San Diego’s Craft Brew Scene

I’m gonna be honest, I had no idea that San Diego was the “craft beer capital of America”. If that were a trivia question, I maybe would’ve guessed Portland, or Grand Rapids, or idk, Texas.

But San Diego is in fact, the craft beer capital. In all of America. How? For starters it has over 150 breweries (I’m not about to do the math, but that’s a lot of craft breweries per square mile) and it’s own signature beer – the West Coast Style IPA.

So SD is not just asking you to consider it a major beer city, she’s demanding it. She would probably call you out and go as far as saying she’s THE major beer city you must visit.

And I can’t deny that. With so many breweries and bars to pick from, you have landed in beer heaven, with a craft brew scene that is unlike any other and a “brewery trail” just begging you to get drunk.

Undoubtedly, you need more than 3 days in San Diego to fully appreciate and experience all that this city has to offer a beer lover. (Unless you plan on being drunk for 3 days straight – but that’s no fun, you want to really appreciate these beers you’re drinking. So pace yourself.)

Unfortunately for me, I only had 3 days to see drink what I could.

So while this is merely scratching the surface (and locals would probably even argue that), here are the deliciously hoppy breweries and their beers that we had the chance to taste.


Karl Strauss Brewery

Our first stop was the Karl Strauss Brewery near La Jolla, which happens to be the place “that started it all” for San Diego’s craft brew scene. They first opened their doors in 1989, and since then have gone on to open ten additional locations across Southern California.

We opted for a Taster Flight. What was nice about Karl Strauss’ menu was they had pre-paired flights with beers they suggested trying together. I also loved that their coasters came with handwritten labels so you knew exactly what you were drinking!

Related reading // Where to Eat in La Jolla

Pizza Port Brewing Company

Does anything pair better than pizza and beer? Maybe, but not for us – and the rest of San Diego clearly dig the combo too, since Pizza Port Brewing Company has five locations throughout Southern Cali.

PPBC is part brewery, part pizza parlor. You can order personal size pizzas and flights of beer, take a seat on their communal wooden tables, and enjoy a perfect match. The pizza was actually pretty good, but what can I say, I’m a spoiled New Yorker.

Pacific Beach Ale House

Last but definitely not least we enjoyed Pacific Beach Ale House and their little rooftop area.

Again, we got flights (Noticing a trend here? We really like to maximize our tasting potential!) and took in the warm sunshine with views of the Pacific Ocean. We didn’t try the food, but it looked great!

What are some other top breweries and brewpubs in San Diego that I didn’t get to experience yet? Lmk and I’ll bookmark them for the next time we’re in town ;)