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Award-winning surf filmmaker Taylor Steele's Encinitas-based Solento Tequila. Courtesy photo/Solento
Award-winning surf filmmaker Taylor Steele's Encinitas-based Solento Tequila. Courtesy photo/Solento
ColumnsFood & WineI Like Beer

Local craft beer and spirits gift ideas

Have you started making summer plans yet? What are you waiting for? We’re already staring down Mother’s Day! Then just a few short weeks later, schools will let out, and moms will start buying neckties for their kids to give to dad.

We’re right in the middle of the greeting card holiday season, and I’m already over it. Give everyone a six-pack or a bottle, and move on. Am I right? Here are my gift recommendations for the next few months.*

Tax Day: For your accountant, give them a sixer of reasonably priced (good) beer like Salty Crew from Coronado Brewing Company. They’ll understand. For your partner or yourself, get a bottle of Encinitas-based Solento Tequila, made by legendary surf filmmaker Taylor Steele. Don’t wait for the refund (if you’re getting one). You’ve earned it.

Mother’s Day: Find a quality aged bourbon-barrel beer or rich Imperial Stout. Look for something boozy yet smooth, perhaps with a little maple or caramel or coffee flavor notes. Get a bottle from Horus Aged Ales if you can, or look to Mostra Coffee and Alesmith for one of their popular Speedway collaboration beers. If you need guidance, you can’t go wrong asking at your favorite local bottleshop. Get bonus credit if you arrange for Mom to have the time to properly sit and sip.

Alesmith Brewing's Speedway Stout made with Mostra's Ghost Bear coffee and coconut. Courtesy photo/Alesmith
Alesmith Brewing’s Speedway Stout is made with Mostra’s Ghost Bear coffee and coconut. Courtesy photo/Alesmith

Wrap your gift with a ribbon and tissue paper. If you’re not confident in your bottle-wrapping skills, go online! I found thousands of videos in just seconds on Youtube.

Schools Out, a.k.a. Educator Liberation Day: **I did an informal survey of educators I know, and they all said — I’m paraphrasing here — something with alcohol in it. I’m recommending the nicer boxed wines. See the white box on the bottom shelf? You know the one. Does the name rhyme with shmanzia? Move up a shelf or two.

If you want to really let someone know they are appreciated, pre-pay for a wine tasting at a favorite local vineyard. For $20, you can book a wine tasting at Fallbrook Winery for each of your favorite educators. Put the details on a card. They’ll appreciate the gesture and the opportunity to let off some of the steam built up over a year of dealing with the wonderful gift that is the children of the community…and their parents.

Memorial Day: It’s the unofficial summer kick-off. You survived the winter! You deserve a present. Find some good craft beer that is easy to drink. It’s a long weekend. Pure Project’s Rove Adventure Beer and WestBrew’s Blonde or Liquid Sol beers come to mind as palate cleansers after eating a pound of chips and French dip.

Pacific Coast Spirits offers a fantastic selection of gift ideas for Father's Day. Courtesy photo/Pacific Coast Spirits
Pacific Coast Spirits offers a wide selection of gift ideas for Father’s Day. Courtesy photo/Pacific Coast Spirits

I like to follow up dinner on the grill with something with a hint of sweetness for dessert. Not many, if any, do it better than Bagby Beer. Their Continental Cream Ale and their Worker Bee Golden Ale brewed with honey are available in tall boy cans.

Father’s Day: The stereotype is beer, and beer is just fine, but a bottle of whiskey or bourbon from one of our numerous local distillers is better. Bourbon is a luxury best enjoyed in fine glass, but ultimately the glass doesn’t matter much. I often drink the bottle of Pacific Coast Spirits Blue Corn Whiskey my wife added to the liquor cabinet out of an old Bonne Maman jelly jar — still delicious. They also have barrel finished cocktails like the Negroni or classic Manhatten that make for a great gift.

*I did not receive any enticements when compiling this list. I’m not saying I wouldn’t have taken them. I’m just saying I didn’t get them…

**We all know that the concept of summers off is a myth, right? Teachers pack a year’s worth of work into nine months! They spend a week decompressing and then the rest of the summer thinking about the next school year. Also, decompressing is my code for drinking wine.

Cheers! Tidbits

Starting June 9, the San Diego Brewers Guild is presenting the 2nd annual San Diego Beer Weekend. It’s a made-up two-day holiday weekend reminding us of all the great craft beer in our community.

“Beer Weekend is simply another fun initiative we created to urge San Diegans to go out and support this great industry in our city. It serves as a great start to San Diego’s impeccable summer as well,” said Brewers Guild Executive Director Paige McWey Acers.

San Diego Beer Weekend pint glasses. Courtesy photo
San Diego Beer Weekend starts June 9. Courtesy photo

Breweries throughout San Diego County will hold events and offer to-be-determined beer specials served in commemorative pint glasses with artwork created by local designer Tyler Cristobal, founder of Cristobal Design Company. When asked about the artwork’s inspiration, Cristobal said:

“The San Diego region is a diverse and dynamic melting pot of ideas and inspiration. The SD beer community is a direct reflection of this welcomed exchange of knowledge, passion, and love for craft beer. As diverse as its people, San Diego’s geography is equally dynamic, spanning endless coastlines to bustling urban zones all the way to the mountains and deserts. San Diego beer reaches from surf to sand and welcomes all to partake in the celebration and love for independent, local craft beer.”

Event Reminder: Helia Brewery (Vista) is hosting The Shine Project Foundation for the 3rd annual Good Vibes Reggaefest on Saturday, April 29. “All funds raised will go directly towards providing free enrichment and inclusive community events for children, teens, and young adults with special needs.” Tickets are available on

Stream the classic episodes of the Roast! West Coast coffee podcast on the Coast News Podcast page, and follow Cheers! North County on Facebook and Instagram.

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