Toolbox Brewing Co., Vista (closed)
[Note added December 2018: A little less than I year after I visited Toolbox, it closed permanently.]
I went to Toolbox Brewing with Rob, Instagram's @sdbeertour. He is a lover of sours and had been here before; I'm not, and I hadn't. Fortunately the beer board was extensive (16 or so different things on tap) and I found several things I liked. I even tasted a couple of sours; still not my thing, but I could tell they were well made.
Eau D'Vine, a wild sour ale aged in barrel with wine Cabernet Franc and Merlot wine grapes, was funky and tart. Rob loves it; even I rated it a 3.5/5. The deep rosy-red color was beautiful in the late afternoon light. Extra points for a great name.
Strawberry Milkshake IPA: smells like a piney/dank IPA, looks like a hazy IPA, tastes literally like a milkshake. Good, but not like a beer at all. How they do that? 3.5/5
PURPLISH Boysenberry Milkshake IPA was also interestingly not like beer. Quite tasty. Definitely milkshakey. 3.5/5
This is one of those breweries where I feel like I'm not the right person to express an informed opinion. They specialize in sours, which are not my thing, and so if you are a sour lover my opinion will be irrelevant to you. That's one of the magical things about beer, though: everyone has a different response to it. I've framed this blog with the idea of describing the total experience as a beer-loving customer, trying to tell you what it might be like for you to visit. In that spirit, I'm happy to say that the service was friendly and helpful (important, I think, in a place that serves beers that are outside the usual. The look of the place is good. Dark, but comfortable. You can definitely tell you are in a brewery, with huge stacks of barrels for aging sours visible from the tasting room, which has a few high tables. The bar looks nice and has a few seats. The vibe is good because it is mostly people who love beer, and love this beer in particular. I saw several groups taking photos like this was a bucket list place for them. Toolbox seem to do a brisk business, too.
Toolbox is definitely a worthy stop for beer lovers in general and sour lovers in particular.
http://www.toolboxbrewing.com/ 1495 POINSETTIA AVE, SUITE 148 VISTA, CA 92081