HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >

San Diego Breweries

SDGourmand Feb 6, 2010 03:05 PM

What is everyones favorite local beer and which do you wish was carried more at restaurants? My personal favorite is ballast point yellowtail pale ale.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Josh RE: SDGourmand Feb 6, 2010 06:41 PM

    Heh, that's funny.

    For myself, AleSmith X and Anvil should be served anywhere that food is served.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Josh
      DougOLis RE: Josh Feb 10, 2010 08:10 AM

      Guess I'll see you at 2nd Saturday then?

      1. re: DougOLis
        Josh RE: DougOLis Feb 10, 2010 01:45 PM

        That's a safe bet.

      2. re: Josh
        rotie77 RE: Josh Feb 10, 2010 08:21 AM

        Here's a 2nd for Anvil and X!

        1. re: Josh
          MrKrispy RE: Josh Feb 10, 2010 10:04 AM

          Barrel Aged Speedway FTW!

          1. re: Josh
            DougOLis RE: Josh Apr 12, 2010 09:41 AM

            Went to Counterpoint on Friday night and their beer selection wasn't anything crazy but is very good from a pairing standpoint.
            Alesmith Anvil
            Alesmith Lil' Devil
            Alesmith IPA
            Lost Abbey Lost & Found
            Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye (for the pastrami on rye pairing)
            Mad River Scotch Porter
            and there were a couple more too

            The Lost Abbey
            155 Mata Way Suite 104, San Marcos, CA

          2. u
            Uncle Lefty RE: SDGourmand Feb 6, 2010 06:45 PM

            Ballast Point's Big Eye IPA is my refridgerator beer; the one I keep at home. Their seasonal Victory at Sea (Imperial Porter?) and Sculpin IPA are both incredible special occasion brews.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Uncle Lefty
              mmjgam RE: Uncle Lefty Feb 7, 2010 08:19 AM

              Victory at Sea is very good. Green Flash makes great beers, I'm particularly fond of the 30th street Pale Ale. Alpine Pure Hoppiness is really good too.

            2. f
              FrenziedPalate RE: SDGourmand Feb 7, 2010 06:34 PM

              Mermaid Red by Coronado Brewing Company is really good. Nice color too.

              1. t
                The Office Goat RE: SDGourmand Feb 8, 2010 08:01 AM

                My single favorite all-around beer is AleSmith's Nautical Nut Brown. I wish they bottled it, and I wish it was available in more restaurants, but at least I can get growlers when their hours permit.

                1. s
                  SeanT RE: SDGourmand Feb 8, 2010 08:07 AM

                  Poor Man's IPA Pizza port Cbad

                  1. s
                    SeanT RE: SDGourmand Feb 8, 2010 08:09 AM

                    I am so happy to see no Karl Strauss beers on anyones reply. It pains me to see so many taps wasted in this town on Strauss beers.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: SeanT
                      Josh RE: SeanT Feb 8, 2010 09:03 AM


                      1. re: SeanT
                        mmjgam RE: SeanT Feb 9, 2010 09:10 AM

                        When is that brand going to go away? It's a poor representation of what San Diego has to offer!!!

                        1. re: mmjgam
                          The Office Goat RE: mmjgam Feb 9, 2010 11:27 AM

                          Hopefully never. They have been getting a lot better, recently. They have a nice tripel, some other interesting brews, and they announced they were bringing their bottling operation back to San Diego, so the more interesting brews may be more likely to be bottled.

                          1. re: The Office Goat
                            MrKrispy RE: The Office Goat Feb 9, 2010 12:19 PM

                            Karl died and the owners decided to give the brewers a lot more leeway...as such they have been vastly improving the lineup the last 2 years. I still skip the main line of beers.

                      2. d
                        DougOLis RE: SDGourmand Feb 8, 2010 09:10 AM

                        Alpine Nelson, Alpine Exponential Hoppiness, and Ballast Point Sculpin are probably my 3 favorite San Diego beers (that aren't 1 time brews), but I'm not sure if I'd really want any of them carried regularly for pairings at restaurants. All 3 are pretty big hop bombs and can easily blow out your palate (i.e. I had a Big Eye after drinking Nelson once and it almost tasted like water).

                        A few beers that I would like to see at restaurants: Lost Abbey Carnevale, Lost Abbey Avant Garde, Green Flash Hop-Less, Alesmith Speedway Stout (dessert pairing), Alpine Tuatara, Port None The Weisser, and Stone Cali-Belgique

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: DougOLis
                          Ewilensky RE: DougOLis Feb 10, 2010 03:22 PM

                          That Nelson sits at the very top of my list. Beerfection.

                        2. o
                          oerdin RE: SDGourmand Feb 8, 2010 02:01 PM

                          Anything by Alesmith passes the test and I am also partial to Callaghan's Blueberry Wheat Ale (which is made by their parent company San Diego Brewing Company) but that's only available at SD Brewing Co owned restaurants/breweries. I used to like several Stone Brewing Co beers but the truth is all they produce are big over hopped ales and that gets boring after a while. I can't believe no one has mentioned Pizza Port/Port Brewing Co in this thread yet as they are up there with Alesmith in terms of quality & taste.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: oerdin
                            SeanT RE: oerdin Feb 8, 2010 02:08 PM

                            I guess you did not read my post. If the poor man's is out I'll go for a wipeout.

                            1. re: SeanT
                              oerdin RE: SeanT Feb 8, 2010 02:38 PM

                              Sorry, it seems you did mention Pizza Port/Port Brewing Co.

                            2. re: oerdin
                              The Office Goat RE: oerdin Feb 8, 2010 03:03 PM

                              >>I used to like several Stone Brewing Co beers but the truth is all they
                              >>produce are big over hopped ales and that gets boring after a while.

                              Smoked Porter
                              Smoked Porter with vanilla bean
                              Smoked Porter with chipotle peppers
                              Sawyer's Tripel
                              Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee Macadamia Nut Porter
                              The last two years of their Special Holiday Ale (collab with Nogne-O and Jolly Pumpkin)...

                              ?? Overhoppage not found in the above brews. Sure a lot of beers they sell have a lot of hops, but if you can't find the ones that don't, you just need to look a little harder. Heck even their regular Pale Ale isn't overhopped (and you can get cases at Costco): my wife is not a fan of a lot of hops and even she'll go for that.

                              1. re: The Office Goat
                                Josh RE: The Office Goat Feb 8, 2010 03:18 PM

                                Levitation and IPA are also not excessively hoppy, either. And Old Guardian gets amazing with some age on it. I has a thee year old bottle of that which was really good.

                              2. re: oerdin
                                DougOLis RE: oerdin Feb 8, 2010 05:19 PM

                                I mentioned 2 Lost Abbey beers and a Port

                              3. c
                                CurryLover RE: SDGourmand Apr 12, 2010 12:41 PM

                                At Prado in Balboa Park, I asked the waiter what they had on tap...going down the list was nothing local except Prado Pale Ale that the waiter recommended....where is that from? I tried to do an internet search & didn't find anything about it. It was a pretty good beer. At Old Town Mexican Cafe they had a sign up for a Ballast Point Pale Ale but the waitress (whose English wasn't good) said they didn't have it. I ended up getting a Dos Equis b/c they didn't have anything else decent on tap.

                                Old Town Mexican Cafe
                                2489 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110

                                Balboa Park
                                1549 El Prado Ste 8, San Diego, CA 92101

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: CurryLover
                                  RB Hound RE: CurryLover Apr 12, 2010 01:02 PM

                                  If I were a betting man, I'd say that El Prado's pale ale was being brewed by Karl Strauss or Gordon Biersch. Anything else would be too edgy. :)

                                  1. re: RB Hound
                                    jayporter RE: RB Hound Apr 12, 2010 02:04 PM

                                    According to a friend who buys a "private label" beer for his restaurant, Anheuser-Busch (or the A-B distributor) offers them, i.e., it takes a beer it already brews and brands it as the restaurant's. If A-B offers that, I'd guess that Miller-Coors does too.

                                    Some small-to-midsize brewers will offer to brew private label or contract (you may recall Reaper Ale from a few years back which was brewed for contract by a very good local craft brewery); and there are breweries that specialize in contract brewing (none in SD that I know of, but a couple in Southern California, I think).

                                    So a "private label" beer such as the one you mention could be anything from, say, Busch Light, to a craft beer handmade by a World Beer Cup brewmaster of the year. I've seen both, and plenty in between.

                                    1. re: jayporter
                                      MrKrispy RE: jayporter Apr 12, 2010 03:32 PM

                                      Gorden Biersh and Firestone Walker make contract (private label) beer for many restaurants, as well as Trader Joes. I think the Oggis group does also (as well as the Reaper stuff).

                                      1. re: MrKrispy
                                        sd4life RE: MrKrispy Apr 12, 2010 07:24 PM

                                        I love Firestone's Double Barrell.
                                        ***Does anybody know if the old Mission Brewery has reopened yet?

                                        1. re: sd4life
                                          Josh RE: sd4life Apr 14, 2010 01:41 PM

                                          I believe New English Brewing is using that space.

                                          1. re: Josh
                                            MrKrispy RE: Josh Apr 14, 2010 03:36 PM

                                            You are correct sir (although not open to the public yet)


                                2. jmtreg RE: SDGourmand Apr 12, 2010 03:15 PM

                                  To answer the original questions - Favorite beers are Stone IPA, Ballast Point Yellowtail), and Lost Abbey Damnation (at least I think that was the name of the beer - my memory is a little hazy. heh). Anyway, I really wish more restaurants would carry Lost Abbey beers.

                                  By the way, has anyone figured out why San Diego's beer scene is so, so much better than the rest of Southern California? I travel to LA a fair amount for work, and the beer scene is pathetic. In San Diego, at every bar or hotel, there's at least one local beer (granted that beer is sometimes Karl Strauss, but my point remains). In LA, you're lucky if they carry Stella. Any thoughts?

                                  The Lost Abbey
                                  155 Mata Way Suite 104, San Marcos, CA

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: jmtreg
                                    pooch RE: jmtreg Apr 12, 2010 04:39 PM

                                    And, on a slight tangent, any thoughts for a good brewery/place with good beer selection with good food for a beer-lover's bday dinner? No stone, Ritual Tavern or Toronado or Blind Lady (because we have been to all those recently) but something along those lines would be good. Preferably somewhere that takes reservations because this group might get cranky waiting forever for a table for 10-12.

                                    Ritual Tavern
                                    4095 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                                    1. re: pooch
                                      jmtreg RE: pooch Apr 13, 2010 09:57 AM

                                      Well, the Linkery would fit into that category.

                                      3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                                      1. re: jmtreg
                                        DougOLis RE: jmtreg Apr 13, 2010 11:18 AM


                                        Alchemy and Sea Rocket are other good options too. And maybe Neighborhood but space could be an issue there.

                                        1. re: DougOLis
                                          MrKrispy RE: DougOLis Apr 13, 2010 12:14 PM

                                          lol Sea Rocket isn't exactly an expansive space compared to Neighborhood!

                                          1. re: MrKrispy
                                            DougOLis RE: MrKrispy Apr 13, 2010 02:39 PM

                                            Yeah, but I'm sure they could work something out. There is that room to the left when you come in too.

                                  2. d
                                    DougOLis RE: SDGourmand Apr 12, 2010 07:42 PM

                                    On a related note, San Diego did very well at the World Beer Cup last weekend:

                                    Ballast Point - Best Small Brewery, 3 Gold
                                    Alesmith - 1 Gold, 1 Bronze
                                    Rock Bottom La Jolla - 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
                                    Alpine - 1 Gold, 2 Bronze
                                    Lost Abbey/Port - 2 Silver
                                    Pizza Port - 1 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Bronze
                                    Karl Strauss - 1 Gold
                                    Green Flash - 1 Silver

                                    And the 2 other big SoCal (ish) breweries did well too:
                                    Firestone Walker - Best Medium Brewery, 2 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze
                                    The Bruery - 2 Gold

                                    Green Flash
                                    701 Thomas Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: DougOLis
                                      Josh RE: DougOLis Apr 14, 2010 01:42 PM

                                      Nice to see Ballast Point getting recognition. I've always felt they're kind of underappreciated.

                                    2. s
                                      steveprez RE: SDGourmand Apr 14, 2010 07:12 AM

                                      My favorite SD beer is the one I have in my hand at the time. I love so many of them I can't pin down a favorite. I wish more local restaurants would carry SD beers. I had dinner the other nite at Ba Ren (fabulous Sichuan) and they once did a Beer Week event. SD beer would go great with this type of food, but sadly, all they had was QingDao.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: steveprez
                                        Captain Jack RE: steveprez Apr 14, 2010 08:45 AM

                                        The Beer Week event at Ba Ren was set up by fellow hounds Kirk K. and Josh.

                                      Show Hidden Posts