Beers I drink, Breweries, road trip

Oceanside Brewing Company

I had a family event looming on my horizon in #Oceanside so I wanted to check out some local breweries while I was there.  I had more than an hour to kill before I had to be somewhere and the closest brewery was also the one that would’ve been my first choice: Oceanside Brewing Company.  I like when the town is in the name.

DSC06293    A little sign above the door and a  “BEER HERE” sandwich chalk board  DSC06288  let you know you have arrived at the Oceanside Brewing Company.  There isn’t much parking but we got a place up front.  TGFHP.  That’s Thank God For Handicap Parking.

DSC06289  A couple with two kids walked in as we were getting out of the car so I knew OBC was kid-friendly right off the bat (you should see the disgusted look on my face as I type that).  I could also see the wagging tail and rear end of a dog so I knew they were dog-friendly as well.  DSC06306

Here’s a pic of the awesome fur baby I got to meet.  I will take dogs over kids any day of the week, lol.

 

@oceansidebrewingco has an extensive menu board with no less than 22 brews on tap.  There is literally something for everyone.

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There were a couple of beers I wanted to try but I was drawn to the New England style Desert Storm IPA which measured 6.7% ABV.  It was delicious with a citrus, grapefruit taste and stuffed with hops.  The Old Man tried a Corps IPA that came in at 6.8%.  It was interesting.  The Corps tasted more like a brown ale when we first sipped it but then the mellow hoppyness came forward and it tasted more like the American IPA it was billed as.

I complemented the brewtender/brewer on the Desert Storm and he told me a funny anecdote.  As regular readers will remember in my review of House of Pendragon, the New England or hazy style IPA is a fairly new type of craft beer to hit the market.  He said that the NE IPA is kind of a little joke among brewers who usually work very hard on getting clear, filtered beer.  And then some guy from Maine comes out with this “hazy,” unfiltered beer and it’s all the rage.  The brewer liked it because it shaved a couple of weeks off the brewing process by not having to filter out all the remnants.  And he said it was a popular choice so the general public seems to approve.

We wanted to go drink al fresco because the breeze was so nice & cooling but both entrances to the back patio were chained off.  As we stood there, contemplating the chain, the brewtender told us beers weren’t allowed out back and hadn’t been for six months as they battled with the ABC about the zoning.  The ABC are a bunch of dicks.  They were on the verge of having it all worked out and he said the back would be open for drinking in just a week.

OBC has a few games to play as well as some brew-crafting reading material.  The large wooden chess set was attractive and looked inviting if you are smart enough to know the game.  I’m not.

There are t-shirts for sale but I think they’re a bit overpriced at $25.  DSC06308

 

 

 

 

 

I left the Oceanside Brew Co. wanting more.  It’s a #roadtrip there but not too far from #Anaheim so I am sure I will be back.  There are more brews to sample and some outback patio fresh air & sunshine to soak up.  I love California.

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Beers I drink, Breweries, road trip

Sequoia Brewing Company

The Sequoia Brewing Company is an old standard of mine in Fresno, CA.  I’m there practically every April on the way to Oakhurst for some much needed R&R.

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We have been to Sequoia Brewing so many times that we are both very familiar with the beers.  Neither of us agreed out loud that we wanted to try something different but it seemed to be the unspoken consensuses.  Thanks to the “Specials” board out in front, we found what we were looking for;  two new brews that we were eager to sample.

I started off with the “So You Like IPA’s” Series #1 because I loved the high 7.4%.  It was delicious.  The taste was more malty than hoppy but the hops did creep up on me.  The bitterness was slight and it went down smooth.  I seem to remember that the IPA’s that Sequoia and Tioga Sequoia offer are not as hoppy as IPA’s available in Southern California.  The Old Man tried the Spring Bock which measured 7.2%.  It was a golden colored lager with a smoky aftertaste.

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In German, “bock” means “goat” and it is used to show a particular beer has a kick to it.  The Spring Bock indeed had a kick.  I tried some of Sean’s and liked it so much I ordered it for beers #2 and #3.  I got Sean’s original choice and he got mine for his second round.  He was as impressed with the IPA as I was.  There are a total of 3 varieties in the “So You Like IPA’s” series and we are excited to come back and try them.

Sequoia Brewing has specials for Happy Hour and we were hungry after our 4 hours just spent on the road.  We’ve had the pizza here before and it leaves something to be desired.  So we opted for the pretzel bites and we were not disappointed.

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The pretzel bites are small pieces of a larger soft pretzel that is deep fried to perfection and then salted and served with a side of stone ground mustard.  We ate that shit up fast! It was such a needed snack that ended up being our dinner.  Sequoia has a limited selection for vegetarians and I really wish they would offer a veggie burger.  They do have a veggie sandwich that sounds appetizing so I commend them for that effort.

Happy hour was coming to an end so we quickly ordered our third and last round.  I stayed with the  Spring Bock and Sean went back to the traditional menu to sample a Garage Sale Rye Pale Ale.  In the past, the Old Man has enjoyed rye IPA’s so he figured the rye pale ale would be just as good.  Coming in at a 6.0%, it was flavorful and crisp.  It had a nice dark red color.

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When it came time to pay the man, we were giggling with delight at the price of our beers.  I had to take a picture of my receipt to show off just how cheap the craft brewed beers are during happy hour.  $3.47!  $3.47?  Hell yeah!

Sequoia Brewing Company could teach other breweries a lesson about pricing.  Lately, I have been paying $6 and $7 for pints at local breweries.  They were no better and no less ABV than the $3.47 beers at Sequoia.  At a brewery, you cut out the middle man.  Where do some of them get off charging more than $5 for a pint?  I guess it’s the greedy American way.  The prices at SBC are refreshing and make me want to go drink and drink some more.

I probably won’t be back to Sequoia Brewing Co. until next Spring break.  If I was a local, I’d drink there more often but it’s just another one of those great stops on a #roadtrip. It’s nice to know I have a place to sit and enjoy some beers and unwind from the long drive.

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Breweries

Council Brewing Company

If you are going to San Diego, you have many choices when it comes to drinking good #craftbeer.  There are a lot of breweries you can visit and they are each wonderful in their own ways.  But I believe Council Brewing Company is maybe a little more wonderful and definitely worth a stop.

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They are a self-described “nano-brewery” but the menu offers a diverse selection.  By the time I got to Council on that fine Saturday, I was already buzzed.  That may have clouded my vision and led me to order a 7.0% Make IPAs Clear Again.  Whatever it was, I was extremely pleased with my selection.  It had a strong number behind it but it didn’t taste like a typically overly hoppy west coast IPA.  It was a mellow IPA that was very drinkable.

The old man went with the award-winning Bully Pulpit that was a high 7.2% ABV.  DSC04199

I snapped this picture of him behind the cut-out.  The term comes from a speech by Teddy Roosevelt in which he refers to the White House as a “bully pulpit.”  The brew itself is another great IPA from Council.  Not too hoppy at all, very clean finish.  I can see why it was the medal winner.

Carie tried the Farmer’s Gold Belgian Saison and she liked the light 5.7% beer and Ck started off with a 5.2% Pilsner called Diamond In The Grain.

 

Neither of them could resist getting their pictures taken with the Bully Pulpit cut-out either.

 

Here is a nice, readable picture of the menu-board.  It’s surprisingly well-populated list of alcoholic delights.

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Council Brewing is like any other brewery, kid and dog-friendly.  Which is good in one way and bad in another, for me at least.  But I’m not complaining.  The kids in there were quiet and not running all over the place.  The parents had trained them well.  We were probably louder than the kids and we had just as much fun playing with the blocks.  I got to meet this sweetie too!

When it was time for our second round, we all tried something new.  Except Carie, who knows a good thing when she finds it.  She stuck with the Farmer’s Gold.  I got a 100% Maybe IPA that was lighter than my first and measured in at 6.3%.  Again, I was impressed with the flavor of their brews….delicious!

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Sean ordered a Questionable Advice IPA that was a 6.7% and Ck delighted his taste buds with a 3 Berry Beatitude Saison.  Even though it was a light 4.5% ABV, it was so tart & tasty.  We had Charlie join us for our second round and he went for the heaviest right away.  He got an 8% Royal Blood Imperial Red IPA that was dark in color and tasted like coffee.

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They have a special menu of sours that are brewed at another location called The Magic Factory.

 

One of them is called Lickable Staves and I was curious about what a “stave” was so I asked the brewtender.  He informed me that it is a plank of wood in a barrel.  So next time I go back, I definitely want to try the sour Likable Staves.

 

I liked Council Brewing Company a lot.  The only disadvantage is that it is tiny and not meant for crowds.  But the selection is extensive and the brews are good.  They brew truly craft beer and it is obvious once you try your first taste.

Go ahead and do yourself a favor.  Visit and enjoy Council Brew then check it off your list of things to do in #SanDiego.  Your drunk self will thank you.

 

 

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Breweries, Game Night Drunk, Stuff i do when i drink

Bay City Brewing Company

Last month I was lucky enough to try a new location of a previously-visited brewery, At Ease @ Barrel Harbor, and to experience a whole new brewery, AleSmith Brewing Company, while I was in San Diego for the weekend.  This month, I found myself in San Diego again with a lot of time and a lot of nothing to do.  So you know what I did?  I got drunk.

I started out the day right with a big breakfast and then a visit to the Villainous Lair where Ck picked up a new Munchkin game called MOOPS: Monster Mash-ups.  Then it was time to commence the drinking that I knew was going to happen all day long.

Our first stop was at Bay City Brewing Company.  It is located in an industrial area off the 8 freeway and close to Mission Bay (hence, the “bay” in “Bay City”).  Bay City is also about a two minute drive from Modern Times Beer.

Bay City is spacious and seemed even more so when we got there a little after it opened at noon because of the lack of people.  More folks eventually showed up and I got to meet two dogs during my time there.  Always the highlight!

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A well-behaved Frenchie

 

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The Pug that wandered in from the storm

Their menu isn’t extensive so I was able to pick out right away what I wanted to try.

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I went for the basically-named San Diego Pale Ale and the one with the highest ABV, 7.7%.

Sean tried a Power Play IPA that I told him to get because I wanted to try that one too and I knew he would like it.  It measured in with a 6.9% ABV.

Carie had the Vienna Lager, a mellow 5.0%, and Ck had the Dark Lager that came in at 5.3% ABV.

The Pale Ale & the IPA were very hoppy.  Very resinous tasting and mine killed my taste buds in such a way that I was able to enjoy the rest of my pint.  Otherwise, I would’ve been scowling with every sip.  I tried little sips of Ck’s & Carie’s lagers and they were so light in comparison.  They were delicious and worth a second visit.

We sat around a pallet table that was big enough for 8 people and played a game of Munchkin. It was so much fun because our group has been talking about doing it for about as long as we’ve been playing Munchkin, which is about 3 years.  Finally!  Our wish come true!

We didn’t have a game board but not to fear!  Ck had purchased each of us our own 10-siders that corresponded to our home-game Munchkin colors.  What a thoughtful guy!

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I languished around level 1 for so long as the rest of those munchkins rose up until Carie eventually claimed the win.

The brewtender who came to collect our empty glasses also asked if we wanted refills and the answer of course, was, “Yes, please!”  That was a nice touch of service and I will always remember Bay City as very customer-oriented.

A brew tour bus came through so it got a little crowded for about half an hour but then it cleared out and it was just our gang of four with a Frenchie guy and a couple other humans left over.

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A woman from the tour pissed everywhere around the toilet and nowhere in the toilet.  What, did she think she was in the men’s room?  Sidenote: Bitches please!  At least clean your piss up so I don’t have to if you can’t use a toilet seat the right way.  It’s your own damn piss.  Bitches. The bathrooms were nice and clean other than that little incident.

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Behind the scenes at Bay City Brewing Co.

The brew vats are set up off in the back.  They are lit up with cool blue lighting that goes with the silver of the tanks.  Cool design, owners!

There is a back patio area that I didn’t get to visit because I love sitting on my ass.  Next time I’m at Bay City Brewing, I will check it out.

I liked this brewery a lot.  It is roomy enough to deal with crowds and has some pretty tasty beer.  I would recommend starting with the light end of their spectrum and you won’t be disappointed.

The location is another great thing about Bay City that will definitely bring me back in.  Parking could be better but when I was there, parking wasn’t an issue so I won’t complain.  I’ll just say, I would hate to have to find close parking after 4:30 on most weekdays and all time during weekend nights.

Bay City Brewing Company is a must stop if you are in the Mission Bay area.  I had a great time there and will be back, for sure.

 

 

 

 

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Beers I drink, Breweries, Out on the town drunk

A Noble Redux

We started with Noble Ale Works a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

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It was long before BrewBroadBlog, long before we acquired a taste for the IPA’s.  One time, we were the only ones present in the tasting room, this was before they opened the tasting room up to the warehouse section next door.  They had a bunch of Angles and Ducks memorabilia and a huge map where visitors placed pins to mark where they were from.

Image result for anaheim angles logo parking lot crisisThis Noble Ale Works died long ago.  They died when a shit ton of folks started parking at Noble for Angles games and crowding the very little space Noble has for “schmoozing.”  We stopped going there because we were sick of the crowds.  We might be beer snobs but, fuck you, hipsters, we were there first.

 

Tonight, we were on a hunt for a brewery.

Image result for old orange brewing company We hit up the Old Orange Brewing Company on Batavia in Orange but they were closed.  They should think about turning off their lights and putting the picnic table back inside if they are not serving beer.  Whatever.

So Noble was the next closest brewery to our house.  If they were crowded we were going to try the Legends Brewery on Lewis.  But the Noble crowd was manageable so we ended our night there.  The best taco truck in OC was there, hawking their meat-filled creations but also offering one with grilled veggies.  Smart choice.

The menu was new and familiar to us at the same time.

Image result for noble ale works menuThey featured the Pistol Whip’d which I used to drink all the time.  It comes in at a 4.5% ABV so I left it alone for the night.  I ventured out to try something stronger and I decided on a Big Whig IPA that was a 6.8%, it was Noble’s attempt at a West Coast IPA.  Whatever that means, right?  It was damn tasty.  It was hoppy but the IBU’s were not overwhelming.  I guess a West Coast IPA is kinda light.

They offered more “light-ish” brews like the Swoll Patrol and the Tank Top but neither appealed to me.  Noble presented several “hoppy-ish” choices, like the Big Whig, and the Tongue Tickles that registered a whopping 8% on the ABV.  Some stouts, like the Man’s Milk, which I think is a hilarious name for beer, came in with a 6.1% and the Double Bam Bam that is an Imperial Red Ale and will get you quite fucked up with an ABV of 8.88%.

Noble has some experimental brews on tap like the Life Is Pitless,

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which is a sour beer that features hints of sour cherry balls from the Most Magical Kingdom in all of Anaheim, Disneyland for you tourists.  The Naughty Sauce is a stout with coffee notes on  nitro to give a certain creaminess to the mouthful you will gulp.

It took about 5 minutes from the time we got our beer to the time we were able to commandeer a table from some losers who couldn’t hack drinking for the rest of the night.  As we sat and drank, we talked about how the Noble Ale Works has changed.  They started out sporty and took on a following they couldn’t keep up with.

Luckily, Noble is expanding.

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We saw the very proof of it tonight in the “Expansion Observation Deck.”  It’s a hallway that leads to closed glass doors that you can peek into.  What you will find is just darkness and maybe some vats.  But they are growing and I couldn’t be happier.

 

Our Big Whig IPA’s lasted a little while but soon we needed to medicate.  So out to the parking lot we went and sparked up a completely legal bowl of weed.  Things are changing.  There are new things on the horizon and I like the way the future looks.  If Noble can expand, so can I.

I just have to remember to stay the hell away from Noble during the baseball season.  It’s packed with lowlifes and trouble makers.  Visit Noble in the off-hours for a great time.  Try an experimental IPA or a light American Lager.  Noble’s got the best of them and it’s totally worth it.  You’ll see.

 

 

 

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Breweries, Stuff i do when i drink

Newport Beach Brewing Company

The days start out cloudy with rain seeming imminent and end up in showers of glorious sunshine.  It must be June.  The schools are getting out and everyone is going on vacation.  And I start spending the odd Wednesday at the Newport Beach Brewing Co. for $10 Pizza/$10 Pitcher day.

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Weekly specials make the BrewCo crowds go wild

 

 

There are two local breweries that got their start in 1995 and the #BrewCo is one of them.  This is when I got together with the old man, Sean, so I have a special place in my heart for Newport Beach’s favorite neighborhood brewery.  You’ve got to give credit to them for getting something right to be around this long.

On this particular Wednesday I arrived around 1:30.  I snapped up some pictures of the parking lot entrance and the NewportBrewCo assault vehicle.

I have been coming to Pizza/Pitcher Wednesdays for many summers and the place is always familiar feeling.  We knew exactly what we wanted and we started out first with our $10 pitcher of Pelican Pale Ale.  The glasses came chilled and we poured two pints out.

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Pelican Pale Ale

 

It was cold and had a head on it so we liked that but by the time the beer’s been poured from the tap into the pitcher then into the glass and then finally into my mouth, it has lost some, if not all of it’s fizz.  The beer wasn’t exactly flat but the carbonation level left something to be desired.  This has never been a problem before so we chalked it up to the devil.  You know how he’s always making beer flat, you know. Plus fizzy beer is for wussies.

The waitress was very friendly, I recognized her from last year but not sure about any years before that.  She let us look over the menu because we weren’t sure what pizza we wanted.  It was a toss up call between a Margharita and a Veggie and the Margharita won.

When the pizza came, we gobbled up most of it right away.  Even though we both “weren’t that hungry.”  It was covered in gooey mozzarella and had juicy slices of tomato and sprinkles of fresh basil.  It wasn’t burnt either, it was cooked to perfection and tasted just the same.

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What is the TMNT’s favorite food?

 

Talk about satisfied!  We were full, but not bloated.  We were buzzed, but not drunk & disorderly.  This called for a trip outside for some “fresh air.” We asked our waitress to keep our stuff on the table because we were coming back.  Our beers were empty but we had 2 slices of pizza left.

When we got back in, we found that our table had been cleared.  The waitress was apologetic and said she had taken the empties away but that the other waitress had cleared off the food.  She even said she would bring us another pizza if we wanted, which we declined.  The offer was appreciated though.

By now, it was Happy Hour time!  3:00 had come and gone while we were vaping so we checked the chalkboard for what beer we would sample next.

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BrewCo’s beers on tap menu and specials

 

We both decided on a Village Idiot IPA because we wanted something stronger than the Pale Ale.  Pints were only $4.00 during HH so we both got one.

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A couple of Village Idiots

 

They were a bit cloudy looking but tasted flavorful and delicious.  There was a good amount of pine taste but with some sweetness I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

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Extra info for the percentage-minded

 

One thing I like that some breweries do is put the ABV percentage up on the board so that when you are choosing, you can go strong or light.  Newport BrewCo didn’t have the numbers up on the board but I found this page on the table that lists the ABV’s of all their different beers.

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@NBBrewCo’s Board of Surf

 

Newport Beach Brewing Co. is a great place to check out on a lazy summer day.  Their beers are “world famous” (according to the shit load of blue ribbons I saw hanging up behind one of the brewing kettles and the sign out in the back advertises it…subtle, I like that).

The food is fantastic and the prices are just right.  The specials are worth coming here for and their Happy Hour rocks!  The waitress’ are very nice and the place is huge so it never seems crowded.  There is an outside patio with umbrella’s to protect those balding Newport men from the hot, sweltering sun.  The televisions lend a sports bar vibe to this beach-town brewery and they carry all the balls you can stand.

Come to Newport Beach and check this place out!  It’s worth the effort and you won’t be disappointed.  Just don’t enter the contest for the pink bike because that’s my deal, okay?

 

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Beers I drink, Breweries, Stuff i do when i drink

South Gate Brewing Co.

My April Fool’s Day brewery tour, aka #roadtrip 2016, came to an end at the South Gate Brewing Company located in Oakhurst, California.  This was not my first time at this gastropub and it won’t be my last.  Not because they are the only game in town, but because they make incredible #craftbeer and fresh food with vegetarian options.  That’s all I ever really want: beer and veggie food.  When it comes to these good things in life, @SouthGateBrewCo scores a hit.

We came up from #Fresno and we were in dire need of refreshing drinks before completing the last leg of the trip.  Even though we got there close to 9:00, South Gate was packed.  But this came as no surprise, it is just par for the course.  South Gate has never not been crowded.  Since it opened in 2013, it has been consistently attracting customers that include locals and #Yosemite tourists.

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The old man and I both ordered a James Blonde IPA, mostly because we were attracted to the 7% ABV it boasts.  We managed to find seats in the brewery area where you can spy the fermenting vats and all the inner workings of a brewery.

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I am not amused at the tanks of beer behind me

At first, Sean and I had the same opinion of the beer.  We didn’t like it because it was too bitter and sour.  It was harsh on the tastebuds.  It was light in color so I think we both just expected something a little lighter and smoother.  After a couple of drinks of this IPA, we disagreed.  Sean still wasn’t into it but I got used to the strong taste and enjoyed it after a bit.  The table-talker write-up says it was cold fermented like a lager and double dry hopped, which explains the utter hoppiness of James Blonde.

In the past I have tried the South Gate’s Gold Diggin’ Blonde, which is a golden ale and an all-day lasting 4.7%.  The Gold Diggin’ Blonde is very light and refreshing, I know, I had more than my fair share of them at one time.  Another beer I’ve sampled is the Tenaya Red IPA which is more malty than hoppy and a little piney.

South Gate not only crafts delicious beers, they offer a menu board with all kinds of options.  That night, they had a veggie rice burger that sounded tempting, but we were already full.

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I just read an article from the Sierra Star that talks with South Gate and goes over their plans for expansion.  I say, “Too soon is not soon enough!”  They are always crowded and I have to hunt to find a spot to rest my weary feet.  South Gate is planning on doubling the size of the kitchen and dining areas and they want to feature full-serve dining as well as new, vegan and vegetarian options for the menu.  The tasting area where you can see the fermenting vats will remain the same.

The gastropub is not currently affected by the construction which is scheduled to end sometime in late June.  Just in time for summer season!  So don’t let the work get in your way of having a great time at the South Gate Brewing Co.!

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