Our 5 Favorite Ways to Taste San Diego’s Craft Brew Scene

Certain things put cities on the map.

For San Diego, it’s beaches, beauty and…beer?!

That’s right, my thirsty friends – beer. Or, craft beer to be exact.

America’s finest craft brew city isn’t Denver. It aint’ Portland. It’s San Diego, with our 74+ distinct craft breweries, each featuring between 2 to 10 year-round brews.  Not to mention a slew of experimental and seasonal releases.

It can be too much to navigate when you’re thirsty, so we’re sharing our favorite craft brew experiences that are close to La Pensione Hotel – some even within walking distance. (Take that, designated driver!)

Here’s a toast to you and your upcoming adventures in San Diego’s craft brew scene. Rest assured, you’ll never be thirsty again.

Bottlecraft LIttle ItalyBottlecraft Bottle Shop (Little Italy – two blocks away)

Tired of grocery six-packs? Aren’t we all. At Bottlecraft, you’ll find hundreds of beer from around the globe and can sample a rotating schedule of craft beer flights. Browse their neverending selection and build your own four-, six- or eight-pack with whatever beer you’d like. Their shelves are always well-stocked and their calendar is full of fun events featuring professional brewers and local industry insiders.

Ballast Point Little ItalyBallast Point Tasting Room and Kitchen (Little Italy – three blocks away)

The largest brewery in Little Italy, Ballast is known for covering many styles of brews – from imperial stouts to IPAs, lagers to ales, chili beers to smoke beers, cask ales to barrel-aged beers. They even introduced a pale ale named Little India (after Little Italy and the main street that runs through it) with additions of basil, thyme, olive oil and rosemary. Coolest part is their 50-tap tasting bar. Plus, they’ve got a mighty menu of both brewpub faves and chef-driven dishes.

Craft and Commerce Little ItalyCraft and Commerce (Little Italy – one block away)

Though most popular for their craft cocktails, hipster bartenders and trendy old-world décor, Craft and Commerce serves up a mighty collection of craft beers from breweries around San Diego. The reason they are one of our faves (other than they are so close to us)? They serve beer cocktails and you can get half-off local beers for happy hour!

Brew Hop Tours San DiegoBrew Hop Tours San Diego

Some of the best beer locations are spread all throughout the county, so it can be tough to explore them without having to call an Uber or taxi to get you from place to place. Instead, we recommend getting your hops on by hopping on a daily public tour with Brew Hop Tours. They head to select breweries around the region (including Coronado Brewing Company, Stone Brewery Co, Societe Brewing Company, and AleSmith) and change it up depending on day and time. They also do custom tours for larger groups.

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 3.07.08 PMSD Drinkabout

Some of San Diego’s most popular craft beer locales are in Uptown. This area is made up of neighborhoods that are north of downtown, such as Normal Heights, North Park and South Park. On the third Wednesday of each month, Drinkabout offers a complimentary shuttle between 8 beloved drinking holes, including Toronado, Hamilton’s Tavern and Blind Lady Ale House. While there are no actual breweries on the route, you’ll be able to taste the beers from a few dozen local breweries at the bars that are included.

Beer Bonus: Are you a do-it-yourselfer and want to drink your way through San Diego on your own? Check out the Local Wally’s Drink Up San Diego.