The best breweries in San Diego continue to become better and better; America’s Finest City has over 150 operational breweries, showing their love for delicious craft beer. As the town continues to mature, so have the types of breweries that are popping up around the city.
The new era of San Diego offers some of the most audacious (but delicious) beers in the nation. The traditional stalwarts, double IPAs, Saisons, and oyster stouts are all part of the delicious local beer scene.
Here is a complete guide to the best breweries in San Diego that include longstanding establishments, some hidden gems, and up-and-coming beer aficionados.
- Modern Times
- Stone Brewing
- North Park Beer Co.
- Border X Brewing
- Puesto Cervecería
- Mujeres Brew House
- Kairoa Brewing Company
- Bagby Brewing Company
- Viewpoint Brewing Company
Modern Times is among San Diego’s fastest-growing brewers, and it offers fierce independence and a lot of fun. This brewery is well-known on the West Coast, where 16 oz. cans of Orderville, Fruitlands, and MT Pils can be found on shop shelves. It’s difficult to go wrong with any of the offerings, but don’t overlook the java-infused beverages made with the company’s own roasted coffee, like the delicious Black House stout.
You may try them at the brewery’s three elegant outposts, from the main North Park Flavordome to the Lomaland Fermentorium and the Far West Lounge in Encinitas. Become part of their League of Partygoers and Elegant People to get advance tastings, first dibs on limited releases (including barrel-aged beers), and a valuable invitation to a welcoming party.
Stone Brewing is regarded as royalty among local breweries, with two of the region’s most magnificent taprooms and a selection of classic beers. Stone Brewing Company, founded in 1996, has evolved to become not just San Diego’s biggest craft brewery but also one of the country’s largest independent brewers. Stone now provides far more than their Arrogant Bastard Ale; its Escondido headquarters, the World Bistro & Gardens, matches winemaking estates in size and grandeur.
Two bars (one inside, the other on an outdoor terrace) serve 36 alternating guest and house beers, with seats sprinkled across a one-acre creek-lined garden. Stone’s dedication to using only the best ingredients in its beer extends to the brewpub’s culinary menu, with delicacies like roasted Brussels sprouts topped with ahi nachos, pickled cucumbers, and candied bacon. Pick up a beer to go and other swag.
North Park Beer Co.
We didn’t hesitate to try some North Park beers. And, of course, we were quite happy with the results. North Park distinguishes itself among San Diego’s breweries for producing several of the most luxurious and exquisite stouts. In fact, beers like Fiesta Antes De Morir, a bourbon barrel-aged Mexican chocolate cake stout, completely wowed us. Missing the brewery while in California would definitely be a bad decision.
Border X Brewing
Border X, which claims to be San Diego’s first Latino-owned brewery, stays true to its heritage by brewing beers with Latin American tastes, traditions, and ingredients. The Blood Saison has agave and hibiscus, while the Horchata Golden Stout has vanilla bean and entire cinnamon sticks, emulating the rice-based, creamy Mexican drink.
There’s also the amazing Abuelita’s Chocolate Stout, made with a chocolate-and-cinnamon-flecked masterpiece. Border X’s unwavering commitment to its history and handmade beer garnered them the 2020 James Beard Semi-Finalist nomination, as well as a spot on our best breweries in San Diego
Puesto Cervecera is the biggest of Puesto’s restaurants and houses the company’s first craft brewery. It specializes in amazing Mexican-style lagers, which are also offered at Puesto’s nine other California locations, and is spearheaded by Doug Hasker, veteran San Diego brewer. He oversaw Gordon Biersch’s program for over 20 years. Walk-ins are welcomed if space is available and reservations may be made online.
Mujeres Brew House
Mujeres Brew House runs a tap brewery; it opened late last year in the area previously held by Alta Brewing. Its purpose is to provide a welcoming space for women (and everyone!) to understand, learn about, and enjoy craft beer. It is a collaboration between Mujeres Brew Club and Border X Brewing since they are both among the first Latino-owned breweries.
Plans for the future include a behind-the-bar experience program as well as a brewing program, which will be led by Mujeres Brew Club’s Estela Davila and Border X’s Carmen Favela. Border X beer and its partnerships with MBC and some other local brewers are now available, with intentions to ensure theirs. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Kairoa Brewing Company
Kairoa is another lovely tribute to a distant location, aiming to imitate the lush surroundings, distinctive food, welcoming demeanor, and otherworldly hops peculiar to New Zealand, where the head brewer and owners originate from.
Kairoa excels in brewing anything from English-style beers to the popular pale ales San Diegans enjoy, all of which are infused with the difficult-to-find New Zealand hop types. Seating for groups of less than 12 people is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. For bigger parties, make a reservation online. Toast allows you to order beer, food, and wine for pickup online.
Bagby Brewing Company
This large property, which comprises a brewery and a complete kitchen, is owned by brewers Jeff Bagby and DandeBagby. Bagby’s final job before going at it alone had been at Pizza Port, and he has a lengthy history of beer brewing in San Diego County. Everything in the kitchen is made from scratch, with the exception of tortillas and bread, which are purchased locally. A plant-based component of the menu is also available in the kitchen.
Viewpoint Brewing Company
Viewpoint at Del Mar has some of the finest brewery dining, with a restaurant overseen by Gunnar Planter, a great chef who has worked at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, the University Club, and Mille Fleurs.