Golf and Beer: The Best of San Diego On Tap

Post Date: October 1st, 2015

San Diego has a lot going for it.  

Photo Courtesy: Flickr user Kulicki

Beaches, mountains, great weather, great people, great beer – and great golf.  It's a well-kept secret that San Diego has some world class golf courses – more than 90 throughout the county – and they're all great for different reasons.  Of course, some are harder to get into than others (some especially dedicated golfers are known to sleep in their cars just to be able to get an early spot at Torrey Pines) but they're all worth a shot.  Or a draw.  Or whatever. 

October 4th is National Golf Lovers Day, so it's a great time to celebrate your love for the game, rekindle affection for it, or learn to love it!  It's also a great excuse to leave work early to go spend some time on the course.  

But this isn't just about the subtle game of golf and the beautiful places you can play in San Diego. It's also about a topic that's near and dear to the hearts of many players: craft beer.  Golf and beer go together like peanut butter and jelly, and if you're not a regular player you might be surprised to know that some of the best places to get an affordable meal and a brew in San Diego, while enjoying excellent views, are golf courses.

Don't believe us?  Check out Riverwalk Golf Club, smack in the heart of Mission Valley.  Sure, its green is great, but it's easy to get hungry and thirsty out there – that's why its Sunset Grill offers meals, snacks, and – most importantly – a full array of craft brews.  But hurry – there are plans to close this course over the next decade.

Balboa Park Golf Course, which is also in a really central part of San Diego (surprisingly enough, in Balboa Park) boasts two courses, but also the timeless charm of Tobey's 19th Hole and its tasty diner-style fare and generous drinks.  It's delicious, reasonably priced, rarely crowded – and, oh yeah, offers local beers for great prices. Go there and tip one back while you look out over the untroubled green.  You also get to sit high up, so you can pretend you're in your own private castle. Or maybe that's just us.

Mission Bay Golf Course is one of the few places in San Diego, if not the only place, that offers night golfing.  There isn't a dedicated sit-down restaurant on site, so it's a little different, but it's blocks from the beach.  The course is short, so you can stop by, finish up in a couple of hours, and then wander over to the Iron Pig Alehouse for upscale BBQ, or Luce Bar & Kitchen for upscale Ameican cuisine and tip back a cold, fresh local beer while you're at it.  If you finish up early enough, you can get some great happy hour deals on grub, too! 

Golf and beer are a winning combination no matter how you look at it, especially here in San Diego, where it's one of the best places in the world for both.  But they're not just great fun together.  They're the secret to living a long and happy life – which, in the end, is the best reason to enjoy yourself on a local course of all. We're not kidding! This lady said so, and she's an expert. Plus, she's any indication, you'll look great in the process.

Just keep in mind one thing. Imbibe responsibly! As the great golfer (and drinker) Dean Martin once said: “If you drink, don't drive. Don't even putt.” Words to live by.

Brooke B.,
Beer Bogey

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Happy October from San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: September 25th, 2015



October is here, again! Already! It's a wonderful time of year.  Time to break out your best pumpkin carving skills and Halloween or Day of the Dead decorations, because the autumn winds are blowing away the last bits of El Nino humidity and making it the beautiful season it always is in San Diego!

It's possible to find some scary good wines out there to augment your grown-up costume party, and it doesn't have to be a terrifying experience.  So if you're looking around for something new, try one of these ideas on for size.

If you're rushing to the supermarket, don't just grab the same tired old chardonnay you've been getting for the past couple of years. In fact, don't get chardonnay at all. Everybody loves chardonnay, so try something different. Plus, it's fall. Go for a big bold California red! But not too big.  Don't get one of those oversized wine bottles – they're not going to be great. 

Buy local. San Diego's wines are finally enjoying a moment of good press, but the fact is, they've been here a long, long time. Some of California's oldest vintages, in fact, come from here. And a lot of them are  really, really good. If you can't find San Diego wine, grab a California wine.

But if you're going the grocery store route, buy young and fresh wines, not older vintages. That's because they're likely just getting moved around on the shelves and stored properly, so the older a wine is, the more likely to be bad it is going to be.  (There are exceptions to this rule, we know! But for last-minute party shopping, this is an excellent rule of thumb.)

You can also use a list like this one from Wine Folly, which shorthands what wines to look for from which regions.  Mapping out what you like beforehand can be enormously helpful when you're trying something new. 

And if you're in a real pickle, like you have ten minutes and need fifteen to get ready, we have to heartily recommend technology. Wine apps for your smartphone can take the most complex palate issues and break down what you're looking for to just a few easy-to-find bottles, all while staying within your price range.

But, if you have the time, don't ever forget the two best ways of all to keep your wine knowledge up-to-date and well-balanced: tasting as much wine as you can at any time, experimenting to find out what you like the most, taking note of where they're from, and keeping track.  That's one.  And if technology and personal experience fails, don't forget about asking your friendly local sommeliers what they're into!  They can cut straight to the chase and help you track down just what you're looking for.

So there you go. Finding a new wine on short notice doesn't have to be a scary experience.  That's what the morning after the Halloween party is for.  


Brooke B., 

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Happy Holiday Weekend! Beer Best Practices for Labor Day in San Diego

Post Date: August 31st, 2015


Labor Day is almost upon us again – already!  It's been an odd year, thanks to an El Nino that has kept things unseasonably warm, but now that warm weather is going to be a blessing, because this is the official weekend Americans love to get out and fire up their barbecue.

Burgers are the traditional grilled food of choice, but there's no need to worry too much about pairing your beer to your food. Since Labor Day is a time to hang around outside with friends, consider pairing your drinks to the weather instead!

Since the odds are that it's going to be a warm day, stock up on light beers with light flavors and a relatively low alcohol content so that you don't get thirsty and end up taking an impromptu nap and missing the party!  

IPAs, or India Pale Ales, are the granddaddy of the San Diego beer scene.  They're almost always a great choice in San Diego, but they can run a little strong.  If you are really looking forward to an IPA-filled day, Ballast Point's Sculpin seems to be one of the most popular choices – it's so tasty, and an all-around crowd pleaser.

If that's a bit much for you, give your tastebuds a break and try a saison (like Fallbrook Homegrown Saison!) or a Belgian-style witbier like Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment's cleverly-named Witte Snake (get it?!)

Helm's Brewings' O.G. Wheat is an odd little Gose-style beer: it's sour and brewed with coriander and salt.  It sounds weird, but it's absolutely delicious at any time of year, particularly in the heat.

There are, of course, plenty more beers to choose from in this wonderful town, and we're happy to take tips on how to best enjoy both the weather and the beer here.  So bottoms up, have a tip-top time, and enjoy your holiday weekend!

Brooke B., Summer Spirit

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The Wine Harvest Season Has Arrived in California!

Post Date: August 25th, 2015

grapes (1 of 1)-3

We're coming up on the end of August, the slow and heavy days where nothing seems to happen and the bustle of early summer has been replaced by sleepy, sultry afternoons.  These are the Dog Days, so called because Sirius, the Dog Star, rises with the sun this time of year, at least in our hemisphere.  

It's also the quiet interlude before Wine Country's biggest time of year: the harvest!  This is a great time to travel to California if you don't live here, or explore the region around you if you do, because there are all kinds of events that take place around harvest season.  

Harvest time lasts a couple of months, because some grapes take a little longer to ripen than others or are left a little longer on the vine.  It starts around September (although some grapes are picked in June or July!) and continues through November or so, at least in this hemisphere (in the southern hemisphere, this time of year stretches roughly from February through April.)  Most of the early part of the harvest is given over to white wine grapes, such as your chardonnays and sauvignon blancs, and, incidentally, pinot noirs, which are picked early in the season. 

The grapes that are left to ripen longer aren't necessarily for sweeter wines: they're also for the bigger bodied and higher-alcohol ones, like merlots and syrahs.  Some wines, in fact, have to be watered down because they're so high in alcohol.  Talk about overachievers.

But regardless of what grapes are getting picked, harvest time is a time of celebration and fun for everybody.  The events range from high-end dinners with wine pairings, to hayrides and tractor rides for people of all ages, to the biggest and best known part of the harvest, the Blessing of the Grapes, and our favorites – the Wine Stomps, where everyone rolls up their sleeves and their pants legs to become part of the fun!

The grape harvest has such a profound effect on California, both economically and socially, that for the 11th year running, the state's governor has declared September California Wine Month.  This means the entire state is studded with more festivities and winery parties than you could shake a trellis at!

So enjoy, salud, and go explore the wine options around here.  You'll find what you're looking for, and then some.  Don't forget to toast us!

Brooke B., Wine Worshiper 

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Spend Your Dog Days with the Coolest Summer Sips… and San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: July 4th, 2015

Photo Courtesy: Flickr user anoldent 

The dog days of summer are upon us. Hammock Day, July 22, 2015, is a way to celebrate the warmest days of the year by embracing the sunshine, grabbing a drink, and – you guessed it – basking in a hammock. San Diego Beer and Wine Tours invites you to enjoy the rest of your dog days by partaking in one of their various excursions which allows you to sit back and enjoy the best brews and wines of San Diego, car-free!

Their all-inclusive tours offer a VIP experience for you and your party to indulge in a "vine to glass" or "hop to table" experience with local food and wine or beer appreciated at the production facilities. The best part being that there is no need to drink and drive. Their guided tours provide transportation between the vineyards, winery, and brewery locations to reduce gas and parking expenses, and to keep you safe.

Winery Chauffeured Tours

With the most wine and food of all the tours, this tour is the whole experience. This tour features pick up and drop off from most locations within San Diego, about 18 wine pours, and an early dinner overlooking vineyard grounds.

Winery Train Tours

Drink in the coastal scenery as you hop on and off the coaster train. No need to drive. This popular tour features about 15 wines and a wine pairing light luncheon.

Beer Train Trolley Tour

Travel by rail and enjoy four breweries for flights of beer and luncheon. This tour features about 16 different beers and a brewery light lunch.

All Tours include wine or beer appreciation presentations by expert guides, behind-the-scenes tours, sightseeing, wine or beer tastings, farm-to-table food, games and prizes!

Tours run daily, year round, by appointment.

For more information, go to or contact: 858.551.5115.

-Traci V., Intern

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Happy Fourth of July from San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: June 30th, 2015

Image Courtesy: Flickr user Golf Resort Achental

Image Courtesy: Flickr user Golf Resort Achental


Oh, hey! It's nearly July 4th already?  How did this happen so fast?  It feels like just yesterday that we were waiting up to see in the new year, and here it is Independence Day.  

We love the Fourth of July.  It's nice and warm, the day is long and punctuated by food and cold drinks, and at the end of it we get fireworks!  Usually, we put up a guide to pairing wines and beers with your barbecue foods, but this time, we've scoured the web to find ways for you to work your favorite drinks into your favorite summer recipes. 

If you're grilling beef, accompany it with a porter or stout reduction sauce to simultaneously tenderize it and bring out the smoky tanginess of the beer.  Reductions are super easy and really delicious – all it means is that you boil out some of the water, thereby reducing overall volume and concentrating flavors to make, yes, the perfect sauce.  When you use beer or wine as a reduction base, you also boil out the alcohol, so it can't get you (too) drunk – it'll just make you really, really happy. 

You can use equal parts water and beer or broth and beer, and whisk in your flavors (garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, whatever you like) to taste, then boil everything down until you have an incredible sauce.  Try out this amazing stout pan sauce or an incredible porter reduction recipe to start and just go from there! 

If you're trying sauces and reductions on for size for your chicken or fish dishes, you might want to go lighter. Try a honey-IPA combo for chicken, and go for citrusy with lighter-tasting fish, like a solid Hefeweizen. If you're a vegetarian, use darker beers with mushroom dishes, and lighter ones for other vegetables – or just experiment until you find something you love.  Experimenting with food and drink is the best kind of science!

If these beer reduction recipes whet your appetite, come sate it with us. We'll be offering beer, wine, and food tours to give you even more pairing and reduction ideas. Give us a call and book a tour with us at (858) 551-5115 and we'll talk food and drink all day long.

Happy eating and drinking, bottoms up, and happy Fourth of July!  Let freedom ring and your belly growl.

Brooke B., Freedom Fighter

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San Diego Beer & Wine Tours Loves IPAs!

Post Date: June 24th, 2015

Image Source: Flickr user Bernt Rostad

We officially entered summer in the northern hemisphere this week!

So far it's looking like a wonderfully mild summer – the stuff dreams of people who aren't lucky enough to live here are made of.  It also is looking more and more likely that we're entering an El Nino season, which means we might not have to worry so much about drought in the near future.  Hooray!

So now that we've finished talking about the weather, let's talk about what makes the summer so special in southern California – specifically, San Diego. If you think it's because of the beer, give yourself a gold star.  It's definitely the beer! Summer is when all the best local IPAs start to really shine, and they really are the best local IPAs.  West Coast IPAs were born and perfected right here in San Diego.

IPAs, in case you're wondering, are possessed of a wonderful citrusy astringence that goes beautifully with warm weather food and fun. San Diego pioneered the double and the triple IPA beer.  In fact, the term “West Coast IPA” was developed and then trademarked by our very own Green Flash Brewing Co.  

And people just looooove IPAs.  In fact, for the seventh year running, Russian River Brewing Co.'s Pliny the Elder was voted “Best Beer in America” by Zymurgy magazine.  Russian River is in Santa Rosa, not San Diego, but there's still a San Diego connection: Pliny the Elder's a double IPA, or a beer that, without San Diego, simply wouldn't exist!

And why are San Diego IPAs (and beers in general) so delicious?  As any beer fan will tell you around here – it's all in the water.  Not to mention the committed efforts of all the craft beer lovers who love it here and work hard together to make our city one of the best places to live on earth.

So drink up. It's getting hot out!

Brooke B., Summer Fling

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Summertime is Comic-Con Time for San Diego Beer & Wine Tours!

Post Date: June 19th, 2015
Image Source: Flickr user PatLoika

Image Source: Flickr user PatLoika

San Diego is famous for many things – the sun, the surf, the craft beer (of course), and in the past few years, Comic-Con has made headlines all over the word.  The convention started out in 1970 as a tiny group of comic book aficionados, and since then it’s not only become a model for conventions worldwide, but also blossomed into a huge annual event that brings hundreds of thousands of people to San Diego.

Comic-Con is great, not only because it’s a lot of fun even if you don’t attend the main event there’s still a ton of fun stuff going on all over downtown.  And luckily, you’re not the only person who’s noticed that Comic-Con and beer are a perfect combination. It looks like beer events with a proudly nerdy flavor are here to stay.

So how’s your July 8th looking?  That’s Comic-Con’s infamous Preview Night, but it’s also the third iteration of Stone Brewery’s HopCon: The w00tstout Festival.  $75 buys you beer tasters, gourmet food, and a whole bunch of celebrity hosts!   Just head on out to Liberty Station that Wednesday, and enjoy the company of geeky luminaries like Wil Wheaton and Drew Curtis.  You’ll love it!

July 10th is video game night.  Check out Super Video Game Land at Mission Brewery Plaza. Check out classic video games from the 1980s and 1990s, plus music and works of art they inspired. Oh, and of course there will be local beer. It’s free!

On July 11th, a collision of brews and comics takes place at the Loma Club at Liberty Station, in the form of Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival!  Don your favorite superhero costume and come on out! Admission starts at $44, and proceeds go to benefit the Warrior Foundation.

There are plenty more events going on both on and off the main Comic-Con site, so come on out and enjoy!  It’s yet another reason San Diego is the place to be.


Brooke B., Geekologist

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San Diego Beer & Wine Tours Wishes You a Happy Father’s Day!

Post Date: May 21st, 2015

Image Source: Flickr user Caroline Granycome

Happy Father’s Day!

We love our dads! But we think that when it comes to holidays, they don’t get a fair shake. After all, we just had Mother’s Day and all the stress that goes into trying to find the perfect gift for the moms in our life, and now here comes Father’s Day, less than two months later!

What’s an offspring to do?

Well, around here, we’re all about gender equality. We thought that you should bring the moms in your life on our tours for Mother’s Day, and now, we think that the best thing to do with the dads in your life this Father’s Day is, of course, bring them on one of our tours.

You could just take them to dinner. But that’s so low key! Why not do something different and bring them on our beer or wine pairing events? Our hand-picked wineries and craft breweries are sure to be a big hit with them, and sharing the fun of our tours is sure to be a great experience for all the dads you know.

Studies show that the best way to improve your bonds with loved ones is by sharing novel and fun experiences with them. So share the great experience of one of our tours with the fathers in your life, and we’ll be happy to be there with you!

We love you, dads, even if you do tell Dad Jokes.

Brooke B.,

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San Diego Beer and Wine Tours LOVES American Craft Beer Week!

Post Date: May 11th, 2015

beer (1 of 1)

It's one of the best weeks of the year!

American Craft Beer Week starts today, and it's gonna be a good one. American craft beer has only gotten better and better every year. This week starts today, and runs all the way through Sunday, May 17th, so you have plenty of time to get your tastings on!

This week exists to honor the thousands of American brewers who have made the United States one of the world's premiere beer destinations. The epicenter of this movement is California, and the absolute heart of the American craft brewing community is right here in San Diego.

That's why we feel particularly blessed to live right here! Not only is the weather fabulous and the scenery unbeatable, it's also one of the best places on earth to be a fan of excellent beer.

That's also why we support American Craft Beer Week. When you're drinking a beer, you're not just quenching your thirst – you're also taking in its geography, its history, and the spirit and innovation that goes into making every carefully brewed barrel.

Drink up! After all, the independence and creativity that characterize craft beer are what makes America (and its drinks!) great.

Cheers to great beers!

Brooke B., Cerveza Fanatic

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