THE COMPETITORS: North County newcomers Duck Foot Brewing’s new secret (not so secret) spot in Leucadia tries to avoid the Black Plague in a showdown of tasting room patios.
THE SCORES: 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 launch column. Skip below for an unexpected twist or two.
Duck Foot ‘Secret’ Tasting Room (Leucadia)
At first glance, the patio looks haphazard and thrown together, which may not be untrue. The space is a recycled tasting room that started as St. Archer Brewing, became Kings & Convicts (thru acquisition), and is now part of the Duck Foot brand. The interior, minus some new art, is nearly exactly the same as it always has been.
Outside there are a bunch of wooden barrels paired with tall chairs protected by orange roadside barriers from the cars and cyclists rolling by. There are low tables and chairs pushed up against the tasting room’s outside wall. A bartop with stools both inside and out connects the two spaces.
I rode my bike down from Carlsbad to meet a friend and was thrilled to find some protected bike parking. I ordered the first round at the bar. The service was great. Over the course of a few hours, I was really impressed by the Duck Foot team.
As a former restaurant and bar manager, I appreciate the hustle, and this small team was doing it. We never waited for another beer and there was always someone clearing glasses or cleaning tables despite the rush of customers coming down for bingo.
Did you know bingo is a thing with young people now? I didn’t. My friend and I watched the crowd filtering and drank an Aviator Belgian-style Blonde and a Platy Pug Dubbel. She was thrilled to learn about Duck Foot’s gluten-reduced brewing process.
Duck Foot doesn’t have a kitchen, but it has smartly partnered with Haggo’s Organic Tacos down the street to offer a food menu that can be delivered to your table. There weren’t many customers when we arrived, but by the time the bingo host kicked off the game, it was standing room only. Duck Foot wins the wildcard game.
Takeaway: My expectations were pretty middle of the road, but despite the small space and limited seating, Duck Foot’s patio impressed me. I never even mentioned the great people and car-watching along the PCH.
Duck Foot Brewing is located at 978 N. Coast Hwy 101 #2051, Encinitas, CA,92024.
Black Plague Brewing Purgatory Lounge (Escondido)
Column note: Local author and host of the long-running Beer Night in San Diego podcast, Cody Thompson, stepped in to help review some of the breweries near his HQ in Escondido.
When Black Plague rolled into town, Escondido was abuzz. Not only would Escondido have a brand-new tasting room near its official downtown by Grand Avenue, but they would be bringing (arguably) one of the best burgers along with them in Full Metal Burgers.
The Purgatory Lounge offers a patio behind the taproom with multiple picnic tables spaced out well for the enjoyment of food and beer for those patrons who want to enjoy a warm Southern California day. I very much appreciated the installed shades stretching over the space providing relief from direct sunlight.
The Purgatory Lounge offers in-house food all week long. Full Metal Burgers serves up specialty smash burgers, fries, and more every day during open business hours at the lounge. As a patron, the menu consistency is a huge plus, and not having to consult a food truck calendar is a double plus.
The patio sits at the far back of the lounge, serving almost as a “backyard.” It is enclosed by a wooden fence, adding a home-like touch to the space. So, to grab that second or third beer, you’re walking the length of the building to get back to the bar. It’s a bit of a hike, but not the end of the world by any means. The beers and burgers are both worth the extra steps.
Besides, beer and burgers in the backyard are about as summer-time as you can get. With Escondido heating up this summer, you’re going to feel right at home at the Purgatory Lounge.
Takeaway: Black Plague’s Purgatory Lounge is a black metal home away from home, offering a wide-ranging beer board and some of the best burgers you’ll find in the city. Comforting, welcoming and an at-home feel to the back patio. Black Plague’s Purgatory Lounge is located at 239 E. Valley Pkwy, Escondido, CA, 92025.
ROUND 1 WINNER: Black Plague’s The Purgatory Lounge
UNRELATED: Solento Tequila’s 3rd annual Surf Film Festival is happening this fall, but they are accepting film submissions now. Submit your best surf clips to SolentoTequila.com.
Did I miss an excellent brewery patio? Send a message to @CheersNorthCounty on Facebook or Instagram, or e-mail me at [email protected].
Cody Thompson, host of Beer Night in San Diego podcast, contributed to this column.