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Friday, May 8, 2015


Lost Abbey's Tomme Arthur, North San Diego's Bishop of Brews, opens new satellite tasting room in Encinitas.

Guest Blog—By San Diego’s leading craft beer print magazine and website.

Satellite tasting facilities are a trend on the rise throughout San Diego County. For the most part, brewing companies located in less central communities such as North County, East County and South Bay have gone this route to expose potential customers in the City of San Diego to their wares. But that’s not always the situation.

The Confessional
Case in point: The Confessional, a taproom recently installed by three-tiered, San Marcos-based business, Port Brewing Company/The Lost Abbey/The Hop Concept.

Sequestered within a popular Cardiff strip mall that also houses Seaside Market, Zenbu Sushi and Rimel’s Rotisserie, rather than reach out to residents of San Diego’s urban core, The Confessional will mostly serve coastal denizens, tourists and, during the summer, visitors to the San Diego County Fair seeking pre- or post-event refreshments. When they arrive, they will find a sampling space that, despite being just over 1,100 square feet in area, sports as much, if not more, of the business’ artful, abbey-inspired character than its original North County tasting room.

A large, distressed steel sign sporting the tasting room’s name hangs above more than two-dozen taps dispensing beers from this three-headed operation. Those can be savored inside, under moodily dim lighting that matches earth-toned interiors punched up by various bottle art prints from local artist Sean Dominguez.

Those include paintings for Judgment Day, Deliverance and the so-racy-they-had-to-make-alterations Framboise de Amarosa (see accompanying image), the latter of which is hung above one of a handful of banquettes with wooden, pew-like seating. The main bar and barrels-turned-belly bars provide additional imbibing options, as does a small outdoor area looking out onto a courtyard lined with a green patch of eco-friendly turf while offering a distant view of the Pacific Ocean.
The Confessional is now open
Merchandise and growlers also help convey the company’s brand, leaning heavily toward its Belgian-inspired component. Even some bare faux tree trunks leftover from the venue’s previous life look good and relatively on-theme. (Though they will look even better once they are lined with snaking hop bines.)

Much of the reason the design is so cohesive just a week into the tasting room’s lifespan is because the company had much more time than originally planned to work on it while it cleared hurdles for permitting through the City of Encinitas’ Planning Commission and other agencies.

Originally slated to debut in August, the project faced with solvable hurdles at every turn and took more than a year to complete. However, upon opening its doors on recently, it was immediately flooded with patrons who had eagerly awaited its arrival, so despite delays, it’s off to a healthy start.

The Confessional is located at 2007 San Elijo Avenue, Encinitas, CA

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.

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