The Coast News Group
Small Talk

My boy, brewskis and a two-day tour

It turns out that beer is my friend, after all.
Most folks will marvel this happened 40 years past college, but sadly, I still do not care for the taste of beer and never have. I remember standing at keggers, holding a paper cup of the stuff until the bottom got soggy and fell out. I have expunged any hint of self-righteous abstinence, however, by loving tequila. ‘Nuff said.
I now deem beer quite fascinating, after I spent two days touring local microbreweries in San Diego. It was a shameless ploy to spend more time with my boychild, home from Boston for the week. He took his Connecticut buddy, on the West Coast for the first time, on a beer tour, but (yes, thank you, I did raise him right) they needed a designated driver. I jumped at the chance.
It worked out perfectly, since as much as I love any opportunity to hang out with my kids and their chums, I also love an excuse for what I like to call “enforced leisure.” We toured the brewery, then while the boys spent hours tasting the results, I happily sat in my comfortable car, sun and breeze blowing through the windows, sipping an iced latte and reading.
Between stops I got to enjoy the eclectic, informed conversation of 20-somethings who make me laugh endlessly, and the truly interesting lore of beer brewing, and I was content. I got kudos as mother-of-the-year along with a mini-vacation, almost as good as sitting by the pool. Classic win-win.
For beer aficionados out there, we visited Ballast Point, Hess, AleSmith and Green Flash the first day, all close together in the Mira Mesa area. The next day, we had lunch at Stone Brewery and visited Lost Abbey and Port Brewing, all in Escondido. It was an excellent cross-section of tiny to booming microbreweries.
What I discovered and just adore about the microbrew industry is a fabulous sense of humor and lovely camaraderie. Larger breweries support smaller ones and there is pride of product, but no competition. I adored the hilarious names for their multitude of brews and slogans that stem from their brand names.
You’ll find Wee Heavy, Old Numbskull, Arrogant Bastard, Horny Devil, Old Viscosity (“sludgy as used motor oil”), Judgement Day, Ex Umbris, Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, Victory at Sea, Shark Attack, High Tide and Witches Wit.  They have slogans like “For sinners and saints alike” or “It’s not too expensive. You’re just cheap,” and a reference to “Hammurabi’s code, written around 1750 B.C. in Babylonia, regulated the practices of drinking houses, and called for the death penalty for proprietors found guilty of watering down their beer.”
Without fail, they laugh at themselves and possess a universal undercurrent of taking care of mother Earth and her people. The industry seems peopled with genuinely nice folk happily able to pursue their passion. Make micro-brewing your friend. It will leave you feeling good about the world in general, even when, like me, you are cold sober.