Best Beer 2016: Best New Breweries
Second Chance Beer Company
Founder and brewmaster Marty Mendiola had a long, impressive history as the head brewer at Rock Bottom in La Jolla before finally opening his own place. A spacious and open setting gives this tasting room a friendly, social feeling (there’s a bean bag toss and even a basketball hoop), and you can’t miss with any of Marty’s clean, well-balanced, full-flavored beers—he does some of the best browns and porters in town.
15378 Avenue of Science, Carmel Mountain
Bitter Brothers Brewing Co.
Co-founders Bill Warnke and Monica Andresen saw the need for a brewery on Morena Boulevard and made it happen. They also assembled a great brewing team, led by talented head brewer John Hunter, who has developed a nicely varied lineup where their hefeweizen, dunkelweizen, and IPA are the early stars.
4170 Morena Boulevard, Bay Ho
Inspired after living close to nature in Costa Rica, Agi and Jesse Pine returned to San Diego and opened a brewery (with co-founder Mat Robar) where natural ingredients dictate the beer. Brewer Winslow Sawyer has created an impressive mix of styles, including a grapefruit gose, a Brettanomyces IPA, and a tasty cream ale made with organic Valencia oranges.
9030 Kenamar Drive, Miramar
Bay City Brewing Co.
Bay City Brewing Co.
Sitting in the shadow of Valley View Casino Center, this big, airy space is filled with a long bar and large communal table. Brewer Chris West seems comfortable with the classics, but gets extra kudos for offering more creative brews than most newbies. His brown sour ale and coffee pale ale are both delicious, as is his Vienna lager, which has an outstanding creaminess and depth.
3760 Hancock Street, Point Loma
Bear Roots Brewing Co.
This small, rustic, and nicely designed tasting room also houses a homebrew supply shop and an area for on-site brewing. Owner and brewer Terry Little knows his stuff; his beers are flavorful, well-balanced takes on classic styles, which include a particularly delicious Scotch ale and a rich, chocolatey milk stout.
1213 South Santa Fe Avenue, Vista
Division 23 Brewing
Tucked away at the back of an office park, this brewery offers a small, social setting that feels more like a neighborhood bar than a tasting room. Brewer Kevin Dougherty does a nice job focusing mostly on lighter, crisper styles, the most fun of which is his Berliner Weiss. It’s refreshing and drinkable on its own, but try a taster or two with one of the many flavored syrups they offer at the bar.
7408 Trade Street, Miramar
Abnormal Beer Company
They started as a winery, and then added a brewery, so visitors can enjoy the best of both worlds. Both the wine and beer are made within the confines of a restaurant-pub space that also offers an inviting outdoor patio and a more private room. Their Debut IPA and Lunch Meeting Rye Pale Ale have already made an impression on the many discriminating hop lovers in town.
16990 Via Tazon, Rancho Bernardo
Mason Ale Works
The owners of Urge Gastropub added a brewery to their newest venture in Oceanside. In the very capable hands of brewer Mike Rodriguez, Mason is producing a core collection of clean, crisp, food-friendly beers (Charley Hustle Red IPA and Mi Bella Saison are standouts) that mesh perfectly with Urge’s casual comfort food.
2002 South Coast Highway, Oceanside