Allow that to sink in for a minute.
Rancho Bernardo, a region whose primary exports are suburban contentment and old-person stink, has its own gastropub. Wonders may indeed never cease.
Urge Gastropub (16761 Bernardo Center Drive, urgegastropub.com) sports a burger-centric menu that proves, for better or worse, that beer can be mixed into any conceivable condiment. Many burgers feature unique options like wagyu beef, lamb and rabbit, so consider the menu’s occasionally steep price-points as a novelty surcharge.
The food and service are a little hit-and-miss. Minor snags like soggy buns and misdelivered orders abound but may just be evidence of a young establishment. On the flipside, the staff is not only terribly friendly, but all I encountered knew their beers well. I verified this by feigning ignorance about multiple beers, quietly praying I would catch someone in a lie. This meant my elaborate “Gotcha!” routine, a bombastic taunt somewhere between an end-zone celebration and the Hammer dance, remained under wraps yet again.
Unsurprisingly, the factor that makes this place shine is its taps. It’s got 51 beers on draught (plus one on cask), and there’s nary a dog among them. It keeps a good complement of seasonal beers alongside regional treats and international surprises. I was particularly pleased to see Brewdog’s “Tokyo” available by the half-pint—a unique, high-octane number that really put that brewery on the map. The Alesmith Speedway Stout is also a standout on draught if you’ve only experienced it bottled.
Urge’s beer selection is easily on par with any other top-flight alehouse in San Diego, which is really saying something. My only complaint was the low ratio of bar real estate relative to the restaurant, which encourages you to grab a table—and likely order food. Those ingenious capitalist bastards.
To fully round out your experience, I strongly recommend you bring a Dutch friend along with you to Urge just to hear to her or him order a “Hoegaarden” with native pronunciation. This perfect onomatopoeia for clearing a congested throat is sure to delight all in earshot, except for the likely befuddled bartender.
“Beer & Chees” is our new beer column. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.