Even in times of tight budgets, finely crafted beer remains a relatively approachable luxury, and few American regions have more brewing momentum than San Diego County. Maybe it’s time, then, to think about building a beer safari in the land of sunshine, fish tacos and hopped-up American IPAs. Long established craft breweries like Karl Strauss Brewing Company and the cheeky Stone Brewing Company have mentored brewmasters and created demand for some seriously offbeat ales.
The area has long been a hotbed of garage-based hobbyists, so it’s no surprise that the region also has a tradition of dedicated home brewing. The result is a cluster of small breweries, like the tiny but soon-to-expand Hess Brewing.
And there are numerous opportunities for rigorous but never dour beer tastings, at staggeringly comprehensive shops like Bottlecraft Beer Shop & Tasting Room and Pizza Port Bottle Shop, as well as beer-obsessed taverns like Hamilton’s and O’Brien’s and restaurants like Local Habit. Those looking for full immersion can pack a stein for the fourth annual San Diego Beer Week in November. SARA DICKERMAN
"The cheeky Stone Brewing Company," that's funny. Make sure to checkout the slide show related to the above entry, as it gives particular props to Bottlecraft and Hess Brewing.