A Day in San Diego for the 5th Annual San Diego Beer Week

Posted: November 13, 2013 in Beer, Events, San Diego
Tags: , , , , , ,

The 5th Annual San Diego Beer Week wrapped up this past weekend, ending a 10-day period of craft beer celebrations all over San Diego County. As the west coast capital of craft beer, San Diego County features over a hundred breweries of different sizes, all with a penchant for quality over quantity. The week opened with the 11th Annual San Diego Brewers Guild Festival, hailed as one of the nation’s grandest beer festivals. Although I spent time in San Diego during that festival last weekend, I did not want to miss out on the rest of the week, so I planned a brewery crawl that circles San Diego County, hitting up many of the more local breweries. This one-day tour originally contained over 30 different breweries, but given the time constraint of one day, I only managed to visit so many, and I could only briefly stay at each location that I visited.

I made Breakwater Brewing in Oceanside my first stop of the day. At this time in the late morning, barely anyone had arrived there, so perhaps I showed up too early. I would find out later that this location does not get busy until late afternoon.

A visit to Back Street Brewery revealed that they had multiple locations throughout Southern California. Because of this, I opted not to try any of their beers, as I could get it any time at one of their locations closer to home.

I arrived at Aztec Brewing just as they had opened their tasting room. Located in an area with a handful of other breweries, I decided to start drinking here, as the next few stops lie within a few blocks from each other. At Aztec, I received a flight of the four beers at the top of their menu.

Located on the other side of the industrial complex from Aztec, I headed for Indian Joe Brewing next. Like the previous locations, this tasting room would not see a lot of commotion until later in the day. I love how they decorated their tasting room though!

Just a block away at Iron Fist Brewing, I found a food pop-up ready to serve food to the guests of Iron Fist. I chose not to have a drink here, as I had anticipated the next stop on this tour.

For the last stop of the Vista breweries, I headed to Latitude 33 Brewing, where they had a few special events going on for San Diego Beer Week. On this day, they released Murder By Death, a 13% bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout that they could also sell in growlers for customers to take home. Latitude 33 also brought in some local bakers to sell their chocolates as well as pair with the beers on tap. On a personal note, they player great music here.

I originally planned to head to Port/Lost Abbey next, but I realized that I could stop by Rip Current Brewing on the way there. It originally appears as a retail store from the outside, but a step inside revealed the brewery production equipment in the back.

Time flew by fast by the time I arrived at Port/Lost Abbey. I arrived to quite a sizable crowd at Port/Lost Abbey, a brewery that I had always wanted to visit for the longest time. As I sipped on one of their beers, I wandered to the back of the tasting room to discover a room full of barrels. Barrels = Get Excited!

Journeying down the freeway, I end up at Lightning Brewery right before they closed. They did not have an official tasting room – instead, visitors could walk directly into the brewing facility to observe the facility, sample some beers, and perhaps take some beer home.

I decided to stop by Green Flash Brewing to go on a tour of the facility. However, their last tour starts at 5pm, so I would have to return another day to tour their facility.

In dire need of liquid refreshments, I sat down for a few drinks at Wet ‘N Reckless Brewery. At this small garage of a place, I received a flight of five beers, which included one of their stronger brews, Honey Badger Don’t Care. I liked that beer so much that I decided to take a small growler of it home!

With night already fallen, I sped through the rest of the Mira Mesa series of breweries. Rough Draft Brewing had already made their last call for drinks when I had arrived, so I decided not to order anything.

Per my tradition of visiting San Diego, I stopped by AleSmith to pick up some bottles. I truly wanted to stay for their Speedway flight, but for such a late night, I passed and continued with my hasty tour.

I made a quick stop at White Labs mainly to observe their facility. Unlike standard breweries, White Labs primarily produces yeast for the purposes of making beer and/or wine, while serving a few brews using their yeast in their tasting room. I like that they placed a lot of informational material all around their tasting room in case visitors want to read up on the source of this company.

With no time left in the day, I concluded this tour with Helm’s Brewing. I had trouble finding them, as they situate themselves in an industrial area not very visible from the street. I hung out here for a bit and enjoyed a beer and some free popcorn. I also noticed a flyer for their 1st Anniversary Celebration coming up this weekend.

With over a hundred different breweries of various sizes in San Diego County, no one can argue with San Diego’s unofficial title as the craft beer capital of the west coast. San Diego Beer Week may have come to an end, but do not let that stop you from enjoying the wonders of beer from San Diego. Look for your favorite local brewery on Facebook and Like their pages for more information about their upcoming events, upcoming beer releases, and other special announcements.

  1. Julie says:

    I’m jealous – I didn’t get a chance to go, but I’m hoping to at least visit Lost Abbey. I’ve actually never tried their beers!

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