Brent Bernasconi

Santee Brewery Crawl – There’s Great Beer Out East

Butcher's Brewing Tasting Room - Stop #1 on the Santee Brewery Crawl

So you have been to all the breweries up north, have spent time sampling beers in downtown before a Padres game and biked around the local breweries of North Park. But have you ever explored the three great breweries out in Santee? No you say? Well then put on your walking shoes and prepare to sample the best of East County’s brewing community on a Santee Brewery Crawl.

Please remember to be safe while you enjoy any of San Diego’s amazing craft breweries. Plan on using alternative modes of transportation or bring a designated driver with you. Just make sure to supply him or her with plenty of soda, water and all they can eat as a thank you!

Getting to the Santee Brewery Crawl Starting Point via Trolley

While you can drive, why not play it safe and take the trolley. Just hop on the Green Line heading towards Santee from any of the stops including Downtown, Old Town and Mission Valley. Get off at the Gillespie Field stop and start walking toward the first brewery, Butcher’s Brewing. You can get walking directions for the entire “crawl” from the Google Map embedded at the end of this post.

Butcher’s Brewing

Walking directions from trolley stop: Head northwest on N Marshall Ave toward Cuyamaca St. Turn right onto Cuyamaca St. Turn right onto Prospect Ave. Destination will be on the left.

Butcher's Brewing Tasting Room - Stop #1 on the Santee Brewery Crawl

Make friends and drink good beer at Butcher’s Brewing, the first stop on the Santee Brewery Crawl

The 72nd brewery to open in San Diego (according to West Coaster San Diego), Butcher’s Brewing pours ten house beers along with special brews and four beers from the Mucho Aloha label. Once you arrive, check out what’s on tap and order up a flight. If it’s a warm day, cool off with a taster of the Haupia Cream Ale, a dry-hopped ale with roasted coconut and vanilla, or the Fair Weather Friend. My personal favorite was the Choice Red IPA, a crisp beer with hints of caramel and biscuit notes. Once you finish your flight, thank the bartender and head on out to the next stop, Twisted Manzanita.

> Read about my visit to Butcher’s Brewing during a Beer Up

Where: 9962 Prospect Ave, Ste E, Santee, CA 92071
Distance from Trolley Stop: .6 Miles
> Find out more about Butcher’s Brewing

Twisted Manzanita Ales & Spirits

Walking directions from Butcher’s Brewing: Head east on Prospect Ave toward Ablette Ct. Destination will be on the right.

Twisted Manzanita Tasting Room

Sample the Gillespie Brown at the Santee Brewery Crawl’s second stop, Twisted Manzanita Ales & Spirits

When I first discovered Twisted Manzanita, they brewed out of what is now this Santee Brewery Crawl’s first stop, Butcher’s Brewing. Manzanita had larger ambitions and needed a much bigger space. Keeping to their Santee roots, the brewery moved only .2 miles down the road. The larger tasting room invites you to relax inside with the air conditioning or to sit outside in the shade while enjoying a few tasters. You can easily sample all six house beers in one visit. Make sure to enjoy the Gillespie Brown Ale, their most popular beer. If you are feeling adventurous, order a taster of Where There’s Smoke, a 7% ABV brew infused with chiles.

Wait, they have spirits too?

Yes they do! Twisted Manzanita Spirits is one of the first San Diego breweries to branch out into the world of spirits (Ballast Point and BNS are two others). In a separate tasting room, you can order up a flight of their craft spirits while learning about the process of distilling. I have yet to sample any of their spirits, but a co-worker of mine recommends the Oaked Moonshine 80 proof. After you have sampled the beers and/or spirits, grab a water and start the trek toward BNS Brewing & Distilling Co.

Where: 10151 Prospect Avenue, Santee, CA 92071
Distance from Butcher’s Brewing: .2 Miles
> Find out more about Twisted Manzanita Ales & Spirits

BNS Brewing & Distilling Co.

Walking directions from Twisted Manzanita: Head east on Prospect Ave toward Ian Way. Turn left onto Cottonwood Ave. Turn right onto Buena Vista Ave. Turn left onto Railroad Ave. Turn right onto Mission Gorge Rd. Continue onto Woodside Ave. Slight left to stay on Woodside Ave. Turn left at Woodside Ave. Slight right onto N Woodside Ave. Turn left onto Wheatlands Ave. Destination will be on the right.

BNS Brewing & Distilling Co.

Sit on the patio or step up to the bar inside at BNS Brewing & Distilling Co., stop #3 on the Santee Brewery Crawl

With two breweries under your belt it’s time to hitch a ride or mosey on over to BNS Brewing & Distilling Co. You might want to bring a bottle of water for the 30ish minute walk. The beer will taste even better after the long walk! It might be best to start things off real light with the Gunfighter Golden Ale. After you cool down, move on up to the heavier beers like the Ma Deuce Double IPA or the Gatling Gun Imperial Stout (a favorite of two friends). Since this is the last stop, grab a full pint, take a seat on the outdoor patio and soak up the San Diego sunshine.

Where are the Spirits?

BNS was recently approved to build a spirits tasting room and the opening date is to be determined. When open, BNS plans on serving tasters of house vodka, gin, whiskey and bourbon.

Where: 10960 Wheatlands Ave #101, Santee, CA 92071
Distance from Twisted Manzanita: 1.7 Miles
> Find out more about BNS Brewing & Distilling Co.

Getting Back Home

Congratulations! You have just completed the Santee Brewery Crawl and it is time to return to your home base. If you are feeling energized, walk back to the trolley and enjoy the ride. However, if the weather is really hot or you just can’t walk anymore, call up a taxi or use on demand car services like Uber, Lyft or Sidecar. All I ask is that you get home safe, so let someone else do the driving for you!

Santee Brewery Crawl Map