TEMECULA, CA — Visit Temecula Valley — the region's official tourism organization — wants vacationers to know that Temecula is pouring more than just wine. This week the organization announced there are now 12 local microbreweries in the area that appeal "to a broad spectrum of beer lovers."
Aftershock Brewery, Black Market Brewing Co., Craft Brewing Company, Garage Brewing Co., Ironfire Brewing, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Refuge Brewery, Relentless Brewing, Stone Church Brewing, Temecula Brewing Co., Wiens Brewing, and 8 Bit Brewing are all calling Temecula Valley home.
It seems brewers have taken a page from Temecula Wine Country's success as a tourist destination.
"Breweries are opening in Temecula Valley because they see the potential to succeed as tourism surpasses 3 million visitors," said Annette Brown, director of public relations for Visit Temecula Valley. "Tourists and locals are loving the creative beers brewed in our community."
With nearly 50 wineries and 12 breweries, there's still room for other libation-makers in Temecula Valley. Brown said there are now two local meaderies, Batch Mead and Chubby Cheeks, as well as two distilleries, Galway Spirits and Kalifornia Distilleries.
So which of the local breweries offer some of the best tastes? Visit Temecula Valley offered six picks:
Garage Brewing Company develops creative spins on standard styles in what was once an eight-bay garage on the south end of Old Town Temecula. Their popular and gold medal winners Marshmallow Milk Stout and Mago Hefeweizen are must-trys. They also recently launched a low carb Brake Light India Pale Ale with citrus hops that looks promising. All their beers go great with their on-site custom-built thin crust pizzas.
Ironfire Brewery has two locations in Temecula, one is convenient for those exploring Old Town Temecula. Ironfire takes pride in disregarding all preconceived notions of beer when concocting their ales and lagers. Their Old Town tasting room offers a fun interactive environment.
Karl Strauss Brewing Company brews more than 140 different beers and has won 110 medals and counting. Temecula Valley is one of their 10 locations. They offer a Beer Brunch every Saturday and Sunday. Along with a selection of brews, they have fried chicken and waffles, chilaquiles cazuelas, churro donuts, and more.
Refuge Brewery is the largest craft brewery in the area. Their Blood Orange Wit is a must-have. Another great beer recommendation is their Illusion IPA. Refuge also likes to blend some of their beers with wine must during fermentation, a craft that dates back to the early days of brewing. They have several events and live entertainment, including every other Sunday when a HotGlass ColdBeer event demonstrates live glass blowing.
Stone Church Brewing celebrates its first year in Old Town Temecula on March 17 with a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stave Aged Stout. The business is owned by a retired Army Colonel who has been tasting craft beers around the world. They specialize in India Pale Ales, Pale Ales, and Belgian-style Tripels.
Wiens Brewing is a functioning facility with easy visibility from their taproom. Visitors frequently get a glimpse of beer production with brewing, kegging, canning, transferring commonly taking place. Their recently remodeled tasting space is a modern but modest look, showcasing custom art on the walls. Note their creative beer labels designed by Alec Wiens. The family also owns and operates Wiens Winery in Temecula Valley Wine Country.
Looking for more information on Temecula Valley breweries? Pick up an Ale Trail Craft Brewery Guide at the Visitor Center, 28690 Mercedes Street, in Old Town Temecula, or check out VisitTemeculaValley.com.