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San Diego's Craft Beer Guide

Breweries, brewpubs & beer bars!


(page 4 of 4)


All Over the Map


Karl Strauss Brewing Company   

Twenty-three years after becoming San Diego’s first post-Prohibition brewery, this groundbreaking company shows no signs of slowing down. This fall, the company will finish a grand-scale renovation of its Pacific Beach production brewery, including a tasting room, outdoor beer garden, and upstairs decks with sweeping overhead views of the place where most of Uncle Karl’s magic is made. It’s the perfect place to enjoy some of the brewers’ innovative new concoctions, like the barrel-aged Old Ale cooked up to celebrate the 23rd anniversary. Carlsbad, downtown, La Jolla, Sorrento Mesa, Pacific Beach, karlstrauss.com


Pizza Port

This San Diego institution was the starting point for some of the county’s most heralded brewing talent (Tomme Arthur, Jeff Bagby, Tom Nickel). Over the past two decades, Pizza Port’s brew crew has collaborated to create dozens of exceptional, textbook iterations of beer styles from around the world. That mastery has led to the chain’s Carlsbad location being named best large U.S. brewpub of the year in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Not to be outdone, Pizza Port OB nabbed best small U.S. brewpub of the year in 2011 behind the beers of head brewer (and one of San Diego Magazine’s 50 People to Watch) Yiga Miyashiro. Look for this stellar hometown success story to add a new chapter when it opens a large restaurant-affixed production brewery at Carlsbad’s Bressi Ranch development. Carlsbad, Ocean Beach, Solana Beach, pizzaport.com


Gordon Biersch

Don’t write off this brewery restaurant just because it’s a chain. Brewer Doug Hasker produces some of the best, most true-to-form lager beers in the county. 5010 Mission Center Road, Mission Valley, gordonbiersch.com


Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Company

Several of the San Diego company’s beers (now produced by Left Coast Brewing) have made waves on a global scale, notably the Black Magic Stout and McGarvey’s Scottish Ale, both of which were named the best beers of their respective styles in the entire world at the World Beer Cup. Carmel Mountain, Carmel Valley, Eastlake, Liberty Station, Mission Valley, Santee, Encinitas, oggis.com


Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

Many mistakenly believe the beers at each of this nationwide chain’s brewpubs are exactly the same, but the beer board at each location is populated by selections created by individual brewmasters. Rock Bottom’s La Jolla brew house is presided over by San Diego Brewers Guild president Marty Mendiola, whose Moonlight Porter was named the number one robust porter in the country last year. 8980 Villa La Jolla Drive, La Jolla, 401 G Street, downtown, rockbottom.com

Off the Map


Butcher’s Brewing Company      

Local artisan Rey Knight is already well known for the charcuterie skills he displayed with his old company, Knight’s Salumi. Nowadays, he’s pursuing his other longtime passion—craft brewing. The result are beers like his tropical Mucho Aloha HPA (Hawaiian India Pale Ale) and strapping Double Shaka double IPA, both of which are solid enough to make you forgive his departure from San Diego’s meat market. Well … almost. butchersbrewing.com


TailGate Beer

SDSU grad Wesley Keegan’s all about game time or, to be more exact, the pre-game ritual otherwise known as a raucous tailgate party. So much so, his entire operation is built around manufacturing parking lot-approved canned beers that are high on drinkability and low on ABV. tailgatebeer.com

And Coming Soon...


Benchmark Brewing Company   

Experience and freedom are just as important as ingredients like malt and hops. Longtime AleSmith brewer Matt Akin is working on a return to the local scene, and this time, he’s the one calling the shots. 6190 Fairmont Avenue, Grantville,


Devil’s Forge Brewing Company    

San Diego has more homebrewers per capita than most states. Several are making the leap to the big leagues, such as Wes McCann, who’s perfecting his recipes while searching for a site. devilsforgebrewing.com


Fezziwig’s Brewing

A handful of homebrewing compatriots are conspiring to start a company that, in addition to its regular line, will create custom batches for patrons who like to choose their own adventure. Carlsbad, fezziwigsbrewing.com


Hillcrest Brewing Company

Expect to find beer at the end of the rainbow when the family tree that includes Urban Mo’s, Gossip Grill, and Baja Betty’s sprouts a fourth branch later this year. hillcrestbrewingcompany.com


Mad Lab Craft Brewing   

All that’s known about this business-to-be is the location, but its pre-opening blog provides background on all the paperwork and procedures that must be completed for a brewery to get up and running. Otay Mesa, madlabbrewing.blogspot.com


Modern Times   

One of San Diego’s most unexpected works in progress is this brainchild of former Stone Brewing Co. social media director Jacob McKean. moderntimesbeer.com


Rip Current Brewing Company     

Paul Sangster, the reigning top homebrewer in the country (awarded by the American Homebrewers Association’s annual National Homebrewers Conference), is hitting the pro circuit with beer bud Guy Shobe. They’re opening a tasting bar stocked with a dozen taps combining Shobe’s low-alcohol ales and lagers with Sangster’s aggressively hopped, over-the-top, award-winning quaffs. When this promising newbie debuts this summer, look for medal-worthy numbers like Sangster’s Raked Over Red Ale and Lupulin Lust IPA, as well as experiments like a Belgian farmhouse ale brewed with apricots. San Marcos, ripcurrentbrewing.com


Taproot Brewing

A trio of North County beer buds are banding together to build a public house that will offer a mix of English and Belgian-style ales. Escondido, taprootbrewing.com


Unnamed Project

Jeff Bagby, known throughout the country for helming Pizza Port Carlsbad during its three-year run as America’s best large brewpub (Great American Beer Festival), shocked the craft beer world last December when he resigned from his post to pursue the dream of opening his very own brewpub. He’s currently cruising North County’s coastal expanses in search of the perfect location, but has no shortage of capital-waving suitors. His is, without a doubt, the most anticipated upcoming project of any in San Diego… or just about anywhere.


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