Breweries in North County Growing

Whether golden pale ale does the trick, or a darker variety quenches that craving, a good beer under $5 is not so hard to come by nowadays, and the reports that North County has become a home to new brews. 

While safe bets found at 7-Eleven convenience stores include Coors, Miller, and Anheuser-Busch, true aficionados appreciate India pale ales from North County’s Karl Strauss Brewery, the Cali-Belgique IPA from Stone Brewery, Port Brewing Company’s Lost Abbey Ten Commandments, and one brew from Oceanside Ale Works that "hints of toffee and caramel." 
Even though San Diego County lacks the brewing traditions of northeastern United States or the Midwest, brews in the region are known for variety and creative use of hops – the key ingredient for bitter flavor. reports “some local brewers trace the “San Diego Style-IPA” to Vinnie Cilurzo, a vintner's son who brewed in Temecula in the early 1990s before going on to found Russian River Brewing Co. in Sonoma County. The style is also known as "double IPA" for its generous amounts of malt and hops.”
Jim Crute from Lightning Brewery in Poway said he believes San Diegans are open to new varieties because of the short brew history, as well as high incomes, large number of residents who are educated and work in pharmaceuticals and other sciences.

Crute himself moved in several years ago to take a biotech job, and his wife is an immunobiologist. His job didn't last; after brewing for 20 years at home, he rented the facility in Poway in 2005 and released his first batch the next year. Lightning produces just 500 barrels a year, the equivalent of 90,000 22-ounce bottles. Annual output for several of the world's largest brewing companies is in the range of 100 million barrels.
"You have this large group of folks whose day-to-day existence is checking out things they don't know," Crute said. "You get people who want really good beer for five bucks, and they only want one."

According to Paul Gatza, executive director of the Brewers Association, San Diego shows up on the top-10 lists of brewery cities in the country. North County has as many independent breweries as San Diego, and both are growing.
Contact Us