On the Menu: Pacific Beach AleHouse – hop to it for the holidays
“He was a wise man who invented beer.” — Plato (427 - 347 B.C.)
Beer snags first place for the most popular alcoholic drink in the world, and is probably the oldest fermented beverage dating back to cave dwelling days.
It is believed that beer was first brewed millennia ago when a recipe was discovered on a 4,000 year-old Sumerian tablet, waxing poetic in honor of Ninkasi, the goddess of brewing and the harvest.
Eric Leitstein, tapping into the modern-day craft beer movement, established the Pacific Beach AleHouse 14 years ago in the heart of the funky boardwalk town.
Want to visit?
Pacific Beach AleHouse
Where: 721 Grand Ave., Pacific Beach
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight, Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays; 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays and 9:30 a.m. to midnight Sundays.
Good to know: The menu is online. There is a kids menu for young patrons. Food delivery is an option. Gift cards can be purchased in amounts between $5 and $100.
CEO and founder of OMG Hospitality Group (that’s the acronym for the names of his three children — Olivia, Mason and Gavin), Leitstein rose from the ranks as a youth doing some heavy lifting in the food and hospitality industry to owning and running a collection of varied restaurants in San Diego. These include Moe’s Mission Beach, Backyard Kitchen & Tap, and Union Kitchen & Tap in the Gaslamp quarter and Encinitas.
Leitstein has incorporated his penchant for brewskis into the restaurant concepts, especially Pacific Beach AleHouse where, according to bar manager Corrin Crane, “we brew all our own craft beer in-house in our brewery adjacent to the beer garden.”
Going head-to-head with other taprooms, Crane boasts of the range of craft beer flavors, including such popular styles as Japanese lagers, West Coast IPAs (India Pale Ales) and American stouts, “with nine different styles on tap at once.”
Incidentally, the eatery’s Down to Hop beer was nominated for Best West Coast IPA by San Diego Beer News.
Even if you’re not a person who loves beer, Pacific Beach AleHouse has wonderful views to accompany the brews. It offers a two-story beach front pub filled with warm woods, a clubby bar, cozy leather booths, plethora of flat screen TVs, a rooftop terrace with a retractable cover, a street side pet-friendly patio by the boardwalk, and seating in the lower level beer garden.
Now for the eats. Crane calls it “classic pub food” made from scratch, in-house and with love. Some customer faves start with lip-puckering fried pickles paired with sriracha ranch sauce, and jumbo Bavarian pretzels accompanied by a roasted jalapeno beer cheese fondue and honey Dijon dipping sauces that get the juices flowing for bigger things to come.
These include an A-(leHouse) List of burgers (barbecue, beer cheeseburger, truffle, pimento, blue cheese and the plant-based Impossible) with a side of fries or dirty beans. Or pick a slab of smoked (in-house) St. Louis ribs with chipotle aioli and cotija cheese. There are birria tacos constructed with beef slow-cooked for five hours with choice herbs and spices, piled high on a corn tortilla and topped with fresh onions, micro cilantro and birria broth. Other options include a lineup of savory flatbreads like pesto chicken, and ricotta spinach.
For sweet endings most diners indulge in the fried to order Domingo Churro (churro sundae), a gustatory extravaganza with homemade churros drizzled in chocolate sauce and dulce de leche, then topped with whipped cream and chunks of assorted candy bars.
For breakfast lovers, Saturday and Sunday brunch includes such offerings as breakfast short ribs with eggs, hollandaise and herb-roasted potatoes; Brioche French toast; an acai bowl dressed with fresh berries, bananas, granola, toasted coconut, honey and bee pollen; and an avocado sourdough toast tricked out with peppy radishes, pepitas, sunflower seeds, pickled Fresno chilis, a poached egg and micro greens.
Check out the weekly specials kicking off with Dirty Burger Mondays, followed by Taco Tuesdays plus Wine Down and Whiskey Up Wednesdays (half price specials). There is also Hoppy Hour from 3 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays with drink and appetizer deals. Or you could visit for Reverse Hoppy Hour from 10 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays for $5 ale house brews and $5 wells, including vodka, gin and tequila. Finally, Sundays pay homage to those working in the food industry by offering half off their bar tab after 9 p.m.
Crane is excited to shake things up for the holiday season with some fall-inspired cocktails featuring a sassy cranberry rosemary gin and tonic, a pumpkin spiked cold brew and a fig whiskey smash.
AleHouse also offers traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas Day feasts. For Turkey Day guests were regaled with such delightful holiday items as roasted squash bisque, pineapple and clove glazed ham, deep-fried turkey breast accompanied by a persimmons and apple sausage stuffing (recipe below), sage gravy, Yukon gold potatoes and a dessert duo of pumpkin pie with cinnamon whipped cream, and super dark chocolate cobbler.
Christmas dinner will be just as lavish centered around a prime rib main course jazzed up with festive sides.
Whether you’re a Pacific Beach denizen, visitor, seasonal tourist, college student or part of the lunch klatch from the assisted living facility down the block that pops in once a week, “Pacific Beach AleHouse is a terrific place for friends and family to gather for great food, fun drinks, and lasting memories,” says Crane.
Recipe from Pacific Beach AleHouse
Persimmons apple sausage holiday stuffing
Serves 6 to 8
1 loaf of sourdough bread, cut in cubes and toasted
3 T. unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
4 to 5 celery stalks, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 medium onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
3/4 tsp. fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 C. low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
3/4 T. salt
2 to 3 Italian apple sausages, cooked and sliced into coins
3 firm Fuyu persimmons, cubed
1. In a large skillet heat butter on low, and sauté celery, shallots, onions and garlic until tender.
2. Incorporate toast cubes, herbs, spices, stock, sausage and persimmons, and blend well.
3. Grease an oven-safe baking dish with butter, and spread the stuffing mixture evenly.
4. Bake in a low oven (165 degrees Fahrenheit) until golden brown.
Courtesy of Chef Luis Mayoral