Once upon a time, there was a girl who didn’t drink beer. She hated it. It was bitter and nasty. Then she moved to San Diego. She continued to not drink beer, not realizing what a magical wonderland of beerness she was surrounded by.
Then one day, three years ago, she had the sip that changed her life. It was pineapple beer, drunk in the park with friends, listening to music. This gateway beer led her down the long and winding path of all things beer in San Diego.
I hope this story (which is mine, in case you didn’t pick up on that) will inspire you to come to San Diego and try one of our many amazing craft brews. If you need five more reasons to do so, read on.
1. San Diego is the Craft Beer Capital of America
No really. Wikipedia says so, therefore it must be true. Right now, this very second, there are 128 breweries in San Diego county, but believe me, that number will have increased by the time I finish writing this sentence. Unlike the cronut, this is one trend I am happy to support.
Being the craft beer capital is a subtle fact that most tourists don’t realize because they put importance on lame things like year ’round gorgeous weather and amazing beaches. Whatever. Beer’s better. But when they come and eat in one of our many crazy-good restaurants, they’re agog at the beer selection. Stout (my favorite), IPA, Belgian, Sour, whatever you crave, we’ve got it. Even the crappy taco shops have good beer!
2. The Focus is on Local
Sure, you can buy beer at BevMo from Oregon or Colorado, but trust me: if you first make it an aim to drink all of the beers brewed within 50 miles of San Diego, you might never make it any further. If you’re enterprising and breeze your way through San Diego beer, San Francisco is another great mecca to enjoy, and you can find those beers on tap and in the stores here too.
San Diegans are big on local ingredients, and beer is no exception. I’m a particular fan of alliances between local coffee roasters and brewers, like Alesmith’s Speedway Stout made with local Ryan Bros. Coffee.
3. Food Goes Great with Beer
Our brew pubs not only offer a mind-boggling selection of beers, which rotate regularly, but also delectable food. You can get killer pizza at Blind Lady Ale House, fries with truffle oil and parmesan at Tiger!Tiger!, or buffalo and blue cheese deviled eggs at Waypoint Public.
And if your brewpub of choice doesn’t happen to offer food, many have relationships with nearby restaurants that will deliver your food so you needn’t stray far from your pint. At Modern Times in North Park, you can order a taco with crickets on top from Tacos Perla online and they’ll bring it to you from around the corner. There are many other symbiotic food/beer relationships like this one.
4. San Diego Brewers are Great Experimenters
While curry, peanut butter, or marshmallow aren’t your standard flavors for beer, our local beermeisters have found a way to blend eclectic flavors with malt and hops. Not sure if you’ll like something? Ask for a taste. More than likely you’ll get hooked on a beer flavor you never imagined would be so good.
5. You’ll Never Go to All the Breweries We Have
I’d love to expand my reach and try more breweries, but I tend to go to the same places over and over. Usually a place qualifies as worthy if a) it has a couple of good stouts or porters, b) it has amazeballs food c) kids are welcome. That might be an unusual sight for non-locals, but yes, we bring the baby to a bar (bonus points if you get the movie reference). Most tasting rooms and breweries offer family-friendly dining, and many even provide a kids’ section for them to go veg out on video games while parents get
My go-to spots include:
Are you sold on drinking beer in San Diego? You’re welcome. You can buy me a pint as my reward.