I’ve written before about what a great time Lake Elsinore Storm games are. Obviously, the Padres main baseball marketing angle is to say buy into our rebuild, buy season tickets. My response has always been that if you buy into that, buy Storm season tickets instead. This year’s roster features Adrian Morejon, Michel Baez, Chris Paddack, Edward Olivares, Buddy Reed, and Jorge Ona, and may feature guys like Gore, Espinoza, and more coming out of Fort Wayne as the summer drags on. The value is great, the facilities are great, and the game experience is top notch. There’s a common misconception that it’s SO far from San Diego, and that me living in Encinitas is the reason it seems close. I was surprised to find that North Park is actually a slightly shorter drive to Elsinore, clocking in at about 55 minutes, thanks to easier access to I-15. Caveat is don’t do it on any day except Saturday or Sunday.
I had a free Sunday a couple weekends ago and decided to really make a day of it. A lot of people see a Storm game as being a point-to-point trip; drive up there, drive home. I have yet to see recommendations for stops along the way, so this would be a perfect chance to see what else there was in Southern Riverside County.
I had seen pictures of 8-Bit’s can art instagrammed through the years. And man is it cool can art if you appreciate video games. But I was surprised to find that 8-Bit was also a spacious facility with a fenced in outdoor play area and food. I usually go up to Elsinore with my 4 year old daughter, and this place is PERFECT to bring kids to, eat, and have a couple oat sodas before the Storm game. Situated right at the 15/215 split, it’s only 10 minutes to the Diamond. I tasted a few of their beers and found their hazy IPAs to be really high quality, the West Coast IPA was right on style, the session IPA had enough flavor to make me forget it was a session, and the porter (named Portnite) was rich. I also enjoyed my prosciutto grilled cheese. Discovering 8-Bit was the highlight of this trip of discovery.
Being a fan of the Padres, a team that never misses an opportunity to capitalize commercially on its support of The Troops, it seemed right to try a new Murrieta brewery launched by a Navy veteran and featuring copious amounts of Navy memorabilia. Inland Wharf is located a half mile past 8-bit, and featured a wide variety of beer styles in a really airy, spacious tasting room. The bartender, a former Marine, was very eager to pour sample tasters to fit patrons with a beer they’ll like. All the beers have Naval related names. The thing that sticks out about Inland Wharf is their copious amounts of cask beers, six of them! The ESB was very to style, and was the highlight of what I tasted. The West PAC IPAW-1 West Coast IPA was good, if not a little dry for my taste. Staff was great, and there were a few dads with young children hanging out. The tasting room has the room for kids to roam, as well as games, table games, and a lot of seating. The beer was fine, and Inland Wharf provides another place to stop on the way up to Elsinore.
I’m hoping to make this a continuing series. There are a lot of better known breweries in Temecula’s Old Town that have distribution in San Diego; I’m talking places like Garage, Refuge, Ironfire, and Black Market. These places are fine, but I’m eager to test out some of the places that are lesser known in San Diego. I was told that Electric Brewing is the new star of the valley, so that’ll be on the list.
The drive to Elsinore is not as long as you think, and the baseball experience you get watching the future stars of the Padres is top notch. My seat in the first row behind home plate was $18. That doesn’t get you a Park At The Park pass, and if we’re being honest, the Storm have better defensive fundamentals than the big club.
Secret of Elsinore: if you’re thirsty for a beer (IPAs are limited to Hangar 24 Betty IPA) around the fourth inning, show some patience and wait til the fifth inning. All Hangar 24 beers are half price during the 5th, bringing them down to $4.00.