It’s no secret that San Diego has become world famous for its craft-beer culture over the past few years.
Our county is home to several landmark breweries and brew pubs that have garnered praise from the New York Times, Men’s Journal, Food & Wine (“one of the most dynamic beer scenes in America and arguably the world”), and Time (“America’s craft-beer capital”).
And while this is great news for denizens of downtown and the beer-hep neighborhoods along 30th, there is a marked scarcity of choice craft beer east of the 125.
Santee has Manzanita Brewing Company, El Cajon has Main Tap Tavern and El Cajon Brewing Co., and Rancho San Diego has Press Box. Beyond all that lies Brody’s Burgers and Beers, coming in second (after Alpine Beer Company) for East County’s eastern-most craft-beer pub.
Tucked between a veterinary clinic and a hookah lounge, Brody’s sports 23 taps, which include gems from local breweries such as Societe, Green Flash, and Ballast Point. There’s also a nitro tap, which has recently hosted Sculpin (amazing) and Kilkenny. My personal favorite? The Abandon Ship smoked lager with Ballast Point’s Bloody Mary mix and a splash of Clamato — a rural American twist on the michelada, sans lime.
In a perfect world, I’d like to see Brody’s switch out the Anheuser-Busch taps for more specialty brews, but, alas, this is East County, and some folks can’t do without their Bud Light.
The menu is pretty straightforward: fresh ground beef or turkey on a Bread & Cie bun with the option to add avocado, bacon, mushrooms, etc. for a buck. The meat is prepared down the highway at Valley Farm Market, where owner Derek Marso also advises Brody’s on beer.
The clientele is made up of East County natives, the occasional skydiving instructor from the jump site out on 94, and hikers unwinding after a day of exploration on Mount McGinty. It’s a fun bunch, but the real highlight here is the service.
Long ago, I surrendered to the belief that snobbery and aloofness were inherent — perhaps even necessary — qualities behind the bar of a craft-beer pub. But Brody’s owners Beth and Craig Broderick take the inverse approach. They operate under the premise that if one is accommodating, informative, and conversational, people will want to come back. And they are correct. After all, East County deserves good beer, too.
Attire: East county casual
Price: ~$6/pint, $4/bottle
Happy Hour: M–F 3–6 - $2 off drafts, $1 off potato sides
Max Cap: ~75
Hours: Su–Th 11AM–9PM; F & Sa 11AM–10PM