HOPS AND HORSES: The stretch from San Diego to Del Mar is plum full of iconic touchstones and images and symbols and favorites, but hardly a person around would argue that A) San Diego is now a craft beer capital, if not the craft beer capital and B) ponies are a rather major thing come the late summer 'round about a certain Thoroughbred Club. It makes sense, then, that two of the region's big draws would cross paths at least once, and so they shall, on Saturday, Aug. 29. It's the San Diego Craft Beer Festival, and it happens at the clip-clop-loving landmark. You don't need to toast the horse-racing season farewell should you attend, but you can be aware that the 2015 summer meet dates are coming to an end on Monday, Sept. 7. Yep, that's Labor Day, and yep, there is more meet action to come, later in the year, starting in late October. But the sudsy froohaha is one of the last festivities on a festivity-packed calendar, and as such a lot of serious brew fans make the trek to Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Bonus points for them, of course, if they like to cheer on an exciting, manes a-flyin' race, too, while they're there.
SPECIAL SUDS: A whole host of area beverages'll be there for beer buffs to sample, but check out the one that has ties to one of the stars of the track. Jockey Aaron Gryder worked with Ballast Point on a citrus-tinged brew, an IPA that's being described as "exclusive" and untapped solely at the fest. It also may remind the sipper of "freshly trimmed turf," thanks to the citrus in the beer, lending it more at-the-track cred. Over 40 brewhouses'll be on the grounds, from Ballast Point to Mike Hess to Saint Archer and beyond. Cost to get in? You only need pay the Thoroughbred Club entry, which is six bucks. Save another twenty for a quintet of seven-ounce tastings and line up your ride home ahead of time. Will the Ballast Point-Aaron Gryder collaboration inspire more horsey 'n hopsy flavors down the road? Stay tuned; it's only a little over ten months before the next summer meet at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club trots back around.