner: Scott Slater
Years in Position: Founder – opened first Slater’s in 2009
Year of Establishment: Slater’s 50/50 San Marcos opened on April 14, 2014
Address: 110 Knoll Rd., San Marcos, CA 92069
Email Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Description of Business: Slater’s 50/50 serves creative, over-the-top food, local craft beer. Their selection of gourmet burgers and amped up comfort dishes paired with 100+ craft beers on tap allow guests to create their own perfect dining experience. Burgers. Bacon. Beer.
Oggi’s has been brewing beer in San Diego since 1995 and is proud to continue the craft tradition with the new Oggi’s Vista location, helmed by location Co-Owners Brian and Craig Rustad. With a completely remodeled restaurant and a centerpiece bar with thirty taps, Oggi’s Vista is the perfect spot to enjoy sports, pizza, and brews in a family-friendly environment. “Brian wanted a place where people could try many of the local beers,” said Craig. “Of the thirty beers on tap, all are craft beers except one.”
With the success of the beer-brewing part of the operation, Oggi’s launched a sister business in 2002 called Left Coast Brewing Company. Today, this brewing company provides all the beer for the family of Oggi’s restaurants – no small task considering the quality and variety the restaurants provide. “Our beers include ales, ambers, barrel-aged, Belgians, lagers, hefeweizens, IPAs, double IPAs, triple IPAs, Scottish, stouts, and more,” explained Shawn Hadjis, Oggi’s Director of Operations. “We offer award-winning beers with stellar service.”
“One of the most popular beers at this location is the Torrey Pines IPA, which is brewed exclusively for Oggi’s by Left Coast Brewing Company,” said Craig. “The goal is to rotate many local beers and to have a place where someone can compare different brews.”
Left Coast Brewing Company has won over forty-five medals for its top-notch brews, including recent gold medals at the 2014 San Diego and Los Angeles International Beer Festivals. The true reward, however, is being able to provide the best food, brews, and service possible for the community. “We try to treat everyone like family. Quality is a matter of personal integrity,” said Shawn. Oggi’s emphasizes the importance of giving back to the North County family, with involvement in charities, fire departments, hospitals, schools, sustainability, and other important local causes.
For more about Oggi’s Vista visit www.vista.oggis.com.
Stumblefoot Brewing Company
Stumblefoot Brewery founders Bill Randolph and Pat Horton began as home brewers in 2001. To honor their experience in those beginning years, Bill and Pat chose the name Stumblefoot to pay tribute to both their failures and successes, and most importantly, to their continued willingness to experiment. As an integral part of the North County brewing community today, Stumblefoot takes pride in their continued dedication to learning and sharing information with their fellow brewers and friends. Together the founders participate in many of San Diego’s home brewing clubs, from the Society of Barley Engineers to QUAFF Brewing Club, North County Home Brewers Association, and Mash Heads homebrew club.
In 2012, Stumblefoot started their commercial adventure in San Marcos. At their tasting room on La Costa Meadows Dr., you can learn about their award-winning Imperial Dragon Kiss Stout, which recently earned a silver medal at the California State Fair. Or kick back and try their Schwarz Be With You Black Lager which won a gold medal at the 2013 San Diego County Fair International Beer Festival. Many of their brews have been honored for superior quality and taste, so whatever your preference in beer, you’re certain to find something you like. To discover more and see a list of the beers on tap visit www.stumblefoot.com.
The Cork & Craft
Have you ever been intimidated while beer or wine tasting because you’re surrounded by snooty “experts” who make you feel inferior? 92127’s Abnormal Company has built their business around dismantling that attitude. Co-Owners Matthew DeLoach, James Malone, and Elvin Lai, friends and fellow Poway High School graduates, have made their urban brew and wine industry business – which now includes a new beer brewery, restaurant, and expanded winery – approachable, friendly, and fun!
The owners are especially excited about their newly opened restaurant, The Cork & Craft. James shared, “We all love good food, and there’s nothing quite like a delicious meal paired with a glass of wine or craft beer. We are so excited that this adventure has now led us into the action-packed craft beer and restaurant worlds!”
Abnormal Company is also proud to soon bring its customers in-house produced beers focused on drinkability in addition to the extensive tap and bottle list they currently have. Their glass-enclosed brewery is expected to be up and running by the end of the year. Abnormal Company intends to brew during restaurant hours to provide customers with a sense of artistry and display of their craft. According to Co-Owner Matthew, the company’s beer will be “gluten-reduced, flavorful enough to sit gently on the palate, and will pair perfectly with fare offered by The Cork & Craft.” As The Cork & Craft’s mission is to elevate the concept of comfort food to a gourmet experience, this new brewery will encourage customers to think a little more about what they are drinking, try out new beer and food pairings, and dare to step out into the abnormal.
For more information visit www.thecorkandcraft.com.
DID YOU KNOW?
In 2011, brewers and brewpubs generated a $299.5 million direct economic impact in San Diego County.
The economic contribution of craft brewers is more than 1 ½ times greater than the economic impact of Comic-Con International,
San Diego’s largest annual convention.
Since 2011, the total number of craft breweries in the region has more than doubled.
The largest craft brewing event in the region is San Diego Beer Week, which features more than 500 events and lasts from early to mid-November. Beer Week brings more than 20,000 participants to San Diego County.
Sources: National University System Institute for Policy Research and the Brewers Association