The Bell Marker – Downtown San Diego – Now The Owl Drug Company

Update – August 2019.

Some time after the original posting of this blog, The Bell Marker closed and was replaced by The Owl Drug Company. This transition kept many things the same including the quality of the beer though led to a change in food menus. I visited The Owl Drug Company during Comic-Con 2019 to see how things had changed.

I had visited Owl Drug Company back when they were The Bell Marker and walking in you will recognize the space if you were there before the switch. Though they no longer have a board listing the various house beers, they still had a good variety to choose from. They also still have a good vegan friendly menu though there are not as many options as before.
I started with a pint of their American amber which was crisp and lightly sweet with notes of acorns and light hop notes. Despite the name it wasn’t aggressively hopped like some of the style can be. The American brown ale was quite lovely with notes of burnt toffee, roast, and raisins. The beer had a nice medium body and was right in the middle between a brown ale and a porter.
Along with my beers I ordered a pizza with vegan cheese and added a whole impossible burger and some vegetables. The pizza turned out great and was fantastic both eating the first half there and the second half later at home. Despite the change in owners, this is still a fantastic place to visit downtown, though they no longer have the delightful hummus plate that I raved about earlier.

Original Post

The Bell Marker took over a spot on the corner of 6th and Broadway. They had a wide lineup of beers so that it would have been difficult to try them all even doing flights. I happened to visit during happy hour so I had pints rather than my usual tasters because they were only $4 a piece during that window. If you are there for happy hour, I highly recommend you order the hummus plate, which is a great deal and a healthy meal when paired with a pint.

I first had a pint of their English Brown. This is a style I don’t order very often in San Diego but when I saw the lower alcohol it was worth trying a splash. As expected, the American Brown they have is a bit more hop forward and higher alcohol than the English style. I loved the dark color like a porter. The beer was roasty and quite flavorful for the low alcohol with notes of chocolate and caramel. Some may say this borders on porter territory with the prominent roast but it is a delicious beer either way and a rarity with the low alcohol.

I returned another day and had the cream ale and Belgian Wit. I was going to try their pale ale or session IPA but the splashes of both were a bit high on the bitterness and I wasn’t feeling them so I went on the lighter side. The cream ale was crisp and delicious with notes of pear and peach with a soft body. The Belgian Wit was super dry with a hint of clove and a mildly earthy finish. It paired wonderfully with their hummus plate and is one of the more authentic versions of the beer I’ve had locally. My husband drank the milk stout both times and it was tasty with a mix of caramel and roast with a medium body and not overly sweet.

If you are in Downtown San Diego it may not be too far to walk to Bell Marker. If you do, you will find a good variety of solid beers and a broad menu of food options. Their happy hour is currently 3-6PM daily with $4 pints and discounted appetizers. They have a good sized restaurant with standard restaurant seating and a good sized bar.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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