Located at the corner of Elfin Forest Road and San Elijo Road, directly across the street from the small park and fountain in the San Elijo Hills town center, the new The Lost Abbey tasting room brings craft beer to this picturesque though somewhat isolated part of San Marcos.
Tomme Arthur, founder and award-winning head brewer at The Lost Abbey (together with its co-brands Port Brewing and The Hop Concept), lives less than a mile away, so he knew the area and recognized the opportunity when it came up. There are still not many places for residents to enjoy food and drink in the vicinity, so demand is high. San Elijo Vine & Tap, Shane’s Pizza and Pints, the Sourdough & Co. sandwich shop, and Lourdes Mexican Food, are the only other food and beverage options in the immediate area.
The main Lost Abbey/Port Brewing brewery is just six miles away over the ridge to the northeast. But as Arthur points out, the mountain is as much a psychological as it is a physical barrier. Folks in the San Elijo Hills area tend to go toward the coast for entertainment rather than heading farther inland. Having somewhere to go for excellent craft beer nearby, especially somewhere as special as a Lost Abbey tasting room, will be popular with locals. And the Lost Abbey name, plus the fact that the tasting room is lovely in its own right, will no doubt also draw beer lovers from outside the area, too.
The tasting room location, inside the former Visitor Center building originally opened in 2001 to house real estate companies selling the nearby housing developments, takes the place of the former Stoked.
They will offer 12 beers on tap. That’s many fewer than you’ll find at either the main Lost Abbey/Port Brewing location or at The Confessional tasting room in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. That’s because storage space in the location is minimal and there just isn’t room for more kegs.
The rise in popularity of canned beer leads to an interesting opportunity, however: In addition to draught beer they will also offer a selection of Lost Abbey/Port/Hop Concept beers in cans. They will ship cans the six miles from the brewery, ensuring they are always fully stocked and the beer is as fresh as possible. Drinking from a can also prevents beer becoming “light-struck,” a process whereby a lighter beer in a pint glass can become “skunked” in less than a minute of direct sunlight, a feature this location has plenty of thanks to its tall windows on two sides.
The layout and design, particularly the back patio, make this Lost Abbey location perfect for events such as parties and receptions. In fact, nine such events have already been booked before the end of the year.
Within the next year, The Lost Abbey will open a fourth location, the next one to occupy a former church in downtown San Diego’s East village. The church windows apparently closely resemble The Lost Abbey’s logo’s stained-glass window, so it is a match made in beery heaven.
The Lost Abbey San Elijo will open to the public on Friday, Nov. 1. Check the Lost Abbey webpage and social media channels for details.
Bill Vanderburgh writes the Craft Beer in North County column for Coast News. He started his award-winning blog, CraftBeerInSanDiego.com, in 2016 and has since reviewed every brewery and tasting room in San Diego. He loves sailing almost as much as beer.