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Sep 9, 2008 09:23 PM

Microbreweries in San Diego w/ good food

Hi, I was looking for recommendations for good microbreweries/brewpubs in the San Diego area. My boyfriend and I will be in the area for a weekend coming up and I am looking for a good place to eat/drink on a Saturday night. We will be staying in the Mission Bay area. We both are fans of Hefeweisen and other wheat beers. We are used to the brewpubs near a college campus such as Four Peaks near ASU and the places in Fort Collins, Co. Any other similar places would be great too! Thanks!

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  1. I do like Hefeweizen myself. The best I have had locally is at Karl Strauss. I also had a good Oktoberfest there the other day. Food is ok not great. Breweries can't seem to get food right. Stone World Bistro is a really fun place to go although its in Escondido. Again the food while being eclectic is pretty mediocre and somewhat expensive and they don't always Hefeweizen they are more into IPAs and strong beers. There are probably some pubs that have some german Hefs on tap but I don't know where they are.

    1. There are a bunch.

      Port Brewing has two spots in north county called Pizza Port. Pizza is good, beers are awesome!

      Stone Brewers has a great spot for dinner and beer. Probably the best at this point. Very nice facility but way north!!

      Callahan's in Mira Mesa is pretty darned good beer with decent food, beer is not the best and neither is the food but both are good for the genre.

      O'Briens, is not a brewer, just a beer pub, is on Convoy and has great beers on tap and in bottle with ok food.

      Hamiltons might be worth a shot in south park. Haven't been there yet but it is on my list of next spots to try.

      You could also consider Karl Straus, been awhile since I have been there but their food was always one of the best of the brew pub genre and their beer is good but not great.

      Brewers to look for include Port Brewers, Ale Smith, Ballast Point, Green Flash, Lost Abbey (part of Port Brewers), San Diego Brewers (same as Callahans), and Stone Brewers.

      1. You might want to check out the Yardhouse in the Gaslamp. It's more like a pub/restaurant than brewery in that they don't actually brew any beer themselves, but they have about 50 beers on tap and the food is pretty good.

        1. Sorry to say, the Mission Bay area isn't the best when it comes to good beer and food. San Diego has some of the best breweries in the nation, but most people here don't know that. Consequently, most places in town serve a pretty poor beer selection. Also, most of our breweries do not have restaurants attached. Stone, Karl Strauss, and Pizza Port are the exceptions.

          In Mission Bay, you're closest to The Tap Room in PB. They have a great selection of our local craft beers, but it's kind of a loud, raucous, party atmosphere. Not sure about food either, I haven't eaten there. That will definitely be the best spot for beer close to where you're staying.

          If you're willing to drive, then there are some other options relatively close by. Karl Strauss has a location in La Jolla, about 20 minutes from Mission Bay. Their specialty brews have really come along in the past couple of years, but their standard offerings are just OK (though their wheat beer is usually quite good). Their food is decent, but nothing special.

          South of Mission Bay, in Ocean Beach, is Newport Pizza and Ale House. They have a *great* beer selection in terms of quality. Their pizza is also very good. However it is definitely an extremely casual beach beer place. Paper plates for pizza, cash only, and no table service. Of the places closest to Mission Bay, this would be my choice based on the beer and pizza quality, but not on atmosphere.

          If you're willing to drive about 25 minutes, I'd suggest checking out Ritual Tavern in North Park. They have good food, a cool atmosphere, and a fantastic beer selection. They have a lot of good local beer, and some choice Belgian and domestic craft selections too. They make almost everything in house, including the ketchup and mustard. They have a Stone Smoked Porter milkshake for dessert, which is an inspired blend of porter and vanilla ice cream. Last time I was there, they had an excellent hefeweizen from Sprecher, an American microbrewery from the midwest.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Josh

            Agree on most things but have to say that the food at Ritual Tavern is really lousy and we even prefer the food at Karl Strauss (which is already not that great).

            1. re: honkman

              I know that you dislike Ritual's food. I've always been happy with it, with one exception.

              I'd be curious what you had and how many times you went. My one unhappy experience there was a special that just wasn't well executed. If that had been my only visit, I might not have returned. Fortunately it was an aberration.

              I've taken many people there, and people have always been happy with the food.

              1. re: Josh

                We were only once there but the food was so bad that we don't think it is worth going back. I agree that restaurants can have some dishes on some days that are not perfect but when nothing (not just one dish) including the fried appetizers which were nearly inedible and both entrees (including their signature shephard's pie) are mediocre then I think there are too many interesting dining/bar options in SD to go back. In addition, I have heard from too many people smae complains especially about their fried dishes (fish & chips etc.)

                1. re: honkman

                  While I can understand maybe not wanting to return someplace after one bad experience (something I've done myself), I'm usually reluctant to dissuade people from going there if I've only been one time. Or at least I couch my negative comments by indicating it's only based on one visit.

                  If nothing at all was good on your visit, then I'd say you definitely hit an off night. Obviously the place wouldn't still be around 1 year later if they never get it right.

                  1. re: honkman

                    I had also heard the complaints and have stayed away - but I just recently heard that it has improved. If it's been a while since your visit, you may want to give it another chance.

              2. re: Josh

                I thought the food was decent, but what really bugged us was the time it took to get food out, etc. The place is nice, but spending 3 hours there for dinner isn't exactly my cup of tea.

                1. re: Josh

                  Wow...could it be??? The Doc's gastronomic vision from "Cannery Row" has come to pass- The Beer Milkshake! If I recall, he was on a collecting trip down here in SD when he had it made for him on the sly so that he could avoid the ridicule of his Monterey neighbors.

                  I'll go to the Ritual Tavern in honor of the Good Doc, then.

                2. Don't know why no one has mentioned Pacific Beach Ale House at the foot of Grand close to the beach. They brew a good hefeweisen and a few other beers.

                  I can't speak to their food, but others like it:


                  If I was doing serious beer drinking in PB, I would seek out the Tap Room. But for brewpub with food, the PB Ale House fits the bill.


                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Ed Dibble

                    I've been there a few times and think their beer is very average. Unless something has changed drastically in recent years, they always seemed to be stuck in the '90s to me. In a city with such amazing beer on offer, that's one of the last places I'd urge anyone to go.

                    1. re: Josh

                      PB Ale House has only been open for a few months.

                      Maybe you are thinking of Taylor's, which was the previous place at the same location (and did have pretty mediocre beer).

                      1. re: menuinprogress

                        Ah, OK. Thanks for the clarification.

                      2. re: Josh

                        I think you are focused on a previous owner/brewer, as others have suggested. I've tried 4 or 5 of their brews and thought they were all good. I didn't have the IPA as they were out on the visit when I wanted to try it, but I remember the hefeweisen as interesting and complex.

                        My only complaint there is about pricing. Except at happy hour, a glass of their brew is $5.

                        1. re: Ed Dibble

                          Yeah, it sounds like it has changed hands since my visits. Good to know there's a new place there worth checking out.

                          1. re: Josh

                            don't rush Josh, the beers are fairly similar to Taylor's (as every incarnation seems to be). Give them a few more months. I hope they can become something more.