The Best San Diego Breweries to Enjoy a Cold One With Friends

With over 150 breweries scattered throughout San Diego County, deciding where to pop in for a fresh beer on tap can be overwhelming, especially if you have decision paralysis or are what we like to call a beer snob!

But who says you have to pick just one? We’ve curated a list of the best breweries in San Diego, and recommend that you explore them all.

And while we understand that taste is subjective (and we aren’t trying to pick any fights here…we KNOW everyone has their very strong opinions on this topic!), we’re confident you’ll appreciate this selection.

Whether you lean towards crisp lagers amidst lively surroundings with buzzing music or you’re a fan of sour beers and love enjoying them over a game of sack toss and checkers, we’ve got just the place for you.

Or perhaps you prefer the serene atmosphere of a low-key brewery where you can unwind with a good book or catch up on the news while sipping on a snickerdoodle stout. There’s something out there for every beer lover!

Heck, maybe you’re not into beer at all and only get down on hard kombucha, cider, or sake. No matter, San Diego offers options beyond beer, including hard kombucha and cider breweries.

Whatever your vibe, we have you covered! So, without further ado, here are our picks for the best San Diego breweries—listed alphabetically.

AleSmith Brewing Company

AleSmith is one of the most well-known micro-giant breweries in San Diego that has been creating a name for itself in the industry over several decades.

This Miramar brewery sports a tasting room with a rotating draft menu and a small, quaint speakeasy called Anvil & Stave. Anvil & Stave’s rustic, brick wall and wood vibe almost feels like you’ve transported from San Diego to the inside of a wooden beer barrel!

Coffee lovers will also be delighted to try the Coffee Kolsch or Coffee Imperial Coconut Porter, and diehard San Diego State fans will be pleased to know they have an SDSU-branded ale.

AleSmith offers a dog- and kid-friendly atmosphere with rotating food trucks to accompany your hoppy beverages, making it the ideal setting to spend a Saturday afternoon with the whole family!

After a couple of brewskis, you can hit the Miramar Memorial Golf Course or the Great Room Escape San Diego for some extra excitement. Don’t forget to grab some homemade CheeseSmith cheese curds—a great way to cleanse the palette.

Ballast Point

Ranking among San Diego’s top 10 largest breweries, Ballast Point delivers tasty brews and well-paired eats.

Their Little Italy location—with a ginormous outdoor patio perfect for people watching and watching the airplanes overhead—features private cabanas and a casual chic atmosphere.

Enjoy their popular Grapefruit Sculpin IPA, Swingin’ Friar Ale, and Hoppy Pale Ales with Citrus, peach, pine, and grapefruit aromas, or one of their malty beers like the Calico Amber, which has a rich and malty backbone and floral aroma and packs a punch.

Munch on some truffle fries, wings, or birria street tacos, or try their unique Beer Float—a dessert with your choice of Piper Down Scottish Ale with Cinnamon-vanilla gelato or Aloha Sculpin IPA with pineapple gelato—a true treat you won’t find at any other brewery.

This stunning setting will have you feeling like you’ve been teleported to Europe. They also offer to-go kegs, so if you’re looking to supply for a party, you know where to go!

Belching Beaver Brewery

We had to include this one because the name is just too dang adorable.

But seriously, Belching Beaver Brewery carries tons of unique beers on draft, including a Mexican Style Lager, a Lactose, Orange-Vanilla IPA, and a Peanut Butter Milk Stout Nitro.

San Diego’s Best Breweries

For non-beer lovers, they’ve got a supply of housemade Hard Cider with Beers and Spices, a Passion Fruit Guava Hard Seltzer, and more.

The atmosphere is casual and inviting, with wooden barrels, benches, and heaters for those cold nights.

Their brewhouse in Oceanside has tons of game nights with local rotating eateries to pair with your beer, including bingo night, poker, trivia night, and live music.

They have a tavern and grill at their Vista location if you fancy a hearty meal and some impeccably flavorful beer to wash it down.

Belching Beaver

Their North Park tasting room also hosts trivia every Thursday night, accompanied by local restaurants, Radio Bingo, and Taco Tuesday.

No matter which location you choose, we know you’ll have a “Dam Good Time.” (We love a good pun!)

Bucha Brewery

Bucha is not your average brewery, and for beer lovers, this might not be your go-to place. Beer lover or not, don’t let that stop you from enjoying a good-for-your-gut, impeccably smooth, and flavorful hard kombucha in an Arizona-meets-Tulum-inspired setting.

Bucha Brewery strictly offers hard kombucha and cider, locally crafted and with fruit sourced from local farms, and they’ve turned many non-kombucha enthusiasts into Bucha believers. This is the only hard kombucha brand currently on the market with zero preservatives or artificial flavoring, and it’s 100% juice!

Stop by this desert-style brewery to sip on a flight of four of their different types of Bucha with a friend or solo dolo. They’ve got flavors like Blackberry Pear, Strawberry, Mango Dragon Fruit, and White Grape.

The laid-back atmosphere is perfect for relaxing, chilling, co-working, or heck, renting out the whole brewhouse for your own private event!

For those who love a healthy gut, the delicate sweetness and citrus elements of fresh fruit, and gluten-free alcoholic beverages, this should be the first stop on your list.

Craft Coast Brewing Company

Name a more iconic duo than baja-style tacos and handcrafted cold beer!

This relaxed, rustic indoor-outdoor Oceanside brewery boasts lots of natural light and wooden accents, providing the perfect vibe for kicking back with your friends.

They’ve got a delectable selection of Tacos, Mulitas, and Nachos, including Birria, Al Pastor, Pollo Asado, and Veggies, with a flavor explosion packed in every bite.

Craft Coast is popular for small beers from the area—Agua Baja Mexican Lager, Shootz Mahalo New England Hazy IPA, Beeria Brown Ale, Galactic Dolphin American Hazy IPA, and the O’Side or Noside American IPA—to name a few.

Eppig Brewing

This award-winning independent San Diego craft brewery is situated right on the marina in Point Loma—truly a magical place to get comfy, kick off your shoes, and post up with your pup for some cold brews.

Eppig Brewing

Bring your own board game, grab some fish tacos from Mitch’s Seafood next door, and post up for hours with a beautiful view of the marina. They allow outside food, although they do have some small snacks for purchase, too.

This dog-friendly beer haven is the ideal way to spend any afternoon, especially after a hard day’s work. Who doesn’t love a good brew paired with a good view?

They also host events such as waterfront yoga and a beer and social run club, as well as sushi pop-ups and other fun events.

Harland Brewing

Harland Brewing gives off a simple yet sophisticated, beachy aura, really playing into the nautical theme with their branding, beverages, and brewery ambiance.

They offer tasting rooms in Bay Park, South Park, One Paseo, and Scripps Ranch—which is where their grand brewhouse is located.

Their brewhouse offers a more industrial feel than its other brick-and-mortar, with pool tables and surrounded by enormous steam-fired kettles, which they use to brew their excellently crafted beer. Their whole motto is to inspire others to live their lives and pursue their passions.

Featuring a spacious indoor setting adorned with open-air awnings and lush hanging plants, Harland Brewing’s atmosphere invites you to unwind and sip on suds in natural light.

Their standout brews include the Japanese Lager, India Pale Wale, Hazy IPA, Double IPA, and Sunken Isles American IPA—surefire favorites that pair perfectly with a laid-back, chill experience.

Kairoa Brewing Company

Beer enthusiasts who love a good rooftop will scream at the aesthetics of this modern industrial brewery.

With palm trees surrounding the perimeter, cutesy cacti, canopies, and tons of cushioned seating, you could really bask up here and enjoy the sunshine and sip on brews all day long!

This University Heights treasure incorporates tons of fruity flavors into their smooth beers on draft, including the Gumboot Imperial Stout that is decadent, chocolate and bittersweet, the Double Dipper Double Hazy IPA with notes of peach, tangerine citrus, and pineapple with Rakau Hops, and the Rosey Buggah Strawberry Blond infused with strawberry, rosehips, hibiscus and apple.

But wait, that’s not all! This New Zealand-inspired outdoor oasis also features tons of delicious eats—a full brunch, lunch, and dinner menu, seafood and comfort food, sandwiches, salads, shareables, and more.

Don’t sleep on their authentic New Zealand dishes, such as the Passion Fruit Chili Chicken Sandwich and Homemade New Zealand Pie.

Kilowatt Brewing

This small-batch, hand-crafted, funky Ocean Beach gem of a brewery provides a vibe that takes you back to partying in college door rooms—blacklight wall art and all.

From Blondes to Belgians to Dopplebcoks, this groovy brewery has a well-rounded menu and an adorable little outdoor patio for you to enjoy your beverages in the sunshine.

Oh, and did we mention they have boozy slushies in flavors like Pina Colada and P.O.M.? Arguably one of the best ways to consume alcohol with maximum flavor on a San Diego summer day!

Kilowatt has an additional, more discrete location in Oceanside—The Space Pad—as well as another tasting room in Kearny Mesa. Their Oceanside speakeasy is just as psychedelic as their OB location, having you feeling like you’re on the inside of a retro neon lava lamp.

Modern Times

Coffee addicts and beer gurus will love this hip craft brewery, roastery, and tasting room located in the Midway District.

San Diego’s Best Breweries

Modern Times is a firm believer in cultivating community through fun and inviting settings and hosts quirky events and “lessons” such as learning how to play Dungeons and Dragons.

They carry 32 beers on tap, with some year-round beers, such as the Orderville Hazy IPA, Black House Coffee Stout, and the Dungeon Map West Coast IPA.

Their stunning retro branding is both eye-catching and packed with personality, as seen in the names of their limited releases, which have comical names such as Visible Ink Espresso Macaron Stout and their Dinosaur World Hazy DIPA.

Modern Times roasts its coffee in-house. You can pick up a small batch roast or ready-to-enjoy cold brew—there are tons of different types.

Join their League of Partygoers and Elegant People if you want access to super delicious, limited-release beers. They also offer tasting rooms in North Park and Encinitas.

North Park Beer Company

Does a Velvet Phenix Marshmallow Mocha Stout Sound good to you? How about a QDH Art is Hard: Peach Edition Hazy IPA? Or a Hop-Fu! DDH West Coast IPA. Birdie to Bogey West Coast Pilsner?

North Park Beer Co

If any of those made your mouth water, you’re in for a real treat because North Park Beer Co. offers the best in the biz! The Hazy IPAs are not only happy, bold, and refreshing with a delicious aftertaste, but they have a gorgeous color to them.

This brewery giant has high ceilings and an outdoor patio and is a hop, skip, and jump away from Target, in case you’re feeling like doing a little tipsy shopping (yes, we know this is dangerous!).

North Park Beer Co

If you want to switch it up from the hops and suds, North Park Beer Company also has a great selection of wine, hard kombucha, and cider. And come hungry! Mastiff grill located inside the space offers great food such as juicy hamburgers and hot dogs.

Nova Easy Kombucha

Ocean Beach is home to some of the coolest breweries on the block, and Nova stands out as a premier supplier of delicious hard (and soft) kombucha, gaining significant recognition in recent years.

This brewery specializes in naturally fermented, probiotic beverages, offering both alcoholic and non-alcoholic kombucha with delightfully balanced flavors and aromas.

Nova’s vibrantly colored branded cans add to the playful experience of indulging in their beverages. They have also mastered the art of pairing distinct flavors to craft exceptionally flavorful beverages, such as La Ola Dragon Fruit, Sexy Pina Colada, Cactus Fruit, Agave and Jalapeno, and Peachy Lychee.

For the gluten-free and vegan folks and those who just love sipping a refreshing beverage on an outdoor patio, Nova is a must-visit destination.

What’s more, this kombucha hotspot is conveniently located on Newport Avenue, with tons of restaurants nearby and the beach within arm’s length, so you can continue the fun after your beverages are done and relish the lively OB atmosphere.

Pizza Port

Since its inception in 1987, Pizza Port has made a name for itself in the worlds of pizza and beer.

Located in Ocean Beach, just a few blocks from the water, Pizza Port is a spectacular place to grab some melt-in-your-mouth pizza and delicious local beer. (Top tip: Their buffalo ranch sauce is to die for!)

Pizza Port’s great success reflects in their expansion to Solana Beach, Ocean Beach, Imperial Beach, and Carlsbad Village.

Aside from their Anti-Wimpy Pizzas with unique flavor profiles and tons of toppings—with wild combos like their Bacon Shrimp Pizza—this pizza and beer mecca offers delicious garlic buddies, arcade games, and root beer floats with handcrafted vanilla ice cream and in-house root beer.

Stout and Porter advocates might lose their marbles over the Stout or Porter Float, an alcoholic take on traditional root beer floats.

Societe Brewing Company

This saloon-style brewery in Kearny Mesa boasts woody, rustic features with abundant natural lighting and impressive exposed brew kettles to give you that true brewery feel.

Societe offers a wide range of fun festivities and specials, such as Taco Tuesday deals, along with immersive activities like make-your-own mozzarella, Hoppy Yoga, Meet and Greets, and diverse pop-up markets.

This hip brewing company is renowned for its Out West IPAs, old-world continental ales, lagers, and feral barrel-aged wild ales, all crafted in-house.

At Societe, you can enjoy a delightful range of beers like The Pupil IPA, The Roustabout Double IPA, Sessions IPA, Hazy IPA, Bulbous Flowers, as well as lighter options.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the western-inspired, old-town ambiance in their indoor-outdoor setting.

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

This mecca of a brewery provides a well-rounded experience, no matter the occasion.

Situated within Liberty Station, Stone Brewing offers year-round releases, one-batch dispatches, margaritas, seltzers, and special, limited-edition collaborations with other brands.

The atmosphere is welcoming and laid-back, and you can enjoy your suds around their wrap-around bar, one of their cozy tables, or on their expansive outdoor patio.

Stone Brewing is also the ideal venue for hosting events, providing a vibrant and accommodating setting. They even have a beer finder for the beer fanatics who are searching for something in particular.

Pair your delectable beverages with delicious eats, featuring enticing options like Beer Braised Short Rib, Double Crunch Korean Fried Sandwich, Mac and Cheese, and for those seeking a spicy adventure, the Diablo Impossible Burger (if you dare to test your taste buds!).

Whether you’re a beer snob, food lover, or both, Stone promises a memorable experience with its impressive lineup of craft brews.

The Lost Abbey

Nestled away in San Marcos—a suburb of San Diego—you’ll find an epic, casual Belgian brewery called The Lost Abbey. With ample picnic-style outdoor seating, this family-friendly spot offers a unique experience.

Their beautifully branded beers, like “Ten Commandments,” “Red Poppy,” “Serpent’s Stout,” “Ghosts in the Forrest,” and “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” accompanied by the rock music they often play create a scene of conflicting realities between sinners and saints.

Their specialty is dark, rich beer such as Belgian beer and Port Brewing’s beers, though they also carry seasonal, year-round, and non-denominational beers that are brewed to no particular style.

The tasting room, established in 2006, boasts 26 distinguished beers on tap, and you can actually witness the brewing process up close and personal.

And foodies will appreciate the rotating food vendor they have on-site.

Explore their other unique spaces like The Confessional in Cardiff-by-the-sea, The Sanctuary in San Elijo, and The Church in East Village, where friendly beertenders are ready to guide you to the best beverages based on your preferences.

Viewpoint Brewing Company

If you’re looking for a San Diego brewery to relax with a beer and sensational views, you can’t beat Viewpoint Brewing Company in Del Mar!

There’s not much better than sitting on their patio on a sunny day, so snag a seat out there if you can. But given that the whole backside of the brewery opens up, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.

The food here is just as good as the beer and the views, so plan on staying a while and making a day of it – you won’t regret it!

See you there!

There is no denying that a brewery is a vehicle for uniting different personalities and people from all walks of life over a shared love of beer.

Now that you’ve got an awesome list of the best San Diego breweries to quench your thirst and get your beer fix, it’s time to plan your next outing with friends and family to do a little beer tour on a lovely San Diego afternoon!

See you there, San Diego!

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