Candice

5 to Try: Be a Beer Tourist (but drink like a local)

With a casual, relaxed atmosphere and locals who take good beer seriously (but without taking themselves too seriously), San Diego is the perfect place to escape for a libation vacation. Craft beer is so much a part of San Diego, that Mayor Jerry Sanders officially declared June “Craft Beer Month.”

San Diego boasts an enviable 38 breweries (many of them award-winning) and a wide variety of pubs and restaurants catering to those who enjoy unique, locally crafted beers. Whether you’re visiting San Diego during Craft Beer Month or any other month of the year, head to one of these places to sample a local brew and feel like a local while taking in the sites and attractions of San Diego at the same time.

Stone Brewing Co. photographed by Studio Schulz

  1. Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido is recognized as one of the best breweries in the United States by the two largest beer enthusiast websites, Ratebeer.com and BeerAdvocate.com. Brewing more than 50,000 barrels of beer annually, it is also one of the fastest growing breweries in the nation.  Guests can enjoy big character beers like Arrogant Bastard Ale with its high quality ingredients and high alcohol contents. The Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, a restaurant with a large outdoor patio and one-acre garden, serves a rotating organic menu. Keep an eye out for a Stone Brewing Hotel located directly across the street from their Escondido facility to open in 2013.
  2. The North Park neighborhood is bisected by 30th Street which locals like to call “the best street in the world for craft beer.”  More than a dozen restaurants and bars located along 30th Street proudly serve local craft brews including beer-havens like Hamilton’s Tavern, Toronado San Diego, The Linkery and Ritual Tavern. 30th Street is also a great place to find up-and-coming restaurants and hip boutiques.
  3. Pizza Port, a favorite San Diego North County restaurant with locations in Solana Beach, Carlsbad, and Ocean Beach, is a brewpub featuring hoppy Pizza Port beers and over 15 different pizzas served on the Port’s signature wholegrain beer crust. From their Solana Beach location, you can stroll the Cedros Design District’s funky shops and galleries or hop on the Historic Highway 101 for a coastal cruise through vintage surf culture.
  4. Head over to scenic Coronado to try family-owned Coronado Brewing Company. The brewpub features quality handcrafted beers and delicious food like woodfired pizzas and fresh seafood. Eight signature beers are brewed on-site including the popular Coronado Golden, the unfiltered Idiot IPA and the full-bodied Outlet Stout, Afterwards, take a stroll on the beach, try your hand at surfing or tour the historic Hotel del Coronado, famous for its appearance in the movie “Some Like It Hot” and possible ghostly resident.
  5. Enjoy a beer downtown. Karl Strauss Brewing Company is one of the largest craft breweries in San Diego, offering a core lineup of seven delicious beers, plus a variety of specialty seasonal beers, each perfectly paired with the restaurant’s menu of Southern inspired cuisine.  Karl Strauss also hosts monthly “firkin” parties in which kegs are tapped in the traditional way, by driving a spigot through the front of the keg with a wooden mallet. At their downtown brewpub, you’re just steps away from San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the San Diego Symphony and Balboa Park – with 15 different museums – is just a short jaunt up the road.