Wintertime trip on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight–Portland to San Diego (includes brewery tours and lots of mass transit)

Here are some pictures from our latest post-semester cheapo cold weather escape. Using discount tickets on Soutwest Airlines, we flew to Portland OR, caught the Coast Starlight and Surfliner to San Diego (cashed in Amtrak Guest Rewards points), and rode the commuter rail system to Los Angeles. Visited breweries and beer shrines by mass transit. Came back with a tan, and great memories of first class service on the Coast Starlight, and sour beers from Upright Brewing in Portland, and The Bruery, in Placentia (Anaheim)–the two preeminent sour beer breweries in North America.

As a homebrewer and certified beer judge, it’s hard to justify a trip to San Diego without visiting a few of their world-famous breweries. Interestingly, two of their most renowned microbreweries are within walking distance from the Sprinter–a DMU light rail system that connects Oceanside CA (train station on Amtrak Surfliner, San Diego Coaster, and Los Angeles Metrolink system) with Escondido.

Important Suggestions for those wanting to go to Stone and Lost Abbey using public transit:

  • You’ll probably need to take Amtrak to Oceanside ($34 round-trip), as the lower-cost Coaster commuter train runs very infrequently during the day.
  • Do this trip on a Wednesday, when Lost Abbey/Port Brewing is open later and serves food.
  • Go to Stone first. They’re restaurant serves food all day, and it’s one of the best beer-themed restaurants around. Get there by riding the Sprinter to the Nordahl Road station and either walking or taking the 353 bus (runs every 30 minutes). (This is different than their instructions on their website, but it’s a faster trip.)
  • Go to Lost Abbey second. Ride the Sprinter to San Marcos Civc Center. Follow the instructions for getting there published on their website (Google Maps is has some major errors regarding walking trails that don’t really exist.) Leave by 7:30 pm–if you miss the 8:15 pm Sprinter from San Marcos, you’re in for a long wait for a train in Oceanside.
  • If you are a beer brewer, while you’re in town, work in a visit to White Labs’ tasting room (at their facility on Candida St.) for an interesting demo on how yeast selection affects beer making. The #20 bus can take you there from downtown or from the Fashion Valley Mall.

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“Pictures from our latest post-semester cheapo cold weather escape. Flew to Portland OR, caught the Coast Starlight and Surfliner to San Diego, and rode the commuter rail system to Los Angeles. Visited breweries and beer shrines by mass transit. Came back with a tan.”

From California Winter Trip 2012, posted by Tom Coughlin on 12/29/2012 (29 items)

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