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Bottlecraft gives San Diego access to beers you never thought of

Expands from Little Italy to North Park, Liberty Station, Oceanside, Long Beach, San Luis Obispo.

“The large blue-green tendrils of a chalk stick succulent shot forth, mimicking a water fountain.”
“The large blue-green tendrils of a chalk stick succulent shot forth, mimicking a water fountain.”

There was good beer in San Diego near the turn of the millennium, back when I was a newly legal drinker, just returned to San Diego from my years at college. But it took some finding. Outside of Liar’s Club (RIP), Callahan’s (RIP), and O’Brien’s, there weren’t really any places to go to get quality local beer other than right from the source — and even that wasn’t easy. I would occasionally make the trek north to Stone for growler fills; and since I was fortunate enough to work near Miramar, I could sometimes make it to AleSmith during the brief late afternoon weekday hours during which they were open. But today’s abundance of tasting rooms, brewpubs, and shops carrying local brews just didn’t exist. And some of the best breweries appeared to be so intent on remaining small that I would have guessed they were making it difficult to get their beer just to fight their own success.

Later, as more breweries popped up around the county, it sometimes seemed like there was a competition among local breweries to see who could replicate Stone’s success by delivering the hoppiest, highest-ABV IPAs. While there’s plenty of room in the beer world for such ales, a particular beer scene too dominated by one style risks stagnation. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve ordered many a beer based on ABV, but I’ve also had my palate assaulted by beers overbent on trying to be the next biggest, baddest thing. Fortunately, San Diego’s beer scene continues to grow, morph, and improve. Local breweries now offer sours, smoothie-style ales, lagers, and more — without infringing on the plentitude of all varieties of IPAs.

Sponsored
Sponsored
Place

Bottlecraft

2161 India Street, San Diego

Further, there are now plenty of stores where you can find a solid assortment of local brews. But one local chain stands above them all: Bottlecraft. Prior to Bottlecraft’s opening, there were specific beers I’d only ever hear about; they seemed to exist like a fabled white whale, submerged somewhere in a sea of suds. I assumed I’d never taste a Heady Topper or Pseudo Sue without making a pilgrimage to the Northeast or Midwest. Bottlecraft was the first shop to give me local access to such sought-after specialties, and continues to boast an impressive selection of beers you can’t find elsewhere in the county (even as Heady Topper and Pseudo Sue have become more accessible).

Place

Bottlecraft North Park

3007 University Avenue, San Diego

In the eleven years since its opening, Bottlecraft has continued to blossom. After moving up the street from its original Little Italy location, the shop expanded into North Park and Liberty Station. Now, it has an Oceanside location, as well as shops in Long Beach and San Luis Obispo. Additionally, owner Brian Jensen has used his background at The French Culinary Institute and his certificates from the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust to expand his shops’ offerings: the North Park location features hundreds of cheeses at its Venissimo Cheese counter, while Oceanside features Shootz Fish x Beer for sustainable seafood.

Place

Bottlecraft Liberty Station

2820 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego

Jensen’s next project, Bock, will soon open in the former Hamilton’s location in South Park. I have every reason to hope that it will live up to the high expectations created by his Bottlecraft ventures.

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“The large blue-green tendrils of a chalk stick succulent shot forth, mimicking a water fountain.”
“The large blue-green tendrils of a chalk stick succulent shot forth, mimicking a water fountain.”

There was good beer in San Diego near the turn of the millennium, back when I was a newly legal drinker, just returned to San Diego from my years at college. But it took some finding. Outside of Liar’s Club (RIP), Callahan’s (RIP), and O’Brien’s, there weren’t really any places to go to get quality local beer other than right from the source — and even that wasn’t easy. I would occasionally make the trek north to Stone for growler fills; and since I was fortunate enough to work near Miramar, I could sometimes make it to AleSmith during the brief late afternoon weekday hours during which they were open. But today’s abundance of tasting rooms, brewpubs, and shops carrying local brews just didn’t exist. And some of the best breweries appeared to be so intent on remaining small that I would have guessed they were making it difficult to get their beer just to fight their own success.

Later, as more breweries popped up around the county, it sometimes seemed like there was a competition among local breweries to see who could replicate Stone’s success by delivering the hoppiest, highest-ABV IPAs. While there’s plenty of room in the beer world for such ales, a particular beer scene too dominated by one style risks stagnation. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve ordered many a beer based on ABV, but I’ve also had my palate assaulted by beers overbent on trying to be the next biggest, baddest thing. Fortunately, San Diego’s beer scene continues to grow, morph, and improve. Local breweries now offer sours, smoothie-style ales, lagers, and more — without infringing on the plentitude of all varieties of IPAs.

Sponsored
Sponsored
Place

Bottlecraft

2161 India Street, San Diego

Further, there are now plenty of stores where you can find a solid assortment of local brews. But one local chain stands above them all: Bottlecraft. Prior to Bottlecraft’s opening, there were specific beers I’d only ever hear about; they seemed to exist like a fabled white whale, submerged somewhere in a sea of suds. I assumed I’d never taste a Heady Topper or Pseudo Sue without making a pilgrimage to the Northeast or Midwest. Bottlecraft was the first shop to give me local access to such sought-after specialties, and continues to boast an impressive selection of beers you can’t find elsewhere in the county (even as Heady Topper and Pseudo Sue have become more accessible).

Place

Bottlecraft North Park

3007 University Avenue, San Diego

In the eleven years since its opening, Bottlecraft has continued to blossom. After moving up the street from its original Little Italy location, the shop expanded into North Park and Liberty Station. Now, it has an Oceanside location, as well as shops in Long Beach and San Luis Obispo. Additionally, owner Brian Jensen has used his background at The French Culinary Institute and his certificates from the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust to expand his shops’ offerings: the North Park location features hundreds of cheeses at its Venissimo Cheese counter, while Oceanside features Shootz Fish x Beer for sustainable seafood.

Place

Bottlecraft Liberty Station

2820 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego

Jensen’s next project, Bock, will soon open in the former Hamilton’s location in South Park. I have every reason to hope that it will live up to the high expectations created by his Bottlecraft ventures.

Sponsored
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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
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