Did you know, San Diego Is Spanish For Saint Beer. Hopefully you got the Anchorman reference (Spanish for Saint Diego…). Either way, San Diego California is craft beer mecca. When you first think of SD you might think of beaches, surfing, and that football team that just beat my Eagles. You might overlook the fact that there are 73 breweries in SD County now, with a few more being built.
There is no better way to write about something than to experience it firsthand. Luckily with the extensive Fansided Radio budgeting, I was able to get out to SD this week for a research trip. Well 1/3 of that statement is true; I am out in SD on vacation with a focus on craft beer, outside of golf. Now I’ll say I’ve traveled a decent amount and always keep an eye out for breweries and local beers, but SD’s sheer number is impressive. The amount of quality beer options within a short drive is a true delight.
Here are a few breweries to hit in the area:
Stone offers a small tour and tasting and an extensive grounds/garden with a nice restaurant. Just taking in the architecture and style of “Beersneyland” as our host called it, is impressive on its own.
Green Flash – 2nd largest in the area offering a great tasting room with 24 varieties on tap when I stopped by. Best known for the dry-hopped beers.
Ballast Point – Great tour and tasting room with expansion coming soon with a new larger location and spirits.
Mission – cool small brewery with a nice bar in an old Wonder Bread factory building downtown.
Societe – newcomer to the scene but going strong after a year. Their Apprentice IPA is one of the top available.
Others to look for – Lost Abbey, Iron Fist, Karl Strauss, Alpine, and Coronado, to name a few. Some of the smaller breweries that do not have a restaurant will bring a food truck in on the weekends so you can hang out at their pub/tasting room with some grub as well.
Along with traditional breweries, there are brew pubs offering great food and beers made on site. Pizza Port has multiple locations outside of awesome pizza, they offer not only 10 plus brews they made, they also have some great “guest” taps – other local breweries.
Outside of the local breweries and ability to fill growlers or get some bottles to go, if you happen to crave a beer from another region, there are numerous bottle shops. These are more than just a beer store since most have only a tiny section for the Bud/Miller style. Some of the bottle shops have over 500 varieties in stock to satisfy even the most discerning beer snob (myself included).
The San Diego Beer Week is November 1-10 for 2013. Over 50 breweries in the area participate and offer numerous events and brews for the 5th annual festival. Check out SDBW.org for more info if you happen to be in the area.
If you are on the fence about making the trek out to San Diego and 73 breweries and growing wasn’t enough, for the icing on the cake, you have sunny 75 degree weather and the beautiful views on the Pacific while you enjoy the numerous craft beer options. If you need a more detailed itinerary, I am available to tag along as a tour guide, just book my first class ticket! Check out my twitter feed for plenty of pictures from my San Diego travels as well. Cheers!