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Lost Abbey now pouring at spinoff taproom in Cardiff

Patrons sample brews at The Confessional, The Lost Abbey’s new taproom in Cardiff.

Cardiff beer connoisseurs longing for a taproom finally have their prayers answered.

The Lost Abbey opened The Confessional on April 22, at 2007 San Elijo Ave. The occasion is significant in that it marks a couple of “firsts”: It’s the brewer’s first location outside its San Marcos headquarters, and it’s also the first beer tasting room in this seaside community.

“Cardiff really resonated with us,” said Adam Martinez, director of media and marketing for The Lost Abbey, and he cited the independent nature of the brewery and community as a common thread.

“There weren’t a lot of craft beer options, and we wanted to be the first,” he said, indicating that the brewer was able to do so “through the awesome citizens of Cardiff. Everybody has really welcomed us.”

There are 24 beers on tap, the same offerings as at the San Marcos location — convenient for those who don’t want to make the drive. All of the varieties fall under the Port Brewing Co. brand names, with nearly a dozen each from The Lost Abbey and Port Brewing, plus limited edition IPAs from The Hop Concept. Each brand has about five core brews, plus others that rotate seasonally.

The most requested beer is Lost Abbey’s Devotion Ale, a hoppy Belgian blonde that is light-bodied. Its aroma has underlying notes of grassy fields and fresh hay. Other “Abbey” options are the Lost & Found Abbey Ale and Judgment Day.

While Lost Abbey’s brews are often Belgian-inspired, Port Brewing leans toward the West Coast style, which has a strong emphasis on hops. These include Mongo, an American double IPA; Dawn Patrol, a dark mild English ale that’s smooth; and Board Meeting, a double brown ale that’s a delight for those who love beer and coffee. Another crowd favorite is the Wipeout American IPA.

The Hop Concept is represented by Citrus & Piney, an India pale ale that’s a limited beer. It’s described as having “bold orange peel and honey aromas with a faint hint of bready malt,” along with a crisp, spicy finish.

Patrons who want to sample the beers may order tasters, which range from $1.50 to $2 each. Those who are confident in their selections can buy pints, which run $5 to $6.

Growlers are also available for purchase, which cost $10 to $15 for 40 ounces and $20 to $25 for 64 ounces. Only growlers with the company’s logo will be filled, Martinez said.

People at the nearby San Elijo State Beach Campgrounds can take advantage of these growlers, as alcohol is permitted at one’s campsite, but not the beach, according to Martinez. The vacuum-sealed containers hold their temperature for eight hours.

Meanwhile, food is not served in The Confessional tasting room, but guests are permitted to bring it in. Among nearby restaurants are East Coast Pizza, Rimel’s Rotisserie, Zenbu Sushi and Acai Cafe, along with the Seaside Market.

“We’re great neighbors,” Martinez said with a smile.

The Confessional’s hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Visit lostabbey.com.


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