Beer Trippin’ in California. Part 2 – Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey
Just a short drive from our first stop at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, is Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey in San Marcos, CA. Although only separated by a few miles, the two breweries feel like they’re worlds apart. Unlike Stone, you won’t find any zen gardens, koi ponds or fancy restaurant here. Instead, you’ll find a tasting room that’s situated right next to a buzzing brewery and a row of bubbling fermenters. Here you can choose from an assortment of beers that range from hop-forward American ales to Barrel-Aged wild ales and Belgian-style masterpieces.
Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey is situated at the original location where Stone was founded back in 1996. The Port / LA crew bought the building in 2005, when Stone moved to their current location down the road in Escondido. Stone’s original brewhouse (pictured below), is still being used today by Port / LA.
The Lost Abbey portfolio consists of more than a dozen Belgian-influenced masterpieces, ranging from Saisons to Quads to Wild Ales. Sour fans can’t seem to get enough of Tomme Arthur’s Barrel-Aged goodies like Red Poppy, Framboise de Amorosa and Cuvee de Tomme.
In 2007, the brewery founded a beer club that shipped beer directly to member’s homes. Popularity grew very quickly and it was later split into two clubs. The Patron Saints club offered the year-round LA lineup, while the Patron Sinners club offered a variety of seasonals, one-offs and rarities like Duck, Duck Gooze and Isabelle Proximus. Sadly, these clubs were shut down in 2011, in order for the brewery to better focus on expanding distribution and in order to ease the stress the club placed on the brewery staff.
The Port side of the operation leans toward bold, flavorful American-style beers. Port is no stranger to hoppy Red’s, big IPA’s, high ABV stouts and other tasty brews. The brewery is currently gearing up to release “Board Meeting” (pictured below), a brown ale brewed with generous amounts of Ryan Brothers coffee beans and TCHO cocoa nibs. The result is a delicious chocolate, coffee ale that you won’t want to pass up.
No matter what styles your palate prefers, Port / LA is there to fill your needs. Grab a spot at the bar and get a feel for the working life of a brewery. Stop by on a brew day and let the aromas flood your senses. If you’re lucky, maybe the resident brew cat will even grace you with his presence.
Big Thank You to Lead Brewer Matt Webster and the rest of the gang at Port / LA for their generous hospitality. You might know Matt from his starring role in the Angel’s Share video below. We truly appreciate his willingness to give us a glimpse into the operation and share the brewery with us.