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Carlsbad Brewing Company. Photo by Bill Vanderburgh
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Craft Beer in North County: Bressi Ranch’s newest beer venture

Above: Carlsbad Brewing Company. Photo by Bill Vanderburgh

Carlsbad Brewing Company surprised me. It was completely unknown to me until just a few days ago, and it turned out to be unusually good.

Which is really saying something in San Diego’s craft beer market, which is loaded with excellent breweries.

Located in a new, sharp-looking building, Carlsbad Brewing Company (6133 Innovation Way, Carlsbad) is the latest venture from the owners of the popular Encinitas Ale House.

They are still in a soft-open phase, but given the large, happy crowd in attendance on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, it felt like they were already fully open. Because of the company’s experience with other bar-related businesses, the service was excellent and everything was already running very smoothly.

I can’t think of a brewery in an industrial/commercial park that has a better setting. A pair of small patios out front give an elevated view of planes landing at the McClellan-Palomar Airport, and they make an excellent place to watch a sunset.

Just be sure to bring sunglasses!

The interior is well done, too. It looks much more like a pub or restaurant than a typical brewery tasting room. The kitchen is operating already and the food looks/smells good, though I didn’t eat on this occasion.

In addition to producing CBC beers, this location will also be the brewery for Acoustic Ales, owned by the same folks. Both beer brands will be on tap at this location once the brewery — in a huge space next door, visible through interior windows — is up and running later this year.

So far, CBC beers are not on the menu; five Acoustic Ales beers are. Those beers are being guest brewed down at their old brewery, now home to Latchkey Brewing (near San Diego International Airport — I guess the owners like airports).

But this isn’t just a tasting room for the beers made on site. It is also a craft beer bar with an excellent range of draft and bottled beers.

The 32 rotating taps offer local plus non-local-but-excellent/famous beers (including Pliny the Elder on the opening weekend).

The bottled offerings focus mainly on Belgian and German styles but there is also a lot of variety on that list.

The entrance to the property is through a commercial park. If you are approaching from Gateway Road, watch out: just before the turn on to Innovation Way there is a section of the street that has chicanes built into it (instead of speed bumps, I guess).

The twisty curves surprised me, at least. Once you arrive, you’ll find plenty of parking.

Within two miles, you’ll find a host of other good breweries, including Pizza Port, Burgeon, Rouleur, Papa Marce’s, and Culver, the last of which I raved about in this column a few weeks ago, and the first four of which combined for 15 medals at the recent Los Angeles International Beer Competition.