If you haven’t heard, San Diego has become quite the national hot spot when it comes to great craft beer. So much so that San Diego was recently named the top city in America for craft beer by Men’s Journal Magazine (October 2009 issue). Mentioned in that article as “the nation’s best beer boulevard,” 30th Street, passing through North Park and South Park. Along this stretch of hipster hangouts and eclectic farm-to-table restaurants you will find many of the nation’s best beer bars serving tasty beverages with a local soul, story and flavor belonging San Diego.
So, what does this have to do with our loosely defined drinkabout? Well, once a month the proprietors of said beer bars along 30th Street get together and organize an event called a Drinkabout. Part social responsibility, part marketing, part just wanting to have a great time; the Drinkabout has been through three iterations since its inception and is gaining momentum with each event.
The way it works is, on the night of said Drinkabout, two complimentary buses are scheduled to work a set route around North Park, South Park, Normal Heights and University Heights, visiting eight great craft beer locations. The bus schedule is published well in advance, offering patrons the opportunity to hop on a bus every half hour at each location. The buses run from 7 to 11 p.m. and are promptly where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there! As mentioned before, this whole setup is complimentary and designed to allow you, the craft beer lover, the ability to visit your favorite bars and tap handles with ease and safety.
Usually occurring on a Wednesday night, the drinkabout is more than transportation from bar to bar. As you progress through your evening, you will run into some old friends and make some new ones. The industry and fan base surrounding craft beer is one of the friendliest and unpretentious crowds you’ll ever meet. My first drinkabout consisted of myself, my wife and one other friend, and by the end of the night we had bumped into more friends than I can count and struck up conversations with some great people all out to have a good time and see what’s on tap.
Another fun feature connected with the drinkabout is their “speakeasy” style of drink special promotion. As you move from place to place, you won’t see any special event or special deals being advertised. Instead, you will need to do some prep work and visit the drinkabout Web site (included at the end of this column) to see what special beers are on tap or food items are on discount. If you don’t mention the drinkabout when you order, you might not get the benefits. Just sayin’…
I must mention that this is not a “pub crawl.” This is a way to safely get out and try some great craft beer, eat some fresh food and interact with some like-minded people who appreciate what we have here in San Diego, a lot of great craft beer. If you do decide to make a go of it and try to have a pint at each bar, please make sure you are drinking responsibly and have a designated driver set at the end of the night. That being said, keep your eyes open for the next drinkabout, hopefully happening later this month. Cheers!
For more information, dates, and bus schedules on the Drinkabout, visit: Sddrinkabout.blogspot.com.
— Tony Clarke and his wife, Liz, own Airdale Brewing Company, located in San Diego. airdalebrewing.com