I like beer.
I like craft beer.
I like San Diego craft beer.
But I’m beginning to get a little craft beer fatigued. (They can be quite heavy, after all.)
I took a little walk in Ocean Beach the other day. And I miss the days when I used to see a lot of neo-hippies chilling on the sidewalk and playing really bad guitar.
What happened to them? They likely pawned their guitars and became craft brewers. That’s because there are four craft breweries or tasting rooms now in Ocean Beach, with another one on the way.
The newest one is a three-story homage to craft beer called OB Brewery. Yeah, real original. Come on, this is OB! How about The People’s Republic of OB Brewery?
Indeed, even the OB Rag website ragged on the growing number of these places. And here I thought the counter-culture Rag supported any kind of mind-altering experience, even one that costs $6 a pint …
“Walking around downtown OB on Wednesday, I encountered several people who did not savor the prospect that OB is turning into Pacific Beach with all its bars and nightclubs and restaurants. This is not a pleasant thought for them,” wrote Frank Gormlie of the Rag.
It’s not just these brew pubs and tasting rooms that tout craft beer. Go into just about any OB bar, and craft beers are offered. South Beach Bar & Grille is crazy with them, offering such beers as Big Sky Moose Drool (from Montana).
When I first moved to San Diego, I wandered into the diviest dive bar I had ever encountered, the Arizona Cafe, just off Newport Avenue on Bacon Street. It was dark. It smelled. The bartender was as mean as spit.
I ordered a Heineken. He snarled at me and said the bar only served domestic beer. Coors, Bud, etc. … In bottles only.
Oh! My bad.
The Arizona Cafe is still around — in name only, however. It was sold and remodeled and now offers all sorts of beer on tap. And it doesn’t smell anymore. I miss the old one.
And it’s not just the explosion of craft breweries and tasting rooms that’s become overwhelming. It’s the number of craft beer festivals too.
Everybody is holding a craft beer festival these days. The Padres do. (Actually, one needs beer to stomach the Padres play.) The Del Mar racetrack does. Holy Angels Byzantine Catholic Church has a rocking one. (That last one? Not true. Not yet, at least.)
Santee has one. So does Escondido. So does Hillcrest. So does Carlsbad.
When Comic-Con was in town, somebody had the bright idea to hold a Heroes Brew Fest. For that one, people were encouraged to dress as superheroes and partake.
According to the website: “Heroes Brew Fest gives you more than your standard San Diego beer festival. Expect to enjoy the best people watching and picture opportunities available at any San Diego beer fest plus more.”
I should have gone dressed as the Incredible Drinking Hulk. I would have won the costume contest, easy. Right. Then my wife would have divorced me.
Every weekend, there seems to be another craft beer festival claiming to be the ultimate craft beer festival.
There’s the San Diego Beer Festival. There’s the International San Diego Beer Festival. There’s the San Diego Beer and Music Festival. There’s the Rhythm & Blues Music and Craft Beer Festival. There’s the San Diego on Tap Beer Festival. There’s the San Diego Craft Brew Circus. There’s the Beer Coast Beer Fest.
Harrah’s Resorts Southern California holds something called Hop Heads & Dreads. And what is that, you ask? Why, it’s a craft beer and reggae festival. (Thought those music lovers liked another kind of pairing.)
Then, of course, there’s Beer Week …
Even Norm, from Cheers, would cry uncle.
I don’t know how local brewers manage to participate in so many of these festivals. How do they have time to craft their craft beers?
Where do they find the time to come up with the funky beer names?
Dry School Dropout Imperial IPA?
Come on. That takes serious effort.