It’s no secret that San Diego is at the forefront of craft beer in America. With now over 150 breweries in the area, it’s easy to imagine the community that’s been created and the inspiration of creativity amongst brewers. The San Diego culture sets the stage for innovation in many industries, and the beer industry is still getting started. In the past few years, we’ve seen some interesting flavors pop up. Some flavors you’d never think would be paired with beer, yet it happens more and more, and we wouldn’t be your trusted San Diego expert without sharing some of our favorites. Here are a few of the many breweries that are pushing the envelope on brewing processes and creating outrageous flavors that are surprisingly delicious.
We’ve been hanging out quite a bit in OB lately. The laid-back, classic So-Cal beach vibe is infectious at any time of year, and the beer scene is on point. With the likes of Belching Beaver, Pizza Port, Mike Hess, Helm’s and Culture Brewing in the area, there is no shortage of a fresh, local brew.
Culture Brewing Company offers gluten free options on most of their beers. This is a godsend for the gluten-intolerant beer drinker. One of their signature beers is the Tart Cherry Wit. Unlike many sour beers, this beer gets the tartness from the fresh cherries, rather than bacteria.
Belching Beaver has been known for their Peanut Butter Milk Stout for a while, now. Though time passes, it still stays near and dear to our hearts here at So Diego Tours. We love showing this beer off to our guests at their tasting rooms in OB as well as in North Park. They also serve up the Mexican Chocolate Peanut Butter Milk Stout, a beer recipe which ads more cinnamon, coffee flavor, and aroma to the classic favorite.
Speaking of coffee, Helm’s Brewing has been known as one of the pioneers for coffee beers. Their Beeruccino, a porter by malt recipe, is both high in alcohol, and tasty enough to be the perfect aperitif, or dessert. This malt flavor is infused with locally roasted coffee, a boil of hops and black pepper, and it has subtle hints of vanilla.
On our brewery tours in Little Italy, we have a great selection of breweries to choose from. From Karl Strauss, who was the first craft brewery in San Diego since prohibition, to Bolt Brewing, to the local beer giants such as Stone and Ballast Point, there is a lot of variety to whet your beer palate.
Karl Strauss is a heavyweight in San Diego with their Red Trolley Ale sold in many bars around the nation. But, when you go to the brewery, you’ll find that they are not shy about adding some off-the-wall flavors to their beer. In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, we are excited to have their Mouette A Trois, which is their Holiday Fruitcake Ale. It’s a Belgian-Style Dubbel brewed with apricots, cherries and spices, and is low on bitterness.
Stone Brewing has been coming out with some excellent fruit base sour beers, which is unexpectedly awesome coming from a brewery typically known for their hoppy beer. They brew their Berliner Weisse beer using a lactic acid that won’t infect their brew system, so they can keep the consistency which they are known for. Stone’s sours, like the Guavasaurous Rex and the Notorious POG, are created with the Berliner Weiss base made from their house made fruit purees (using fresh guava, passion fruit, and oranges). For those craving a deeper chocolate flavor beer, The Full Pint De Lite will have any sugar addict smiling from ear to ear. Pretty much, it’s a beer version of the Samoa Cookie made popular by Girls Scouts. This Imperial Stout contains a flavor profile of vanilla, chocolate, and toasted coconut.
Ballast Point is located across the street from our office (lucky us!) We’re always craving 10% ABV Watermelon Dorado. This double IPA has a taste that smacks you right upside the head with both flavor and a good buzz. However, now that we’re officially in Fall, it’s important to mention their Cinnamon Raisin American Stout and their Pumpkin Down: a Piper Down Scottish Ale with roasted pumpkin and spice. Both are excellent choices for a festive and tasty treat.
Pro Tip: If you want to keep the festivities going you can check out these spooky spots in San Diego after your tasty brew!
At So Diego Tours, we are proud of our local community of beer curators, and we are eager to share the flavors and local historic insight of each area we visit. With walking brewery tour options in North Park, Little Italy, Downtown, and Ocean Beach, visitors and locals can get a good dose of beer, exploration, and have barrels of fun!0