With over 30 handcraft breweries operating throughout San Diego, it’s safe to say our city's local beer consumption is alive and well.
Supporting local breweries is great for a lot of things: buying local beer keeps money circulating in our community, it promotes interest in the local brewing scene and participating bars, restaurants, and suppliers, and most local beers are cheaper than domestic or foreign imports, they'll most likely be fresher, and they can expose you to the magnificent world of beer that's being brewed in your own backyard.
Forget the watery, Super Bowl-promoting varieties, and discover the mouth-watering local beers offered by the top ten San Diego breweries. From the local chapter of the legendary Karl Strauss Brewing Company, to the hip La Jolla Brew House, to the acclaimed Ballast Point Brewing Company, these top breweries serve up handcrafted cold ones to quench any palate.
Discover the top ten breweries in San Diego.
Stone Brewing Co. Known to produce edgy stout that pushes the envelope of flavor, SBC welcomes visitors for tours and tastings, as well as full meals at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. Top beers include the infamous Stone Pale Ale and the robust Arrogant Bastard Ale. For tour hours visit stonebrew.com.
San Marcos Brewery and Grill San Marcos Brewery produces handcrafted ales from their on-premise microbrewery & serves each glass fresh from the tap. Highlights include California Pale, Red Amber, Golden Premium, Honey Ale and Unfiltered Wheat Ale. SMBG also offers a restaurant with tasty American cuisine. sanmarcosbrewery.com
Karl Strauss Brewing Company In 1986, world-renowned brewer Karl Strauss was approached by his cousin Chris in San Diego to start a local microbrewery. Karl was so passionate about the project that he lent his name, face and voice to the enterprise, and until his passing, remained actively involved. Favorites include the Amber Lager, Red Trolley Ale, Woodie Gold and the popular Windansea Wheat Hefeweizen; a rich ale with banana, clove, and vanilla undertones. karlstrauss.com
Pizza Port Brewing Company Pizza Port started brewing beer as a hobby, and as their production started “overflowing,” the company expanded into three other locations: Port Carlsbad, which offers the Carlsbad Cream Ale, Port Solana Beach offers California Honey Ale, and Port San Clemente offers Pier Rat Porter. Check out their tasting bar where you can get bottles, jugs & merchandise. Oh, and try their pizza, too. pizzaport.com. (Insider Tip: New Pizza Port is opening soon in Ocean Beach!)
San Diego Brewing Company The original manufacturing facility known as San Diego Brewing Company opened in 1896. Along with seven signature beers brewed on location, SDBC offers fifty beers on tap every day, and a food menu including House Specials and Sunday Breakfast, where you can order a cold ale to wash down steak and eggs. Top beers here are Hopnotic, Choco-latte, and their best-selling San Diego Amber. sandiegobrewing.com
Gordon Biersch Brewery With locations throughout the country, Gordon Biersch Brewery is a top brewery in San Diego, offering freshly-brewed lagers, wood-fired rotisserie, live music, and complimentary valet parking. Check out their extensive lunch and dinner menu and their beer sampler, which offers a taste of their signatures stouts, including Marzen, Blonde Bock, and Hefeweizen; a bronze medal winner at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival. gordonbiersch.com
Coronado Brewing Company Coronado Brewing Company provides handcrafted beers in a family-friendly environment. Their dining area can accommodate luncheon parties of up to 30 people, and offers a large menu, including a kid's menu. Signature brews include the Pt. Loma Porter, Mermaids Red Ale, and their gateway beer, Coronado Golden. Book a facility tour or sign-up for their monthly newsletter which announces special offers that are “brewing.” coronadobrewingcompany.com
La Jolla Brew House La Jolla Brew House is a casual restaurant/brewery offering a selection of specialty beers and five signature beers on tap, including Zomer Brun (Summer Brown) Ale, Blond, Pale, Red, and Wheat. LJBH also offers a pet-friendly patio, private party room with full bar, over 20 flat-screen televisions throughout to catch your favorite game, and monthly Beer Dinners, offering 4 courses with 4 beers.
Alesmith Brewing Company A local microbrewery that is gaining national and international acclaim, Alesmith Brewing Company specializes in all-natural, unpasteurized handcrafted ales with no artificial ingredients or preservatives. All Alesmith employees are home-brewers, and each is an award-winning member of a local home-brew club. Signature beers include Alesmith X, Old Numbskull, Belgian-style Horny Devil, and seasonal favorites such as My Bloody Valentine. Orders can be placed online: alesmith.com.
Ballast Point Brewing Company One of San Diego's premiere breweries, Ballast Point Brewing Company distributes five of their signature beers throughout San Diego: Yellowtail Pale Ale, Calico Amber Ale, Big Eye I.P.A., Black Marlin Porter and Wahoo Wheat Beer. Since opening in 1992, BPBC has won hundreds of awards, including Gold Medals at both the international World Beer Cup of 2002 and Great American Beer Festival. Book a facility tour and check out this historic San Diego brewery: ballastpoint.com.
Insider's Tip: Although this is our list of the best San Diego breweries, there are many others that offer incredible handcrafted beers and tours of their facilities. For more info about booking a brewery tour in San Diego, check out brewerytoursofsandiego.com and brewhop.com.