Second Chance Beer Lounge, North Park
The Second Chance Beer Lounge opened to some controversy. Now that I've been there, I can see why competitors are worried: It is an excellent place. Where else can you get two Great American Beer Festival winners in your flight, or take home a six pack of six entirely different and extremely good beers? It has a nice patio, the large garage-door type windows create lots of light and air, and the interior design is top notch: It is sophisticated and comfortable at the same time. With extended opening hours and such a good beer line up, this place has become a "must visit" addition to the North Park craft beer scene. It might now be my favorite craft beer venue in North Park, which is saying a lot.
Speaking of the North Park beer scene...wow. It was already great, but with the addition of Second Chance right across the street from the justly-famous Toronado craft beer bar, it is truly awesome. I wonder if it isn't the best beer neighborhood in the world. If you had the liver for it, you could walk 4.1 miles from Kensington Brewing to Thorn Street Brewing, mostly along 30th Street, and hit 19 (19!) San Diego craft breweries and tasting rooms. Or if you want to keep it strictly North Park, in 2.6 miles you can hit 16. If you just don't want to walk that far, Fall Brewing to ChuckAlek Biergarten is only 1.5 miles, and that stretch has 14 locations including North Park Beer Co. That's not counting all the awesome beer bars you'll pass along the way (Blind Lady Ale House and Tiger!Tiger! are included in these counts as the brewery and tasting room, respectively, for Automatic Brewing).
North Park's Mike Hess Brewing has long been one of my favorites. It is a great room, and they seem to brew exactly to my tastes; the Habitus Rye DIPA is one of my very favorite beers. More recently, Mother Earth Brew Co. (Vista: no North Park location) won me over with their great beers including Cali Creamin, Sin Tax Imperial Stout and Renown Brown. Now, Second Chance is really impressing me and it is in contention for my favorite brewery. Their two GABF medal winners are really, really good beers: Legally Red won silver in the American Amber/Red Ale class; Tabula Rasa is now a gold medal winner in two consecutive years in the Robust Porter class. At the Beer Lounge I had a Legally Red to confirm my earlier impressions when I visited the Second Chance brewery in Carmel Mountain Ranch (yep, still awesome, 4.5/5). Then I tried a chocolate-coconut version of the porter, called Coco Rasa. Mind, blown. It was even better than the already excellent base beer. The coconut isn't so dominant at first, then it really opens up as it warms, becoming truly fantastic. I rated it 4.5/5, putting it the top 4% of the nearly 1000 beers I've logged. I hope they start canning it.
On the subject of cans, Second Chance offers the nice big pint can of six of its core beers, all good to excellent:
- Luminous (blonde, not my favorite style, but well made)
- Seize the IPA (my rating was 4.25/5)
- Seize the Coffee (IPA with coffee--it works)
- Mulligan Irish-Style Red (this 2017 silver medal winner at the San Diego International Beer Competition was a strong 4/5 for me; I recommend waiting till it warms)
- Tabula Rasa (porter with toasted oats; fantastic; 4.5/5)
- [Clever Hoppy Name] (an extra pale ale with tangerine; I rated at 3.75/5).
If you ask me, that is one heck of a pick-six. An aside: The rougher-than-usual texture on the cans makes them nice to hold, adding to the experience. Little things matter.
https://www.secondchancebeer.com/ 4045 30th St Ste. A, San Diego, CA 92104