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Monday, 11 April 2016 19:30

New Experiences to Discover in Oceanside

seals mural 846x395 PicmonkeyA tribute to the wondrous work of the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific and Art Miles Mural Project Team Artists and participating public

TASTE News Service, April 12, 2015- Visitors looking for something new in San Diego County don't have to look further than Oceanside, San Diego's North Shore. From food tours and artisanal dining venues to luxury bike excursions, one-of-a-kind museums, luxury whale watching, and a revamped golf course, this laid-back coastal town is bursting with new experiences for all ages. Here are ten new things travelers won't want to miss on their next visit:

Bagby Beer food plates PicmonkeyThere's more than beer at Bagby

TASTE News Service October 24, 2014 - Located at the western end of San Diego’s “Hops Highway,” Oceanside’s craft beer industry is booming. In the last year, nearly a dozen new venues, from microbreweries and tasting rooms to gastro pubs with a craft beer focus, have opened in the city providing visitors and locals with numerous options for sampling the best brew of the region.

So fast and furious has been the growth in craft beer venues, that Visit Oceanside recently added a dedicated section to its website (www.visitoceanside.org/oside-beer-tours) where visitors can view an interactive map of the venues and also be inspired by recommended “pub crawl” itineraries. These itineraries include the Coast Highway Crawl, which features hot spots that offer both sensational beers and delicious local eats; Brews on Shoes where visitors can explore the diverse beer scene in downtown Oceanside’s walking district; South O Swing that takes visitors to the charming neighborhood of South Oceanside, which sports a fun and eclectic vibe and is frequented predominately by locals; and Back Alley Brews featuring popular brew spots off the beaten path, but worth checking out.

“People have always traveled for great food and drink and, when it comes to craft beer, Oceanside is serving it up in spades,” says Leslee Gaul, CEO of Visit Oceanside. “Our map is like an insider’s guide to the area and makes it easy for visitors to decide which places they want to check out during their stay.”

Among the most ambitious of the newly opened beer venues, and destined to become a flagship destination for Oceanside, is Bagby Beer Company. Two years in the making, the 1,500 square foot facility is prominently located on Coast Highway and features two stories, outdoor gardens, a restaurant, private dining room and on-site brewing with special tasting areas where guests can watch legendary brew master Jeff Bagby in action. Formerly a brew master for the Pizza Port chain, Bagby is one of the most highly decorated brew masters in the country and recently took home a bronze medal at the prestigious 2014 Great American Beer Festival in Colorado for his Dry Stout Asphault Jungle, only the fourth batch of beer to be made at his new facility.

“Craft beer is the perfect fit for Oceanside’s laid-back surf culture and creative spirit,” says Gaul. “The quickly expanding Oceanside beer scene is being spearheaded by local entrepreneurs looking to create fun, one-of-a-kind experiences and a destination where locals and visitors want to hangout.”

Stone Oside PicmonkeyStone's outdoor barOceanside’s other homegrown beer labels with tasting rooms include the popular Oceanside Ale Works—Oceanside's first microbrewery, Legacy Brewing Company—which pays homage to the founding fathers of the United States, and Breakwater Brewing Company—a downtown gathering place since 2008. Although not technically a beer, Golden Coast Mead is another specialty drink made in Oceanside and also recently opened a tasting room to showcase its popular version of mead, a drink that dates back to ancient times.

Complementing Oceanside’s local beer labels are an eclectic mix of new restaurants, tasting rooms and tasting gardens that feature a wide selection of regional craft beer. Like Bagby, many of these venues have made their homes along Coast Highway near Oceanside’s downtown beach community. Some, like Surfside Tap Room, Stone Company Store Oceanside and Beer Brewing Company, are primarily places for beer tasting. Others, such as Local Tap House, Master’s Kitchen & Cocktails and Mission Avenue Bar & Grill combine a rotating selection of regional beer with delicious local pub cuisine based on fresh, seasonal ingredients.

“Craft brew is taking off throughout San Diego and Oceanside is defining its niche in the industry,” says Gaul. “Each of our local venues has a unique personality, but all are reflective of our city’s popular beach culture and welcoming spirit.”

About Oceanside

For more than 125 years, Oceanside has been known as an ideal place to stay and experience Southern California's casual spirit. Located along the beautiful Southern California coastline between metropolitan San Diego and Los Angeles, Oceanside boasts a number of important historical and cultural attractions such as Mission San Luis Rey (The King of Missions), California's longest wooden pier, vintage 101 Café, 1920's era Robert's Cottages, Top Gun House, California Surf Museum and the Oceanside Museum of Art. The city has served as a film location for dozens of Hollywood productions and was once the preferred getaway of many of Hollywood's elite. Bordering Camp Pendleton, Oceanside has long enjoyed a strong relationship with the U.S. military and a deep commitment to the men and women serving the nation. Today, with 3.5 miles of sandy beach, a quaint New England-style harbor and a stellar year-round climate, Oceanside is a highly sought after location for enjoying active pursuits including surfing, stand up paddling, kayaking, boating, fishing, bike-riding, skydiving and more.

Editor's note: If you're thinking of visiting Oceanside, or any of San Diego County, check out Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. There you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as sections linking to the sites of area wineries and craft beer specialists.

Oceanside Pier PicmonkeyThe pier at dusk in photo from Visit OceansideLocated along the beautiful Southern California coastline, Oceanside is considered the gateway city between metropolitan San Diego and Los Angeles. A classic Southern California beach town, Oceanside enjoys a rich history as an ideal place to stay and experience California's casual spirit. The city boasts a number of important historical and cultural attractions such as Mission San Luis Rey (The King of Missions), California's longest wooden pier, vintage 101 Café, 1920's era Robert's Cottages, Top Gun House, California Surf Museum and the Oceanside Museum of Art. The city has served as a film location for dozens of Hollywood productions and was once the preferred getaway of many of Hollywood's elite. Bordering Camp Pendleton, Oceanside has long enjoyed a strong relationship with the U.S. military and a deep commitment to the men and women serving the nation. Today, with 3.5 miles of sandy beach, a quaint New England-style harbor and a stellar year-round climate, Oceanside is a highly sought after location for enjoying active pursuits including surfing, kayaking, boating, fishing, bike-riding, skydiving and more.

Spirits are in abundance in Oceanside, but not the scary kind. This coastal town is quickly becoming a hotbed for local entrepreneurs producing everything from wine to craft beer and even mead, a historic beverage once enjoyed by kings. Visitors may want to check out these new offerings:

Legacy Brewing Co.

Opened in October, Legacy Brewing Co. features a tasting room and brewery perfectly poised at the gateway to Oceanside's surfer's alley. The handsome 1,000 foot tasting room includes a 37-foot concrete bar and two eight-foot long picnic-style tables where visitors rub elbows with Oceanside's surf community. Head Brew Master and Co-Owner Mark Mericle is an award-winning industry veteran who co-founded Heritage Brewing Co. in Orange County in the early 90s. The tasting room offers up to eight beers a day, including Mark's Founding Father's Nut Brown Ale.

SD County Fair Wine Winners PicmonkeySan Diego County Fair Winners  photo: VisitOceansideBeach House Winery

Tucked away on the ridgeline of the “Sleeping Indian” in the South Morro Hills section of Oceanside, visitors will find the award-winning Beach House Winery. The first vineyard/winery established in Oceanside, the winery features stunning panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and a wide selection of wines including Merlot, Viognier, Petite Sirah, Chardonnay, rosé and Cabernet Sauvignon. Family owned and operated, owners George and Kim Murray have earned gold, silver and bronze awards for several of their wines and recently were awarded "Best of California's North Coast" appellation, as well as a gold medal for its 2010 Melange and silver medals for its 2011 Viognier and 2010 Petite Sirah at the California-wide 2nd Annual 2013 San Diego County Fair commercial wine competition. Visitors are welcome by appointment and tours are available by request.

Golden Coast's Oceanside Meadery

Among the most unique products produced in Oceanside is Golden Coast's Mead. An age-old beverage that dates back to Ancient Greece but was virtually unknown to consumers even 20 years ago, mead is a brew made from honey. Founders Frank Golbeck and Praveen Ramineni have made it their mission to reintroduce the ancient brew to Southern California's beverage scene. And, while you can't visit the Meadery for tastings, a number of local markets and restaurants now carry the mead including Whole Foods, Pizza Port and Primo Foods. Those who imbibe can also feel good about their purchase since the company donates money to scientists who are studying ways to save bees, which are being ravaged by a virulent species of mite.

Oceanside Pints Stone Brewery PicmonkeyAlfresco tasting at Stone Brewery in photo from VisitOceanside

More Still To Come…

In 2014, Bagby Brew Company is expected to open on Coast Highway and will feature a world-class brewery, tasting room and restaurant. Other great watering holes in Oceanside include Oceanside Ale Works, Breakwater Brewing Company and Stone Company Store Oceanside.

Editor's Note: If you're planning a trip to this beautiful city, you should visit the San Diego County section of Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. There you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as listings of area wineries and purveyors of craft beers. Another good resource is www.visitoceanside.org.