When it comes to beer in San Diego, there’s no shortage of potentials to ponder. The craft beer capitol of the United States boasts brewery after brewery, bar after bar, no matter which neighborhood you may catch yourself in. With so many options, a bar truly needs to stand out to entice customers and see them return day after day, time after time, with friends too. Read on how one particular new establishment achieved just that in a brief period of time.
Fresh in San Diego last November, Barrel Republic is your one-stop shop for beer connoisseurs looking to palate craft brews in a very inimitable way. Conveniently located 5 blocks from the sands of Pacific Beach at 1261 Garnet Avenue between Everts and Fanuel, this futuristic pub is a must-see while in PB. Whether it's a mid-week break, Sunday Funday, or a post-beach refresher, you won't regret stopping by for a draught with your closest friends. Barrel Republic prides itself as…
“The Mecca for craft beer lovers to come for freedom: the freedom to pour.”
This humble abode is an engaging experience. You pour your own beer. Yes, YOU. Call it PYOB. They could not have said it any better and you’re about to understand why.
Upon entering Barrel Republic's doors, your presence is acknowledged with a friendly smile and your eyes are greeted with old-fashioned lights, unfinished wooden walls and custom wood plank tables, making you feel like you've somehow stumbled your way inside a beer barrel. TV’s are plentiful, along with a large projector on the back wall to watch sports, but it’s not overwhelming to the point where you aren’t making eye contact with your friends.
Head directly to the bar on your left side and start a tab with one of the bartenders. They’ll fit you with an RFID wristband linked to your tab and give you your credit and ID cards back so you don’t have the concern of leaving them behind.
From here, it's time to select which of the 44 beers you'd like to drink. Both local and nonlocal beers are featured. IPA's, lagers, porters, stouts, hefeweizens, or my favorite, amber ales. Don't fret; they have them all, but you definitely will NOT see a Miller, Coors, Bud Light or even Corona served here. Is someone in your group not a beer drinker? Again, don't fret, as they have ciders, sours and a decent wine selection behind the bar as well.
Each beer tap is equipped with a tablet above displaying all you'll need to know about which beer will flow when you yank that tap forward. Yes, I’ll repeat, you'll be pouring your own beer as you please. I sure hope you have that glass tilt mastered. On the tablet display, you're provided a full description of the particular brew, which brewery crafted it, alcohol content (ABV), international bittering units (IBU's), the price per ounce poured and even a silhouette of what shape suds sipper to utilize. Fool proof, right?
Once you've made the difficult decision on which beer to drink, head to the shelves to grab yourself the appropriate glass. If you're having anxiety fully committing to a beer, three-ounce tasters can also be found on the shelves. Calm down soldier. The bar backs do a great job of replenishing the racks with clean hops holders, but if yours needs an extra rinse, look to your side to find a rinsing fountain.
Have your clean lager lifter? Head back to the tap and press your wristband up to the scanner. Your full name will appear on the tablet as well as how many ounces of beer you have remaining. Your tab is initially loaded with 32 ounces allowing the bartenders to check how loaded you may be before replenishing your wristband for another 32. As you pour, the ounces are recorded and placed on your tab. Unused ounces aren't charged to your card when you call it a night. If you happen to get to a tap just as the keg is kicked leaving you with foam, the staff is very friendly and helpful in getting those precious ounces refunded.
When it comes to food, they host different food trucks each day beginning at 4 PM. If you happen to be around when the gourmet vegan food truck is, I’d highly recommend the goulash or mac and cheese. You won’t be disappointed!
All in all at the end of the night, I was surprised by how inexpensive my tab was and how happily hopped up I was.
The bar's hours of operation are daily from 4 PM to 2 AM; Saturdays and Sundays from 10 AM to 2 AM. Sundays midafternoon are my favorite and guarantee you’ll beat the crowds.
So, which beer will you discover next?