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Lost Abbey gives Cardiff a tasting room

The Confessional brings craft beer to a thirsty community

Cardiff residents confess, they also enjoy drinking local beer.
Cardiff residents confess, they also enjoy drinking local beer.
Place

Lost Abbey

2007 San Elijo Avenue, Cardiff by the Sea

After nine years brewing Belgian inspired ales, San Marcos–based brewer Lost Abbey opened its long-awaited tasting room on April 22, settling into a small retail space in a coastal shopping center in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Previously the site of a baby clothing store, the tasting room has been outfitted with a wrap-around bar and 24 taps featuring a steady roster of Lost Abbey's year round and rotating seasonal releases, in addition to its inventory of bottle conditioned beers.

Playing on the brand's Abbey association and crucifix logo, the 1200-square-foot tasting room has been dubbed the Confessional. However, any religious associations are quickly offset by the presence of Lost Abbey's sister brand, Port Brewing, which provides beer to its coastal chain of Pizza Port restaurants. Port beers comprise nearly half the Confessional draft list, adding both variety and color with their signature flip-flop tap handles. Also present is the current release of the Port brand's third and latest imprint, Hop Concept, which issues seasonal IPAs named with two-word descriptors to characterize their flavor profiles, including Citrus & Piney or the upcoming Lemon & Grassy, due in August.

The Confessional's general manager Abby Heilbron has been dubbed the "queen of Cardiff."

Still, Confessional general manager Abby Heilbron says the place is intended "to give the Lost Abbey brand a chance to shine." While a steady stream of beer enthusiasts have made the pilgrimage to San Marcos to visit the brewery over the years, San Diego's strong beer reputation has long revolved around hop-heavy IPAs. Coming to Lost Abbey after more than five years working at the tasting room of another gold medal brewer, Alesmith, Heilbron explains she's often met people in the San Diego beer scene who tell her "I've had a lot of IPA's, I want to see what else is out there." She says the Confessional aims to provide a "smaller, more intimate environment where we have more opportunity to educate people about some of the lesser-known styles," which have garnered Lost Abbey numerous awards and accolades over the years, including saisons and sour ales, which generally derive flavor profiles from spices or yeast variants rather than hops.

Lost Abbey co-founder and chief operating owner Tomme Arthur used to camp in Cardiff when he was just a pint himself.

The decision to open in Cardiff was driven in part by the dearth of craft breweries within the greater Encinitas area. But Lost Abbey co-founder and chief operating owner Tomme Arthur indicates he's always been drawn to the character of the coastal community. He says, "Growing up and camping there every year since I was a kid, Cardiff has always been a destination for me," adding, "It's been exciting how much the residents of Cardiff have embraced us."

Arthur and Heilbron both emphasized the importance of fitting into the neighborhood, concerned as much with meeting the needs of local residents as at-large beer drinkers. Heilbron says roughly three quarters of the customers she's spoken with in the first month the tasting room's been open have expressed appreciation that they finally have a source of craft beer and growler fills within walking distance, while a number of young parents have also turned up to take advantage of the taproom's open patio counter, watching their kids play in the turf courtyard while sampling tasters of freshly poured beer.

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Cardiff residents confess, they also enjoy drinking local beer.
Cardiff residents confess, they also enjoy drinking local beer.
Place

Lost Abbey

2007 San Elijo Avenue, Cardiff by the Sea

After nine years brewing Belgian inspired ales, San Marcos–based brewer Lost Abbey opened its long-awaited tasting room on April 22, settling into a small retail space in a coastal shopping center in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Previously the site of a baby clothing store, the tasting room has been outfitted with a wrap-around bar and 24 taps featuring a steady roster of Lost Abbey's year round and rotating seasonal releases, in addition to its inventory of bottle conditioned beers.

Playing on the brand's Abbey association and crucifix logo, the 1200-square-foot tasting room has been dubbed the Confessional. However, any religious associations are quickly offset by the presence of Lost Abbey's sister brand, Port Brewing, which provides beer to its coastal chain of Pizza Port restaurants. Port beers comprise nearly half the Confessional draft list, adding both variety and color with their signature flip-flop tap handles. Also present is the current release of the Port brand's third and latest imprint, Hop Concept, which issues seasonal IPAs named with two-word descriptors to characterize their flavor profiles, including Citrus & Piney or the upcoming Lemon & Grassy, due in August.

The Confessional's general manager Abby Heilbron has been dubbed the "queen of Cardiff."

Still, Confessional general manager Abby Heilbron says the place is intended "to give the Lost Abbey brand a chance to shine." While a steady stream of beer enthusiasts have made the pilgrimage to San Marcos to visit the brewery over the years, San Diego's strong beer reputation has long revolved around hop-heavy IPAs. Coming to Lost Abbey after more than five years working at the tasting room of another gold medal brewer, Alesmith, Heilbron explains she's often met people in the San Diego beer scene who tell her "I've had a lot of IPA's, I want to see what else is out there." She says the Confessional aims to provide a "smaller, more intimate environment where we have more opportunity to educate people about some of the lesser-known styles," which have garnered Lost Abbey numerous awards and accolades over the years, including saisons and sour ales, which generally derive flavor profiles from spices or yeast variants rather than hops.

Lost Abbey co-founder and chief operating owner Tomme Arthur used to camp in Cardiff when he was just a pint himself.

The decision to open in Cardiff was driven in part by the dearth of craft breweries within the greater Encinitas area. But Lost Abbey co-founder and chief operating owner Tomme Arthur indicates he's always been drawn to the character of the coastal community. He says, "Growing up and camping there every year since I was a kid, Cardiff has always been a destination for me," adding, "It's been exciting how much the residents of Cardiff have embraced us."

Arthur and Heilbron both emphasized the importance of fitting into the neighborhood, concerned as much with meeting the needs of local residents as at-large beer drinkers. Heilbron says roughly three quarters of the customers she's spoken with in the first month the tasting room's been open have expressed appreciation that they finally have a source of craft beer and growler fills within walking distance, while a number of young parents have also turned up to take advantage of the taproom's open patio counter, watching their kids play in the turf courtyard while sampling tasters of freshly poured beer.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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