Pacific Beach -faithful showed up en masse April 21 to Crown Point Park on Mission Bay to enjoy all the fun in the sun that the seventh annual Bikes, Boards and Brews festival promised. While music from steel drums and ukuleles echoed through the park, restaurant and beer stands served samples of the best PB has to offer. It was DiscoverPB's answer to a community open house, showcasing all the perks and personalities that make this beach town so balmy and beloved.
PB has been a bike community for a very long time. PB Pathways mark the way for beach cruisers, road bikes and some wheeled vehicles that defy classification. That's why Bikes, Boards and Brews director Sara Berns decided to include a couple of PB bicycle shops in the event.
"We wanted quintessential businesses to be represented here," Berns said.
Surf Monkey Bikes is definitely a "quintessential business" of Pacific Beach. Located on Grand Avenue, it's a full-service bike shop with rentals and bikes for sale. Brando and Kilan, who work at the shop, answered questions and hung out with people all day.
They touted their custom-made bicycle fashioned from bamboo for PB's The Grass Skirt and Good Time Poke. Brando recommends the Surf Monkey Electric Bike Tour that takes people into La Jolla and Mount Soledad, then back down to the sandy shores of PB.
Also present at the event was Joe Wivart, who's owned Pacific Coast Bikes since it opened in 2005. Located on Garnet Avenue, it's not your typical bike shop, which makes it all the more quintessential PB.
Wivart makes some of the best custom bikes you'll find. For his featured bikes, he brought in one he designed for Frank and Suzanne Da Silva — the duo behind the crazy, four-day August festival in Hotel Circle called "Tiki Oasis." Frank wanted a bike that screamed tiki, and Wivart built him a tiki wood-framed bicycle with countless little bells and whistles that sing tiki rather than scream. It's truly a work of art.
"You come up with the idea, we'll make it," Wivart said.
When it comes to an event where drinking beer is a theme, most of those present remembered to show up via Uber — or a bicycle. Bike-sharing companies had their products parked throughout the bike parking lot, and the plan is to see more Lime bikes, Ofo's and Bird scooters in the future. Just watch out if your shared bike is motorized. You'll get a ticket if you're not wearing a helmet!
Boards can mean a lot of things when it comes to Pacific Beach — skate boards, surf boards, paddle boards and everything in-between. A representative from Tower Paddle Boards said the business has all kinds of different boards available.
It's a unique business, in that it has an online platform, but understands the importance of having a physical presence, too. That's why Tower has an amazing brand experience store on Garnet Avenue. That's also why owners chose to have a presence at this community event, where they showcased skateboards and their blow-up paddle boards.
Of course, you can still rent the ubiquitous paddle board at Tower, but you can also find blow-up beer pong boards. You read that right, and that's not all, as Tower sells all sorts of board shapes and sizes that allow renters to enjoy water games or just have a bigger surface for lying in the sun with friends.
When you have four booths representing bikes and boards, and about 20 serving beer and food, you can conclude that fun in the sun makes you hungry and thirsty. It's a good thing DiscoverPB secured the wide open spaces of Crown Point Park, because previously this event was held at Catamaran Resort Hotel. While Catamaran did a fantastic job of creating an amazing tiki scene, as the event grew, a larger venue was needed.
This year, about a dozen stands served cold brews, and some of them were made right here in Pacific Beach. For those breweries at the festival that don't actually brew in PB (such as Coronado Brewing Co., Mike Hess and Green Flash/Alpine), you can still find their wares at many of the PB restaurants present.
Certainly a crowd favorite were the two brews served up by Amplified Ale Works. They featured an XPA with Denali and El Dorado dry hops, and a high-powered, unique German lager called Bombshelles (pronounced "Bombs-helles").
On April 13, Amplified opened a tasting room in a space below the second floor patio. "We've added a place where groups can come and try our beers," said Alex Pierson, Amplified's owner/founder. "It allows us to showcase our beer in a different setting."
That's a good thing, because this reporter noticed that one of his brews, Pathway Ale, was not available. The reason? After the tapping ceremony on April 5 at the Iron Pig Alehouse, the beer sold out in less than two weeks, when it was supposed to last three months. It was that good!
Another crowd favorite was PB Ale House. Master Brewer Jonathon Reilly was on hand to discuss the artistry behind his craft. He served up the summer beer 858 Blonde, and his personal favorite, the Rock Fish Red IPA. "I love that hop smell when it's brewing," Reilly said with a smile. "It's our No. 1 selling beer."
He said PB AleHouse loves to have a presence in the community, and that doesn't surprise as the pub celebrated its 10-year anniversary on April 25. In true PB-style, patrons got dressed up, and '80s-themed madness swept through the bar.
"Some businesses die down over the years," said Johnny Leal, GM at PB Ale House. "But we continue to get busier and attract both regulars and newcomers, which means we must be doing something right!"
PB Locals do love spending their hard earned money on food and drinks in town and on the beach. Part of the event was the pairing of food to brew, and that's why another 10 restaurants turned up.
Cerveza Jack's offered fish tacos, while Fish Shop served shrimp, sautéed in its tasty house seasoning.
In the spirit of pairing, Woodstock's new Banh Mizza is a fantastic food to take on the road. I recommend taking it somewhere like Barrel Republic, where patrons can walk in with outside food, and then sip on one of the more than 40 beers on tap. The Banh Mizza is a fusion of pizza and the best ingredients of yummy Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches.
As Discover PB's event organizer Ann Condon explained it: "Bikes, Boards and Brews is the only festival where you can eat and drink along the bay. You really can't beat it!"
Berns and Condon said their festival aim was to create the theme "Endless Summer on Tourmaline," paying homage to the days when "Tourmo" was the first and only surf spot in PB. And now that PB has become a haven for locals and outsiders alike to enjoy craft brews and delicious food (right up from or on the beach), it was nice to see so many in one spot.