Written By: Jennifer Hood & Allie Moreno
Mike Hess Brewing is one of the top breweries in San Diego. From a modest start, the brewery grew into two locations in San Diego from the original ‘nano’ in the Miramar area to the production brewery in North Park. The brewery was the city’s first production nano-brewery and the 33rd brewery in San Diego. Their reputation has since grown to become one of the most unique craft beers and tasting experiences available in the city.
AleSmith Brewing Company
AleSmith is well-established, one of San Diego’s finest when it comes to craft brewing. Spearheaded by Peter Zien, a homebrewer with some 400 medals and honors under his belt, AleSmith puts out some of the most sought after specialty beers – beers that delight even the snootiest beer connoisseurs. Known for their fantastic, high ABV beers, AleSmith also has a nice variety of lesser talked about sessionable brews. Drop by the brewery’s tasting room for a growler full of the old favorites as well as a taste of their barrel-aged releases, which are only available on draft in the tasting room.
9368 Cabot Dr | San Diego, CA 92126
Kearny Mesa’s first brewery, Societe, opened in 2012 via the efforts and talents of Travis Smith (who trained under craft brew icons Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Company and Patrick Rue of Bruery in Placentia) and Doug Constantiner, a fellow brewer with Smith in his Bruery days. Together, Smith and Constantiner pose a looming figure when it comes to their craft brew knowledge. Societe brews a variety of hoppy beers and gentler Belgian-inspired ales. The Pupil is a local favorite, a crisp, citrusy India Pale Ale that has managed to stand out in a city that’s happily up to its eyeballs in IPAs. Grab a 3-oz. taster for a reasonable dollar (last time we checked in February) and head for the nice outdoor patio, a rarity among San Diego breweries.
8262 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111
Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey
Located in the former home of Stone Brewing, Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey are siblings fathered by Port Brewing Company, owned by the owners of Pizza Port, Vince and Gina Marsaglia, and World Champion brewer Tomme Arthur. The Lost Abbey gained attention last year for their epic ode to classic rock: 12 special edition brews inspired by 12 rock tracks, culminating in an end-of-the-year Ultimate Box Set, masterfully designed with track sleeves detailing the beers, and housed in handmade road cases. We’re expecting more innovation and exciting brews this year.
155 Mata Way, Suite 104
San Marcos, CA 92069
Pacific Beach Alehouse
With handcrafted beer, an eclectic menu, friendly service and a lodge-like ambiance, Pacific Beach AleHouse is a great brewery to visit for an all-inclusive night out. Dining Out Magazine calls it “a world class micro brewery and restaurant, ” and “a destination for beer aficionados, tourists, and locals.” The Alehouse brews eight signature beers on location, and also uses its own brews in many of the dressings, sauces, batters and even desserts.
721 Grand Ave | San Diego, CA 92109
858-581-2337 | www.pbalehouse.com
Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery
Monkey Paw is a brewery and pub owned by Scot Blair, who also owns Hamilton’s Tavern, Small Bar, and Eleven – he definitely knows what we want in a beer and a bar). Don’t let its sketchy location scare you off! Brave past the homeless people and you’ll be rewarded with amazing house-brewed beers, most likely made by the talented Derek Freese, who will be leaving his post as headbrewer to join Modern Times, a brewery in the making in San Diego. Monkey Paw will continue their unique batches of beer with a new homebrewer turned brewmaster, Cosimo Sorrentino. The Monkey Paw Sweet Georgia Brown and the Oatmeal Pale Ale are probably the most popular beers Monkey Paw crafts. Monkey Paw has never let its small brewery size inhibit its progress. Not having a canning line last year, Monkey Paw used The Can Van, a mobile canning service, to can their beer for distribution until they bought a line of their own. They were the first San Diego brewery to can their product. Now that’s dedication to tackling the next frontier.
805 16th Street | San Diego, CA 92101
Besides Stone Brewing, Green Flash has one of the nicest Brewery Tasting rooms in San Diego, with a great beer garden that’s frequented by favorite local food trucks, brewery tours, and 30 state of the art taps pouring all of Green Flash’s most popular beers as well as seasonal, rare and special releases. You can get a 30 minute tour and a guided tasting of four beers for a light five dollars. Green Flash also hosts Green Flash University, a seminar series that is going “Behind the Craft” with a lineup of three seminars throughout 2013. The brewery is making great brews and really knows how to host a beer lover.
6550 Mira Mesa Blvd. | San Diego, CA 92121
Ballast Point began in 1992 as a home brewing supply store called Home Brew Mart, which is still open today. The founders Jack White and Pete A’Hearn opened the store with Yuseff Cherney out of frustration around a lack of access to the proper tools and supplies to brew at home. In 1996, they founded Ballast Point Brewing. Each of their beers are named after fish or fishing terms in order to keep with the founding mission to stay connected to what you truly love. Enjoy the popular Sculpin IPA (which are also now offered in pineapple, grapefruit and habanero flavors), a Wahoo White or Victory at Sea Imperial Porter. Over the last few years, Ballast Point has expanded from their Scripps Ranch location to a 107, 000 square foot brewery off Miramar Road now with full restaurant service. In addition, Jack and Yuseff have ventured into the art of distilling and now Ballast Point offers their own line of spirits from rum, whiskey and vodka to mixers and canned cocktails like bloody mary’s and gin and tonic’s. This just might be the best brewery in San Diego.
9045 Carroll Way
San Diego, CA 92121