My Yard Live, San Marcos
I covered the opening of My Yard Live for Coast News, about a month ago, on July 1, 2019.
At the time, Sarah and I were so hungry and food service was so delayed that we didn't stay long. I needed to return to try the beer, and to see what the atmosphere is like on a regular day.
That regular day was this past Friday. It was early afternoon and even though the after-work rush had not yet started the place was already surprisingly busy. It looks like San Marcos and the surrounding region have embraced My Yard Live already.
Many of the people in attendance were there with their small children, who were enjoying the various play structures and games. I chatted with a couple of dads who came to the bar to order beer while their kids were playing, and they told me that during busy times there it is absolutely crowded with kids, so they came early in the afternoon to avoid the kid rush. That's the first time I've ever heard that about a brewery!
The debate over whether to bring kids to breweries is clearly moot here, since My Yard Live is deliberately designed for families. They have clearly met a need and created their niche. If you are not in favor of drinking around children and their attendant noise, this is not your place. That said, there are several separate "adults only" areas, including a really lovely patio with umbrellas and lawn chairs. The live music later on weekend evenings is adult-friendly, too, of course.
Given the atmosphere, openness, kid-friendliness, games, distinct areas, food, and full bar, you will probably find something you like at My Yard Live. It may not be the beer. At least, in my experience on this occasion, the beer alone was not enough to justify driving through Friday traffic. For a brewery with over 20 taps, it is unusual not to offer flights, but they don't. They will pour you as many 1 oz samples as you want, however. I tried four and then ordered a pint. I ordered the pint out of a sense of obligation, however, not because I found any of the house beers compelling, and I left before finishing that pint. It is very difficult to give a fair assessment on such small samples, but first impressions do matter.
Planeteers (Pale Ale, 6.6% ABV). This was unexceptional, and perhaps slightly "off". I thought I detected a light-struck character, which is really weird in a keg beer. Even if that's not what it was, it still wasn't great. Untappd agrees with me, giving an average rating of 3.25/5, which is quite low for a place with an enthusiastic following that is not exclusively made up of beer snobs. For me, it was a 2.75/5.
Red Rover (American Amber, 5.4% ABV). This is trying to be a very basic red ale, which is fine, but it seems to be a rather uninspired example of the style. Perhaps that suits the audience at My Yard Live. But I thought I also detected off flavors in this one, a plastic/baidaid/sour combo that was not strong but still quite unpleasant. Some people rated this highly, but I browsed those people's other beer ratings and I don't think I trust their judgement enough to question mine. 2.25/5
Man Cub (Brown Ale, 5.6% ABV). This is pretty decent. Toasty, medium mouthful. 3.25/5
Lawn Darts (Double IPA, 8.5% ABV). Tapped today, which is a huge advantage in an IPA. Light (too light, in my opinion, for the high alcohol level, which means it tastes a bit “hot”. It has a piney/earthy character, and at least on my visit it was under-carbonated. It has a floral nose, is moderately bitter, and finishes clean. 3.5/5
It is difficult to fairly judge a brewery on its first month of production, which is one reason I usually try to wait longer before visiting one. My impression is that unlike a lot of smaller breweries, My Yard Live will have more than enough business to sustain themselves while they dial in the brewing, in particular since beer is just one component of their income stream. Compared to other recently-opened places like Original 40 and Harland Brewing, MYL is behind the curve. They do, however, offer a diverse guest tap list so you might want to come for their other advantages and enjoy a guest beer instead until they get the house beers dialed in.
https://www.myyardlive.com/ 288 Rancheros Drive, San Marcos, CA 92069