There’s so much good craft beer flowing through the United States right now that you’re likely to find at least one local brew on tap in any given major city. At the forefront of America’s microbrew movement is sunny San Diego. With nearly 80 craft breweries and a handful of award winning brewers, the city is now recognized as one of the country’s best beer towns. Whether you’re a beer aficionado or just looking for a fun experience during your San Diego vacation, these five microbreweries are the perfect introduction to the city’s craft beer scene.
Pizza Port Ocean Beach
With four locations in San Diego, Pizza Port is like San Diego’s version of White Castle. Yes, it’s that iconic! The beer is delicious and fresh (all of it’s brewed in-house) and the pizza is delicious. On any given day, you’ll find it packed with eclectic mix of families, surf rats and craft beer enthusiasts. In 2009, Pizza Port won a staggering nine medals at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival. Solana Beach’s brewhouse (this the original) is sunk into the floor. So take a seat to the right of the taps on brew days and you’ll get to see the brewers in action.
Website: http://www.pizzaport.com | Address: 1956 Bacon Street, San Diego, CA 92107
Ballast Point has come a long way since its humble brew house beginnings in the back of a homebrewing supply store. Named Best Small Brewing Company in 2010 at the World Beer Cup, Ballast Point is one of San Diego’s finest microbreweries. In addition, to its original brew house, Ballast Point now has two other San Diego locations–Ballast Point Old Grove Brewery and Ballast Point Tasting Room and Kitchen. All three locations have a tasting room and tours are given daily at the brewery, which also features a speakeasy-inspired spirits tasting room.
Website: http://www.ballastpoint.com | Address: 10051 Old Grove Road, San Diego, CA 92131
Mission Brewery is the Gas Lamp Districts only brewery and it’s a welcome addition to the ultra-trendy night clubs and broker boy bars that have come to dominate the downtown scene. With Mission’s move into the former Wonder Bread factory, it enabled the microbrewery to ramp up its production and introduce a wide variety of beers to its original four beer lineup. Mission’s location to Petco Park makes it the perfect spot for pre-Padres fun on game days. Tours cost $10 per person and include five 3-ounce tasters. They are first come, first serve and are hosted Friday-Sunday.
Website: http://missionbrewery.com | Address: 1435 L Street, San Diego, CA 92101
Stone Brewing Company is to San Diego what Nirvana is to Seattle, both helped to put their cities on the map for their respective craft. Unlike Nirvana, however, Stone is still making hits and winning awards. Stone’s latest venture is its restaurant in Point Loma, which features farm to table dishes and 40 taps flowing with craft beer, including Stone’s year round and special releases as well as beers from other small San Diego breweries. Stone hosts daily tours at its brewery in Escondido. You can get all the info about taking a tour here: http://www.stonebrewing.com.
Website: http://www.stonelibertystation.com | Address: 2816 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego, CA 92106
What started as a nano-brewery in a Miramar industrial park has grown into a second larger production brewery in North Park and that all has to do with Mike Hess and his propensity for make awesome beer. Hess was named San Diego’s second most popular brewery in 2010, and since then he’s never looked back. The new brewery features a stylish tasting-room and catwalks that extend out over the brewing floor. Both spots are family and pet friendly and have amassed accolades from locals and critics alike.
Website: http://www.hessbrewing.com | Address: 3812 Grim Avenue, San Diego, CA 92104