Burgeon Beer Co., Carlsbad
The entrance is impressive, and when I arrived there was a food truck right outside the front door. As you walk it, you'll see the room is wide and long, leading back to the very large brewing tanks. The interior is pretty, and they are clearly making an effort to ensure you enjoy the full experience. There are lots of nice woods, the walls are finished, there is art around the place, there's a plant wall, even a fountain made from kegs. And, a tree. A dead tree, but it looks cool and they have lights strung from it. Their logo is a root system growing into a pint glass, so it works. Overall it is a big step up from a typical tasting room (but not as fancy as Stone, say).
Seating is a little hard to find...there is a lot of it, but on a Thursday at 5pm the place was already full. There are not many small tables so expect to share, or to stand at one of the several high tops with no chairs. I think many people who work in the area were waiting out the traffic on the 5. And it kept getting busier. By luck I was leaving just as a busload from a bachelor party arrived!
I found it somewhat loud with so many people, and it was therefore a little difficult to communicate with the bartenders--certainly nothing more than ordering was possible; no beer geek conversations for sure. The bartenders were professional but aloof--signaling, I suppose, that they are there to pour not to talk.
Burgeon does not offer flights, something I always find odd. The most you can do are two 5oz tasters at a time ($2-3 each depending on the beer). It is the same as at Culture Brewing, where I found it an awkward way to do business, too. Certainly it means that customers who want to taste through the menu (a fairly large proportion of craft aficionados, I think) have to come back to the bar more often, which adds to the workload for bartenders and the wait time for everyone. At least Burgeon's tasting glasses are a little easier to carry than Culture's.
Burgeon has ten taps, but during my visit three were marked "out" on the menu. The beer is very well made and you should be able to find several things that suit your tastes, whichever way they run.
Mixed Greens (Imperial IPA, *% ABV). Highly hopped, aggressive but balanced. I'm not sure I could drink it all night, but the first one is great. 3.75/5
Universal Secret (collaboration with Stone Brewing; New England IPA, 6.9% ABV). Tropical, sweet, with a bitter/spicy finish that lingers nicely. 4/5
Burl (Brown Ale, 4.7% ABV). A solid brown: malty, smooth. Maybe a little too carbonated, with a slight metallic finish. 3.5/5
Bandon (Dry Irish Stout, 4.5% ABV). Persistent, thick tan head on nitro. Smooth, soft. Roasty malts are subtle; slight toasted taste lingers. 3.5/5
The beers and the setting are both delightful--no wonder it is so popular. I think this may be a better spot to visit with a group rather than alone, at least during busy times.
http://burgeonbeer.com/ 6350 Yarrow Drive Suite C, Carlsbad, CA