[See my June 2019 revisit to Bagby here. Below is my original January 2017 visit.]
There’s been a beer explosion (the good kind) in Oceanside. As of early 2017, there are at least eight active breweries, a satellite tasting room and three “coming soon” craft breweries in Oceanside. Given its population of about 167,000, that’s pretty impressive (it comes to about 7 breweries per 100,000 of population).
Bagby Beer Company was opened in 2014. It occupies a large and well-designed space on the Coast Highway (just a couple of blocks from the ocean, half a mile from the Oceanside Transit Center and a mile from the Pier). There is extensive seating both inside and out. On the Coast Highway side there is wonderful large window (fully open during decent weather) that divides a counter at which you can sit either inside or outside. The green accent wall nicely sets off the dark grey concrete floor and blonde woods of the horizontal surfaces. The wall behind the bar is covered with beautiful large shiny-grey subway tiles. The vibe is chill but sophisticated.
Back Garden Pale Ale (4% ABV). This is very light and tastes a lot like a pilsner. It would be refreshing on a hot day, and it would be non-threatening to someone you are trying to introduce to craft beer. 3.25/5
I didn’t get to try the food but the menu (pub-type fare: pizza, sandwiches, poutine, etc.) looks good and what I saw people eating made me wish I hadn’t stopped at Wendy’s on the drive up from San Diego.
ALT in the Family (Altbier, 4.7% ABV). This has a medium amber color, a nice white head and a malty flavor. It doesn’t really taste like the altbiers I had in Dusseldorf, but it is a decent beer. 3/5
The tap list is impressively extensive, verging on enormous. They pour 24 of their own beers plus a similarly-sized selection of guest taps, and a good bottle/can list to boot.
Three Beagles Brown (English Brown Ale, 5.3%). This is fine, but not great. Maybe I was spoiled by New English’s Brewer’s Special Brown. 3.25/5
A side note: There is a really cool climbing gym just across the street. It would be fun to take some friends climbing and then stop in at Bagby for a bite and a beer afterwards.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Lion’s Pride (10.1% ABV). This tasted a bit sourish to me, it is WAY boozy and had notes of burnt prune. It didn’t sit well. Not my favorite BBA. 2.75/5
This is a location I want to come back to. If I lived closer, I could see this being a regular hangout.
http://www.bagbybeer.com/ 601 South Coast Highway, Oceanside CA 92054