California Beer Trippin'

Bob Barnes - Checkin' out Mother Earth Brew Co.

Pretty much everyone in the know is aware of the exploding beer scene in San Diego. Now it’s time to set our sights on the bourgeoning beer activity taking place in Vista, an inland community located 42 miles from the coastal city.

One of the first to arrive was Mother Earth Brew Co., a brewery that had its start as a homebrew shop and tasting room in 2010. Located just a half mile from the 78 freeway off the Sycamore exit, and just minutes from the I-5, the brewery is right in the middle of the “North County Beer Triangle” in North San Diego County. In 2012, a second 4,000-square-foot Tap House was added and the homebrewing supply store moved to Main Street in the heart of historic downtown Vista, while the brewery remained in the original location.

It was the downtown location that I visited, where I found a bustling room filled with beer lovers with a large area inside with long bar and tables, 2 TVs tuned to seasonal sports and an outdoor patio with seating.  Connected to the tap house is the homebrewing supply shop offering everything you would need to delve into the art and science of brewing and instructional classes held at no charge.

Tasting Room Manager Jason Danderand did an excellent job as host, taking me through the offerings on tap. We began with the flagship Cali Creaming, a cream ale made with Madagascar vanilla that is reminiscent of cream soda.

The Honcho Hefe brought subtle banana and clove notes and rides a fine line between an American and Bavarian wheat.

Boo Koo IPA is loaded with Simcoe hops for bittering, and Mosaic hops for dry hopping and its simple Pilsen grain bill makes it hop forward, enabling the piney aroma and foresty flavors to come to the forefront.

Sin Tax is a representative of the new and wildly popular peanut butter stout sub-style, and Mother Earth was one of the first to take it to take it to a core beer level. Made from an Imperial Stout base, it logs in at 8.1% ABV and contains no peanut allergens, so is safe for anyone with a peanut allergy; and its name refers to the fact that it is too heavenly NOT to be a sin.

The cleverly named Quit Stalin is a barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout that is a hefty 10.5% ABV and sports notes of toffee.

We finished with the Ace Hop Rock, a Rye Saison with a pleasant and surprising fruitiness, which we were informed comes from the yeast, not the Saaz hops it’s brewed with.

Jason also filled us in on the growth of the brewing company, which has grown from a nano to micro to production brewery, with distribution now in the entire state of California, six states and eight countries. A visit to this epicenter of brewing activity is a must-stop for any beer fan passing through Vista. To view what beers are pouring at either location, visit Both locations are family friendly as well as dog friendly for friendly dogs on leashes.

Tasting Room and Brewery
2055 Thibodo Rd, Ste H Vista, CA 92081
(760) 599-4225

Tasting Room 2
206 Main Street Vista, CA 92084
(760) 726-2273

The Author:

Bob Barnes is editorial director of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional, regional correspondent for Celebrator Beer News and writes the Top 10 Beer lists for He welcomes your inquiries and can be reached via e-mail at

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

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