There's nothing San Diegans love more than craft beer. With years of experience as a leading beer scene city, new, unique breweries are popping up all over America's Finest (and Sudsiest) City.
Our friends at Yelp pulled together a list of the best new local breweries, so put these on tap the next time you’re out. Cheers!
The Lost Abbey/ The Confessional (Cardiff-by-the-Sea)
Coastal cities in north San Diego rejoice: this is a solid win for seaside beer fans. The new Confessional tasting room boasts beers from iconic local brewer, The Lost Abbey, plus selections from Port Brewing and The Hop Concept, all lining the 24-tap wall. Tasters, pints, growler fills – it’s all here. Residents are already claiming “regulars” status at this place, which is open till 11 p.m. on weekends.
ChuckAlek Independent Brewers (Ramona)
The owners named this place after their grandfathers – Chuck and Alek, respectively – and the motto here is “old school brews for new school palates.” History flows into the mugs here with the 1850 Runner: a brown porter (6.3%) inspired by the story of a Civil War ancestor who tended to take refuge up his wife’s skirts. This brewery also pours a great Düsseldorf Altbier with Dowser’s German herbal hops in honor of Papa Alek.
Modern Times (Point Loma)
With a super modern approach to brewing, this spot even provides homebrew recipes on its website for amateurs to mix up their own batch. But, seriously, why bother when you can visit a tasting room of these proportions and a tap list you won’t want to miss. We suggest the Hoppy Dank Amber – which, as Modern Times says, is the “stickiest of the icky.” If your beer tastes run dark, the coffee stout is also legit, with delicious chocolate malt all up in the CO2 extract.
Green Flash/Cellar 3 (Poway)
Ales are expanding their horizons inland with this extension of the well-established Green Flash Brewing Co. The concept is genius, taking the hard work, limited releases, sours, barrel-aged and experiments of inventive brew masters and storing them in one facility. Creative labels grace concoctions like Flander’s Drive, aged in American oak Bourbon barrels (6.9%), and the exclusivity has true fans flocking.
Toolbox Brewing Co. (Vista)
This addition to the North County brew scene specializes in sours and Brett beers (from the Brettanomyces yeast; think wild, funky flavors with unique colors and fruit tones). You can read all about this brewing company’s preferred brands of bacteria on this website, or just slide into the tap room and order the Berry Bewitching, a sour blond wild ale with raspberries (5.25%).
Nickel Beer Company (Julian)
This Julian-based gem boasts 16 taps of beer on the line, all brewed in-house, plus a dog-friendly beer garden. The owner, Tom Nickel, has been homebrewing since he was 18 and is proud to create his products with local ingredients in the small mining town. His flavors get to the core of the well-known apple industry and geography in the area with brews like the Vulcan IPA (6.9%) and the Julian Pale Ale (just under 5%).
Trish Sanderson is the community manager and marketing director for Yelp North County San Diego. She leads the local community of Yelp reviewers both online and off.