Did you know that San Diego is the Craft Beer Capital of America? From the most discerning aficionados to craft beer newbies, San Diego is home to 150+ breweries, countless beer bars, innovative tasting rooms and a unique beer culture. Here are some ideas on how to have a beercation in San Diego.
San Diego Beer Week
San Diego welcomes visitors to raise a pint and toast the milestone 10th anniversary of San Diego Beer Week, November 2-11, 2018. Presented by the San Diego Brewers Guild, this premier, annual celebration showcases beers from more than 130 local craft breweries at events held throughout San Diego County at participating breweries, bars, restaurants and more. One of the country’s biggest beer weeks, San Diego Beer Week is expanding Beer Week 2018 by welcoming breweries from neighboring Tijuana and Baja, Mexico, paying homage to the Cali-Baja culture that makes San Diego a unique destination.
Stay & Drink
Navigating the region’s 150+ breweries requires a good night’s sleep. Fortunately, many of San Diego’s luxury hotels serve up both comfy rooms and tasty brews.
Located in the heart of downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter, the historic landmark U.S. GRANT Hotel presents Cask Ale Nights every Friday at 4 p.m. when Cicerone Jeff Josenhans and Chef de Bar Cory Alberto partner with a local brewery to curate a deliciously unique brew of the week finished in The U.S. GRANT cask. Past collaborations have included Mission Brewery Kolsch infused with Douglas fir and Saaz hops, Iron Fist Brewing Spice of Life Bier de Garde with autumn spice and Acoustic Ales Groupie Belgian Ale with chocolate fudge.
The bayfront Grand Hyatt taps into San Diego’s craft scene with the launch of Brew30 , a modern craft beer gastropub showcasing the city’s finest breweries, from its taps to elevated bar fare. True to its name, Brew30 features 30 rotating taps, 28 of which are dedicated to local craft breweries. Food inspired by local brews includes pretzel bites with Stone West Coast IPA cheese dip and Texas smoked brisket with Julian Hard Cider BBQ sauce. Brew30 also partners with local breweries to create exclusive, limited-edition ales like Oceans30 IPA, a mild hop-forward IPA with tropical fruit, citrus, spice and pine flavor, created in collaboration with Mother Earth Brewery.
Guests of the stylish Pendry San Diego can go on a San Diego craft brewery tour from their bar stool at Nason’s Beer Hall. Nason’s serves two dozen local craft beers on tap, as well as globally-inspired comfort food, live local music on Thursdays and Fridays and vintage bar games like beer pong, giant Jenga and table shuffleboard. For beer connoisseurs traveling with their furry four-legged friends, Nason’s hosts a daily Pints with Pups on the patio where guests can fetch a beer plus dog treats for Fido.
Get informed with a Beer App
Pouring over San Diego’s craft beer scene can seem a little overwhelming, but thanks to the San Diego Brewers Guild’s official new “SD Beer” mobile app (available for iOS and Android), all the info visitors need is just a tap and a swipe away. The definitive digital pocket guide features an easy-to-use interactive map of breweries, list of events and profiles of all Brewers Guild brewery and allied retail members.
Discover how agriculture, cities, writing and religion all have ties to ancient craft brewing at the fascinating BEERology exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Man in Balboa Park. Sponsored by several San Diego breweries, the exhibit explores ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, Chinese, and even beer-loving headhunters from the Amazon that perfected the brewing arts in interesting, and even strange, ways. Visitors can learn fascinating stories and see phenomenal artifacts that reveal the links between beer and culture, such as the solid gold beer cup of an Inca king.
Go on a Tour
Explore the sudsier side of San Diego on customized private or public tours, featuring a driver and tour guide that picks up guests at their hotels. A fun and safe way to visit San Diego’s breweries, companies like Brew Hop, Brewery Tours of San Diego and San Diego Beer, Wine & Spirits Tour do all the driving while visitors partake in all the beer tasting.
Notable tours include Brew Hop’s chauffeured luxury transportation and San Diego’s only Sailing and Brewery Tasting Tour; Brewery Tours of San Diego’s food pairings and souvenir glasses, and San Diego Beer, Wine & Spirits Tour’s popular Beer Train Trolley Tour.
A few handy brewery tour tips: Stay hydrated. It’s recommended to drink at least 16 oz. of water at each stop. And don’t rush. Time and hydration are the two best defenses against overindulgence. For those who opt to go on self-guided tours, brewery hopping is safe, easy and convenient with taxis or Uber and Lyft ridesharing; drivers are available day and night throughout San Diego County.
Relaxation with Beer
Visitors can tap into spiritual well-being and inner peace at San Diego breweries with Hoppy Yoga, offering yoga sessions for all levels at a featured brewery followed by an optional beer social. The cost is $20 per person and includes a tasting flight or pint. Money saving packages are available, including the 2-pack ($35) and 6-pack ($90).
Every Friday night (7:30-10 p.m.), Flagship Cruises hosts a Hops on the Harbor craft beer dinner cruise featuring a different San Diego brewery each month. Chef Brian Gist collaborates with local brewers to create an exciting dinner menu that pairs perfectly with the distinctive flavors of each brewer’s beer selections. Cruise highlights include craft beer flights by the featured brewery, gourmet food stations, meet and greet with brewers, dancing, prize giveaways and spectacular panoramic views of San Diego Bay.