I dropped in to Oceanside Brewing on my way home after a very long day at work. It was after 9pm, but fortunately they stay open until 10 or 11 (depending on the day of the week). I wish more tasting rooms were open that late.
Although, to be fair, perhaps the clientele doesn’t exist in this area for late openings. It could be a consequence of beer joints usually not being open late, and hence beer drinkers not going out late. Chicken and egg, as they say. Whatever the explanation (it was also just after Halloween), I was the only customer. I felt like I would have gotten the same friendly welcome and attentive service even if there had been a crowd, though. And the bartender did tell me that they do get crowds on weekend nights.
Oceanside Brewing (not to be confused with Oceanside Ale Works, a completely separate company) has only been in business since April 2016, not even two years, so it was strange to me that the place felt well-used and a bit run down. Perhaps that is because of the area it is in, which is an older commercial zone with a lot of car repair shops. The route to the brewery includes some very dark and empty streets, which doesn’t make it feel very inviting. The tasting room is actually only about 1000 feet away from Legacy Brewing Co., but because of the way the streets are laid out it takes a 0.6 mile drive to get between them (and I really wouldn’t recommend walking between them, certainly not at night).
There is a lot of space inside, including a fair number of seats at the bar and a few tables. Outside is where the action is, though: A big patio with umbrellas and plants is divided into several zones and the overall vibe is chill and relaxed, as befits the beach city location (though this spot is admittedly miles from the beach).
Oceanside Brewing has A LOT of beers on tap at any one time, 20+. I ended up trying seven between the flight I ordered and some samples the bartender gave me.
Pillow Talk (Pale Ale, 5.1% ABV). Nice malty cream ale, not as flavorful as some. 3/5
Slam Dunk (Dunkelweizen, 5.2% ABV). Loads of banana esters on the nose and first taste. A sour note and maybe a slight metallic something but hard to put my finger on it. 3/5
Extra Special Badass (Extra Special Bitter, 4.8% ABV). This is normally a style I love; not this time. Soft opening, almost vacant it is so neutral. Tabacco. Yeast has a Belgian-y component it should not. 2.5/5
Bloody Brew (Raspberry Porter, 5.9% ABV). Named for Halloween, I guess. The raspberry comes through strongly but otherwise it is just okay. 3.25/5
We All Fall Down (Irish Dry Stout, 6.3% ABV). Very solid Irish Stout. Balanced, good medium mouthfeel, dark malts with slight smokiness in background, biscuity. 3.5/5
Flying Dutchman (Imperial Porter, 13.5% ABV). Far and away the best of 7 beers I tried here. Deep malt, hidden ABV, prominent nuttiness, perfect mouthfeel. I would drink many more. 4/5
London Bridge is Burning (Smoked English Pale Ale, 4.9% ABV). I get no smoke. Fruitiness could come from English yeasts but seems more like hops. This one is clearly not brewed to style, and it is not very good. Banana esters again that do not fit the beer. 2.5/5
Overall, my impression is that they should probably brew half as many beers, focusing on brewing the ones that are good and making them better. The location unfortunately means that they are unlikely to ever build a huge following, despite the excellent patio and good service.
https://www.oceansidebrewingco.com/ 312 Via Del Norte, Oceanside, CA 92058