Hopping on the Ale Trail

By Cody Thompson | Suds in the city

For many locals, this time of year means drop everything and get outside. With our beaches, the flawless weather and countless attractions around town, it’s no wonder our city is a beacon of hope for travelers from all over the world.

If you are like me, this is the time of year to get outside and hit the trail. No, not the kind up in the hills somewhere, covered in dust and poison oak. I am talking about the Summer Solstice Ale Trail — for beer lovers.

The Summer Solstice Ale Trail is a monthlong collaborative event brought to you by the folks at Societe Brewing Co. in Clairemont Mesa and Benchmark Brewing Co. in Grantville, who started the Ale Trail last year in an effort to celebrate both of their anniversaries. Joining them this year to create the hat trick of awesomeness is local favorite Fall Brewing Co. in North Park.

“We wanted to do something that was completely different than any other collaborative promotion, as far as beer goes, in San Diego. We are working together to share each other’s breweries and beers, but we are each bringing what we do best when it comes to the beer,” said Mike Sardina, assistant executive officer at Societe.

Three local craft breweries have created a Summer Solstice Ale Trail, lasting till the end of June. (Courtesy of Summer Solstice Ale Trail)

Three local craft breweries have created a Summer Solstice Ale Trail, lasting till the end of June. (Courtesy of Summer Solstice Ale Trail)

“We hope that the Ale Trail will bring people together for a unique experience, for a trip to all three breweries. Whether that trip happens in a day, a weekend, or simply in the month of June. Hopefully we reach some new people who get to taste a beer that they would not have tried otherwise,” he said.

When thirsty locals join the Ale Trail, they will be presented with a passport for travel and tastings. At each brewery visit in the month of June, travelers will get their passport stamped. Once they complete the trail, beer fans will be able to redeem their passport for a commemorative pair of San Diego drinking socks. Passports can be redeemed at any location while supplies last.

“Societe was part of the group with us last year, and this year rather than focus on when we opened, we decided to focus on what we are proud of. We are excited to celebrate these three breweries that are owned and operated by professionally trained brewmasters,” said Rachel Akin, co-founder of Benchmark Brewing Co.

“We feel it’s important to highlight this idea because it is unique and often not understood by the average craft beer drinker. Matt, Travis, Doug and Ray have spent years working under some of the great breweries in the country and we are proud of what that has translated to in these new ventures,” she said

“We are celebrating the way we got here, and the history of our brewers, we also wanted to give folks a reason to visit breweries outside their normal circle. But we always love an excuse to have a beer with friends,” Akin said.

Win your drinking socks. (Courtesy of Summer Solstice Ale Trail)

Win your drinking socks.
(Courtesy of Summer Solstice Ale Trail)

If socks are not enough to get you excited about the Ale Trail, be advised that some special beers will be tapping throughout the month of June, thanks to the event overlapping with both Benchmark and Societe’s anniversaries.

“The Ale Trail coincides with a portion of our third anniversary celebration,and we will be pouring this year’s batch of The Gleaner, our saison with California Sagebrush. We will also be releasing a new Out West, hoppy beer that we have never poured before,” Sardina said.

“We will have a new batch of The Bachelorette, our single-hop lager. On June 27, we will be tapping a keg of our new Feral-blend, The Thief. And finally, on one random day during the Anniversary, we will tap another keg of The Thief unannounced — some lucky Ale Trail travelers might have the good fortune of catching that beer on tap at any given day here at Societe,” he added.

As for Benchmark, Akin said, “We will be releasing our anniversary beer San Diego 71 mid-month and our table beer, brown and IPA will be released in cans toward the end of the month.”

So grab those passports and hit the trail.

“Go to Benchmark and sip a mug of oatmeal stout or a glass of table beer,” Sardina said. “Go to Fall Brewing and drink a nice pint of Plenty For All, an awesome pilsner. Come here and enjoy a glass of The Harlot or a full pour of one of our Out West, hoppy beers. Get a beer in our tasting room, and talk to the people around you. You’ll love it. Trust me.”

The Summer Solstice Ale Trail will go through the month of June, and drinking socks will be available while supplies last. For more information visit:, and

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