Craft beer tasting and San Diego go together like waves and surfing, and if you’re a beer lover, you simply can’t leave San Diego without visiting one of San Diego County’s many breweries. With over 100 in and around San Diego, it can be hard to choose which ones to prioritize. Here are some of the most iconic breweries and tasting rooms in San Diego and they’re a good place to start to experience San Diego’s beloved craft beer scene.
Stone Brewing Company
Arguably the most well-known from a global perspective, Stone Brewing Company is like the grandfather of San Diego craft beer—if your grandfather is still hip with some laidback west coast flair. Stone Brewing Company’s flagship store is located in Escondido, about 30 minutes northeast of San Diego. It’s worth the jaunt thanks to its impressive beer garden, complete with ponds, trails, and plenty of green space to—a rarity to find in San Diego—enjoy your tasting flight. Stone also has an onsite restaurant where you can enjoy farm to table cuisine before or after scheduling a brewery tour to see the beer making process.
Green Flash Brewing Company
Green Flash Brewing Company has a large tasting room with an industrial feel. White walls and steel accents create the backdrop to the long bar where friendly pourers will teach you about Green Flash’s brews and help you select which ones to try. Green Flash is known for its hoppy beers. You can enjoy your tastings in the wide open space of then tasting room, perfect for mingling, or take your glass out to the grassy outdoor patio and picnic tables. Though Green Flash doesn’t serve food, a food truck is usually parked adjacent to the patio so you can order without having to leave the premises of the brewery.
Ballast Point has long been considered one of the highest quality breweries in San Diego by those who live there. Apparently, Constellation Brands agrees as it just acquired Ballast Point for a cool billion dollars. Like other San Diego breweries, Ballast Point is known for its hoppy beers, like the Sculpin IPA. Visit Ballast Point soon before the takeover is complete and to see an example of the crème de la crème of the craft beer scene in San Diego, which is currently treading a fine line between art and commercialism.
Visiting these breweries will give you a good taste of the beer scene in San Diego—and lots of tastes of different flavors of beer. If you're still looking for more breweries to try, check out the ones listed on the San Diego Brewers Guild website.