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For wine tourists, the Bordeaux Region of France and NorCal’s Napa Valley have long been
designated as Meccas of Merlot. For those seeking to devote themselves monogamously to
beer, their list of holy sites may seem less obvious. However, with 70+ locations to drink directly
from the source, San Diego could be the craft movement’s capital city and these are a few of its
more colorful representatives.
T E X T BY R O NY M O
T hanks to the Aztecs, Chargers and Padres; San Diego is an
eternal sports city. Just a stone’s throw from PETCO Park,
home of the city’s baseball franchise, stands Mission Brewing.
Housed in a repurposed Wonder Bread factory, they open early
for tailgaters eager to toast. Inside the stadium, there’s such
an extensive list of Mission’s offerings you’d think there was an
underground supply tunnel connecting the two. Popular selections
include Hard Root Beer, a 7.5% sarsaparilla stinger that can only
get better with an assist from a baseball-sized scoop of vanilla
ice cream. The brewery hits another homerun with their Cannon
series. Four of their flagship brews are offered in 32 oz. “shareable”
cans, including their double-digit ABV Double IPA aptly named
Fans of puns and suggestive beer labels need look no further
than Belching Beaver Brewery. Their creatively named Me So
Honey Wheat Ale and Great Lei Pineapple IPA will not only bring
a smirk to your face, but it will also satisfy your senses. There’s
a culinary angle to their ales; so savoring, smelling or swirling
these will most likely make you ravenous. Luckily, their next door
neighbor, Crazee Burger, can kill your cravings for game meats like
52 antelope, ostrich and (shhh…don’t tell any Australians) kangaroo.
Using a local lens, one could call the North Park neighborhood
where the tasting room is located the “Wynwood Of The West”.
A 5-minute stroll around the community might connect you with
a farmer’s market, cold brew coffee shop or the Ray Street Arts
Like Gregor Clegane palming a Fabergé egg, White Labs takes
the traditional idea of a taproom and crushes it. Less of a brewery
and more of a liquid yeast supplier that caters to homebrewers and
professionals alike…their research is only available on-site. The beer
engineers approach a style, say a pilsner, and while using the same
ingredients and scientific methods, will pitch diverse strains of yeast
to create distinct batches. When sampled as a flight, the changes in
color, aroma and flavor become apparent; WhiteLabs.com.
If American craft beer could ever be defined by an area,
it’s San Diego, and the San Diego Brewer’s Guild can help you
plan your ale adventure. They know you can’t live on lagers
alone and freely share a wealth of resources including maps,
glossaries and guides to initiate you into the city’s sud scene;