I'm just going to say it. If you have a wedding in San Diego and don't serve craft beer, you may be excommunicated from the kingdom.
Seriously. There is no reason under our magnificent SoCal sun to serve anything but the best from our award-winning brewmasters. No matter who your guest is, from your redneck cousin from the Midwest to your over-the-top gluten intolerant, macrobiotic, probiotic, superfood sister in LA, we've got you covered. Even your whiskey-drinking, cursing Irish uncle has a treat in store. Here are some of the best local offerings for a perfect San Diego wedding:
Saint Archer White, 5 percent ABV. This easy-drinker will appeal to your visiting cousins who still think Blue Moon is craft beer. Award winning Saint Archer is for everyone, light, unassuming, yet flavorful and satisfying, it's the craft beer people will be downing at the beginning and ending of the evening for refreshment. It's especially perfect for outdoor and beachy weddings and won't weigh down the bride when she's carried off by her stumbling groom.
Ballast Point Sculpin, 7 percent ABV or Green Flash West Coast IPA, 8 percent ABV. This is probably stating the obvious ...you MUST serve an IPA at a San Diego wedding. Refusing is practically unpatriotic. But how to choose among the plethora? It's simple, go classic and choose one of two seminal IPAs from San Diego, either the Sculpin or the West Coast. It's a matter of taste: Do you want more grapefruity-tropical or more piney-hoppy? Either way, your guests will love your homage to veteran craft beer, and before long you'll be looping arms with your friends and unknown aunts, swaying and reminiscing about your first IPA ever.
Societe The Pugilist, 4.8 percent ABV. Remember the line about the drunken Irish uncle? He'll be slurring, "Where's the Guinness?" This is your antidote. Splurge on a Kegerator and the nitrogen setup and serve this incredible brew for the stout lovers in the crowd. Low in alcohol, it is perfection for fall and winter weddings, and won't cause blackouts like a bourbon-barrel aged Imperial might. It's stout-light if you like. Not to mention it will go splendidly with the chocolate groom's cake.
Stone Delicious IPA, 7.7 percent ABV. OK, let's just deal with the elephant in the room. Some of your guests are going to have dietary restrictions, whether they be vegan, allergic, or the latest rage, gluten-intolerant. As a former vegetarian for 17 years, I get what a pain we can be. But don't be troubled, Stone Brewing, in its ever-expanding empire, has not left the gluten foes in the dust. Delicious IPA, while making no exact claims, is brewed to reduce the gluten content in beer. So while you aren't home free completely, you can enjoy a wonderful San Diego IPA, without breaking into hives and swelling (I hope, fingers crossed).
Break the budget: For the true craft beer geeks and nerds out there, have a special "under the bar" first come-first serve tasting for your friends. Create a variety of exclusive large-format bottles from your favorite shop and your own cellar. Carefully choose a few exclusive Lost Abbey bottlings, Alesmith barleywines and Speedway stouts, and even a few rare Belgians for late-night cigar smoking and celebration.
With 15 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 700 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits. You can follow Delk on Twitter @100beers30days or Instagram @sandiegobeer. Send ideas for featured drinks to firstname.lastname@example.org.