Living in San Diego it is easy to take for granted access to top quality beer of all varieties. San Diego’s bona fides in this area are well established and a point of pride in the ever-growing San Diego craft beer movement of which I like to think I am a part of.
With that as my background, I approached our tour of Crate Brewery with cautious optimism but with questions I was looking forward to finding the answers to. Would the beer be good? Would the brewery be a traditional, sterile, industrial environment or the laid back community feel we have back home? There would be only one way to find out.
The signs pointed to the laid back feel of back home as soon as the brewery came into view. It is set in a repurposed industrial space, has simple lettering and rows of community-style benches for eating and drinking along a canal. Very promising indeed. The tour was a traditional brewery tour from an informational standpoint. The main distinction between a San Diego tour and this tour of Crate was the amount of beer that flowed. Back home the best one can hope for is a small flight of 2oz. tasters but we were treated to multiple pitchers of 5 different beers. I would imagine this is based on two factors. The first being the archaic permitting laws in California. Some breweries cannot even sell their product on site because their permit only allows for sale to distributors. The second factor is the cost of the tour. I don’t know what was arranged but the tours listed on their site are £15. That’s good for a couple beers right there, granted not the number we had.
From a beer standpoint, I think San Diego has the edge in all categories save for casking. But that was not the point of the tour or this post. Crate created an atmosphere familiar to San Diego brewery goers. This might be because the San Diego beer scene seems to be an influence on what they are building.
It was exciting to see the craft beer movement in action in London. The beer culture and passion that exists in San Diego translated well to this brewery. Craft beer is a lifestyle more than a product and I recognised it at Crate as soon as we walked in. Good people + Good beer = Good times the world over.