Top 5 Craft Breweries in San Diego
San Diego. Amazing weather with a terrific amount of fun attractions and things to do, miles of white-sand beaches AND it's a Top 5 (Forbes) Beer City in the US!
Well done, San Diego, well done. It's on this last mention of San Diego's thriving Beer and brewery success.
Boasting over 150 breweries in San Diego County, it is fast becoming to beer what the Silicon Valley is to tech companies - the epicenter for all things (in this regard) IPA, Lager, Pale Ale and Stout. On a recent weekend, a group of us picked 5 breweries within close proximity to each other and went beer tasting to find out what all the buzz was about. We stopped at Ale Smith, Societe Brewing, Modern Times, Ballast Point (Little Italy location) and Green Flash Brewing Company.
Our first stop was at Ale Smith. Favorite beers, which we sampled as part of 3 different flights, included their pale ale.394 (A nod and tribute to the late, great SD Padre Tony Gwynn), their Belgian-style blend Lil Horny Granny and their Speedway Stout. They have a very festive indoor and outdoor area, anchored with two food trucks (we had both the tasty mini tacos and the large, delicious warm pretzels. A great first stop. A fantastic side bar (no pun intended) to many breweries is that they serve (have a kitchen)or have available (food trucks), REALLY delicious food. REALLY delicious food.
Our second stop was at Societe Brewing. It has a local neighborhood feel, old-world vibe and interior design, and a tasting room that was both child and pet friendly, which makes everyone feel very comfortable and welcomed. The brew house sits just feet away inside, where you enjoy their beer and a slice of the delicious pizza served from the food truck out front. The beer carried lots of taste. My favorite was 'The Widow', a strong dark, Belgian-style offering. I appreciated the option at Societe to order a 1/2 pour, full pour, 1 liter size beer.
The third stop was at Modern Times. We went to the North Park location and, after getting our beers inside, enjoyed the outdoor patio. Our best tasting beer here was their City of the Sun IPA, boasting a great citrus taste. Patrons of Modern Times here enjoy a cool environment, hip staff, and kid (and pet) friendly vibe.
Ballast Point at their Little Italy tap house (they have 6 locations) was our fourth stop. Location, location, location. Ballast Point featured a very social, busy, vibrant, festive feel with a large indoor and large, nicely appointed, outside patio area. We liked the Sea Monster Imperial Stout (my favorite), Big Eye IPA and Grapefruit Sculpin IPA.
Our last stop was at the Green Flash Brewing Company. It was a refreshingly interesting physical space that draws a very loyal following of their very tasty beers. Situated in an industrial business center area of town, the tasting bar, brew house, and retail area all share an impressive indoor space with a fun, relaxing outdoor area where our service was pleasant and the beer delicious. We thoroughly enjoyed West Coast IPA in their outdoor, food truck-supported side patio. Green Flash was great final stop in a very enjoyable day tasting and sampling some of the many, many, many San Diego Breweries.
Beautiful San Diego. Great times and great beers and breweries with delicious sides of tasty food. Well played San Diego, well played.