What’s New in Craft Brew: San Diego Takes the Gold

San Diego may have an Olympic training center, but the region’s newest gold medalists won’t be found there. Thanks to an outstanding slate of local breweries, San Diego has been racking up the craft brew awards at beer festivals across the world.

Craft Brew Gold Medal Winners at the Great American Beer Festival

Craft Brew Judging - Great American Beer Festival

San Diego breweries won big at the Great American Beer festival this fall.

Held in Denver in October, the annual Great American Beer Festival saw more than 4,000 entries by 666 breweries from around the nation, and San Diego brewers earned a total of 15 medals. The Lost Abbey and Pizza Port breweries took home the most collective medals of the San Diego based breweries, with Pizza Port claiming gold in Session Beer, Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout and Oatmeal Stout and a bronze medal in Imperial Red Ale. The Lost Abbey received gold in Belgian and French-Style Ale, silver in American-Style Sour Ale, bronze in Experimental Beer and Indigenous Beer. Green Flash Brewing Co. received top honors in American-Belgo-Style Ale and Belgian-Style Abbey Ale and a silver medal in Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout.

San Diego’s craft beer winning continued across the pond as well. In November 2012, San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing took home two awards from Europe’s beer community. The brewery’s signature Calico Amber Ale was awarded a bronze medal at the inaugural Brussels Beer Challenge. The Calico also won a gold medal in the “English-style bitter” category at the ninth annual European Beer Star competition in Munich.

New San Diego Craft Breweries

Helms Brewing Company in San Diego

Helm’s is one of San Diego’s newest craft breweries.

Looking to get out and try something new? The number of San Diego craft breweries continues to grow, too!

  • Offbeat Brewing Co. opened in Escondido in San Diego’s inland North County. Showcasing local artists in their brewing space, Offbeat brews up creative varieties of hoppy ales and sessionable brews.
  • Fezziwig’s Brewing Company opened in Carlsbad in San Diego’s coastal North County. In addition to brewing porters, winter wheats, barrel-aged and other styles of beer, Fezziwig’s facility is inspired by a steampunk aesthetic.
  • Helm’s Brewing Company opened in the Kearny Mesa area of San Diego. Designed to appeal as much to the average consumer as the beer connoisseur, the Helm’s tasting room includes two 46” televisions to watch sports and features full view the brewery facility. The addition of Helm’s Brewing Company brings the total number of breweries in San Diego County to 60!

Where will you sample a San Diego beer this weekend?

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About Candice

Foodie, craft beer nerd, shopaholic, music geek, photographer and contemporary art fan could all be used to describe me. I’m a big proponent of highlighting San Diego’s hidden gems and local businesses and breaking stereotypes about our city. We’re more than just sunshine and beaches (though those are nice, too!).

What would you do on your ideal San Diego Day?

Eating and shopping around my favorite neighborhoods: Golden Hill, South Park, North Park, Little Italy and Hillcrest. Then popping into one of our great art museums and capping off the night with some live music and a a local beer at The Casbah.

What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?

Does shopping count as an outdoor activity? Or checking out the public art around town, like at Chicano Park? I do love visiting the La Jolla tide pools in the summer and ice skating at the outdoor rinks that go up each winter.

Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine?

Let's get one thing straight here: San Diego craft beer goes with everything, not just burgers. Though it is really good with a burger.

Latest music purchases for my iPod player are…

I’m lucky to be married to a music journalist, so advance copies of the newest albums are constantly available to me for free. But I can’t seem to stop playing the new album by CHVRCHES, and San Diego band Rocket from the Crypt have been on repeat a lot lately.

Follow Candice on Twitter @candicesd

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