Beer and pizza go together like tequila and regret. So, I had high hopes for my experience at URBN (3085 University Ave., urbnnorthpark.com). It has a polished industrial feel that's far too cool for the likes of me, but they still seated me with nary a stink-eye. I was immediately struck by the almost-comically oversized blades of the central ceiling fan, which firmly established the design motif as “abattoir-chic.”
Being a beer joint in North Park with only 12 taps is the brewpub equivalent of bringing a knife to a gunfight, but URBN's tap philosophy embraces balance over volume. Within that narrow scope, it managed to include worthwhile pale ales, IPAs, Belgian-style ales and some lighter, maltier options, as well. I would have liked to see more seasonal offerings, such as stouts or winter warmers on tap, but the extensive bottle collection addressed those gaps.
The Mashed Potato craft pizza was delicious with my Hop Rod Rye, probably because the meal was the dietary equivalent of urinating on Dr. Atkins' grave. It left me eager to return and sample more of the fare, but there is one niggling detail of my experience that I'm contractually obligated to kvetch about.
Servers of the world, I don't expect you all to be students of beer, let alone fans. Sure, if I had my way, you brew-hating undesirables would be rounded up in beer camps for “re-education,” but minus that authority, I'm very forgiving. That said, if you're unfamiliar with Goose Island's “Matilda” the correct response is “I'm not sure,” not “It's—wheaty?” URBN's “Growler Happy Hour” is probably the greatest love song to the San Diego beer community. From 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, the purchase of a half-gallon growler of draught beer will get you a small New Haven Pie for free. It's the perfect meal for two, especially for those accustomed to drinking 60 percent of their calories.