Travel: Carlsbad Beercation
Recently I rolled down the Southern California coast to go on a Carlsbad Beercation - that's right, beer-centric tourism is not something of your dreams...it is alive and booming (especially in San Diego's North County)!
Where I've not been one to follow the beer trends (which is hard to keep on top of with over 130 local breweries down there), I'm definitely open to trying new things and was absolutely wow'ed by Carlsbad's incredibly gorgeous views, perfect weather and some seriously special suds.
So pack up your suitcase and get ready to hit the coast, I've pulled together a few highlights to add to your upcoming travels - Bon Voyage!
Where To Stay
This family friendly (and family owned) boutique style hotel has you covered with complimentary morning breakfast, transportation to Legoland, high end on-site dining as well as pet friendly rooms. If that isn't enough, they also host a daily social hour with a killer local beer/wine selection as well as having milk and cookies waiting for you in the lobby upon your evening return. Bliss!
If you're looking for a luxurious getaway, or perhaps some time out on the golf or tennis course, this resort has the views and the accommodations for gatherings both intimate and large. Sprawling lawns with lagoon views are a feast for the eyes, but there's also an impressive seasonal focused food and bar program leaving you no reason to wonder off property lines.
Needing to check out from everything? You could spend several days at this resort without ever needing to leave. Packed with gorgeous pools, fantastic restaurants, on-site shopping and one of the most amazing indoor/outdoor spas we've ever laid eyes on, this is definitely the place to celebrate special occasions.
If you like adventures to start with a chilled can of local beer, wind in your hair and Hungry Like The Wolf blasting from the stereo - than you're going to want to climb aboard one of these Vintage Swiss Safari Vehicles alongside a knowledgeable guide for a wild ride filled with amazing coastal views and the most unique beer that North County San Diego has to offer.
If you're looking for mellower vibes (and maybe the opportunity to wear a faux floral lei) get on board one of two vintage VW buses and cruise around carlsbad with a matching retro soundtrack. Expect the guide to take you the beach routes to enjoy an ocean view, Hawaiian shirts optional.. In a word, it's totally, and appropriately costal chic!
Breweries Worth Adding To Your List
We don't like to play favorites, but Carlsbad's newest brewery stands strong at the top of our list. Tucked in an unassuming business park, you'll find fresh pop corn, parlor games and some of the most delicious beers we've had in North County. Not only are the patrons incredibly friendly, but the owners Mike & Ben will saddle up to chat with you as well. Beers to try: Beach Comber & Day Trippin'.
If you're looking for an outdoor patio, this place is your go-to. With expansive seating options and exciting beer offerings, this is a fantastic place to spend a sunny afternoon trying out the latest brews. Beers of note: Super Girl & Sweet Ride.
If you're looking to try something unexpected, like a season special such as a coconut pineapple IPA, this is a must-stop. Need a break from the brews? Fret not, this Ale House also boasts an impressive (and sprit exclusive) whiskey and bourbon selection. Sip on: One of the unique seasonal brews & Cash (Imperial Coffee Stout)
Where this isn't a brewery, it certainly is a beer mecca. Simply slip on a wristband and go to town self-serving and trying over 50 different local brews on tap. It's the perfect way to try new beers without full glass commitment, as you can travel all of North Country as small as 1 oz. at a time...and they have some amazing appetizers to help wash it all down. Recommended: Go for the odd things you wouldn't normally order like Meade and Ciders.
Places To Re-Fuel
I'm not sure anything goes better with beer than Mexican food. This local joint is the perfect pit stop offering fresh fair and an impressive local beer list of its own. Make sure to head around the side of the building to check out the current mural residency, with artists coming in from all over the country every couple of months to leave their colorful mark.
Looking for a side of history with your hefeweizen? This tavern is also a museum showcasing some pretty amazing relics of America's founding fathers. Make sure to carve out extra time to explore the artifacts and adjacent gift shop before settling into the main dining hall that often hosts monthly tap take overs with some of North Country's best breweries. Warning: The Shepard's Pie could easily feed 3 grown men...but you might just want to just hog it for yourself.
This "nano" roaster is a local secret - hidden well off the street but well worth the search. If you're looking for carefully brewed coffee and espresso drinks you'll definitely want to make this a stop to fuel up and take a bag of artisanal small batch beans from this industrial chic establishment. Note: Look into the Cold Brew Float situation, because...wow.
Great bites and a bright cheerful atmosphere - this is a hip little spot to catch up on a few emails while refreshing over pastries and a coffee...or one of their seasonal veg/grain bowls which will have you will be dreaming of long after breakfast. You have a big day of beer hopping to attend to, so you might as well start off on the right foot!
New Reasons to Visit in 2017...definitely on my to-do list!
North 40 is an urban farm experience with a fully integrated food, beverage, and floral production/processing/distribution center set on a 43 acre farm. The unique blend of farm environment and urban convenience offers the opportunity for a select group of craft brewers and winemakers to locate production, tasting, and sales. The adjacent culinary center and gardens alongside the working farm environment will provide a unique farm to table experience for visitors.
Park 101's indoor/outdoor Garden Pub will offer a variety of up to 32 local tap beers in addition to a wide selection of regional wine. Park 101 Barbecue will be offering meat-centric BBQ specialties and Park 101's Tamarack View Deck—a rooftop lounge with fire pits and cozy seating areas, where gourmet snacks and views of the vibrant Carlsbad Village.
Each spring the hills of Carlsbad come to life with vibrant color! For over 60 years nearly fifty acres explode with Giant Tecolote Ranunculus making for the perfect photo op!
A massive thank you to Visit Carlsbad for inviting me down on this brew-licious adventure. All opinions and travel suggestions my own - because it was a blast and I will definitely be back!