I recently had the pleasure of spending a week in that beautiful, sunny, OG beer mecca known as San Diego. Having just posted about my progress on my New Year's Resobrewtions, I made a decision on my plane ride to San Diego: I would not bring back any beer.
I would not try to squirrel beer away in my checked luggage. I would not try to frantically find a shipping place to ship boxes of beer home.
I would simply enjoy beer in the moment.
At times, it was a challenge. I literally left bottles of Temptation sitting on the shelf. Those bottles happened to be next to Cantillon's Rose de Gambrinus, a beer long at the top of my wish list. And there it will remain, for I did not buy that bottle either. (SN: Neither of those bottles had prices displayed, although every other beer in the place did, so I'm guessing they were expensive enough that most people would shy away on the shelf but not so expensive that you wouldn't still buy it once you were at the register under the expectant eyes of the cashier.) True, neither of those beers is a San Diego beer, but they are still highly sought after beers.
As you may recall, one of my New Year's Resobrewtions is to detach from the hype. You may further recall that I haven't been doing so hot with that. Aside from wanting to do better at realizing my goals, spending too much money on beer prior to the trip was another motivating factor in not bringing any beer home: not adhering to that particular goal made me broke AF going into the trip and I super wasn't willing to charge a bunch of beer and shipping just to possess San Diego beer in Charlotte.
Knowing that I wasn't going to be bringing any beer home with me changed a lot about how I experienced the beers I tried. Prior to my trip, I solicited suggestions for places to go and received a great response from friends. I mapped out which breweries made the most sense to visit on which days based on their proximity to our hotel and AirBnb as well as each other.
Once at each brewery, I didn't worry about what cans they had available or what kind of brewery-only special release bottles I could buy. I ordered the beer, I drank the beer, and I left. And that was it.
It was freeing to not have to worry about schlepping beer around San Diego and in and out of Lyft cars. Many times I've found myself lugging bags or even boxes of beer around a city because I fooled myself into thinking that if I had to walk then I would be less tempted to buy as much beer. Yeah, no, that never happened.
This experience proved to be no different than any of the other times I've decided I don't need to chase a particular beer or move mountains to find the newest hyped up beer. Not once since I've been back have I felt like my San Diego experience (or life since) has been hampered because I didn't buy a bunch of beer to bring back home. There was no trying to find space for more bottles in my "cellar" and there isn't one lone can hanging out in the beer fridge for eternity because if I drink it, then I won't have it anymore. In fact, my San Diego experience was enhanced because of it - because none of the beer was coming back with me, I paid attention to it more in the moment.
For anyone wondering, I made it to 15 breweries (some are pictured above) while I was out there and really enjoyed most of them:
- AleSmith Brewing Company
- Ballast Point Brewing
- Coronado Brewing Company
- Council Brewing Company
- Half Door Brewing Company
- Kilowatt Brewing
- Knotty Brewing Company
- Mikkeller Brewing
- Mission Brewery
- Modern Times Tasting Room
- Monkey Paw Brewing
- Pizza Port
- Resident Brewing
- Societe Brewing
- White Labs