Edna Gutierrez

Draft at Mission Beach: San Diego Beer and Food with a View

Just in case you haven’t heard, there are two things that define San Diego: the beach and beer. Magic happens when these two come together. Such is the case with Draft, the newest restaurant at historic Belmont Park on Mission Beach. Draft recently opened its doors on the boardwalk overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean. So, in the spirit of research, and a much-needed drink, I stopped by with the mission to draft you a picture.

Beer labels dress the tables and rails of Draft

I visited during lunch time and sat inside near the patio to enjoy the beautiful ocean view. The décor can be labeled as exactly that: labels. Beer labels cover the tables and rails, over by the bar you can see the more than 69 beer taps that make this place so special. Next to the bar adjacent to two pool tables, you can’t miss the wall-sized 31.5-ft television screen displaying scenic images of San Diego and local brewing companies. Draft shows major sporting events and has become quite the hot spot to watch sports. On the other side of the bar, tucked away in a glass room, you can see all the kegs being pumped to keep the beer flowing.

The pistachio crusted salmon sandwich was the perfect choice for a nice lunch near the beach

Looking at the menu, it was hard to make a decision. I went for the pistachio crusted salmon sandwich (with meyer lemon aioli, arugula and fennel) and a side of fries, of course. My burger-looking-sandwich is one of the best I’ve had, so many graceful flavors twirling on my taste buds. I could barely taste the pistachio, which was perfect because I was afraid it would be overwhelming. The fries where perfect too, thick and crispy – a must in my book.

Draft offers 69 beers on tap and 50 bottles from local, national and international breweries

Drinks? Obviously by the name, this is beer paradise, offering a true representation of San Diego’s IPAs, Porters, Stouts and beyond. With more than 60 options on tap and 50 bottles that rotate seasonally, it really comes down to picking your poison, or should I say passion? If you are not sure what to order, ask the staff, they will happily guide you to the right choice.

Close the deal with a lemon meringue milkshake or the churro bites

When dessert time came, I couldn’t say no. I’ve heard so much about the lemon meringue milkshake (with toasted meringue and lemon curd) that I had to have it. I also ordered the churro bites (cardamom, lemon and horchata anglaise) since I grew up eating churros and am always curious to try different versions. When the desserts came, the milkshake took the spotlight, even the table next to me asked what it was. The best way I could describe the flavor is: lemony, but not too lemony, sweet, but not too sweet. It was good! I was so full by the time I finished my milkshake that I couldn’t eat much of the churros bites. They were very soft, but not too sweet, with more of a subtle taste.

If you love beer, the beach and great food, give Draft a go. It’s a delicious addition to the Mission Beach scene and to America’s finest and hoppiest city.

Good to know:

  • They have a kids menu.
  • Happy Hour is served Monday – Friday from 4 to 6pm.
  • Brunch is served Saturday – Sunday from 9am to 4pm.
  • Parking is free at Belmont Park, but might be difficult to find during summer and weekends. If you can’t find parking on the three lots adjacent to Belmont Park, you can try the lot across the street from the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster.

 What else to order:

  • Slacker jack popcorn
  • Pork belly corn dogs with truffled mustard
  • Mac n’ cheese with English peas, thyme, mushrooms, chives and smoky cheese

 The details:

  • Draft is located at 3105 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego, CA 92109 
  • Open Monday – Friday from 11am to 2am and Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 2am
Brent Bernasconi

San Diego Brewery Tour – 3 Beer Stops with Brew Hop

Toasting the Groom - Societe Brewing Co.

You know the drill: boy falls in love with girl, boy asks girl to marry him, girl says yes(!), boy asks best friend to plan his bachelor party, best friend decides to book a guys weekend including: a bungalow at The Lafayette, Cards Against Humanity and a brewery tour.

There are plenty of good reasons to book a brewery tour when visiting San Diego: a designated driver, behind the scenes access to the brewery, a knowledgeable tour guide who will select beers based on individual tastes, and of course, plenty of beer samples to be enjoyed with friends. Even Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co. knows the value of a great brewery tour:

Setting Up The Brewery Tour

I called up Summer at Brew Hop to set up the bachelor party brewery tour. With more than 80 breweries throughout the county, it can be hard to narrow it down to just 3 stops. Thankfully, Summer spent a good amount of time with me working out the perfect schedule. I really wanted to make Societe Brewing a stop along with Ballast Point Scripps Ranch/Old Grove since the groom’s brother lived in that area. We finally decided on a route that optimized our time and included 3 great San Diego breweries: Societe, Ballast Point and Helm’s.

3 Amazing Beer Stops

Want to make the groom (and the groomsmen) feel like a VIP? Just have Summer pull up in the luxurious Brew Hop Escalade with a cold beer waiting for him inside. The six of us loaded ourselves into the SUV, took heed of the safety and decorum speech (you are on the tour to have fun, not be a drunken jerk) and headed off to our first stop.

Societe Brewing Co.

Toasting the Groom - Societe Brewing Co.

Toasting the groom while enjoying amazing beer from Societe Brewing Co.

It did not take long for Societe to become one of San Diego’s most popular breweries. It’s head brewers Travis Smith and Doug Constantiner spend most of their time focusing on perfecting their good ol’ fashioned house beers. You won’t find any crazy concoctions here, just delicious and flavorful classic brews.

We pulled up to one of the tables and Summer brought forth plenty of samples based on individual tastes ranging from IPAs, to ales to stouts. After a few tasters, we had the chance to go behind the scenes to tour the brewery and learn about the brewing process while still enjoying their amazing brews.

Brewery Tour with Summer of Brew Hop

Getting the lowdown on Societe’s brewery with Summer from Brew Hop

The big question when leaving Societe is are you on #TeamApprentice or #TeamPupil?

Where: 8262 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111
> Find out more about Societe Brewing Co.

Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits – Scripps Ranch/Old Grove

Two Thumbs Up - Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits - Old Grove

We give Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits Two Thumbs Up

Ballast Point is a San Diego beer institution. If you have never had a Sculpin IPA, you need to rush out and find one. You can thank me later!

Summer knew that since our party comprised of all local boys and the we had had our fair share of Ballast Point beers, she selected some of the more interesting brews included a few spicy/chili-infused beers. One of the aspects that makes San Diego beers so interesting is the experimentation that brewers are willing to try with spices and even peanut butter (check out Karl Strauss’ Beer Week special release).

Since the place was packed we were unable to take a tour of the brewery but that was just fine since we still had plenty of samples to try before moving onto the last stop.

If you are also into craft spirits, Ballast Point offers daily tastings at the Old Grove location.

Where: 10051 Old Grove Rd, San Diego, CA 92131
> Find out more about Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits

Helm’s Brewing Co.

In Helm's Brewing Freezer with Brew Hop

Our last stop was Helm’s Brewing and we took a few minutes to check out the freezer…since it was so hot outside!

Our final stop on the brewery tour took us to one of San Diego’s newer breweries, Helm’s Brewing Co. There I discovered the amazing Hop the RIPA, a red India Pale Ale, and the seasonal Samuin Harvest, a spiced beer that tasted like autumn (trust me on this one).

Since we were with Brew Hop, one of the owners stopped by to say hello and spent some time chatting with us about the brewery and the business behind running one. It was fascinating to learn what it took to go from home brewing in a garage to a fully armed and operational brewery.

Where: 5640 Kearny Mesa Rd. Suite C/N, San Diego, CA, 92111
> Find out more about Helm’s Brewing Co.

As we headed back to the bungalow in North Park, we enjoyed our slight giddiness by trying to decide the best beer of the day. Of course, we could not choose a winner since we each have different tastes. For one friend it was “The Butcher” at Societe, for another it was Ballast Point Black Marlin with Chipotle, for me it was Hop the RIPA.

However, that’s the beauty of a brewery tour, everyone will find a beer they enjoy all while having a great time. So what are you waiting for? Book your brewery tour today and explore San Diego’s Craft Beer!

> Check out all my photos from the brewery tour with Brew Hop

Brew Hop Information

Phone: 858.361.8457
Email: info@brewhop.com
Cost: $75-$169 per person as of April 2014
> Find out more about Brew Hop

Other brewery tour companies include Brewery Tours of San Diego and San Diego Beer and Wine Tours.

> Read about my Beer Train Tour with SD Beer and Wine Tours.

To top things off, a contest winner took the brewery tour right before ours! Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to never miss another chance to win a San Diego prize package.


Meet Greg Koch: San Diego’s Guide to the Good Stuff for Beer Lovers

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To craft beer fans, Greg Koch may be a household name. The co-founder and CEO of Stone Brewing Co., one of San Diego’s largest craft breweries, definitely knows his beer. But rest assured, even if you’re a beer novice, Greg has some tips to get event the first-time craft beer drinker started. As Greg would say, “I’m a beer nerd so that you don’t have to be!”

“San Diego is considered a Mecca,” says Greg. “We’re looked at as being a leading destination in the world for beer.” So where would this craft beer expert spend his time in San Diego? Check out Greg’s tips for getting to know San Diego’s craft beer and much more.

Great Breweries are Everywhere

Stone Brewing Co Greg Koch

Greg Koch enjoys a beer at Stone Brewing Co.’s World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station

Stone Brewing Co. is, naturally, Greg’s favorite brewery, but he has plenty of other favorites, too. “Many of them are doing incredibly specialized, unique creative things that nobody else does,” says Greg. Here are some of Greg’s favorite San Diego craft breweries:

Beyond the Beer Suggestions from Greg Koch

It’s true – there’s more to San Diego than craft beer! Break up your beer tasting with a few of Greg’s other favorite activities:

Get more insight from Greg Koch on exploring San Diego’s craft beer scene, including tasting tips, at www.sandiego.org/goodstuff.

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – February 18-23, 2014

Surfboards - California Surf Museum

Four-day work week means the weekend is just around the corner! So when you stop by San Diego to warm up, take some time, enjoy everything the city has to offer, including these top things to do:

Museum Month

Surfboards - California Surf Museum

Learn the history of surfing during Museum Month at the California Surf Museum

Have you wandered through the flora of the San Diego Botanic Garden? Or felt the chill of something other-worldly at the Whaley House Museum? If you haven’t, then you need to take advantage Museum Month by exploring one of the 44 museums throughout San Diego county offering half-off admission!

When: Through February 28, 2014
> Find out more about San Diego Museum Month

Culture & Cocktails – South Asian Art

San Diego Museum of Art - Culture & Cocktails

The art jumps off the walls during the San Diego Museum of Art’s Culture & Cocktails

From Mughal courts to Mumbai, experience the vivid sights, sounds, colors and culture of South Asia during a Culture & Cocktails event celebrating the museum’s world-renowned Edwin Binney 3rd Collection of Indian miniature painting. The gallery will be full of excitement with a Bollywood performance, henna body art, photo booth, cocktails, multi-color candy booth, music and more.

Where: San Diego Museum of Art – 1450 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
When: February 20, 2014
Time: 6:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $20
> Find out more about Culture & Cocktails – South Asian Art

San Diego Winter Brew Fest

[youtube http://youtu.be/5fuWxEay5KA]

Sample delicious craft beer from close to 40 breweries from California and beyond. All the while, enjoy live music, mouth-watering food and more. The Winter Brew Fest supports Outdoor Outreach and the San Diego Mountain Bike Association.

Where: San Diego Hall of Champions – 2131 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101
When: February 22, 2014
Time: 6:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $10-$60
> Find out more about the San Diego Winter Brew Fest

Marilyn Monroe Marathon

Marilyn Monroe Marathon

Spend the day with one of films most beloved leading ladies. Journey through a selection of her best films including NiagraGentlemen Prefer Blondes, Seven Year Itch, and The Misfits. And while those are all classics, you don’t want to miss the best of the bunch, Some Like it Hot, with its picturesque scenes at the Hotel del Coronado.

Where: North Park Theatre – 2891 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92104
When: February 22, 2014
Time: 12:00 to 11:00 PM
Cost: $10 per show. $25 all-day pass
> Find out more about the Marilyn Monroe Marathon

The Chieftains – Irish Spectacular!

The Chieftains - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Ireland’s premier musical ambassadors, The Chieftains, bring the Emerald Isles to San Diego

If I can find a sitter, I will be singing (badly) The Long Journey Home along with the six-time Grammy® Award-winners and “Ireland’s premier musical ambassadors” The Chieftains. In addition to featuring songs from The Chieftains recent critically acclaimed albums, the band will perform songs from throughout their 50+ year history, as well as some not heard live in well over a decade!

Where: 1245 Seventh Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: February 23, 2014
Time: 7:30 to 9:30 PM
Cost: $20-$85
> Find out more about The Chieftains – Irish Spectacular

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Browse the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend in San Diego? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Bruce Glassman

Beer-Centric Bites: 5 Great Craft Beer Restaurants in San Diego

Let’s face it, touring San Diego’s many craft beer offerings is hard work. All that standing at bar counters, lifting your arms up and down as you sip…it’s not difficult to work up an appetite. Fortunately, San Diego is not only home to more than 70 great craft breweries, it’s also home to dozens of great beer-centric restaurants, bistros, and pubs.

Here is just a smattering of some great craft beer restaurants in San Diego (starting in North County and moving south):

Churchill’s Pub & Grille (887 W San Marcos Blvd.)

churchills stout braised pot roast san diego craft beer restaurants

The pot roast at Churchill’s is stout-braised, of course. (Photo ©Mike Pawlenty/Chefs Press)

This popular spot boasts one of San Diego’s best selections of craft beers on tap and a great menu of beer-friendly and beer-inspired food to go along with it. More creative than simple “pub comfort food,” the kitchen offers a wide variety of apps, soups, salads, burgers, and craft-centric entrees, including a Spicy IPA Burger, Cottage Pie made with brown ale, Imperial Stout Pot Roast, and a Grilled Salmon topped with a sour ale beer blanc sauce.

URGE Gastropub (16761 Bernardo Center Dr.)

urge beer battered mac n cheese san diego craft beer restaurants

Craft beer mac n’ cheese at URGE (Photo ©Mike Pawlenty/Chefs Press)

With 51 craft beers on tap (mostly from San Diego) and more than 100 bottles to choose from, URGE’s food offerings are unabashedly beer-inspired. Brew-infused, hearty pub fare makes up the core of the menu (Beer Cheese Fries and Beer-Battered Mac and Cheese!), with many dishes that include more interesting elements, such as wild boar and rabbit, and burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers that come with a variety of craft beer dipping sauces (Sculpin mustard, Ur-Bock Aioli, and Sour Cherry Ale BBQ sauce to name a few). For the light of heart, there are numerous salad options, including a goat cheese salad topped with a Wit Beer Vinaigrette and a wedge salad topped with a Barbar Honey Ale Blue Cheese dressing.

Local Habit (3827 Fifth Ave.)

local habit cali belgique braised pork san diego craft beer restaurants

Pork braised in Stone Brewing Co’s Cali Belgique at Local Habit (Photo ©Mike Pawlenty/Chefs Press)

This Hillcrest restaurant is a bit of a hybrid: it combines the casual, comfortable aspects of a pub setting with a more elevated take on salads, small plates, and sandwiches. An excellent selection of local brews on tap, along with great non-local craft selections, make it easy to pair the creative but comforting fare with great beer. A regular lineup of special beer-and-food pairing menus and brewmaster dinners means that, whenever you go, chances are good some special beer-inspired food awaits.

Ballast Point Little Italy (2215 India St.)

ballast point brewery tasting room and kitchen san diego

Ballast Point’s new Little Italy Tasting Room & Kitchen

Fans of this brewery’s great beers are already flocking to Little Italy’s newest tasting room and kitchen for a taste of Ballast Point’s new food menu. In addition to an impressive selection of Ballast beers on tap, the menu offers numerous beer-infused choices that include everything from beer-battered onion rings to house-made pretzels with beer cheese and beer mustard, to a grilled chicken sandwich with beer vinaigrette. And note to garlic lovers: don’t pass up the beer-steamed mussels with ginger.

Stone World Bistro & Gardens Liberty Station (2816 Historic Decatur Rd #116, San Diego)

stone brewing co. world bistro and gardens liberty station san diego

Stone Brewing Co.’s new World Bistro & Gardens at Liberty Station

Opened this past summer, Stone’s impressive new dining site on Point Loma rivals its Escondido sibling in every way. Beautifully designed, with numerous indoor and outdoor dining and drinking options, Stone offers an extensive draft and bottle list along with a varied menu that highlights organic, local, and farm fresh ingredients (Stone’s own organic farm supplies many of the bistro’s products). For beer-centric bites, a few of the options include Arrogant Bastard brined pork chops, Cheddar, Garlic, and Stone Ruination IPA Soup, and the super popular BBQ Duck Tacos dressed with Stone Levitation BBQ sauce.


bruce glassman author of san diego brewery guideBruce Glassman is the author or numerous books on San Diego craft beer, including the award-winning San Diego’s Top Brewers. His San Diego Brewery Guide, which offers essential information on each brewery, tasting notes, and touring maps, is available at www.georgianbaybooks.com.

Sarah Weinberg

10 Years of Taste at The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

Celebrity Chefs San Diego Bay Wine Food Fest Festival

Where to start? This amazing series of culinary events that compose the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, celebrating its 10th anniversary from Nov. 18-24, offers opportunities for foodies, wine lovers and craft beer enthusiasts. The SDBWFF hosts internationally known chefs like Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s, Javier Plascencia of Mision 19 alongside local San Diego stars like 2012 Chef of the Fest winner, Tommy Fraioli of Sea Rocket Bistro.

Celebrity Chefs San Diego Bay Wine Food Fest Festival

Make a toast to fine food, celebrity chefs and drinking by the bay at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Fest. Photo courtesy Kevin Hulett.

This year, even fitness fans can join the feasting fun with a Fit Foodie 5K/10K prior to a Grand Tasting. The “main event” of the fest, the Grand Tasting will be held on Saturday, Nov. 23, gathering 170 wineries, breweries and spirit companies, 70 of San Diego’s top fine-dining restaurants and 30 gourmet food companies in the open-air Embarcadero Marina Park North on San Diego Bay to indulge in a food festival experience like no other.

Grand Tasting San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival 2013

The Grand Tasting at the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival courtesy Kevin Hulett.

The food revelry doesn’t stop there.  The SDBWFF features 25 additional events throughout San Diego County, ranging from an Haute French Cuisine & Vintage Burgundy Tasting at Addison to a Fish Taco Challenge at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens.

Here’s my “Wish List” of 5 events not to miss at San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival this year:

Monday, Nov. 18: La Plancha Pop Up Dinner

Yellowtail crudo Plancha Baja Med Chad White Tequila Pop Up

Yellowtail crudo courtesy Plancha Baja Med by Chad White.

This unique collaboration of Baja and San Diego chefs includes Chad White of Plancha Baja Med, Javier Plascencia of Mision 19 and Jason Knibb of Nine-Ten. Feast upon six uniquely styled courses with tequila pairings selected by Marcela Valladolid of Hacienda de la Flor and Food Network’s Mexican Made Easy.

Tuesday, Nov 19: The San Diego Classics: Fish Tacos & Craft Beers

Fish Taco Craft Beer Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens

Something fishy and delicious is happening at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens during the Fish Taco & Craft Beer Challenge.

What is more “Classic San Diego” than craft beers and fish tacos? This new event celebrates the two classics along with the featured Fish Taco TKO Competition that will pit the top fish taco makers against each other in a mouthwatering battle hosted at the new Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens location in Liberty Station.

Thursday, Nov. 21: Wine Spectator Celebrity Chef Dinner & Big Bottle Live Auction

San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival 2013  chef dinner big bottle auction

Enjoy tray passed hors d’ouvres, a sit-down multi-course meal prepared by 8 celebrity chefs and a wine auction at this event.

After tacos and beer, I thought I’d get in the spirit of the event and indulge in an evening catered by some big names in the restaurant biz. Eight top-notch chefs and 15 legendary wineries make for an unforgettable dining experience at the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina.

Saturday, Nov. 23: Grand Tasting Event

SD Bay Wine & Food Fest courtesy Joey Hernandez

Pouring it on by the bay at The Grand Tasting Event during San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival. Photo courtesy Joey Hernandez.

The grand finale of the five-day festival is the star-studded Grand Tasting Event held Nov. 23 on the Embarcadero Marina Park North behind Seaport Village. Take in the beautiful San Diego Bay and enjoy the ocean breeze as you partake in the largest, wine and food festival in Southern California.  This is where the “Chef of the Fest” competition takes place.

Sunday, Nov. 24: Celebrity Sunrise Yoga & Brunch

While I’m not so much into “sunrise” or “celebrity,” “Yoga & Brunch” are definitely up my alley. The editors of Cooking Light and Health magazines have created a revitalizing Sunday morning experience. Awaken mind and body during a sunrise yoga session for beginner to intermediate levels at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Afterward, yogis  will gather for a delicious and nutritious brunch.

>Find out more information about the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival.

Guests must be over 21 years of age to attend all San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival events. NO infants, strollers, animals or exceptions!



San Diego Brewery Guide: Beer Week and Beyond

san diego beer week brewery tour tasting

The days are getting shorter, the air is getting chilly (ok, not that chilly), and San Diegans are in a festive holiday mood, which can only mean one thing. No, it’s not Thanksgiving or Christmas that San Diego is getting ready to celebrate – it’s the annual tradition of San Diego Beer Week!

With 70+ breweries across San Diego County, navigating the brewery scene can be daunting at any time of year, and even more so during the 10-day run of San Diego Beer Week. Fortunately, the new San Diego Brewery Guide offers essential tips and advice for any travelers looking to brave the San Diego beer scene. The comprehensive guidebook features tasting notes on more than 400 San Diego brews, at-a-glance details on just about every San Diego brewery, dozens of maps to fit in your back pocket, and beer-based itineraries by region and by beer style.

san diego brewery guide 2013 georgian bay books bruce glassman

The San Diego Brewery Guide offers everything you need to know about San Diego’s 70+ breweries.

During San Diego Beer Week, you can pick up a copy and meet the author Bruce Glassman at two fun- and beer-filled events:

Friday, November 8, 4 – 7 p.m., at Stone Brewing Co. World Bistro & Gardnes, Liberty Station

Saturday, November 9,  5 – 10 p.m., at Mission Brewery

If you can’t make it to the events, or simply can’t wait to get your copy, the San Diego Brewery Guide will be available for purchase online for just $16.95 beginning Oct. 30, 2013.

Once you’ve got the lay of the craft beer land, it’s time to plan your San Diego Beer Week agenda. Beer Week spans hundreds of events between Nov. 1 – 10, so the options are limitless, but here are some of San Diego Beer Week’s most popular, innovative and talked about events.

san diego beer week brewery tour tasting

San Diego Beer Week offers hundreds of craft beer tasting events

Rare Beer Breakfast, Nov. 1, 9 a.m.: Kick Beer Week off bright and early with Arrogant Bastard donuts, live jazz and more at Stone Brewing Co.’s World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido.

Bikes, Brews and Brats, Nov. 2, 10 a.m.: Join Green Flash Brewing Co. for a scenic mountain bike ride, followed by beers and bratwurst at the Regal Beagle in Mission Hills.

San Diego Brewers Guild Festival, Nov. 2, 2 p.m.: The official kick off festival features samples from 50+ breweries at the beautiful Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego.

“Dive-In” Theatre, Nov. 4, 8 p.m.: Join the Pearl Hotel for a poolside screening of the 1983 cult comedy classic Strange Brew and enjoy burger and beer pairings from Modern Times Beer.

Chef Celebration & Beer Garden, Nov. 10, 12 p.m.: Set in the gorgeous garden of the Lodge at Torrey Pines, this feast of 24 beers paired with creations by 12 local chefs is the perfect way to end Beer Week.

With so many events during San Diego Beer Week, which ones will you be checking out? Let us know in the comments below.

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – August 9-11, 2013

Woman Looking Through a Telescope

Whether you stare at the stars or enjoy a car-free Sunday afternoon, get out and explore San Diego this weekend with these top things to do:

Julian StarFest 2013

Woman Looking Through a Telescope

Aim for the stars at Julian StarFest!

Spend the weekend learning about the stars at this four-day festival focused around the field of astronomy. Held in Julian, known for its clear dark skies, the festival will include a free public Star Party on Saturday night, astronomy related exhibition areas, guest speakers presenting on astronomy related subjects, a swap meet and a raffle with some great astronomy prizes.

Where: Menghini Winery – 1150 Julian Orchards Drive, Julian, CA 92036
When: August 9-11, 2013
Cost: $15-$30
> Find out more about Julian StarFest 2013


CicloSDias San Diego - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Ride, stroll, run, walk or just sit along 30th Street enjoying a car-free Sunday afternoon

CicloSDias is a family-friendly, car-free bike, walk, stroll, skate, shop event connecting communities and giving people a break from the stress of car traffic. Bring a picnic, lounge in the middle of the street (Time Square style), and/or just enjoy a casual ride along 30th street through Uptown neighborhoods.

Where: Click here for CicloSDias route map
When: August 11, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about CicloSDias

Annual Hillcrest CityFest Street Fair

Annual Hillcrest CityFest Street Fair

Spend Sunday afternoon and evening in Hillcrest at the annual CityFest

Spend Sunday afternoon like Monday doesn’t exist. CityFest boasts a one-of-a-kind magical atmosphere with more than 250 arts, crafts, and food vendors, a grand stage, and a beer garden, there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.

Where: 5th Ave. and University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103
When: August 11, 2013
Time: 12:00 to 11:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Annual Hillcrest CityFest Street Fair

Chula Vista Lemon Festival

Chula Vista Lemon Festival - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Celebrate Chula Vista’s lemon heritage with plenty of family fun at the Lemon Festival

The family-friendly Lemon Festival celebrates Chula Vista’s heritage as the “Lemon Capital of the World” and will feature live entertainment on three stages, a beer garden, handcrafters, international food, a kids’ fun zone and lemons galore.

Where: 353 Third Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910
When: August 11, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Chula Vista Lemon Festival


Beer-Con - A Conference about Beer

Learn about the brewing process, starting a brewery and more at Beer-Con

This is a conference by and for beer lovers! At Beer-Con you’ll get exclusive access to industry pros, get answers to the questions you’ve always wanted to ask, learn about brewing and tasting beer from the best in the business and of course join other beer lovers for a few brews at our Tap Haven where you’ll enjoy a special line-up of craft taps!

Where: Marina Village Conference Center – 1936 Quivira Way, San Diego, CA 92109
When: August 1o, 2014
Time: 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Cost: $109
> Find out more about Beer-Con

> Browse more top things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – June 18-23, 2013

Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off

It’s here…the first weekend of summer! That means it’s time for body surfing at the beach, hiking through to mountains, cycling along the boardwalks, bonfires in the evening and these top things to do in San Diego:

An Evening with Rita Coolidge

An Evening with Rita Coolidge

Spend an evening with Grammy award-winning Rita Coolidge.

Join The ASI Way in beautiful San Diego for a night with Rita Coolidge, a multiple Grammy award-winning vocalist.

Where: Town & Country Resort Center
When: June 18, 2013
Cost: $30-$40
> Find out more about An Evening with Rita Coolidge

Taste of Little Italy

Taste of Little Italy - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Savor the Italian flavors from restaurants throughout Little Italy.

Enjoy live music while strolling and dining in San Diego’s hip and historic Little Italy. Appetizers, entrees, beverages and desserts will be served by the area’s finest restaurants. This year there will be two smaller routes to choose from, and if you are feeling very hungry, the two routes can be combined.

When: June 19, 2013
Time: 5:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: North or South Route Only – $28. Combine Route – $42.
> Find out more about Taste of Little Italy

San Diego Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Festival

San Diego Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Festival

Sample wine, cheese and chocolates while supporting a local non-profit.

Sample mare than 50 wines, cheeses and chocolates from donors, private chefs and local California vineyards while dancing to the music of Sue Palmer, San Diego’s “Queen of Boogie Woogie.” There will also be a silent auction.

Where: North Promenade at Liberty Station – 2730 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
When: June 21, 2013
Time: 6:30 to 9:30 PM
Cost: $35-$50
> Find out more about the San Diego Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Festival

San Diego International Beer Festival

Breweries from around the world will come to the San Diego County Fair with over 300 beers for you to sample. New this year for the competition will be crowning a Champion Brewery in addition to our Best of Show Beer.

Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014
When: June 21-23, 2013
Cost: $55-$90. Includes admission to the San Diego County Fair
> Find out more about the San Diego International Beer Festival

Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off

Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off

Music, shopping, art and chili at the Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off.

Spend the day in Ocean Beach enjoying over 5 stages of live music, a community mural art project, a children’s play area, shopping and chili from more than two dozen entrants vying for the titles of Hottest Chili, Judges’ Award and grand prize People’s Choice Award.

Where: Newport Avenue, San Diego, CA 92107
When: June 22, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
> Find out more about the Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off

2013 Loews Surf Dog Competition-Unleashed by Petco

Surfs Up! Whether catching a wave with a furry friend or seeking fun on the beach with friends and family, this year’s attendees can expect a fun-filled day on the beach. Activities also include a chance to meet Petco’s most experienced trainers or try relaxing with a Puppy Massage/People Massage.

Where: Imperial Beach Pier – 10 Evergreen Avenue, Imperial Beach, CA 92118
When: June 22, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Cost: Free to attend. $50-$55 to compete.
> Find out more about the 2013 Loews Surf Dog Competition-Unleashed by Petco

Annual San Diego Scottish Highlands Game & Gathering of the Clans

Rival clansmen will test each other’s prowess at various sports – running, jumping, wrestling, or primitive forms of weight putting with stones, or dividing into roughly equal sides against each other in a very early form of camanachd or shinty. Lastly the clansmen will vie with each other in piping and in dancing, the pipers taking turns to demonstrate their skills and the clansmen to demonstrate their agility and neatness of movement by dancing complicated steps to the pipe music. These relaxations were in effect the forerunners of the modern Highland games.

Where: Brengle Terrace Park – 1200 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista, CA 92084
When: June 22-23, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: $6-$14
> Find out more about the Annual San Diego Scottish Highlands Game & Gathering of the Clans

La Jolla Festival Of The Arts

La Jolla Festival of the Arts 2013

Stroll through La Jolla browsing among art from more than 200 local and national award-winning artists, listening to live music and marveling at live chalk art creations. There will be plenty of food and a children’s area. Proceeds from the festival support recreational and rehabilitative services to injured veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Where: UC San Diego Warren Field – 3453 Voigt Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093
When: June 22-23, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: $12-$15. Active military and kids 16 and under – Free.
> Find out mare about the La Jolla Festival Of The Arts

> Browse more top things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Robert Arends

Fun East County Finds for Father’s Day Weekend

Father’s Day is just around the corner! If you’re just making plans and hankering for adventure, I’ve got a few fun ideas in San Diego’s wild and wonderful East County region:

Beer Pairing Dinner

Chef Jeremy to serve Beer Pairing Dinner fit for a king!

Chef Jeremy to serve Beer Pairing Dinner fit for a king!

Hop to it and take dad for out for a Beer Pairing Dinner at Jeremy’s on the Hill, located down the road from our famous Gold Rush mountain town of Julian. Partnering with Julian Brewing Company and Baileys BBQ Pit, Cordon Bleu-trained Chef Jeremy will serve a mouthwatering farm-to-table dinner dad won’t soon forget!

Where: Jeremy’s on the Hill – 4354 Highway 78 , Wynola, CA 92070
When: June 14, 2013
Reservations: 760.765.1587
Cost: $37 person/$68 for two

San Diego’s Gaudi – Hubbell/Ilan-Lael Open House

Architectural wonders at the Hubbell Open House

Architectural wonders at the Hubbell Open House

In nearby Santa Ysabel, famed architect/artist James Hubbell – “San Diego’s Gaudi” – opens up his fantastical art compound to the general public on Father’s Day, June 16. This 30th annual Open House sells out, so buy tix soon! This year, Hubbell debuts a new gallery building as dazzling as his art!

Where: 930 Orchard Lane, Santa Ysabel, CA 92070
When: June 16, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: $30-$75. Kids 12 and under – Free.
> Find out more about the Hubbell/Ilan-Lael Open House

Feed-a-Cat…a Big Cat!

Feed-a-cat at Lions, Tigers & Bears!

Feed-a-cat at Lions, Tigers & Bears!

Grrrrrreat! Does your dad love Animal Planet and Discovery Channel? In the rolling hills of Alpine, he can experience wildlife up close and Feed-a-Cat – as in a tiger, lion or leopard (his choice!) at Lions, Tigers & Bears, a big cat and exotic animal rescue sanctuary. I’ve done it once and Thrilling is an understatement! If you bring the kids, they must be 16 or older.

Where: Lions, Tigers & Bears
Cost: $75
Book by calling: 619-659-8078

Borrego Springs

Galleta Meadows' Giant Sloth in Borrego Springs!

Galleta Meadows’ Giant Sloth in Borrego Springs!

Borrego Springs, San Diego’s desert oasis, is piping hot right now but don’t let the triple digits deter you. Summer means NO crowds and hours of poolside respite. I suggest staying at the swanky new La Casa del Zorro Resort (casitas with spas!). On the edge of town, check out the wild Galleta Meadows sculpture garden (free viewing!), featuring a cuddly new Giant Sloth. Book an off-road adventure with California Overland to take dad and the whole family to Fonts Point, “California’s Grand Canyon” – a contender for Virtual Tourist’s 8th Wonder of the World!

Happy Father’s Day and I’ll see you in East County! 🙂