Come On Get Happy! | Dr. Ink
I was in hunger mode from drinking a copious amount of wine, when a friend triggered my appetite about a place on India Street that sells 25-cent mini corn dogs during Monday happy hour. He described swiping the little buggers through various mustards and also raved about the bar’s mighty selection of craft beers. At that moment, out came my calendar and we scheduled a visit to The Regal Beagle for two days later.
Happy hour is held on weekdays, at which time all beers are $1 off. Chalkboard panels behind the bar list 24 tap options along with their alcohol measurements. A bottle menu sits off to the side. The menus change frequently, sometimes within a given day, although never will you find in this tucked-away alehouse the mass commercial stuff that savvy San Diegans dare call “beer.”
Instead, the focus points squarely to some of the best grogs in the land from breweries like Rogue, Firestone Walker, Bear Republic, Ballast Point and Stone, among others. On this particular Monday, Reef Rye Brown Ale from Ballast was in stock, offering whispers of dark chocolate and toasted almonds. Dispensed from the tap in a pint-size glass, the cost during happy hour was $4.
My friend’s Allagash White Ale from Maine was only $1 extra. Known widely within the craft beer scene, the semi-cloudy ale is lauded for its refined essence of orange peel and coriander, which explains why it won the World Beer Cup gold medal a few years ago. If you opt for any of the Belgian beers, such as the high-alcohol Brasserie Dubuisson Freres Sprl, those are served in chalice glasses rather than pints.
We wasted no time ordering a basketful of the 25-cent corndogs, each measuring about the size of our little fingers. Food orders are placed from the bar and then they’re sent to the kitchen via a tension wire. Customers are issued a receipt with the name of a sitcom character, which the cook shouts out when your food is ready. I became the fat, self-centered Eric Cartman of “South Park,” while my cohort took on the handsome, heroic alias of Luke Skywalker from “Star Wars.” It’s a playful system that feeds into the Beagle’s good-natured communal-style atmosphere.
Near the kitchen’s pickup window are various mustards in industrial-sized pump jars. My favorites were the Creole and extra-strong Dijon, both adding balance to the semi-sweet batter of the mini dogs. Visit on Thursdays, and you can buy trios of wings for $1. Or if you prefer heavier food with your crafty suds, the regular menu features an equally “regal” selection of sausages rivaling those you’d encounter in a Bavarian beer hall.
Craft beer takes center stage, with an ever-changing selection extending to 24 taps and various bottle labels. Go elsewhere if you are a Corona drinker.
The mini 25-cent corn dogs with assorted mustards on Mondays pair with beer as lovingly as with pretzels. From the regular menu, we’re told the sausages and burgers are showstoppers.
Dollar discounts on all beer during happy hour keeps these cherished craft ales at pretty much the lowest prices you’ll find in town.
Our bartender worked with both eyes operating, making sure glasses were kept full and walkups were greeted quickly.
Three hours on weekdays provide ample time to decompress, given that the beers are top-quality crafts boasting discernible levels of alcohol.
3659 India St. (Mission Hills)
Happy Hour: 3 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday