Although I have been an advocate for the many craft breweries in San Diego County, I’ve actually visited just a handful. However, their products have been prominent at tasting events and in retail outlets, so I’ve had no shortage of samplings. Most trips to visit our boys who attend Cal State San Marcos result in a visit to Port Brewing Co./The Lost Abbey, where Sid pours some of the greatest beers in the world, and we enjoy dining at the Karl Strauss brewery/restaurant in Rancho Bernardo, where Sam is a server of their carefully paired food and beer. Along with a few trips over to Stone, the Disneyland of craft breweries, I’ve only been to the nearby Belching Beaver Brewery in Vista. Admittedly, it’s pretty hard to get me away from the Lost Abbey, especially when Sid’s behind the bar. Plus, their beer is almost impossible to beat.
That being said, we’ve added another destination to our list of must-visit craft breweries. On our most recent visit to see our boys, we learned that longtime Port/Lost Abbey tasting room manager Jason Danderand had taken over as the tasting room chief at Mother Earth Brew Co. in Vista. So we paid our friend a visit.
Rather than the typical craft brewery located in an out-of-the-way industrial complex, Mother Earth is situated right on Main Street in Vista. Its spacious taproom opens to the historic downtown street, with both indoor and outdoor seating. It is truly much more accessible and comfortable than many similar places, and it is also dog friendly.
Along with a full taproom of clearly very popular beers, Mother Earth caters to home brewers, offering a supply store next door with ingredients, equipment and recipes for people who brew their own beer, while presenting a unique tasting environment for those who just want to appreciate great beer. Jason said the place is always lively with activities such as classes for home brewers, bingo, live entertainment, Cask Fridays and special educational events like Thursday’s pre-Valentine’s Day pairing of beer and chocolate in partnership with local chocolatier So Rich Chocolates.
Oh, and the beer. Well, we didn’t have the opportunity to sit and enjoy many tasters, because we just wanted to drop in and say hello to Jason (and Michelle, another former Lost Abbey beer server). But the Sin-Tax Imperial Peanut Butter Stout was fantastic (and people who don’t favor dark beers will enjoy this treat). Next time we’ll plan on dedicating the appropriate time to relishing the Mother Earth experience. Too bad we don’t live nearby, or we might not ever leave (I’m beginning to understand your “dilemma,” Paul Compton!).