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8 Great Ways to Experience the New Craft Beer Scene and Local Microbreweries in Temecula Valley

Thursday, March 20, 2014 9:00 PM

TEMECULA VALLEY Southern California Wine Country, July 3, 2013 - "Wine tasting and dining at winery restaurants, hot air balloon flights, horseback riding, and now the new craft brew scene are among the variety of popular visitor activities in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. Wineries are located to the east in Temecula Valley, and now, small independent, craft breweries are located in the west:  Black Market, Wiens, Aftershock, Ironfire, and Refuge are here. With the Pechanga Microbrew Festival celebrating the brewer's art; brewery tours and beer tastings available daily; and enjoying Temecula handcrafted beers at local eateries, craft beer enthusiasts have at least 8 Great Ways to stay and experience this casual, picturesque valley," shares Kimberly Adams, Visit Temecula Valley president and CEO. Located 1-hour from San Diego, Orange County, and Palm Springs; and 1½ hours from Los Angeles and Hollywood, the boutique destination includes Downtown Old Town Temecula; Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country; and Pechanga Resort & Casino.

1-Pechanga Microbrew Festival (July 13, 2013; 1pm-5pm)

This is a fun afternoon for beer enthusiasts! Wiens Brewing Company of Temecula, regional microbreweries like Ballast Point Brewing, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, and Left Coast Brewing; and dozens of other locally recognized and widely known breweries are showcased at Pechanga Resort & Casino's popular, annual, craft brew festival. The event also includes a chili cook-off competition among the highly acclaimed chefs of Pechanga's premier restaurants. Attendees can savor microbrews, sample gourmet chili, and enjoy live music and entertainment. Pechanga supports designating a driver. Thereby, tickets include those for full-experience attendees ($40 per person) as well as designated driver guests who choose not to drink ($25 each).

2-Black Market Brewing Company

Established in 2009 and producing high quality, award-winning handcrafted ales, Black Market Brewing Company is Temecula's original craft brewery. The popular, Bavarian-style Hefeweizen is a refreshing, beautifully balanced, unfiltered wheat beer with subtle, fruit and spice character. In the spirit of the German purity law, Black Market Hefeweizen is brewed using only malt, hops, yeast, and water. The Revolution oatmeal stout is smooth drinking with just enough oats to give the chocolate and roasted malts a silky smooth finish. Liberation (Imperial IPA) is a smooth drinking malt and hop powerhouse; the malt and hop character are kicked up a few notches and hide its strength (9.5% ABV). Located in the Uptown Temecula district, the Black Market tasting room is open Monday-Thursday, 4pm-9pm; Friday-Sunday, 1pm-9pm.

3-Wiens Brewing Company

Collaborating as home-brewers since 1995, Pete and Ben Wiens opened Wiens Brewing Company in 2012; in the years between Pete earned a degree in fermentation science at U.C. Davis, and a dozen years of professional, brewery production experience. The deep-golden Front Street Lager is medium-bodied with a honey-sweetness and a slight grassy/hoppy end. Bigger and hoppier than typical amber lagers, Old Town Amber is brewed to focus on the malts (five varieties), has roasted malt, caramel character, and a spicy hop finish. The seasonal Wiensfest is a U.S. version of classic Oktoberfest style with minimal hop aroma, medium body, toasted malty-bready flavors, and a clean finish. Located west of the Uptown Temecula district (across the river), the Wiens brew house is open Monday-Thursday, 3pm-8pm; Friday, 1pm-8pm; Saturday, 12noon-8pm; Sunday, 12noon-6pm.

4-Aftershock Brewing Company

After 27 years of steady brewing, Aftershock Brewing Co. opened in 2012 as a small, artisan brewery dedicated to creating flavorful beers with character and subtle nuances. Aftershock produces Tremor, traditional pale ale, as well as beers like Faultline, a huge Imperial IPA (9.3% ABV) with a balance of hops and malt. Magnitude is a California adaptation of classic Belgian pale ale, and Pinacate (Aftershock's lightest beer) is very easy drinking with a great chili flavor and aroma (Fresno and Guahillo chilies are added cold after fermentation). Located just south of Downtown Old Town Temecula, the Aftershock brewery and tasting room is open Monday-Tuesday, 3pm-8pm; Wednesday-Sunday, 1pm-8pm.

5-Ironfire Brewing Company

With a maverick tagline ("our ales are for outlaws"), Ironfire Brewing Company was established in 2012 with a mission of producing unique ales and lagers. Brewed in the style of So Cal IPA, the copper in color Synner pale ale is dry on the palate with a distinctive hop aroma and flavor. Vicious Disposition is brewed in the style of an Imperial Porter with local avocado honey, has complex malt flavors, and a rich and buttery finish. Located west of Uptown Temecula (across the river), the brewery tasting room offers rare specialty beers and barrel-aged seasonals, Wednesday-Friday, 3pm-8pm; Saturday, 12noon-8pm; Sunday, 12noon-6pm.

6-Refuge Brewery

Established in 2012 and with the tasting room located in the middle of the brewery operations, Refuge Brewery handcrafts Belgian-style ales as well as porters, brown ales and hefeweizens by brewing 10 barrels of beer at a time. Abby Road is a Belgian-style golden wit, with orange and coriander notes, and a lightly hoppy finish. Exile is an American pale ale with caramel and malt flavors, lightly hopped to a balance. Located southwest of Uptown Temecula (across the river) the Refuge Brewery tasting room is open Wednesday-Friday, 4pm-8pm; Saturday, 1pm-8pm; Sunday, 1pm-6pm.

7-Brewery Tours of Temecula

Especially midweek (Monday-through-Thursday) with potential opportunities to meet Temecula's talented and passionate craft brewers in-person, an afternoon with Brewery Tours of Temecula is ideal for learning about the beer-making process and different styles of beer, and tasting the local, craft brews. By advance reservation, Brewery Tours of Temecula offers both public and private group tours with a knowledgeable tour guide to answer questions; tasting notes, souvenir tasting glass, and transportation provided.

8-Temecula Handcrafted Beers at Local Pubs, Bistros, and Restaurants

Experiencing fresh, locally grown food, and locally produced beverages - including award-winning, premium wines and handcrafted beers - is a popular travel custom. In Temecula Valley, local, premium wines as well as notable, local, proprietary craft beers are available to savor and enjoy at many eateries.

In Downtown Old Town Temecula, The Public House features Black Market Brewing, Ironfire Brewing, and Refuge Brewery on tap. Baily's and Front Street Bar & Grill offer Ironfire and Refuge; The Gambling Cowboy has Wiens Brewing. Sweet Lumpy's BBQ has Aftershock Brewing and Black Market; The Bank Mexican Restaurant, the craft brews of Refuge and Wiens.

In Uptown Temecula, Vail Ranch Steakhouse features Aftershock, Black Market, Refuge, and Wiens; Aftershock is also at EAT Marketplace. In Temecula Valley Wine Country, the Vineyard Rose restaurant at South Coast Winery features Black Market. Journey's End adjacent the acclaimed Journey golf course at Pechanga Resort & Casino also features Black Market.

*Information is believed accurate but may be subject to change. 


With natural gifts of climate and geography bolstered by Pu'eska Mountain, the Rainbow Gap, and the Santa Margarita Gap, Temecula Valley is widely recognized for its quality wines and wineries as Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. The popular boutique destination received TripAdvisors' Travelers Choice "Best U.S. Wine Destination Top 10" award and includes a trio of main attractions: Downtown Old Town Temecula, Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country, and Pechanga Resort & Casino.

Visit Temecula Valley, the region's official tourism marketing organization and resource for visitors is online at; "Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country" on Facebook; and @Visit_Temecula on Twitter. Temecula Valley Visitors Center in Downtown Old Town Temecula (Third Street and Mercedes, adjacent the free Old Town Temecula Parking Garage) is open 7 days. For visitor information and assistance, call 888/363-2852 or 951/491-6085.