Barn Brewery, North Park
What a find! The Barn Brewery in North Park is a hip, fun place to grab a drink and a bite to eat. The interior design takes its cue from the name, and you'll find barn/farm references in the low wooden beams, the individual beer names and even the bathrooms (deep copper tubs for sinks with faucets that resemble pump handles). It is urban-rustic, though, so don't expect any actual chickens or farm hands. There is plenty of light from the open garage doors to the patio on the street during the day, and I bet it is cozy at night. We sat at the super-awesome curved red booth at the back (see title photo!). There is plenty of other seating at the bar, at tables in the main room, and on the patio outside.
Big Mo IPA (6.5% ABV). This golden gem has lots of flavor, it is smooth, and the forward hops provide floral and slightly funky notes. 4.25/5
The beer here is solid. In addition to six house brews they offer a selection of guest taps (eight on my visit) including three from Poor House Brewing Company, their "sister brewery" also located in North Park. Keeping with the agricultural theme, two of the house beers are farmhouse saisons. (Full disclosure: I didn't try either of the saisons because that is one of my least-favorite styles, but their website makes a point of saying that they are especially focused on making good saisons. So, if you like that style this could be the place for you!)
In addition to build-your-own flights of 4 oz pours, they offer pints (every beer is $6) and growler fills. Their electronic beer menu has the wonderful feature of marking the newest kegs "fresh".
Rooster Call IPA (7.3% ABV). This is a good, straight-ahead IPA. Golden in color. There's a bit of harshness on the finish. 3.25/5
The bartender was really nice; friendly and welcoming. There's nothing like a big smile to make you feel welcome and some enthusiasm in describing the beers to make you feel like you've come to the right place. I enjoyed the vocal jazz playing on the speakers this afternoon; the bartender said she switches the music choices up based on her mood; so far I am completely confident in her tastes. It was quiet but not dead on a Tuesday afternoon and there were several folks who were clearly regulars. A stable (no pun intended) of regulars at all hours of the day is another sign that you are in a good spot.
Wild Raven Stout (7.8% ABV). I detect an off-note of sourness and sharpness. Maybe it is an "off" batch. I want to like it but I can't quite. 2.75/5
The kitchen is good. They have a fairly extensive menu for a small place. My Sriracha goat cheese burger was delicious. If you want fries you need to order them separately; the burgers are big enough you probably won't need fries unless you are sharing.
Daniel Boone Imperial Oatmeal Stout (9.0% ABV). This struck me as having a thinner taste and mouthfeel than I expected given the very dark color. The roasted malts are subtle and sweet, and overall it is nicely smooth. 3.25/5
Overall this is a lovely place with good staff, good food, good beer and a great vibe. Add it to your North Park beer crawl next time you are out!
www.thebarnbrew.com 2850 El Cajon Blvd, Suite 3, San Diego, CA 92104