Craft beer is to San Diego and wine is to Napa. This city, known as the Capital of Craft, is not new to the scene; the greatest breweries in San Diego are a result of a long-standing devotion. The pioneering brewpub Pizza Port helped the sunny seaside town develop its craft beer culture in the 1980s. A second wave of breweries, including Stone and Alesmith, followed. These pioneering establishments prospered, nurturing succeeding generations of brewers who would eventually go out on their own. Today, San Diego County is home to more than 150 independently owned breweries.
San Diegans are known for their love of beer despite Portland. They have the best craft beer scene in the nation. Finding the ideal brewery for the right situation can be more difficult than expected in a city with more than 150 breweries. There is a San Diego brewery that can meet your needs. Whether you’re wanting to enjoy a beer in a picturesque beer garden by the beach, take in rooftop views with a growler in hand, or match your brews with some of our city’s greatest Mexican cuisine.
Here are our recommendations for San Diego, California’s top breweries to visit. These breweries are from distinguished stout producers to sun-drenched IPA cranker. Which are heralding a change of leadership in one of America’s sunniest cities.
3725 Greenwood St, San Diego
Are you looking for San Diego’s top breweries? Modern Times has had a significant influence on the local brewing scene ever since it first appeared. The brewery is known for its specialty coffee-flavored releases and session brews that make use of its in-house coffee roasting. This incredibly autonomous business understands how to have a good time. The 16 oz. beer produced by this employee-owned brewery on the West Coast is well-known. You can find cans of Fruitlands, Fortunate Islands, and Lomaland on the shelves of nearby shops.
The Far West Lounge in Encinitas, the Lomaland Fermentorium. And the North Park Flavordome are just three of the brewery’s locations where you may enjoy these avant-garde concoctions. The Midway location has grown to be a hotspot for beer and coffee lovers. While the Encinitas branch serves up delicious vegan fare. At all locations, seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Each location has a different tap list and operating hours, so make sure to check the website before going.
2816 Historic Decatur Rd, UNIT 116
This list of San Diego breweries should include Stone Brewing due to its reputation. One of San Diego’s most well-known craft breweries, it has two of the area’s most beautiful taprooms and a selection of classic beers. Greg Koch and Steve Wagner created Stone Brewing on the tenet of being radically independent and bold. And no beer better embodies this than its initial production: the Arrogant Bastard Ale. Arrogant Brewing is the offspring of this widely recognized national beverage.
Nowadays, the brand offers a lot more than only the arrogant bastard ale. The World Bistro & Gardens, its Escondido headquarters, is as large and opulent as winemaking estates. According to RateBeer, Stone Brewing is the “Best Place to Grab a Beer” and the “Best California Brewery,” and its Russian Imperial Stout raises on a global scale. At all locations, seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
6350 Yarrow Dr STE C, Carlsbad
Californian beer enthusiasts frequently swarm to Escondido, Little Italy, and Carlsbad to sample beers at Burgeon’s three tasting rooms. Anthony Tallman, Matthew Zirpolo, and Derek van Leeuwen are three La Costa Canyon High School alums who grew up in the Carlsbad and Encinitas regions and founded this craft beer company, which is well-known for its mouthwateringly delicious IPAs.
As seen by the brewery’s Reclaim the Wild IPA, which was developed to aid the National Forest Foundation, it is well known for both its IPAs and humanitarian activities. A brewery in San Diego wants to plant 25,000 trees in a year. A few more standout hazy brews are the Lost Forest and the Treevana IPA.
3038 University Ave, San Diego
North Park should be on your list of must-visits if you’re looking for the greatest brewery San Diego has to offer. In San Diego, the North Park Beer Co. started off in a garage, just like many other homebrewers. You may get his renowned Hop Fu! at the business’ tasting location in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood. The state’s most prestigious homebrew recipe is West Coast IPA.
By creating some of the most delicious stouts available, North Park Brewing Company sets itself apart from other San Diego breweries. You can sample this brewery’s creativity by requesting the Fiesta Antes De Morir, a delectable Mexican chocolate cake stout, in addition to its well-known West Coast IPA. Beer tasting would be lacking without bar food! Fortunately, McNair enlisted Mastiff Sausage Company’s assistance to provide munchies like Cheeto-Rones, homemade sausages, and crispy pig rinds sprinkled with a homemade cheese powder mixture.
1956 Bacon St, San Diego
Pizza Port Brewery, as its name implies, serves both pizza and beer, both of which are unbelievably good. In March 1987, Gina and Vince Marsaglia, two younger siblings, bought a failing pizzeria in Solana Beach, a small coastal community north of San Diego.
As one of the earliest San Diego brewers, Pizza Port has maintained its position as one of the best since opening its first location in Carlsbad in 1987 and has received numerous awards for this accomplishment. Local favorites include Swami’s IPA, named after a well-known surf break nearby, and Kook double IPA. At one of their four brewpubs, pair a pint with classic and unique pairings like the Pizza Carlsbad, and never leave without trying the renowned Beer Buddies: pizza crust pieces dipped in marinara or ranch sauce.
2181 Logan Ave, San Diego
Border X Brewing was established in 2013 by David Favela, his brother, and his two nephews. The goal was to create a Latino brewery that offered products with Mexican heritage-inspired cultural influences. The Horchata Golden Stout and the Blood Saison with hibiscus and agave are two innovative ideas from Border X that go beyond the conventional Mexican lager.
The James Beard Foundation Awards recognize American culinary specialists on a yearly basis, and just being nominated is a significant accomplishment in the industry. No brewery, restaurant, or San Diego chef has reportedly ever received the prize in the 30-year history of the award.
9030 Kenamar Dr #308, San Diego
This small-batch brewery makes delicious beers with a tropical theme while strictly upholding environmental regulations. The Pure Project’s business partners focused on using only organic and local ingredients and tropical flavors. Products like the Tropical Mist blonde (brewed with Valencia oranges) and the delectable Milagro stout (made with Costa Rican coffee) are examples of this brewing concept in action. Watch out for their seasonal imperial stouts as well, such as the witty Maplesaurus Rex made with vanilla and maple syrup.
The tasting room at Pure Project is made to reflect its values. Bar stools are made from recycled wood, and natural wood, sustainable materials, and a range of tropical plants, including Sword Fern, Dracaena, and Devil’s Ivy, are used to decorate the walls.
8262 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
The Societe Brewing Company’s Kearny Mesa tasting room has been a bustling center for San Diego’s greatest beer for the bulk of its eight-year existence. They offer a sizable terrace and a taco truck if you want to spend more time at their brewery and taproom. Even though there are future intentions to buy a bottling plant, the brewery will only pour IPA on tap. Societe is also increasing its capacity for fermentation, with a significant percentage of the additional tank space going toward brews with a strong hop flavor that will be served straight from the tap.
9550 Distribution Avenue, San Diego
Saint Archer, a brewery with tasting rooms in Miramar and Leucadia, is well-known for its dependable classics. Like the Tropical IPA, Pale Ale, Blonde Ale, and Hazy IPA, while seasonal beers like the Mozy 7 IPA and the Blackberry Gose stand out among the regulars. Their tasting room is in Miramar. Which is open from Thursday through Sunday and has a large outdoor deck and food trucks is situated in front of their brewery facilities.
You may sample the brewery’s beers in person at the Tasting Room, which is open seven days a week. The 750-square-foot patio at The Tasting Room is perfect. Especially for those who wish to enjoy San Diego’s lovely weather all year round.
1065 Fourth Ave, San Diego
Head of Resident Brewing Robert Masterson started off as a homebrewer. For Christmas in 2009, he received a homebrewing kit from his sister and brother-in-law. After learning from a buddy, he joined homebrew groups since he thought they were an excellent way to meet other like-minded individuals. As he frequently brewed, the pastime evolved into a passion. With a few brew mates, he entered a Stone Brewing homebrewing competition in 2013—a brazen cannonball into the world of competitive homebrewing.
In 2013, Masterson opened his first business brewery at The Local Eatery & Drinking Hole in the city. At the buzzing, industrial-style venue, sample Masterson’s creations. Including his renowned Vacation Coconut IPA, with delectable bar fares like shrimp diablo tacos and the Local’s fabled Big Ass Nachos.