From big names to new kids on the block, the sheer preponderance of exceptional craft beer found in and from San Diego is unmatched. But with over 70 licensed suds makers in town, how do you know which are the best? That’s a tough question to answer, but if we had to pick six, it’d be the ones listed below.
The brainchild of friends/brewers Douglas Constantiner and Travis Smith, this relative newcomer to the San Diego beer scene is turning heads with its seamless brews and beautiful Kearny Mesa tap room (redwood bar, antique piano). They aren’t bottling (yet), but you can find their beers in a lot of restaurants and bars all over town. Trust us when we say: the Gangs of New York-esque tap room is a must-visit.
When Green Flash hired famed brewmaster, Chuck Silva eleven-ish years ago, the brewing company went from being on the brink of failure to becoming one of the best in the country. Along with the rest of the US, San Diegans love Green Flash for its hoppy, high flavor brews, arguably none more so than its game-changing West Coast IPA.
Owner and brewmaster, Peter Zien, is one of the world’s few Master Beer Judges (Level One) and it shows. The beer styles at this Miramar Road-based veteran range from a British-style pub ale, the Anvil ESB, to the Speedway Stout, which is a chocolate and coffee-infused fan favorite. This year, AleSmith announced its plans to expand into a facility just north of its current location, a facility that will be five times larger. Ale yeah they did.
From spirits to its home brewing mart to its chili-infused beers, Ballast Point excels at literally everything. With locations in Scripps Ranch, Linda Vista, Little Italy, a kiosk at Petco Park and a new location in the works on Miramar Road, one of San Diego’s all-time favorite breweries is also one of the easiest to experience.
With locations all over town, including one in Ocean Beach and a relatively-new production brewery in Bressi Ranch, this collection of family-run brewpubs represents one of the oldest craft beer operations in San Diego. The brewers and brewmasters at Pizza Port are topnotch, not to mention the locations are family-friendly. There are a lot of reasons to love Pizza Port. I mean, come on: the Beer Buddies?! Aka edible awesomeness?! Anyone!? Bueller?!?
Founded in 1996, Stone has drawn the eyes of the world to San Diego’s beer scene more than any other brewery (sorry, Karl Strauss). People are constantly heading to the Escondido location to take a brewery tour, eat incredible farm-to-table food, and meander through the one acre beer garden. Locations are popping up all over the place, including a new Petco Park-adjacent tap room and a huge space with a garden in Point Loma’s Liberty Station. San Diego’s largest brewing company is, without a doubt, one of the best in the world.
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