With nearly 140 breweries, you’ll find one of the country’s most prolific beer scenes in San Diego. From sprawling beer gardens to pint-sized tasting rooms, there’s no shortage of great places to enjoy a brewski.
Here are five places to imbibe in San Diego.
You can’t talk San Diego beer scene without mentioning Stone. Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996, San Diego-based Stone Brewing is the 10th largest craft brewer in the United States. Their four brewery locations offer open-air patios, beer gardens, shops, incredible food and tours. You can easily spend a few hours here, and why wouldn’t you?
This no-longer-so-“micro” brewery started in a UCLA apartment in the early 90s. After a few years honing their craft (and opening a Home Brew Mart in 1992), Ballast Point Brewing was born. These guys pour their iconic brews—all named after fish!—at their six locations throughout southern California (Miramar is the original locale). Go for a few pints, simple and delicious food, and daily tours of their operations.
Located in San Diego’s North Park, this small brewery earned an instant cult following. Unlike local biggies like Stone and Ballast, you’re not likely to often encounter this beer outside of the region. All the more reason to visit their kid-and-dog friendly tap room. Taste your way through the menu by ordering a smattering of $2 tasters. But be warned—those tiny beers will catch up with you!
You’ll find four categories of beer at this local favorite. Their Out West line celebrates local IPA styles; the Old World list is all about Belgian-style ales; the Stygian brew offerings showcase excellent dark beers; and their Feral brews are aged and blended. There’s usually an onsite food truck serving delicious eats. If you’re into tours, they offer free public tours at 2PM or 4PM on Saturdays. Space is limited to 12 guests per tour; first come, first served.
Founded in 2002, Green Flash blazed the trail for San Diego’s beloved hop-forward IPAs. Sip on a pint of their floral, citrusy West Coast IPA. For something a little more off-beat, try their Passion Fruit Kicker. Each bottle layers passion fruit tea and juice with wheat malt and 2-row malted barley, packing a sweet and tart punch. Their Palate Wrecker does exactly what the name suggests—with six pounds of hops per barrel, it’s aggressive from a flavor and ABV perspective (9.5%.. oof!). If you’re a lightweight, drink the Jibe Session IPA. Well-balanced, floral and vibrant hoppy character, at 4.0% ABV. Yes, please!
What are your favorite breweries in San Diego? Share in the comments!
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