Tasting notes, fast facts, and expert reviews on every brewery in the San Diego region

By Bruce Glassman

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Wild Barrel

Map692 Rancheros Drive
San Marcos, CA
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Since Stone Brewing Co. trimmed its workforce a while back, lots of Stone alums have been popping up in new projects around town. Among the most recent Stone veterans to re-emerge onto the scene are Bill Sysak and Bill Sobieski. The two Bills are half of the foursome that started Wild Barrel Brewing (the other two being Chris White [not the one from White Labs] and Preston Wesner).

The Wild Barrel tasting space feels spacious and large-scale, just like the giant barrel they’ve outfitted in the room’s center (very cool!). Obviously, these are not guys who like to think small. A wide, long bar offers plenty of room to hang out near the taps, and a collection of tables and ledges throughout the rest of the space offer lots of options, both communal and private. Eventually, a large section of the room will house dozens and dozens of barrels.

Brewer Bill Sobieski is an experienced pro who knows his stuff, and the initial lineup of beers proves that point well. All seven of his opening beers were excellent, each offering generous and enticing aromas and very satisfying flavors (and the colors are beautiful, too!). The hoppy beers on offer—a Citra IPA and an Imperial IPA called Prince of Dankness—both exploded with fresh hop aromas and both had great balance and mouthfeel. The milk stout—Hipster Latte—was packed with bold coffee, chocolate, and caramel aromas and flavors, but remained light, balanced, and mostly dry on the finish. As good as those beers were, the selection of Berliner Weisses, in my opinion, stole the show. Collectively part of their “San Diego Vice” series, the three I tasted were done with guava, Montmorency cherries, and black currant. Bursting with fresh fruit aromas, mildly tart, and jammed with flavor, these beers truly stand out as some of the best weisses in San Diego.

  • Brewery Photos

Additional Information:

Neighborhood: San Marcos
Bruce's Picks: Recommended
Best Known For...: Barrel Aged
Brett Beers
Hef/Wheat Beers
IPAs/Pale Ales
Kid Friendly: Yes
Food: Food Nearby
Seating: Good
Brewery Size: Medium
Brewery Environment : Tasting Room
Patio: No
Brewery Tours: Yes
TVs: Yes
Merch for Sale: Yes
Beer to Go: Yes

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About the San Diego Brewery Guide

San Diego is all about great beer—and there’s an awful lot of it! We currently have more than 150 working brewery locations in our county, with an estimated 30-40 more in the planning stages. That’s a lot of breweries to sort through. So where to begin? Well, the answer is right here. If you want to plan any kind of brewery experience, The San Diego Brewery Guide is your most essential tool. Not only does it list the location and key information about every working brew house that’s open to the public, it also allows you to search for breweries that meet your specific criteria. Do you only want breweries in a specific neighborhood? No problem. Only want places that have patios for dogs? You got it. Do you want to keep your search limited to small or medium-sized breweries? Yup, we got that.

With so many breweries to choose from, we hope you’ll keep coming back to consult The San Diego Brewery Guide on a regular basis. Our ultimate goal is to make it easy for you to plan the perfect day or weekend of brewery tours and tastings in San Diego—and to do it time and time again. If you haven’t already, you’ll see that there’s nothing better than enjoying a great brewery-fresh beer right where it’s made.

So get out there and explore! Sip. Savor. Socialize. And get ready to be awed by some of the best brews to be found anywhere on the planet. Enjoy!

- Bruce Glassman

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