The best breweries in San Diego attract hops-loving aficionados from all over the world to the city. The city has arguably the best craft beer scene in the U.S., hosting no less than 150 excellent breweries. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re searching for a new favorite IPA, want to meet fellow beer snobs or just enjoy a refreshing lager under the SoCal sun.

    Nationally renowned brews include Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA and Green Flash’s West Coast IPA. You can savor what a true Gold Medal Beer tastes like or try a Belgian at a monastery-themed brewhouse. Whatever your speed, palate or atmosphere preference, San Diego’s craft beer scene will not disappoint.


    Ballast Point

    Home of the nationally recognized Sculpin IPA

    Ballast Point is a famed San Diego brewery, ubiquitously known around the USA for its heavy-bodied Sculpin IPA. Started in the mid-'90s, it's considered one of the OG breweries that have helped build the city's reputation of being the best craft brew scene in the country. Besides Sculpin, make sure to try the easy-drinking Wee Gus and Victory at Sea Imperial Porter.

    Ballast Point has 3 locations around the city, each offering a unique experience. For delicious Italian food and beer, head to the Little Italy location. Homebrew aficionados should visit the Home Brew Mart just north of Old Town. Join a tour of the actual brewery to witness the beer-making process and bottling in full flow.

    photo by Four Brewers (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Green Flash Brewing Company

    For a hops-heavy evening in Sorrento Valley

    Green Flash Brewing Company was at the forefront of the American IPA movement in the mid-2000s, making it a must-visit for all craft beer aficionados. The West Coast IPA is the brewery’s most recognized beer, though heavy-hitting Palate Wrecker and citrus-inspired Saturhaze Hazy Session should not be overlooked.

    Located in the non-descript Sorrento Valley, Green Flash Brewing Company offers a well-priced beer list and a pleasant outdoor patio for enjoying the famed SoCal sunshine. Take a tour of the massive brewhouse or enjoy your brew of choice while sampling local snacks from food trucks surrounding the brewery.

    Location: 6550 Mira Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92121, USA

    Open: Wednesday–Friday from 3 pm to 8 pm, Saturday–Sunday from noon to 5 pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

    Phone: +1 858-622-0085


    photo by Nehrams2020 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Coronado Brewing Company

    Brewing beech-inspired beers since 1996

    Coronado Brewing Company started on the namesake peninsula in 1996 and has since evolved into one of San Diego's most awarded breweries. With a brewpub and restaurant part of its portfolio, you have plenty of options to try their signature brews.

    Coronado’s signature citrus and tropical notes are vibrantly present across the breweries core series beers, with Orange Avenue Shandy and Leisure Lagoon selling out regularly. You can also grab a case of Salty Crew and explore Mission Bay in a rental pontoon.  For a unique twist to your morning coffee, try the Early Bird Cold Brew Cream Ale – brewed in partnership with Bird Rock Coffee Roasters.

    Location: 1205 Knoxville St, San Diego, CA 92110, USA

    Open: Friday–Saturday from noon to 8 pm, Sunday–Thursday from noon to 7 pm

    Phone: +1 619-275-2215



    San Diego’s most awarded brewery

    AleSmith continues to take home the Champion Brewery award year after year, and it's easy to understand why, once you try their diverse selection of stouts, IPAs, and ales. Established as a tiny 15-barrel brewery in Miramar, the company now boasts a state-of-the-art headquarters that pumps out 15,000 plus barrels a year.

    Universally excellent and incredibly well-balanced are the key adjectives to describe AleSmith’s beer menu. The marquee attractions are the signature Speedway Stout Russian Imperial and Horny Devil Belgian Strong Golden Ale, both of which highlight the brewery’s European-inspired roots.

    Location: 9990 AleSmith Ct, San Diego, CA 92126, USA

    Open: Wednesday from 1 pm to 6 pm, Thursday–Friday from 2 pm to 8 pm, Saturday from noon to 8 pm, Sunday from noon to 5 pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

    Phone: +1 858-549-9888


    photo by Nehrams2020 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Alpine Beer Company

    Take a hike to this high-elevation IPA oasis

    Alpine Beer Company is a hops-centric brewery in the foothill town of Alpine, well worth the 30-minute drive east of San Diego. Voted in 2015 as the 6th-best brewery in the world, hardcore beer fans cannot miss a visit to this gem.

    The Keene Idea Double IPA gets all the hype, but don’t sleep on the honey-noted Nelson Golden Rye IPA and Pour Habits American Porter. The brewery also has a tavern onsite offering dynamite pizza. Join the Alpine Beer Club membership if you want to have early access to exclusive releases before everyone else.

    Location: 1347 Tavern Rd, Alpine, CA 91901, USA

    Open: Wednesday–Thursday from 4 pm to 8 pm, Friday–Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

    Phone: +1 619-445-2337


    photo by Four Brewers (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Modern Times Brewery

    San Diego’s fastest-growing brewery

    Modern Times Brewery burst into the craft beer scene in 2013 and is already gracing the top-50 list for beer sales across the USA. The rapid growth is attributed to the brewery's focus on innovation and making overall fantastic beers, no matter the style.

    Hazy IPA's are Modern Times Brewery's specialty, with the incredibly popular Elara and Sky Party leading the charge. However, what really makes the brewery unique is the in-house coffee roasting facility, which is utilized by the brewmasters to craft specialty coffee-flavoured releases. Modern Times has 2 locations in San Diego – Point Loma and North Park – both offering an airy atmosphere to hang out and delicious pub grub to snack on.


    Border X Brewing

    Latino-inspired brews and food

    Border X Brewing is San Diego’s first Latino-owned brewery, located in the historic Barrio Logan. Drawing inspiration from traditional Mexican flavors such as hibiscus and agave, the brews take refreshing and easy-drinking to a new level.

    Start your tasting experience with the flagship Blood Saison before transitioning to the light Puesto Mexican Negra lager. Border X Brewing has indoor and outdoor dining, along with regular live music and a stylish taproom perfect for a fun night out with friends. It's dog-friendly, so make sure to bring Fido to the community-oriented atmosphere. Also, don't leave without trying the fantastic homemade guacamole.

    Location: 2181 Logan Ave, San Diego, California 92113, USA

    Open: Thursday–Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm, Saturday–Sunday from noon to 6 pm (closed from Mondays to Wednesdays)

    Phone: +1 619-501-0503


    The Lost Abbey

    Where locals go for one-of-a-kind brews

    The Lost Abbey is an offshoot brewery of the famed Pizza Port brand, specializing in unique Belgian-inspired beers you might not find anywhere else. Make sure to take a full day trip north of the city and stop at all 3 of the brewery’s locations – all have phenomenal outdoor dining options.

    For sour lovers look no further than Duck Duck Gooze, or the Carnevale Brett Saison. If you are into 'farmhouse funk', give the wild Red Barn Farmhouse Ale a try, or grab a bottle of heavy-hitting Judgment Day as a great Halloween gift. Opening hours are limited, so make sure to plan ahead before showing up.


    Thorn Brewing

    Enjoy a stellar array of IPAs

    Thorn Brewing has made a name for itself with a portfolio of hops-focused IPAs, and an eagerness to experiment. Initially founded in the North Park neighbourhood as the local watering hole, it has now expanded to 3 branches and over 50 beer options.

    Relay IPA and Hopster Pot Hazy IPA are the 2 beers to start with before transitioning to easy-drinking Barrio Lager or the Spicy Maya dry Irish stout. If you’re up for something really unique, try the OG HighPA, a funky infused session pale ale. Indoor/outdoor dining is available at all locations and beers can even be delivered to you either by the keg or case.


    Viewpoint Brewing

    The city’s best brew with a view

    Viewpoint Brewing has arguably the best view of any brewery in San Diego, overlooking the San Dieguito Lagoon. Its decadent food menu partnered with an array of easy-drinking brews makes for an unbeatable atmosphere.

    Big Hat Blonde is a dangerously crushable beer best made for day-drinking with friends. The Mango Passionfruit Seltzer is a nice low-carb option, while the Cool Kids Hazy showcases a West Coast twist on New England hops. Don’t leave without trying the dynamite burger and smoky brisket.

    Location: 2201 San Dieguito Dr Suite D, Del Mar, CA 92014, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from noon to 9 pm (closed from Saturdays to Mondays)

    Phone: +1 858-356-9346

    Ryan Thomas McNutt | Contributing Writer

    Start planning your trip

    Why book with

    Keep exploring


    United States of America

    Travel alert

    Check COVID-19 restrictions.

    Find out more
    Back to top