Sunny San Diego

Waking up in San Diego felt right, sun beams gently landing on me when I stepped outside from my temporary room in my friend Andy's garage. The garage itself is more of a fun house, equipped with a pool table, fooseball, darts and, my favorite part, Andy's home brewed beer on tap.

I took the first day pretty casual, relaxing for the most part. I took a walk through the nearby Balboa park, getting lost on the golf course and inadvertently wandering on to the driving range at one point. The next day Andy and Laurie, his wife, hosted a Sunday brunch, a few of their friends stopped in and we all enjoyed mimosas and fancy breakfast foods, later Andy and I played some frisbee golf in Balboa park. That night a few more friends stopped by, I got a call later from Mark and Sean who's just flown into town.

I met up with my Astorian friends the next morning, Mark, Sean, Kelly and I all went to the beach. Mark and I got briefly distracted at a liquor store on the walk over, making a mental wish list from the variety of beers. After some wandering of the beach we fulfilled some of that list with Stone's Levitation Ale, Laguntias Red and a bomber of Hemp Ale from Humboldt. We made an obligatory stop at In-N-Out burger and then enjoyed our beers with cigars at Kelly's place.

We later went out so they could rent a bass guitar for the show they intended to play later that week, we stopped for a pitcher of Anchor Steam beer along the way as well. The bartender offered a free pitcher for the first round of beer pong if we could find the supplies, bit the CVS across the street failed to provide the ping pong balls.

Back at Kelly's folks' place we had some great tacos before Sean dropped Mark and I off back at Andy's house, he was beginning to brew beer when we got there. We grabbed some fresh beers and enjoyed some of his past home brewed beer as well before passing out.

We went to a nearby diner in the morning, Mark and I, where Sean and Kelly met us. From there we went straight up to Escondido to Stone Brewery, something I'd been looking forward to for over a year.

Stone brews some of the best beers going. There brewery included a beer garden where we initially relaxed with some beers, Mark and Sean got Ruinations, arguably my favorite beer, I tried the pale ale which I'd never had until then. The tour was incredible, highlighting the current adventure of their popular IPA which was being brewed at that moment. Afterwards we were treated to the taps serving us up with their great beers, we asked loads of questions which resulted in admiration fro the tour guides, this rewarding us with insight and extra tastes of premium beers.

We were on the road back to san diego after we got our share. After relaxing at the family place for a bit Mark and I were dropped off back at Andy's place. We had some sushi, then the night was started. First was a place called the Whistle Stop, a bar with decent beers and a ton of games. First was darts, Mark and I lost by a bulls eye. Mario Cart for super nintendo was projected on the wall, I challenged and defeated all comers.

After this we went to Hamilton's, a tavern well known for their beer selection for good reason, we all got great beers and ate someone else's leftover sandwich left on a table. We played shuffle board and drank more beers thick with laughter and smiles, the culmination of one of the best days in memory. We eventually marched home and passed out after some more stories.

The next day was pretty relaxed, I took a quick bike ride through the park and had another beer at Hamiltons on my way back, Green Flash Imperial IPA. The next day I met up with the Astorians again, we went back to Kelly's place and sat out in the backyard mostly and finished making some CDs for Mark and Sean's show.

Then the show, we headed to Lestats where they were to play, although they didn't know what time or if at all things were getting started. We had some pizza and beer down the street and later found they'd be playing at 11, it was earlier than that. We had some more beers down the street in the meantime, I was happy to catch the Lakers game.

We caught some of the acts before they went on, all but 4 people in the audience filed out by the time Mark and Sean were set on stage, 6 if you include myself and Kelly. During the second song the G string on Mark's guitar broke, they kept playing for another 20 minutes or more. Mark grimaced at points at the sound of his guitar, but all and all they made due and it was one of my favorite shows.

The four of us hit the beach the day after and had some fish tacos, very good, and I had a beer called Hop Hound Amber Wheat which hit the spot. We convinced the Kelly Sean combo to stop at Bev Mo where Mark and I analyzed the immense beer selection for perfection, we landed on a a six pack of Kona Pipeline Porter and a bomber of Sam Adams Chocolate Bock. We went to Kelly's place and enjoyed our selection, both beers were incredible, the chocolate bock was the stand out. They gave me a ride home and said our goodbyes, they'd be flying back to NYC the next day. I tried Andy's new wheat beer that was now ready to drink, very good with a hint of root beer.

The next day was my last full day in San Diego, four of us went out driving around seeing the sites, starting with the beach on Coronado, then point loma, and ocean beach to snack on some food. We made a stop in La Jolla at a small brewery for a beer, then went to the Firehouse Brewery. There we went on a tour and enjoyed some beers before heading back to Andy's place.

That night we went to an Art Gallery where Andy had "VIP" status he'd won in a raffle more or less, by association we were both able to drink free. The show itself was pretty good, various rooms and an outdoor area with artwork and performances throughout. I talked to a guy in a van being used for the lighting board at the moment, apparently it was his show. He told me he had parties like this all the time and was interested in hearing a bit about my travels.

One way or another I ended up in a bar a little ways away with Andy's roommate and his friend, we had a drink and wandered home. Andy was still up playing Quake, capture the flag with weapons online, we played for a while until sleep was the thing.

The next day Andy took me out to the freeway, I-15 North was the road. I'll get the details on that and beyond in the next post, a little shindig through Vegas and on to Salt Lake City and so on from there for some great times.

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