San Diego is a city that lives and breathes that SoCal lifestyle. The North Park district in particular, is a wonderful little neighbourhood that combines colourful independent boutiques, cozy vegan restaurants, second hand bookstores, and a selection of some of the best breweries in America.
One little known fact about San Diego is that it is one of the biggest brewing hubs in the world. With over 120 working breweries in the county alone, San Diego has countless delicious beers on offer. Following an afternoon of tasting the best of what the local brewing scene has to offer, it becomes clear why San Diego is such a destination for aspiring small craft breweries all over America. So, to help you drink your way through sunny San Diego, here’s our roundup of some of the best independent breweries in town.
Located in the laid-back North Park neighbourhood, Modern Times Beer is all about aroma driven and flavourful session beers. Founded by Jacob McKean, Modern Times was inspired by a turn-of-the-century utopian community in Long Island, which according to Jacob was a “forgotten little paradise”. With Modern Times Beer, Jacob hopes to recreate this utopia, even if its just a familiar place for people to drink delicious, well-made beer.
The tasting room is a hodge podge of quirky art installations; from countless vintage lampshades hanging from the ceiling to a wall decorated with floppy disks. Their hybrid concoctions combine all the best qualities from different kinds of beers — resulting in fantastic beers like the Fortunate Islands, which combines the zesty hoppiness of an IPA, with a wheat beer’s nutty malt body. Their flagship beer, the Lomaland, is a return to the classics and is a wonderful mixed grain bill, fermented with Belgian yeast strains using Co2 gas.
Mike Hess Brewing is probably one of the biggest players in the San Diego brewing scene. An avid home brewer of fifteen years, Mike Hess opened his first nano-brewery in 2010, after eight months of gruelling preparation. Eight years down the line, and Mike Hess is now the 11th largest San Diego brewery, distributing all over California and beyond. We checked out their 30 barrel NSI System in North Park and experienced their great tasting beers first hand.
Claritas Kölsch, their 2016 World Beer Cup winning ale, is worth a try. This German beer is infused with the fruity aromas of German Pilsner malt, hops, and yeast — making it a super refreshing drink, perfect for a hot San Diego afternoon. The Grapefruit Solis India Pale Ale is another favourite. A San Diego Style IPA that is bursting with citrusy grapefruit flavour, complemented by the hops and subtle malt.
With a legacy that goes back 150 years, the Eppig family’s brewing roots began in the 1800s in Brooklyn New York. Today, Stephanie Eppig, Henry Joseph Eppig’s great-granddaughter, along with her business partners, resurrects their family’s brewing tradition with the opening of their North Park brewery.
With a brewing legacy that has been passed down for over a century, the new Eppig Brewing family is dedicated to getting it right. Their brewers, Nathan Stephens and Clayton LeBlanc, are committed to creating the perfect brew, and an un-compromised customer experience. Try their gold medal winning Zwicklebier Dry hopped unfiltered lager; a smooth, light, and flavourful brew. Another favourite is their Japanese Style Dry lager, a pale lager, combining the subtle aromas of starchy sushi rice, light pilsner malt, and lemon blossoms.