San Diego kicks ass. Such a beautiful city! Janie and I try to make it out there once every couple of months. It makes for a great day or weekend trip. There’s so much to do. Charming place. Nice break from LA. Beach…beautiful. Food…great. People…crazy friendly.

Out and about in SD

Don’t even get me started on the beer scene down there. First class. What about local brewers? Forget about it. People bleed IPA around these parts. They’re serious about producing some of the world’s best beers.  Many next level brewing companies call SD home: Ballast Point, Alpine, Port/Lost Abbey, Stone,  Green Flash, etc.  The list goes on and on….I’m blown away on every trip. My taste buds and liver always leave happy.

I tend to stay away from the bigger breweries. I prefer to make the most of my time by trying good brews at local pubs in the city’s neighborhoods. Too many tourists on the weekends at the breweries and the trendy gastropubs downtown. A packed house can get on your nerves, take it from me–the local pubs are the way to go. Let me enjoy my beer in peace. Must be the LA in me. Jaded.

Janie at Toronado

My favorite watering hole in SD, hands down is Toronado. Totally recommended. The place is as much of a classic as it’s original location in San Francisco. Can you say the one in SD is better than the OG one in SF?  I’ve been to both, and SD wins again in my book. No bells and whistles. They don’t need them. Simple and uncomplicated.

Me checking on the beer board

Toronado continues to keep its local flavor regardless of the steady stream of tourists and beer geeks that wander in.Time flies when you’re having fun…and getting buzzed. It’s a comfortable place. The vibe allows me to take my time sobering up without feeling itchy to break out. I get a weird anxious feeling if I feel tipsy in a place that sucks or makes me feel out of place.  I’m a little weird like that.

Says it all

FYI…it’s totally normal to get there before they open at 11:30am, especially on a Sunday when happy hour goes from 11:30am-5pm. Love it!  They’re usually a few excited out of town guys already waiting with their semi-pissed girls who don’t seem ready for a beer before lunch time. Luckily, Janie digs beer, so there’s never an issue.

I drool every time I scan their beer board. They’re all there…many of the taps you’ve heard or read about. If it’s hot, they tend to have it. If they don’t, it’s usually on its way. Their bottle list? Bananas. I always go for pints of the seasonal selections that don’t normally make it outof the (619). I hate wasting belly real estate on something I can get back home. Man, I’ve got a weakness for beer from Alpine Brewing (Alpine, CA.–about a half an hour from SD proper). You don’t see them outside SD. Toronado usually has a few tight ones from these guys on the regular. They even have a special brew made specifically for this spot, it’s called Toronado Red. That’s clout.

Beer board from a recent visit

Another beer board from one of the last times we were here

The staff makes this place special. In particular there’s a cool guy named Nate Soroko (AKA Islander), who’s a chef and helps run the place. Local hero. Very chill. He’s also down to peep you to the best stuff. Just ask him. Actually, he introduced me to one of my all time favorites, Alpine’s Hoppy Birthday. WOW! What a f–king beer! Definitely gives both Plinys a run for their money. If I said Hoppy Birthday spanks both of them…it wouldn’t be a stretch. It’s that good!

Alpine's Hoppy Birthday

Next time you’re in San Diego, head on down to Toronado. Tell Nate your boy sent you. For more info, current tap list, and daily happy hour specials, check out http://www.toronadosd.com/iWeb/Site/Welcome.html.

Here’s a gratuitous beer pic from one of our last visits. Just an excuse to show you a little beer porn.

Toronado Red (brewed for the spot by Alpine)

Ok…let me give you one more.

(l to r) Craftsman Holiday Ale and Ballast Point Victory at Sea with Vanilla Bean

Alright…last one.

(l to r) Alesmith Speedway Stout and Alaskan Smoked Porter