Thursday, December 31, 2020


2020 was a weird, awful year and I am glad it is over. There were some bright spots, and I want to highlight a few breweries that adapted to 2020's realities. These are in no particular order, not exhaustive, and are based on my limited look and exposure to San Diego craft beer. My apologies for any oversight or omission, of which I am sure there are many.

AleSmith Brewing Company. AleSmith reintroduced its IPA in 16 oz cans and this beer is great. AleSmith updated the beer's hop mix, adding in some Citra. This is a classic West Coast IPA. AleSmith also released AleSmith For Hope hazy IPA, the proceeds of which go to frontline workers and their families. AleSmith has been outstanding since its formation. It is no surprise it managed to stand out during a pandemic but found a way to gave back, too. 

Societie Brewing. I, like many, worried about Societie's future when co-founder and brewer Travis Smith departed in early 2019. Misspent worry; Societie thrived. Its canned beers and beers for draft are distributed throughout San Diego and beyond. Best of all its beers remain excellent. The standard, year-round beers like Pupil and Harlot excel, but Societie has outdone itself with its canned special releases like Agreeable Folk and World of Wonders, and single hop releases like its Motueka IPA. 

Pizza Port. In addition to a dealing with a disjointed brewing schedule due to COVID-19, Pizza Port had to operate a number of popular restaurants on an off, then on, then sort of on schedule, over the past nine months. Pizza Port's restaurants persevered, and its brewing not only kept up with demand, but Pizza Port managed to release multiple special releases and collaborations, most of which were fantastic IPAs. I have discussed these IPAs before, but beers like Campgrounds or Secret Swami's made stay-at-home/drink-at-home easier.

Mike Hess Brewing. My COVID-19 lifeline. As soon as COVID-19 hit, Mike Hess started a promotion of any beer in a 32 oz mini growler for $5. While other breweries abandoned Ocean Beach, Mike Hess stayed open, stayed safe, adhered to rules, and looked after its patrons and community. Oh, and its Single Fin hazy IPA is a great, everyday beer. 


harrich said...

I bought a case of The Pupil at Costco for about $30 a few months ago. Money well spent. Now if they could just find time to brew The Apprentice...

Beer Rover said...

I am all for 16 oz cans of Apprentice!