Beer tasting in the Inland Empire

These photos were taken at I and I Brewing Co, Craft Brewing Company, Lazy Dog Cafe, Black Market Brewing, South Coast Winery, Lake Skinner and Brew-Ligion Brewhouse in the Inland Empire area of Southern California. Tanya and I have not really had a chance to venture away for an over-nighter in what seems like forever, so we decided we would head down to Temecula to see if there was a chance that I could visit with my son and his family and maybe do a little beer tasting. Since I knew a visit with the family was not going to happen very early, we decided to take the long way there and started off by visiting I and I Brewing in Chino. While I and I is very “micro” in size, they offer more than a dozen varieties of brew. They accomplish this by brewing very small batches; so while it may be a while before they begin to distribute I know that we will stop by to sample more of their creations. We really enjoyed their Belgian Pineapple Blond and the Peach Wheat.

After leaving I and I, we headed to Craft Brewing Company in Lake Elsinore. I had some prior experience with Craft Brewing as they attended the Hollywood On Tap beer festival back in October. Their Four Headed Hef and Raven Stout were two brews that stood out. Craft Brewing is definitely a place worth stopping by; if in the area. It is a large location so I expect that they will eventually be stepping up production.

Since neither of these microbreweries served food, we made our next stop the Lazy Dog Cafe in Temecula. I was told that they were a brewpub, but when I got there I discovered that their six house brews were actually brewed by Firestone Walker and Bayhawk Ales. They had a nice selection of beers but if I was in the area again, I would probably look a little harder for a gastropub. The fact that they are dog friendly, and we had Buddy and Hershey with us, was really the selling point.

After dinner we went to our hotel which was two blocks away from Black Market Brewing. I have to admit, I would be tempted to spend the night in Temecula if for no other reason than to visit Black Market again. They had 11 different beers when we were there, and they offer 6 oz tasters for $1.00 each! How do you beat that? Their Pumpkin Ale is server with the rim of the glass coated in maple syrup and cinnamon sugar. It was definitely Tanya’s favorite, while I enjoyed their Contraband which is a California Common. Black Market is definitely worth visiting if you are in the Temecula area.

We had some time to kill Sunday morning so we took a drive out by South Coast Winery and Lake Skinner to get some scenic shots. After a 10 minute visit with my grandson (before he passed out) we decided to see if we could find a brewpub we were unfamiliar with. Google led us to Brew-Ligion Brewhouse. Online, it suggested that they had several home brewed beers, but when we got there all they had brewed in house was their Apricot Ale. Luckily, there are so many microbreweries local to them that places like Brew-Ligion can carry 40 different beers and have many of them be from Southern Californian microbreweries as well as some other hard to find micro-brews. This place is a definite must if you want a location with lots of variety. I know we will be back.

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Back to Inland Empire Brewery Photos

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