San Diego, California USA

San Diego is a bit of a craft beer Mecca. With over 300 independent breweries operating out of the area, you’d be doing something very wrong to not find a beer. The city has embraced the craft beer culture. Most bars and pubs will have more craft beer taps than your big megaswill beers. There are plenty of beer festivals and events throughout the year.  Whether it be a dedicated beer festival or a tattoo festival sponsored by craft breweries or music festivals or even art exhibitions, craft beer is there. I’ve been fortunate to visit the area a few times and have sampled from some of the bigger known craft beer houses like Stone Brewing, Green Flash and Ballast Point. On my most recent trip I thought I’d hit up some lesser worldwide known breweries down in the North Park district of San Diego. In preparation, I made a great walking pub crawl. If you have a whole day spare in San Diego, give it a run. I only managed to hit up a few, but next time round, I’ll be sure to get to the rest.

Fall Brewing

some of whats on offer at Fall Brewing

Tasting paddle (Tasting Flight)

  1. Rise Above Czech Pale Lager – A standard crisp Pilsner flavoured lager
  2. Magical & Delicious Hoppy Pale Ale – A big hop forward pale ale. Think a hoppy IPA with a XPA ABV
  3. Fish On Hazy IPA – More West Coast than NEIPA. No real haze but plenty of citrus fruit flavours
  4. Sangria Jazz Hands Berliner Weiss – If the girlfriend who doesn’t like beer likes it, must be good. Tastes a bit like a sangria with soft sourness.
Sampling some of Fall Brewings’ best

The venue has a cool punk/ska vibe with posters from gigs around the area and cool painting of legendary Clash front man Joe Strummer. The brewery has a small tap room with visiting food trucks on weekends. Over a dozen of their beers on tap to sample, you could spend a few hours there easily on a Saturday afternoon before going to a punk rock show.

Little Miss Brewing

Little Miss Brewing tasting flight

Tasting paddle (Tasting Flight)

  1. Raspberry Blitzkrieg – Light fruity kettle sour
  2. Mango Blitzkrieg – Like the raspberry but with a delicious mango flavour
  3. Tropic Thunder – Stone fruit flavoured IPA. Plenty of peach and melon flavours.
  4. Fog Of War – Standard citrus fruit hop driven IPA.
  5. Havoc – Chilean IPA. No idea what that means but had a slight peatness to it and very much malt driven, almost traditional English IPA.
Little Miss Brewing in North Park

This place has a real British vibe highlighted by the massive English flag on the ceiling and old school red phone box in the corner. We were lead to believe they served food hence the detour, they do not have food. But the beer was good and the cast iron looking tap handles were cool. They are also dog friendly and take photos of your pooch to put up on their wall.

wall of puppy pics at Little Miss Brewing

Belching Beaver

Belching Beaver in North Park, San Diego

Tasting paddle (Tasting Flight)

  1. Jason Schwarzbier – Slightly peated roasted flavours in this one.
  2. Brut Willis – A Brut IPA. Kinda get nothing here. Flat. Flavourless. Slightly bitter. Disappointing.
  3. Orange Is The New Vanilla – Milkshake IPA. Orange and vanilla do not work well. The flavours over dominate this beer
  4. Here Comes Mango – Taste buds are fucked but I can get mango in with the hoppy IPA bitterness. Should’ve had this one first maybe.
Belching Beaver tasting flight

Cool taproom. Pretty sure the bartender changed the music to play Aussie band The Smith Street Band purely for our benefit. Apparently this place gets jammed up on a Friday and Saturday night with lines out the door to get in. Over a dozen of their beers on tap plus a merch store. Well worth the stop in for a couple.

Barn Brewery

Finally found a place with food. This hole in the wall is a good spot to watch sport and have a few ales with mates. The burgers and sandwiches were really good. As were the fries. Most of the beers are rotating guest taps with 5 for their core range. With lunch I had their Rooster IPA. A English style IPA with sweet, toffee flavours.

San Diego is spoilt for options when it comes to good beer. That was just a tasting flight of 4 places. Maybe one day I’ll tick all of them off.

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