Beer Maverick

Knotty Barrel, Rancho Penasquitos

Knotty Barrel, a beer bar and tasting room for its Knotty Brewing brand, has a wonderful space. The tap list is extensive and excellent, though too light on their own beers. #sdbeer #sandiegobeer #localbeer #independentbeer

Knotty Barrel is a beer bar downtown, which also owns (and shares a building with) Knotty Brewing. Earlier this year, they opened a second location in the Rancho Penasquitos neighborhood. It is pretty great. Since they serve house-brand Knotty Brewing beer, this location counts as a tasting room for the brewery and makes my list.

One gets the impression, however, both at the bar downtown and at the newer “Knotty PQ”, that the Knotty Barrel folks are not that excited about Knotty Brewing. When I was at the downtown location, they only had a couple of Knotty Brewing beers at the main bar, but an extensive craft draft list. Now, of course, at the downtown location you can just walk next door to get a full menu of Knotty Brewing beers, and I’m pretty sure you can then carry those back into the main bar (or to the awesome back patio). At Knotty PQ, there is no such possibility. Which means that it is rather disappointing to see only two Knotty Brewing beers on the tap list. It makes getting a flight a bit odd, since two Knotty beers plus a couple of randoms (the other offerings are excellent, but all over the map both geographically and stylistically) is not really what most people are looking for when they order a flight at a tasting room.

That one reservation aside, everything else about the experience at Knotty PQ is excellent. Parking is easy. There is a huge patio. The garage-door-type windows that open to the bar from the patio let light and air into the restaurant and bar areas. The interior is large and well done; beautiful and comfortable. The bar is a large rectangle and has lots of seating. Although I arrived mid-afternoon apparently as the staff were preparing for a shift change (there was lots of running around, cleaning and side work going on), service was nevertheless quick and friendly. The food was great. Mostly I just enjoyed the atmosphere. It is the sort of place that is fun whether solo or with a group of friends. And on a sunny day, there are not many patios in the area that can beat the one at Knotty PQ.

I’ll be back soon. Hopefully they’ll have more Knotty Brewing beers on by then.     13211 Black Mountain Rd., San Diego, CA 92129