A photo of a flight of craft beer glasses with the San Diego skyline in the background.

A Guide to the Best Craft Breweries in San Diego: From IPAs to Stouts

City Guides, Travel Guides By Jul 02, 2023 No Comments

San Diego is known for its beautiful beaches and year-round sunshine, but it’s also home to a thriving craft beer scene. With over 150 breweries in the county, San Diego is a beer lover’s paradise. Whether you’re a hops enthusiast or a fan of rich, full-bodied stouts, our guide will help you discover the best craft breweries in San Diego.

In this article, we’ll explore the history of San Diego’s craft beer movement, as well as highlight some of the must-visit breweries in the area. Get ready to discover your new favorite beer!

Craft beer has exploded in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. With so many unique and flavorful options, there’s a beer for every palate. Whether you’re a seasoned beer drinker or looking to try something new, San Diego’s craft beer scene is not to be missed.

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.Benjamin Franklin

Experience San Diego’s Thriving Craft Beer Scene

San Diego’s craft beer scene was born in the 1980s, thanks in large part to the pioneering efforts of breweries like Karl Strauss and Stone Brewing. Today, the county is home to over 150 craft breweries, each with its own unique style and personality.

One of the best ways to experience San Diego’s craft beer scene is by taking a brewery tour. Many breweries offer tours of their facilities, where you can learn about the brewing process and sample some of the best beer in the county.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, many breweries also have tasting rooms where you can sample their beers and enjoy some delicious food. Whatever your style, San Diego’s craft beer scene has something for everyone.

Experience San Diego's Thriving Craft Beer Scene

Brewery Tours

Taking a brewery tour is a great way to learn about the brewing process and sample some of San Diego’s best beer. Many breweries, such as Stone Brewing and Ballast Point, offer tours of their facilities.

During the tour, you’ll learn about the history of the brewery, the brewing process, and the different types of beer they produce. Best of all, you’ll get to sample some of their delicious beer!

Tours typically last between one and two hours and cost around $10-$15 per person. Advanced reservations are recommended, as tours can fill up quickly.

Stone Brewing: A Pioneer in San Diego’s Craft Beer Movement

Stone Brewing is one of the oldest and most respected breweries in San Diego. Founded in 1996, Stone was one of the pioneers of the craft beer movement in Southern California.

Today, the brewery has two locations in San Diego: Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido, and Stone Brewing Tap Room in the heart of downtown San Diego. Both locations are must-visits for any craft beer enthusiast.

At Stone, you can sample some of their most popular beers, like the Arrogant Bastard Ale and the Stone IPA. You can also take a tour of their brewery, which features state-of-the-art equipment and a commitment to sustainability.

If you’re a foodie, be sure to check out the on-site restaurant, which serves up delicious dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. The outdoor patio is also a great place to relax with a beer and take in the San Diego sunshine.

Coronado Brewing Co: Ocean Views and Award-Winning Beers

Located on the picturesque Coronado Island, the Coronado Brewing Co. is a must-visit for any beer enthusiast. With stunning ocean views and a casual beach vibe, this brewery offers a unique experience for visitors.

But it’s not just the views that make this brewery stand out – their beers have won numerous awards, including World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival medals. You’ll find a range of options on their tap list, from their classic Orange Avenue Wit to their hoppy Idiot IPA.

In addition to great beer, the Coronado Brewing Co. offers a full restaurant menu, making it a perfect spot for a meal or snack. And with locations in both Coronado and San Diego proper, it’s easily accessible for both locals and tourists alike.

A Range of Beer Options to Choose From

One of the best things about the Coronado Brewing Co. is the variety of beers they offer. Whether you’re a fan of light, easy-drinking beers or hoppy, bold IPAs, you’ll find something on their tap list to enjoy.

Their Orange Avenue Wit is a classic Belgian-style wheat beer that is light and refreshing, perfect for sipping on a hot day. If you’re looking for something with more hops, try their Idiot IPA, which is bursting with tropical fruit and pine flavors.

And if you’re in the mood for something rich and dark, their Stupid Stout is a must-try. With notes of coffee and chocolate, it’s a perfect dessert beer.

No matter what your preference, you’ll find a beer to love at the Coronado Brewing Co.

A Family-Friendly Atmosphere

While many breweries focus on creating a party atmosphere, the Coronado Brewing Co. welcomes families with open arms. With a kid’s menu and a laid-back, beachy vibe, it’s a great spot to bring the whole family.

And if you’re bringing your furry friends, don’t worry – the Coronado Brewing Co. is also dog-friendly.

A Full Menu to Satisfy Your Hunger

When it comes to food, the Coronado Brewing Co. has you covered. Their menu features a range of options, from classic pub fare like burgers and fish & chips to healthier options like salads and grilled vegetables.

And don’t forget about dessert – their house-made churros are the perfect sweet treat to end your meal.

Karl Strauss Brewing Company: A San Diego Institution

Founded in 1989, the Karl Strauss Brewing Company is one of San Diego’s oldest and most well-known breweries. With nine locations throughout San Diego County, it’s easy to see why Karl Strauss is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

But it’s not just the beer that makes Karl Strauss special – their historic building on Columbia Street in downtown San Diego is a must-see for any architecture buffs. Originally built in 1929 as a car dealership, the building has been restored to its former glory and now houses the brewery’s main production facility and tasting room.

Whether you’re interested in history or just great beer, Karl Strauss is a must-visit spot in San Diego.

Karl Strauss Brewing Company: A San Diego Institution

A History of Great Beer

From their classic Amber Lager to their hoppy Aurora Hoppyalis, Karl Strauss has been brewing award-winning beer for over 30 years. Their beers have won over 100 medals at prestigious beer competitions, including The Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup.

But it’s not just their core beers that are worth trying – Karl Strauss is known for their innovative small-batch beers, which are often available only at their tasting rooms.

No matter what you order, you can be sure that you’re getting a delicious beer brewed with care and attention.

A Range of Locations to Choose From

With nine locations throughout San Diego County, there’s a Karl Strauss brewing company near you. Whether you’re in downtown San Diego, La Jolla, or Carlsbad, you can enjoy their great beer and atmosphere.

Each location has its own personality, so be sure to visit a few to get a taste of everything Karl Strauss has to offer.

A Full Menu to Complement Your Beer

At Karl Strauss, beer and food go hand in hand. Their tasting rooms offer a range of options, from classic pub fare like burgers and wings to more refined dishes like roasted brussels sprouts and grilled salmon.

And don’t forget about dessert – their churro tots with chocolate dipping sauce are a fan favorite!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • What is the craft beer scene like in San Diego?

    San Diego has a thriving craft beer scene with many breweries offering a variety of beer styles.

  • What makes Stone Brewing a pioneer in San Diego’s craft beer movement?

    Stone Brewing is often credited with putting San Diego on the map as a craft beer destination and helped to popularize hop-forward IPAs.

  • What is special about Karl Strauss Brewing Company’s history in San Diego?

    Karl Strauss Brewing Company is one of the oldest craft breweries in San Diego and is often considered a San Diego institution due to its long history in the city.

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