Your recent travels have taught you one thing: Craft beer is having a moment. Big time. But what you may not know is that one of the world’s most important centers for the craft beer renaissance is San Diego. Yes, the place you love for beaches, bike paths and seemingly endless summer days is also a Big Kahuna in the beer world. Read on to discover where to lift your glass like a local.
What’s the Buzz?
Men’s Journal recently named San Diego the “Top Beer Town” in America and at the 2010 World Beer Cup, San Diego suds earned more medals than the traditional beer countries of England, Germany and Belgium combined.
With more than 90 local breweries and counting in operation, the region is now regularly referred to as the “Napa of beer,” with names like AleSmith, Ballast Point, Green Flash and Stone Brewing Company earning knowing nods from aficionados around the world. And that’s a good thing for everybody, especially if you’re lucky enough to be visiting America’s Finest City.
So on your next visit, make sure to add a pint-stop at a local brewery or gastropub to make your San Diego experience complete. We particularly love San Diego’s many options for pairing creative dishes rendered with locally sourced ingredients with a local craft beer.
Where to Go?
Stone Brewing Co.
Now one of the top ten craft brewers in the U.S. and with locations throughout the San Diego area, Stone Brewing Co. is going to be one of your fave stops on your San Diego beer quest. You’ll go for their fabulous award-winning beers, including favorites like their multiple IPA releases. But at the main facility in Escondido, you’ll stay for the brewery tour and chance to sample organic, locally sourced cuisine at their popular World Bistro & Gardens adjacent to a one-acre beer garden.
Quad Ale House & Beer Study Hall
Located in an historic building in San Diego’s bustling Gaslamp Quarter, this location is a temple to local brews. A rotating lineup of mostly local small batch beers features cult craft selections from Otay Mesa to Oceanside and everywhere in between. Pair a pour with their garlic & herb roasted chicken and let your palate take flight.
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Credited with starting the craft beer scene in San Diego 25 years ago, today the company has expanded into a beautiful new 5,000-square-foot tasting room and beer garden near La Jolla as well as six brewpubs located in several San Diego neighborhoods. The new space boasts 20 taps pouring selections like their Tower 10 IPA and Red Trolley Ale. There’s also a barrel room available for meetings and parties, views into the working brewery and bottle line and a spacious beer garden for enjoying those warm San Diego nights. Local food trucks supply tasty fare (or you can order in from nearby restaurants), or take the party home with their beer-to-go program.
San Diego’s 30th Street, aka “Beer Street” is where a beer-lover’s cup runneth over. This is where to experience some of San Diego’s finest beers along one long stretch of street, where multiple bars and restaurants – and even a few small breweries – pour the city’s finest. A few locations not to miss include Waypoint Public (27 taps of mostly local beers paired with upmarket gastropub fare); Hamilton’s Tavern (always on someone’s “Best” list, former dive bar, now South Park neighborhood darling with 30-plus taps of mostly San Diego selections paired with re-imagined pub grub) and Fall Brewing (new brewery featuring an open, airy space where fermentation tanks are on display and source of freshly brewed favorites like 2 a.m. Bike Ride and Spirit of 77).
We call getting a great local perspective on San Diego’s best beer and leaving the driving to someone else a win-win. Multiple tour options include small private groups, public tours and even a tour by train. Choose the best fit and get ready to raise a glass to San Diego:
San Diego Brewery & Beer Tours: Scheduled daily tours and private tours focusing on North County breweries.
Brew Hop: Custom tours to local breweries.
San Diego Beer Train: Guided tours where you explore local breweries by trolley, train and bus!
And speaking of raising glasses, you’ll definitely want to toast your good luck when you check in to any one of our three San Diego area hotels where craft beer is on the menu. At the Gaslamp District’s Hotel Palomar San Diego take advantage of special offers like the Stay Crafty Package that includes an insider’s tour to experience local beer culture, two local beers at check-in and access to the hotel’s Beer Concierge. You can enjoy the same hop-tacular package at Hotel Solamar, so don’t miss out.
Thinking about a California getaway? Check out the full list of California Kimpton hotels by clicking here.