One of San Diego’s fastest-growing breweries, Modern Times is fiercely independent and all-around good fun. West Coast beer lovers will be familiar with this employee-owned brewery whose 16 oz. cans of Fortunate Islands, Lomaland, and Fruitlands fill local store shelves. It’s hard to go wrong with any release, but don’t miss the java-infused brews that incorporate the company’s house-roasted coffee (such as the Black House stout). You can sample them at the brewery’s three stylish outposts, from the flagship Lomaland Fermentorium to the North Park Flavordome and the Far West Lounge in Encinitas. Join the League of Partygoers and Elegant People, and get preview tastings, first dibs on rare releases (including exclusive barrel-aged beers), and a prized invite to a welcome party.
San Diego is to craft beer what Napa is to wine. Well-renowned as the Capital of Craft, this city isn’t new to the game — the best breweries in San Diego are part of a decades-old obsession. The sunny coastal town saw its craft beer scene take shape in the 1980s with the pioneering brewpub Pizza Port, followed by a secondary wave of breweries including Stone and Alesmith. As these initial spots flourished, they fostered subsequent generations of brewers who would eventually branch out on their own. Fast-forward to today, and there are more than 150 independent breweries in San Diego County (and the nightlife in San Diego is beer-heavy as a result).
While visiting the tasting room at each individual brewery is always a good time, most local bars and restaurants also have beer lists that showcase the region’s bounty of quality brews. San Diegans would agree that IPAs reign supreme as the city’s unofficial beer style, but there are plenty of options on tap for those who prefer fewer hops. The majority of breweries have rotating food trucks parked outside on weekends (unless they have their own on-site kitchen, of course), and if not, will kindly let you bring your own food. Many tasting rooms are also dog-friendly and family-friendly.
Time your visit during the epic San Diego Beer Week in November (look for cheap hotels in San Diego here), and you’ll sample the region’s latest boozy trends and offerings. For any other time of year, the following list should provide a worthy overview of the best breweries in San Diego’s booming craft beer scene.
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