San Diego Brewery Tours
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San Diego Brewery Tour | Inside Scoop from a Regular
We get a lot of calls asking how the San Diego brewery tour thing works. Here's the scoop:
When you go to a brewery, they usually have 4 oz. tasters and 16 oz. pints. The exception is
Home Brew Mart which has only tasters. Typically, tasters sell for $1 - $2 each and pints are generally $3
- $5. There is some variation between breweries.
Drink Tasters, Beware of Pints
Personally, I recommend 4.oz tasters, because
the beer is damn good and higher in alcohol than Bud or Coors. After just
three pints, you might start to fade. The better
idea might be to have 4, 4 oz. tasters of different beers, which equals only one
pint! If you fall in love with a beer, then go ahead, have a pint!
Ramp up. Don't forget to have a little something in your stomach when you start
your brewery tour.
Too much food and you'll be too full to sample great beer; Too little food and
you'll fade out early. Brewery touring is hard work
and a guy (or gal) can get hungry. Some San Diego breweries such as Green Flash, have gourmet food trucks that hang around.
Consider ending your San Diego brewery tour safari at a brewery restaurant such as Karl Strauss.
Again, I recommend not going straight for the pints. Save your energy and room in your stomach. Again, if you fall in love with a beer, buy a growler.
Take Home a Growler
What is a growler you ask? A "growler" is a half gallon or one gallon glass jug, you can buy at most breweries for about $5. The
San Diego brewery will then
fill it with fresh beer for the cost of the beer. Ballast Point will fill a half gallon growler with their multi-gold medal winning Calico Amber Ale for $9. Wow!
By law, each San Diego brewery can only refill their own growler bottles. That is, don't take a Green Flash growler to Ballast Point
brewery and expect them to fill it.
Although we would love to give you free beer, the cost of beer is not included in limo rental price.
Additionally, with the exception of our Sunday through Friday Special, the chauffeur's tip is not included
in the price of the limo. Normal and customary chauffeur's tip is 20% of
cost. Don't let this give you pause. Once customers experience our service, they most happily offer grauity.
San Diego's Primary Brewery Run: Miramar
San Diego is dotted with breweries and brewpubs all over the county, however there
is one primary "brewery run"
where the breweries are close to each other.
MiraMar (East to West)
Ballast Point (Scripps Ranch) Just off Carroll Canyon Rd.
My personal favorite, Ballast Point is
one of the top 3 San Diego Breweries and an absolute legend. For my money, this
place has the best beer and the best prices on growler bottles and growler fills.
Multiple award winning brewery. Must try Calico Amber Ale, Sculpin IPA.
Specialty beers include bourbon barrel aged and habenaro infused!
Societe Brewing (North East Clairemont)
Alternate starting point #1
Only a couple of miles South of Ballast point at hwy 163 and Clairemont Mesa Blvd
is Societe Brewing. The brewmasters cut their teeth at the legendary
Russian River Brewing Company. The Pupil IPA is outstanding and Belgian
style beers are noteworthy. Some beer enthusiasts consdier this brewery
among the top five breweries in San Diego County. Helms brewing is nearby.
(Poway, Calif.) Alternate starting point #2
Just North of Ballast Point, in Poway. Read the website carefully. They are open for tasting and beer sales ONLY on Fridays and Saturdays
with limited hours. The City of Poway limits their ability to offer beer from their brewery. However, if you come at the
specified times you will be rewarded with a fantastic German style Pilsner. One
of the most under-rated breweries in San Diego.
White Labs (MiraMar East, Near Ballast Point)
White Labs, Inc. is the world's premier provider of brewer's yeast. Started
in 1995 by a biochem Ph.D from UCSD and home brewer, Chris White. This
place has a very cool tasting room where they serve beer brewed by San Diego's
best breweries, but with a twist. They'll serve you up 3 tasters of
identical beer, each made with a different strain of yeast, and yes you can taste the difference. Very friendly
and knowledgeable staff are happy to answer questions.
AleSmith Brewing Company (MiraMar Central)
Would you like to see what a World Beer Cup Gold Medal looks like? How
about Great American Beer Fest medals? Well, stop at AleSmith and then
you'll know. AS tends to brew darker, heavier beers. If you are
starting a fade, try speedway stout brewed with coffee.
Mike Hess Brewing (MiraMar Central)
A true "nano" brewery with limited selection of beers.
Rough Draft Brewing Company (MiraMar
Somehow, this brewery got their 22oz bottles stocked by Sprouts Market. I've tried several of there beers in bottles and
I don't care for any of them. Sorry. However, they do have a nice tasting room with stools and an extensive menu of limited
production brews. I was very impressed with their bourbon barrel specialty beers. I would go there again.
Wet 'n Reckless (MiraMar NorthWest)
Ok, now we're talking hidden gem. This little nano kicks out some great beer brewed with a secret ingredient...love.
My personal favorite is the Honey Badger Don't Care made with real honey. This brewer is one heck of a nice guy and
he has a sense
of humor, too. Definately stop here and take home a growler. Although the name of the brewery is Wet 'n Reckless, the brewer
is always watching out for his customers. Drink Responsibly
| Green Flash Brewing Company (Miramar NorthWest)
Green Flash has one of the largest production facilities and tasting rooms in the San Diego market. The tasting room is huge
and it gets busy with tech hippsters from neighboring businesses. They do have a few outstanding beers, such as the Porter.
But most of their beers are very good, but not great and I think their growler prices are too darn high. I can get better beer
at a much lower cost elsewhere. However, Green Flash does have a rather cool vibe and there is usually at least one food truck
New English Brewing Company (Sorrento Valley Rd. NorthWest)
If you are coming West from Green Flash, you might want to skip this brewery and go directly to Karl Strauss for great food and damn good beer.
But if you're curious about this small brewery they do have a very good brown ale.
Karl Stauss Brewing Company (MiraMar West) Karl Strauss is the Granddaddy of local brewies.
The Sorrento Valley location built in a Japanese county home architecture style complete with a garden for strolling and a well stocked koi pond.
Great food and very good beer too! This place works well as a last stop. My favorite here is the Red
Trolly Ale, a 2010 and 2012 World Beer Cup Gold medalist.
Coronado Brewing Company
(Coronado and Bay Park) I never really cared for Coronado as a local destination. Too many guys and not enough women for me to have a good time. So admittedly, I
let my bias against Coronado the place affect my opinion of Coronado Brewing Company beer. (Actually, I had never tried CBC beer.) But I saw an article in West Coaster which prompted me to try their
Belgian style Saison by the Sea. It's a seasonal Belgian style ale with spices. Hints of citrus and fruits with more pronounced hints of ginger. If you're a foodie or gourmet, you'll love it! Stay away from the Islander IPA.
Coming Soon: New brewery and tasting room in Bay Park on Knoxville St.
very close to my house *Bonus!*
NEWS FLASH! As of 1/12/2013 the new tasting room on Knoxville St. in Bay Park is now open. The facility is very nice and centrally located. Nice variety of new beers available. But...
$2 for a taster?! $5 - $6 for a pint. For my money, Ballast Point Brewery (Home Brew Mart) three blocks away is a better bet.
(Ocean Beach) Ok, so I tried pizza port for the first time, today July 24th 2011. The pizza was pretty good. Not great, but good. They serve up a thick crust type pizza and
I guess I'm a thin crust type guy. However, the beer was FANTASTIC! Ballast Point serves up the best beer on the planet, but Pizza Port serves up the second best! And they have pizza, too. The crust was rather tasteless. I think they need
to add a pinch of salt.
Iron Fist Brewing Company
(Vista) I have yet to check these guys out, but have spoken to other San Diego Beer enthusiasts that were quite impressed. I'll check it out and
update this post.
Stone Brewing Company
(Escondido) An international legend.
I have been to their Escondido Bistro once and was very impressed.
The grounds and building are beautiful. The staff is friendly, service oriented, professional, and unassuming. The only two drawbacks are that 1) the location is in
Escondido far off the party circuit and 2) it's a bit pricey. I would go back but I live just a few miles from Home Brew Mart/Ballast Point so whey drive all that way?
Helms Brewing Co.
Diego's newest brewery as of 12/13/2012. This brewery is still getting it's sea
NEWS FLASH! My buddy, Mat Schroeder and I stopped by on 1/19/2013 and were
happy to discover this brewery had finally found its sweet spot.
Wicked As Sin IPA was a crowd favorite, with impressive floral notes. Chocolate lovers will appreciate the Chocolate Night
Imperial Stout. Yes, it includes real chocolate.
Lost Abbey Brewing Company
Karl Stauss Brewing Company (Downtown) Karl Strauss is the Granddaddy of local breweries. Their original,
almost forgotten location on Columbia street downtown is still worth a look. It's small, crampt and parking is a pain. I prefer the Sorrento Valley location.
There's more space, beautiful
garden to stroll with a fully stocked koi pond. My favorite here is the Red
Trolly Ale, a 2010 and 2012 World Beer Cup Gold medalist.
(Santee) I like this brewery, their beer and the staff. Super nice staff!
News Flash! Today, 2/12/2012 I tried Manzanita Brewing's Pivital Brown Porter and I loved it. A full-bodyied Porter without the aftertaste or bitter toastiness of Ballast Point's Black Marlin Porter.
News Flash! I like this brewery and their beer. I've given the Chaotic
Double IPA several tries. In my opinion it is bitter and poorly balanced.
Mother Earth Brew Company
Breakwater Brewing Co.
(Oceanside) I've checked out
Breakwater Brewing Company several times. Very interesting selection.
The Kali Kush sage infused beer was a pleasant surprise. You MUST try it especially if you call yourself a foodie. The super friendly staff is a nice bonus. Food is
ok. They have good lunch specials that include a beer or soda.
The place is close to Camp Pendelton so there's plenty of
America's Marines enjoy this watering hole. So if you ladies like your men in uniform hot and your beer cold, this is the place for you.
This is just a list of local breweries. There are many more local brewpubs. See a map of all breweries and
brewpubs in San Diego. And remember, Party FULL-THROTLE...safely, with A
Plus limo services in San Diego.
Off the Beaten Path
Alpine Beer Company
(Alpine, Calif.) East of El Cajon
Seems like everywhere I go people are talking about this little brewery in the cute little hamlet of Alpine California.
Alpine is located about 30 miles east of San Diego on the highway 8 corridor. (Make it your first stop if you are a Zonie coming to San Diego for a little R & R.) Seems like everyone is talking about a killer
IPA that just blows everything else away. Well, I went on a fact-finding mission to Alpine and the rumors are true. Their "Nelson" IPA is the best IPA I've every had. And there are some real cuties working there
at the brewery and cafe *Bonus!*. Just don't show up in a large group. You will be denied. Check the website before you go.
Alpine's Duet is pure poetry in a glass.
Beer Map of San Diego
Check out this beer map of San Diego County. This map lists all the local
brewpubs, breweries, beer bars, beer stores and homebrew supply stores.
But before you go out remember to be safe. By all means, have a good time
and don't hold back, but plan ahead. Designate a driver, call a cab or get
a San Diego Limo. Please.
Yes, it's true...beer drinking is a sport. Do you have what it takes to
become a legend?