Oceanside’s Bagby Beer Co. and Craft Coast Beer + Tacos are separated by less than three-quarters of a mile, but the vibes outside the door feel quite different. Will it matter when we go inside…err…outside?
As a reminder, breweries are scored on a 100-point scale with a max of 20 points per category. See the scoring details in our North County Brewery Patio-Off Bracket launch column. Skip below for an unexpected twist or two. Check out the bracket below or click here.
Craft Coast Beer + Tacos (Oceanside)
You might remember that the Craft Coast patio got high marks for its excellent people-watching and even better tacos.
The patio has a partial ocean view with a partial roof, making the brewery a great place to find a spot in the shade during the hot sun of the summer or under the roof when the early morning fog turns into a midday mist.
Oh yeah, and they serve beer. Tacos and beer are always a winning combination.
It was a lovely sunny day when we loaded up the dog in his comfy trailer (I am that dog dad) for a family outing to Bagby Beer Co. We rolled right in the back gate and parked our bikes inside. Dog-friendly and bike-friendly? Bagby is already starting ahead. It’s early in the afternoon. We have our choice of seats but are almost overwhelmed by the outdoor options. By my count, there are at least six outdoor patio areas plus an indoor/outdoor dining area.
We picked a pair of sun-dappled lounge chairs under a shade tree with a view of the wooden barrels and stainless steel tanks in the brewery. There are potted flowers and a few leftover dishes on our table when we arrive. Bagby uses a QR-code menu ordering system similar to Craft Coast. It isn’t for me, but my wife loves it. We order beers and spicy corn dogs.*
There is a small front patio looking out towards the Coast Highway if you’d like to watch the passing cars — often vintage. We chose the picturesque back patio, which is entirely contained — protected even. Flowers hang from a trellis. Tall, golden beers sweat atop picnic tables. A group laughs and shouts as they play oversized Jenga. It’s a scene, man.
The spicy corn dogs come out before the beers. We didn’t realize they were plant-based until the server told us later. My wife is an aggressive carnivore, but she couldn’t tell! They’re gone before the beers come out and the old dishes get cleared. It’s not a big deal, nor the fault of the staff, but that timing is one of the little things that gets sacrificed when table service is replaced by automated ordering.
That isn’t an attack on Bagby. There are more service jobs than there are service employees, and automation is a logical step when considering labor costs versus profit margins in the industry. The servers we do engage with are excellent and well-informed when we ask questions.
Takeaway: Full menu offerings, plenty of seating options, and sitting in the back feels like an experience. The outside world still exists but not back here! Here is where you can slowly sip on a tall lager and sink into a lounge chair while your troubles—if you have them—melt away.
ROUND 2 WINNER: Bagby Beer Company
Local Beverage Updates:
Remember when I said the fall was going to be busy for SoCal beer, wine, and spirits lovers?
- Add the Solento Surf Festival to the calendar. Spanning two weekends in September (16-23rd), the film fest and surf comp is sure to feature plenty of VIP spirits drinking opportunities. Full disclosure, I’m drinking a Solento Reposado Tequila on the rocks right now.
- Eppig Brewing just released its annual Festbier. It’s available now through October 31st. They’ll be celebrating Oktoberfest with limited-edition steins, contests, Bavarian festival decor and music at the Vista Bierhalle location on Saturday, September 16th.
- Brand Finance released its rankings of the most valuable beer brands. Heineken came in number one with a value of 7.6 billion dollars. If you want your favorite local craft brewery to make the top 50, well, you’re going to need to drink a lot more beer.