Temecula Breweries

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When I was planning our trip to California, I thought it would be a great surprise to take Rob to a few craft breweries. I started out on this California Craft Beer website and zoomed in on the greater Los Angeles area. I wasn’t sure if we’d have time to hit any before heading down to Temecula, but I noted a couple, just in case.

Then I remembered that one of our faves, Stone Brewing Company, was in Southern California and tried to figure out if we’d be able to hit it. As I zoomed in on Escondido, where Stone is located, I noticed on the map that there were a few craft breweries right in Temecula! With a little more help from The Google, I found the Temecula Breweries website!

I made a note of the hours and locations of all of the breweries, in hopes that we could hit a few while we were in Wine Country. Yes, I intended to drink beer in Wine Country. I knew it was quite probable that we would get wined out. And we did.

With the help of the same locals recommended wineries, we were able to plot a route and pick some breweries that were near each other. This was not unlike our plan for Wine Tasting!Β  We picked five breweries and intended to visit the one furthest from Old Town first so that we could end by having dinner in Old Town.

Note: Brewery Tasting Rooms in Temecula are generally open from 4pm to 8pm. Some are not open Monday and Tuesday.

This was perfect for our trip because after a day of tasting the previous day, we had time to sleep in, have a late breakfast, pack for the next day’s early morning departure and have a late, late lunch before hitting the breweries.

And so I give you the Temecula Breweries we visited, in the order of visiting them. Rob collected a pint glass from each.

1) Ironfire Brewing

“Ales for Outlaws.” Ironfire does a great job of encompassing that Old Southwest feel that you’ll still find a bit of in Old Town Temecula. I love the names of their beers! And while you can’t read them at all in the photo below, I loved that they looked like they were burned into wood and hung on the wall, just like you might expect during those times.

093They offer beers by the pint, half-pint and flight (sampler) in their small, standing-only tasting room. Rob enjoyed a half-pint each of the Viscious Disposition Imperial Porter and the DOA Double IPA. I had a half-pint of the Six Killer Stout and snuck a taste of their Cucumber Ale. That would be such a refreshing beverage in the summer!

Ironfire is a newer brewery and the bartender was excited to show us the growlers they just got in! Of course, we couldn’t take one with us, so I snapped a photo. How fitting with their theme!
095And in the bathroom, I found a reward poster for Billy the Kid…

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We liked this place so much that we weren’t sure how the rest would compare! But we ventured onward anyway.

2) Black Market Brewing

According to a bartender on our first night in town, Black Market is the oldest brewery in Temecula. But I’ve just learned that it opened in 2009!

098The bar where these brews were served did not have a seat available. This place was busy! So I told Rob to order two beers that he wanted to try and I’d just have a few tastes. It was my turn to drive!

So we grabbed our Revolution Oatmeal Stout and the Scottish Export 80

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It was Happy Hour, so these pints were only $3.50 each!

…and wandered into the overflow room where we sat at some picnic tables. I liked how the barrels below separated the sitting area from the tank room.
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3) Wiens Brewing

Yes, this is the family who owns Wiens Winery. We weren’t impressed with their wines, so we were curious about their attempt at beer. When we walked into Wiens, it was completely empty. There was no one there. Hmmm… I did like the layout of their beer menu on the wall, though.

102I proceeded to order the Chocolate Porter while Rob ordered a Bourbon barrel-something-or-other called Descend.

103I am so into bourbon barrel-style ales right now! However, they are very high in alcohol, that I knew they wouldn’t be on my menu for the evening! The aroma of this one was right on par with the ones I like. However, the chocolate in my porter tasted forced – almost like someone added Hershey’s syrup to it. I had half and gave the rest to Rob to finish.

We were there for almost an hour and I can tell you that during that time, only one person stopped in. I’m not sure why that is. But almost across the road {within walking distance} was…

4) Refuge Brewery

Rob wanted to skip this one because they are known for their Belgians, of which he is not a fan. I told him to give it a chance. There is no reason to not stop when we were so close.

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This place was hoppin’! It appears that this was the happy hour place to go. It only got busier while we were there.

107Rob made a detour to the restroom and I pulled up to the bar. It was time for a sampler. I explained to the bartender that my husband didn’t like Belgians. I asked him to put together a sampler of beers that just might change his mind…

108Blood Orange Wit {Belgian Style White Ale}, Rampart Red {American Red Ale}, Pumpkin Saison {Farmhouse Style Ale}, Vertigo {Belgian Imperial Style IPA}

Ding! Ding! Ding! The Vertigo won in Rob’s book that night! But I totally missed that they had some Bourbon Barrel “Reserves”!

109After whining that I totally missed those, our bartender gave us a couple little tastes of the Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Ale as well as the Four Roses Bourbon Barrel Ale, which was my favorite. I’m so glad that he gave us tastes because I wouldn’t have been able to drink a $6 glass and then drive and Rob probably wouldn’t have been able to drink a $6 glass and stay awake!

You could also learn a thing or two at the Refuge Brewery…

5) Aftershock Brewing

For us, Aftershock was kind of an Afterthought. I almost skipped it because I just couldn’t find it. That is because it’s in a warehouse-type complex all around the back and I didn’t see any signage. I had to call them to get some landmarks. It was a quick visit because we were in need of some dinner. I believe Rob chose a unique beer with strawberry or something of that sort. He had already had the Jess y James Imperial Stout at a bar in Old Town on our first night. So good. At the local supermarket, we could easily spot their beers, marked in green and gold and all. πŸ˜‰

So we bought our pint glass, she threw in some coasters and we made our way to dinner…

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In the end, we didn’t make it to Stone Brewery, even though we love their stuff. But that’s okay. We can get their beers back at home. And we had a few specialities on tap while in Cali. The way a local put it, “In California, it’s the battle of the North and South: Lagunitas vs. Stone. I’d rather support the local, little guy while I can.”

What’s your favorite local beer where you live?

I just may have to give it a try when I’m in your neck of the woods!

Cheers~
Carrie

15 responses »

  1. I need to road trip to Minnesota so we can pub crawl sometime – it all looks amazing! This is coming from someone who is married to a man that if there were 100 beers on tap, he would ask for Miller Lite. 😦

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