New English Brewing is south of state Route 56. I know that, you know that. But despite being slightly out of bounds, they made this tournament — as a first-round bye, no less — based on patio reputation alone. New English is in that fuzzy map area where they aren’t in San Diego but aren’t in North County, either.
This week, New English takes on Eppig Brewing & Bierhalle in Vista.
Breweries are scored on a 100-point scale with a max of 20 points per category. See the scoring details in our NCBPO launch column.
Eppig Brewing & Bierhalle (Vista)
You might recall that Eppig received high marks for the utility of their brewery patio. They nailed the basics of multiple comfortable seating areas, fire pits, and atmospheric bulb lights. They got bonus points for their EV charger, excellent service, and consistent food truck appearances.
The New English Brewing Company patio is delightful. The open-air brewery bleeds out into an enormous patio with swinging loungers, picnic areas on faux grass under the shade of trees, an established dining area, and fireside benches. A full-size shuffleboard game is painted on the ground, and yard games abound.
New English is located in the SOVA Science Park. While they don’t offer food, The Coffee Cart Café and The Craft Taco share the parking lot. Nearby Mom’s Pizza delivers to your table, making it easy to enjoy a lunch or happy hour snack with your beer.
I sit with a pint, enjoying the breeze under a tree while the dog searches the ground for crumbs. New English is out of the way in Sorrento Valley but still convenient. However, if you don’t work or take your kids to volleyball camp nearby, there is no real reason to get off the exit except the brewery. You should!
Takeaway: This is one of the most enjoyable patios I’ve experienced. They didn’t just build an excellent beer-drinking space with Instagram-friendly art painted on the walls. They made it well. Every area feels comfortable and well-intentioned. I knew I was smitten when I left, already in the throes of inviting friends to return with.
ROUND 2 WINNER: New English Brewing Company. You’ll never go wrong with the beer at Eppig (in this writer’s opinion), but for an above-and-beyond patio experience, New English is clearly near the top. Despite being just south of the official boundary for the North County Brewery Patio-Off competition, they make the extra travel effort worthwhile. I suggest going early on a Friday so you can stop by The Coffee Cart Café for a mug or a shot of espresso first.
Scene in North County: Del Mar Wine & Food Fest
The inaugural Del Mar Wine + Food Fest kicked off what promises to be an entire fall Cheers! calendar. We stopped by over the weekend for the Grand Tasting.
As a former restaurant person, the quality and presentation of the food in the middle of the Surf Park was impressive, and there was much more to drink than wine. I quickly found the distilled spirits corner, snagged a cocktail, and lounged under an umbrella. In short, even without the VIP ticket, we felt like Very Important People.