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Best Beers in San Diego. . .

  • jmtreg Oct 17, 2007 01:33 PM
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After reading an article in the LA Times today about sour beers (with major props to Lost Alley's Tomme Arthur), I got to thinking. Which of our local breweries make the best beers. Now, because beer is a wonderfully complex thing, there's no way to compare on beer with another on the same level. So instead, let's compare beer styles.

Best IPA (double or "San Diego" IPA included)
Best Pale Ale
Best Lager
Best Belgian-style Beer
Best "Gonzo" Beer (that is, a beer that's incomparable to anything else, like Oerbier or Arrogant Bastard)
Best Barleywine
Other Categories as you come up with them.

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  1. Interesting article. There are a couple of errors in the writing, for example gueuze *is* lambic, the two aren't different styles. Also Belgium isn't the only place for sour beer, Germany also has such a tradition.

    Still, it's good to see Russian River and Lost Abbey getting more press. Those are two of the best breweries in the US. As far as I'm concerned, Russian River makes Belgian-style ales that surpass many of the originals.

    1. Ballast Point is producing a sour beer now too, I think it is blackberry. Pretty good if you like beers in that vein.

      2 Replies
      1. re: MrKrispy

        Speaking of Ballast Point, they're doing a big event on Saturday in Scripps Ranch.

        Their sour beers are actually quite good. Hopefully more people check them out.

        Ballast Point 11th Anniversary Celebration this Saturday October 20th 2007!

        Ballast Point Brewing Company would like to invite all of our friends and loyal customers to our 10th Anniversary Celebration Saturday October 20th, 2007 from1 pm to 5 pm. Our brewers have been working on quite a few specialty beers for this event which include:

        Piper Down Scottish Ale
        Tongue Buckler Double Red
        Sea Monster American Stout,Bourbon Barrel Nitro
        Black Marlin, Bourbon Barrel Nitro
        Fathom India Pale Lager
        Even Keel San Diego Session Ale
        Dorado Double India Pale Ale
        Longfin Helles Lager
        Rocktoberfest Marzen
        Schooner Wet Hop Ale
        Sculpin India Pale Ale
        Sculpin Firkin
        Victory at Sea Imperial Porter with Coffee, Syrah Barrel
        Navigator Doppelbock, Syrah Barrel
        Sour Wench Blackberry Ale
        Yellowtail Pale Ale
        Calico Amber Ale
        Wahoo Wheat Ale
        Big Eye India Pale Ale
        Black Marlin Porter
        Three Sheets Barley Wine 2006
        Three Sheets Barley Wine Blend 1996 and 2006
        Hout Series Sour Cherry Ale
        Wet Hop Longfin

        1. re: Josh

          Way awesome.

      2. I had Bear Republic's Racer 5 for the first time this year. I haven't had a better IPA in my life.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Chinon00

          It's a great IPA, people in San Diego have been enjoying it for many years. However Bear Republic is not one of ours. They're up in Healdsburg, near wine country.

        2. Best beers in San Diego - i'll give a swing at it:

          Best IPA (double or "San Diego" IPA included) - Alesmith IPA & Green Flash West Coast (tie)
          Best Pale Ale - Alpine Ale
          Best Lager - Lightening Thunderweizen
          Best Belgian-style Beer - Lost Abbey Judgment Day
          Best "Gonzo" Beer (that is, a beer that's incomparable to anything else, like Oerbier or Arrogant Bastard) - Port Cuvee De Tomme
          Best Barleywine - Lost Abbey the Angels Share

          A couple to add:

          Best dark beer - Alesmith Speedway Stout
          Best Scotch ale - Alesmith Wee Heavy

          1. As much as I like the beers Naven listed, I have to respectfully disagree, only in the sense that I don't think there are any bests for those categories.

            IMO, Stone, AleSmith, GreenFlash, Port, and Alpine all make equally top-tier IPAs. I couldn't pick a favorite out of that bunch, they're all so good.

            I do agree though that Lost Abbey's Angel's Share is one of the best barleywines I've tasted.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Josh

              I would also add Ballast Point. While I haven't historically been much of a fan of their beers, the Sculpin IPA they have been making lately is very good indeed.

              1. re: menuinprogress

                the problem here is some of these great breweries make several IPAs, most (if not all) of them exquisite. Choosing between Big Eye and Sculpin? Ouch! Pizza Port locations usually have 2-3 of their own IPAs on tap. My opinion is: who cares what the best is? Be happy with such an extraordinary local scene.

                1. re: MrKrispy

                  Yeah, Port's Hop 15 is amazing, but so are their others.

            2. I know its hard for any of us to choose "the best". I did this because I wanted to get everyone talking about San Diego beers, and because, sadly, I don't know nearly enough about the beer in my hometown. Thanks everyone for giving me quite a list to choose from.

              1. Good metro beer regions:
                San Diego
                Portland
                Philadelphia . . .