Beer Touring: Rip Current Brewing North Park

San Marcos brewery extends reach from North County to North Park

Rip Current Brewing's North Park servers all smiles right before opening for business
  • Rip Current Brewing's North Park servers all smiles right before opening for business
  • Image by @sdbeernews

Rip Current Brewing North Park

4101 30th Street Suite A, North Park

(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)

Rip Current Brewing Company's North Park tasting room

Rip Current Brewing Company's North Park tasting room

To some, it seems like Rip Current Brewing Company’s revamping of the North Park corner spot at 30th Street and Polk Avenue took virtually no time at all. Not so for the people anxiously awaiting the North County interest’s southerly satellite project nor the people behind it. The latter had hoped to have their joint venture with fellow San Marcos-based business Sublime Ale House operational by November (San Diego Beer Week, to be exact). The food component, which will include Sublime’s popular, decadent takes on pizzas and mac-and-cheese, is still a work-in-progress, but as of last Saturday, the taproom portion is up and running.

A boot holding beer for a ceremonial pre-opening toast awaits the owners and staff at Rip Current Brewing North Park

A boot holding beer for a ceremonial pre-opening toast awaits the owners and staff at Rip Current Brewing North Park

Rip Current owners and brewers Paul Sangster and Guy Shobe quietly opened the front door and pulled up their stylish garage-style windows. They did so with zero fanfare, merely inviting a handful of friends from local homebrew mega-club QUAFF (Quality Ale and Fermentation Fraternity). It was built as the softest of openings; an opportunity for the bar staff to acquaint themselves with the POS system, work out any kinks with the taps, and acclimate themselves to the venue’s service element without the guaranteed glut of clientele that would have slammed the place had they advertised.

The back room at Rip Current Brewing's North Park venue

The back room at Rip Current Brewing's North Park venue

Many Day One visitors’ story matched that of local beer devotee Michael Cardoza, who happened to be driving by (after visiting a few local beer establishments), saw people inside the tasting room, skidded to a stop, and made a b-line for the joint. Even local brewer and entrepreneur Lee Chase (Tiger! Tiger! Tavern, Blind Lady Alehouse) succumbed to the business’ lure. Within an hour, the place was well-populated. Not slammed and surely emptier than the venue figures to be most evenings, but more than busy enough to give servers a taste of what they can expect.

Rip Current's coastal motif is conveyed via a mural running across three walls of its North Park tasting room

Rip Current's coastal motif is conveyed via a mural running across three walls of its North Park tasting room

Outside, the business is painted a sunny shade of yellow, which helps the red letters spelling out its name stand out. Entering feels like taking a step into Rip Current’s website. All of the walls, save for the bright red on the east side, are painted from floor-to-ceiling with a panoramic beach scene complete with surfboards, seagulls, and the name of the artist — Robin Golden — painted beside a couple of empty bottles. The mural scene took roughly a week to finish and turned out very nice, as does a long L-shaped bar that, along with the cold box, is covered in multiple shades of wooden planks with nice under-lighting.

The vintage beer can wall at Rip Current Brewing North Park

The vintage beer can wall at Rip Current Brewing North Park

A collection of Sangster’s vintage beer cans, on the wall opposite the taps, helps convey the feeling of Rip Current’s San Marcos brewery and tasting room. Ditto the beer, which is taken from the same liquid stock. In the near future, Sangster and Shobe will begin selling draft beer from guest accounts including AleSmith Brewing Company. For now, there are well over two-dozen Rip Current beers available, including a brand new extra special bitter (ESB), black imperial hefeweizen, and a one-time-only quadruple India pale ale (IPA). So even without food and guest brews, there’s plenty of reason to chart a course for what is, even in its youngest form, a nicely executed concept.

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Comments

Must every taproom have the wood-plank-walls look? Imitation is a sincere from of flattery, but it's a poor substitute for originality.

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