4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Best new breweries

Image by @readerandy


Thanks to a year in which a record number of new breweries and brewpubs came online, the number of operating brewhouses in San Diego County has risen to more than 100. That’s more brewing facilities than many states lay claim to.

The following are the best of the rookie class.


Place

Bagby Beer Co.

601 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

Bagby Beer Company

Everyone expected Jeff Bagby’s eponymous interest to be a hit, and it has been. A brewpub headed by the winningest brewer in Great American Beer Festival history is the industry equivalent of a sure thing. Less than a month into the business’ lifespan, Bagby won another medal at this year’s Great American Beer Festival for a dry Irish-style stout, one of several milder brews in his initial line-up. Despite being tamer, those are to-style and stellar, leaving fans salivating for his eventual and inevitable hoppy ales.

Place

Council Brewing Company

7705 Convoy Court, San Diego

Council Brewing Company

It takes a lot to compete in the brewing game when you’re located smack dab between Societe Brewing Company and the beer Mecca that is O’Brien’s Pub. But marrieds Liz and Curtis Chism have earned their spot on the Kearny Mesa beer trail behind well-crafted beers of all types. The IPAs and America’s Finest Pale Ale (essentially an IPA) deliver plenty of hop fruitiness, Belgian ales are enjoyable, and the Pirate’s Breakfast imperial oatmeal stout shows why it won the couple so many homebrewing awards.

Place

Fallbrook Brewing Company

136 N. Main Avenue, Fallbrook

Fallbrook Brewing Company

It takes some determination to get to this far north, down-home business on its namesake community’s main drag, but once you’re there, it feels like home. Fallbrook is represented via photography, clientele, and the names of brewmaster Chuck McLaughlin’s beers, which are as easy-drinking as the atmosphere is easygoing and have shown consistent improvement. The best, most innovative of the bunch is Java Hill, a cream ale infused with coffee that delivers flavors unlike any other beer in the county.

Place

La Jolla Brewing Company

7536 Fay Avenue, San Diego

La Jolla Brewing Company

The owners of this newcomer to the Jewel had their work cut out for them, taking over a brewpub with a terrible reputation born from poor management, juvenile weekend ragers, and being the starting point for the 2007 Emery Kauanui murder incident. Former Green Flash brewer Brett Stampf pulled on his brewing boots and pulled the place up, bringing legitimate skill and heart to this venue, which he helped build along with a line of beers that includes a tasty Irish-style stout and IPA, both of which are served on nitro.

Place

Legacy Brewing Co.

363 Airport Road, Oceanside

Legacy Brewing Company

A patriotic motif built around America’s founding fathers and colonial glory days feels right at home in Oceanside, not far from Camp Pendleton. A visit to the tasting room actually feels a bit like falling in at a Marine Corps mess hall…except there’s beer. While not as consistent or pristine as one would like, there are some rather nice session beers, including an ESB, brown ale and Scottish ale. Ironically, most of the beers here are English in origin, but after 238 years of independence, it’s something we can overlook.

Place

Nickel Beer Co.

1485 Hollow Glen Road, Julian, CA

Nickel Beer Co.

Julian resident Tom Nickel really wanted to open a brewery in his hometown. Enough so that, when his partnership in Julian Brewing Company ended, he headed a mile east and set up a brewhouse and tasting room. Such a small town would be lucky to have any local beer, but to have those crafted by a former World Beer Cup champion (Oggi’s, 2004) is a treat. His expertise shows up best in Stonewall Stout, The Devil’s Copper red ale, and the best-named beer of the year, Hopster Douchebag double IPA.

Place

Pacific Brewing Company

8680 Miralani Drive, San Diego

Pacific Brewing Company

A pair of former Stone brewers came together over their love of beer and the ocean, and the result is this nanobrewery with a surfing and seawater theme and West Coast brewing approach. Though young, the business is making strides in the right direction with a beer board offering plenty of appealing options for hop lovers. The most impressive is Octo-Rye, a dry double IPA with needling hop notes and appealing spiciness from rye. Other hits include Bombora IPA and a strong ale called Sticky Icky.

Place

Plan 9 Alehouse

155 E. Grand Avenue, Escondido

Plan 9 Alehouse

Another group of Team Stone alums moved on from the gargoyle clan to set up camp in nearby downtown Escondido with a restaurant equipped with a tiny brewing system. Outfitted in reclaimed materials with roll-up garage doors looking out onto Grand Avenue, it’s a cozy place to settle down and enjoy tasty pub grub and a spectacular tap list. That list seldom includes house beers, but those rarely seen ales have won kind comments from those lucky enough to get a taste of them.

Place

Toolbox Brewing Company

1495 Poinsettia Avenue #148, Vista

Toolbox Brewing Company

It takes guts to open a new brewery and lead with a program devoted to beers spiked with Brettanomyces. That’s just what this Vista interest did, after enlisting the services of wild-yeast aficionado and well-known homebrewer Peter Perrecone. The result is a spot where visitors can get a feel for all of the interesting things Brett can do to a beer. From increasing a beer’s dryness to adding funk or a touch of biting spice, it’s worth investigating, and this newbie wins points for doing so in such an extensive manner.

Place

URBN St. Brewing Co.

110 N. Magnolia, El Cajon

URBN St. Brewing Company

More Stone faces in new places can be found at El Cajon’s only brewing operation, a brewpub installed by the URBN Restaurant Group at the site of the former El Cajon Brewing Company. Ex–Stone-Escondido executive chef Alex Carballo handled menu development as well as the hiring of former Stone brewer Callaway Ryan. The latter’s house beers include a brilliant saison reminiscent of those made in Belgium, an IPA, and a beautifully malty EESB (extra extra special bitter).

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

The history of the San Diego Union’s James MacMullen and his Coronado home

He published architectural sketches of his as-yet unbuilt mansion in the Union
Next Article

Comical and clinical

“I would rather not”
Image by @readerandy


Thanks to a year in which a record number of new breweries and brewpubs came online, the number of operating brewhouses in San Diego County has risen to more than 100. That’s more brewing facilities than many states lay claim to.

The following are the best of the rookie class.


Place

Bagby Beer Co.

601 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

Bagby Beer Company

Everyone expected Jeff Bagby’s eponymous interest to be a hit, and it has been. A brewpub headed by the winningest brewer in Great American Beer Festival history is the industry equivalent of a sure thing. Less than a month into the business’ lifespan, Bagby won another medal at this year’s Great American Beer Festival for a dry Irish-style stout, one of several milder brews in his initial line-up. Despite being tamer, those are to-style and stellar, leaving fans salivating for his eventual and inevitable hoppy ales.

Place

Council Brewing Company

7705 Convoy Court, San Diego

Council Brewing Company

It takes a lot to compete in the brewing game when you’re located smack dab between Societe Brewing Company and the beer Mecca that is O’Brien’s Pub. But marrieds Liz and Curtis Chism have earned their spot on the Kearny Mesa beer trail behind well-crafted beers of all types. The IPAs and America’s Finest Pale Ale (essentially an IPA) deliver plenty of hop fruitiness, Belgian ales are enjoyable, and the Pirate’s Breakfast imperial oatmeal stout shows why it won the couple so many homebrewing awards.

Place

Fallbrook Brewing Company

136 N. Main Avenue, Fallbrook

Fallbrook Brewing Company

It takes some determination to get to this far north, down-home business on its namesake community’s main drag, but once you’re there, it feels like home. Fallbrook is represented via photography, clientele, and the names of brewmaster Chuck McLaughlin’s beers, which are as easy-drinking as the atmosphere is easygoing and have shown consistent improvement. The best, most innovative of the bunch is Java Hill, a cream ale infused with coffee that delivers flavors unlike any other beer in the county.

Place

La Jolla Brewing Company

7536 Fay Avenue, San Diego

La Jolla Brewing Company

The owners of this newcomer to the Jewel had their work cut out for them, taking over a brewpub with a terrible reputation born from poor management, juvenile weekend ragers, and being the starting point for the 2007 Emery Kauanui murder incident. Former Green Flash brewer Brett Stampf pulled on his brewing boots and pulled the place up, bringing legitimate skill and heart to this venue, which he helped build along with a line of beers that includes a tasty Irish-style stout and IPA, both of which are served on nitro.

Place

Legacy Brewing Co.

363 Airport Road, Oceanside

Legacy Brewing Company

A patriotic motif built around America’s founding fathers and colonial glory days feels right at home in Oceanside, not far from Camp Pendleton. A visit to the tasting room actually feels a bit like falling in at a Marine Corps mess hall…except there’s beer. While not as consistent or pristine as one would like, there are some rather nice session beers, including an ESB, brown ale and Scottish ale. Ironically, most of the beers here are English in origin, but after 238 years of independence, it’s something we can overlook.

Place

Nickel Beer Co.

1485 Hollow Glen Road, Julian, CA

Nickel Beer Co.

Julian resident Tom Nickel really wanted to open a brewery in his hometown. Enough so that, when his partnership in Julian Brewing Company ended, he headed a mile east and set up a brewhouse and tasting room. Such a small town would be lucky to have any local beer, but to have those crafted by a former World Beer Cup champion (Oggi’s, 2004) is a treat. His expertise shows up best in Stonewall Stout, The Devil’s Copper red ale, and the best-named beer of the year, Hopster Douchebag double IPA.

Place

Pacific Brewing Company

8680 Miralani Drive, San Diego

Pacific Brewing Company

A pair of former Stone brewers came together over their love of beer and the ocean, and the result is this nanobrewery with a surfing and seawater theme and West Coast brewing approach. Though young, the business is making strides in the right direction with a beer board offering plenty of appealing options for hop lovers. The most impressive is Octo-Rye, a dry double IPA with needling hop notes and appealing spiciness from rye. Other hits include Bombora IPA and a strong ale called Sticky Icky.

Place

Plan 9 Alehouse

155 E. Grand Avenue, Escondido

Plan 9 Alehouse

Another group of Team Stone alums moved on from the gargoyle clan to set up camp in nearby downtown Escondido with a restaurant equipped with a tiny brewing system. Outfitted in reclaimed materials with roll-up garage doors looking out onto Grand Avenue, it’s a cozy place to settle down and enjoy tasty pub grub and a spectacular tap list. That list seldom includes house beers, but those rarely seen ales have won kind comments from those lucky enough to get a taste of them.

Place

Toolbox Brewing Company

1495 Poinsettia Avenue #148, Vista

Toolbox Brewing Company

It takes guts to open a new brewery and lead with a program devoted to beers spiked with Brettanomyces. That’s just what this Vista interest did, after enlisting the services of wild-yeast aficionado and well-known homebrewer Peter Perrecone. The result is a spot where visitors can get a feel for all of the interesting things Brett can do to a beer. From increasing a beer’s dryness to adding funk or a touch of biting spice, it’s worth investigating, and this newbie wins points for doing so in such an extensive manner.

Place

URBN St. Brewing Co.

110 N. Magnolia, El Cajon

URBN St. Brewing Company

More Stone faces in new places can be found at El Cajon’s only brewing operation, a brewpub installed by the URBN Restaurant Group at the site of the former El Cajon Brewing Company. Ex–Stone-Escondido executive chef Alex Carballo handled menu development as well as the hiring of former Stone brewer Callaway Ryan. The latter’s house beers include a brilliant saison reminiscent of those made in Belgium, an IPA, and a beautifully malty EESB (extra extra special bitter).

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Dance away heartbreak with SIDNĒ

“I’ve seen Satanic puppet shows, plastic baby dolls used as instruments, and 30 minutes of pitched yelling to melodic noise tracks.”
Next Article

Thanksgiving Day Dining Cruise, Dua Lipa: Studio 2054 Livestream, Soft Kill: Dead Kids, R.i.p City

Events November 26-November 28, 2020
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close