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Plan 9 Alehouse

155 E. Grand Avenue, Escondido

At my Escondido-based day job, it’s not irregular to go looking for members of management only to learn they’ve headed out for an off-site powwow. Such meetings of the minds often involve craft beer — this is a brewery after all. And nearby Plan 9 Alehouse (155 East Grand Avenue, Escondido) has become a favorite “meeting venue.” But it’s not all business. Many Stone employees, not to mention numerous civilians, consider this an excellent place to kick back after a busy day at the office. And it’s no wonder — Plan 9 maintains a consistently killer beer list stocked with one-offs and specialties. There’s only one thing that’s scarce... house beers.

Plan 9 Alehouse isn’t just a restaurant... it’s a brewpub, meaning there is a brewery on-site. It’s a small one. The standard batch size is one-and-a-half barrels, so those beers typically don’t last long when they make it on the tap list. Fortunately, there are plenty of other high-quality options, but it’s getting to the point where Plan 9 beer shares the yeti or bigfoot status (not the beers, the mystery beasts) of Pliny the Younger. When they go on, those looking for a taste best not dilly-dally.

This week, I was able to get a goblet of Plan 9 Mysterious Melon Variety Hour, a 5% alcohol-by-volume what beer brewed with “tons” of watermelon. The melon flavor is prevalent, but rather than coming across thin or watery as one might expect, the beer has enough body to come across as both sturdy and refreshing. A dash of rye brings in an element of spice that’s both interesting and tasty. If you find yourself afforded the rare opportunity to taste this beer, it’s definitely worth a shot. Ditto an appetizer plate of bourbon-Sriracha duck wings, a specialty of the house that, with its tang and spice, is a tremendous foil for the watermelon ale.

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