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Shortly after posting the second of what had been planned as my two-part “My Beer Radar” series, I received some big news pertaining to an upcoming craft beer company that’s being watched by beer enthusiasts, not only on a local level, but nationally. Clearly, this called for a third on-the-fly installment.

In late December of last year, Jeff Bagby left his position heading up the brewing operations for the Pizza Port empire. It was a move that took many by surprise. After all, Bagby has won many medals at the Great American Beer Festival (the country’s largest and most hotly contested annual beer competition) and had a talented staff working under him. Pizza Port was coming off its third consecutive year as the best Large Brewpub of the Year (also awarded at the GABF). Times were good, everybody was on top.

Even with all he accomplished, Bagby wanted more. He wanted his very own brewpub. He was vocal on his way out, stating how much he respected Pizza Port owners Vince and Gina Marsaglia, and appreciated their support of his move. The trio understood each other. Vince and Gina’s passion for brewing led them to add a brewing component to their business. That same passion grew it into the wildly successful chain it’s become. As such, they couldn’t stand in the way of another with that same passion and that same intention.

A North County coastal resident, it was always Bagby’s intention to open the place he’s been working on for nearly a year somewhere in the northwest quadrant of San Diego County. Today, he announced that he’s found just the spot, the space that formerly housed the Continental Motors and BMW Oceanside on South Coast Highway in Oceanside. The venue has space for a large kitchen, dining room, and two bars. It also contains a courtyard that Bagby is excited to make use of as some sort of outdoor imbibing environ.

For many, Oceanside would be a tough community to start a new business in. For Bagby, however—a guy with massive credentials and draw every bit as strong as a Pizza Port brewpub or similar beer destinations like Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens or Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits’ original Home Brew Mart tasting bar—nowhere is too far. Beer fans will make plans to visit, especially fans who’ve been thirsty for this artisan’s beer for over a year.

It will still be some time before they can get their taste buds on Bagby’s brews, but this is an important first step down a long tunnel with a bright light at its end.

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