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

Craft Brew Judging - Great American Beer Festival

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?

Brent Bernasconi

San Diego Fun in the Rain

I know most people don’t like it (especially San Diegans), but every once in a while it rains in San Diego. Trying to tan on the beach may not be the best option but there are plenty of other fun and exciting things to do throughout the county. Here are just a few ideas of things to do until the sun comes back out.

> Check out our update post on inside fun during a rainy day in San Diego

Balboa Park in the Rain

Balboa Park in the Rain. Photo Courtesy of Balboa Park

It’s Raining Culture

There are tons of great museums and cultural institutions throughout the county and almost all of them are indoors. The entire family can spend a whole day exploring the museums of Balboa Park and staying dry (minus the time it takes to move from museum to museum). Pick up the Balboa Park Passport or Stay-for-the-Day Pass that provides admission to multiple museums and saves you money at the same time!

For those with little ones, stop by The New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego for hours of hands-on fun. If you are staying in the North County, the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum sneaks in education with interactive exploration. A few other options include the Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla or the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad.

During the week you can also stop by one of the great local libraries for some fun kid oriented activities or to just pick up a book and relax.

Coronado Brewing Company Fireplace

A Warm Fireplace on a Cold Day at the Coronado Brewing Company

Dining in the Rain

Okay, you probably don’t want to actually dine outside in the rain, but there are plenty of restaurants and pubs in San Diego that allow you to enjoy the sound of rainfall while staying warm. The Coronado Brewing Company is one of my favorite places to grab a bite to eat with a local craft beer as the rain falls outside. Ask for a table next to one of the fireplaces and then just stare out the open windows and enjoy.

If you are looking for a warm caffeinated beverage, pop in to a local coffee shop and warm yourself up. Many of these places also offer free wi-fi so you can get some work done or like San Diego on Facebook.

A Storm of Exciting Blockbusters

It is almost a San Diego pastime to catch the latest blockbuster film while the skies pour down on us. Fashion Valley’s movie theater has 18 screens so you are sure to find something everyone can enjoy. If you are in downtown, Horton Plaza’s multiplex is a great option for a mid afternoon movie followed by some shopping and dining. No matter where you are in the county, you can always find multiplex theater nearby.

Tell us in the comments below, what is your favorite thing to do during a rainy day in San Diego?