Explore the Craft Brewery Scene in These 4 San Diego Neighborhoods

When you think of San Diego, some of the first things that come to mind are probably lying out on the sandy beach, enjoying the year-round sunshine, or walking along the beautiful coastline. But this city also has another national legacy. With over 150 breweries located in San Diego, seasoned craft brew fanatics know this city is one of the country’s most renowned beer destinations.

Whether you know everything about stouts, porters, lagers, and IPAs or you just want your pint ice cold, San Diego has a neighborhood with the perfect craft beer establishment for you.

East Village

The East Village neighborhood of San Diego

On one side, East Village sits at the very edge of the Downtown San Diego and Gaslamp neighborhoods; and on the other side, it sits at the inception of the 8 freeway. East Village doesn’t have the business sensibility or the swagger of its neighboring communities, but this recently developed part of San Diego is dotted with high-rise condos, independent coffee shops, sandwich counters, and sushi spots. 

East Village is home to the new state-of-the-art, nine-story San Diego Central Library branch. This neighborhood also has plenty of places where a beer lover can get a pint after dropping off their library books or before catching a Padres game at nearby Petco Park.

Breweries to Check Out:

  • Amplified Ales - A big brewery with equally large aspirations of bringing together all the stuff that make people happy like beer, food, coffee, music, and a sense of community.

  • Half Door - Within eyeshot of Petco Park, Half Door is a traditional pub that’s perfect for a post-game celebration or commiseration, depending on how the Padres play that day.

  • Duck Foot - A gluten-free brewery and kitchen that successfully manages to take the gluten out of the beer without removing any of the taste.

Little Italy

The Ballast Point Brewing Company in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego.

Situated just a couple blocks from San Diego Bay and within walking distance of the Embarcadero, Little Italy features some of the best Italian food in the city, and it’s also home to the city’s best year-round farmers market

This neighborhood is full of authentic restaurants, local shops, art galleries, and other daily necessities. Whether you’re stopping at Assenti’s for a bag of fresh pasta or hitting up Landini’s for a late night slice, you’ll also be within walking distance of at least one of Little Italy’s breweries, if you’re in the mood for a cold craft brew in the neighborhood.

Breweries to Check Out:

  • Stone Brewing Tap Room - Said to be where craft beer originated, this brewery is one of the most popular in the city. Their tasting room in Little Italy is housed within the restored McClintock Warehouse building and offers rotating taps of Stone Brewing beers, year-round beers, and special releases.

  • Ballast Point - Another craft heavy-hitter, their Little Italy location has a patio with covered cabanas and a seasonal menu that pairs their bright, crisp beers with local products and seafood.

  • Bolt - Bolt’s tasting room in Little Italy has 20 beers on tap along with a full kitchen that feeds the needs of the dive bar crowds with more sophisticated palates. It also has a dog-friendly patio, so bring your pup along.

  • Bottlecraft - At Bottlecraft you’ll find bottled selections of local and international beers, and they’ll even pop the top off for you so you can take them to-go. This beer shop and tasting room is also dog-friendly and allows you to bring in your own food.

North Park

The North Park sign.

Whether it’s the indie book shops, local boutiques, farm-to-table restaurants, organic coffee shops, or dive bars, North Park puts it own alternative angle on everything it does. Beer is no exception.

This trendy, walkable neighborhood is one of the most brewery dense parts of San Diego, which makes it perfect for a beer crawl. In between drinks, you can stroll along 30th Street to check out the murals that separate North Park from other San Diego neighborhoods. While there are well over a dozen breweries in this inland community, there are a handful of tried and true standouts.

Breweries to Check Out:

  • Mike Hess Brewing - Mike Hess’s tasting room in North Park is known for mixing a solid beer lineup with an ongoing rotation of art shows, trivia nights, and special events, including their annual Girl Scout cookie and beer pairing.

  • Thorn Brewing - North Park’s version of the neighborhood bar where everyone knows your name and your favorite craft beer. 

  • Rip Current Brewing - Rip Current is laid-back and beachy; their beers and this brewery’s vibes are an embodiment of San Diego’s easy-going lifestyle.

Mira Mesa

The taproom of Alesmith's production facility.
The taproom within Alesmith's production facility. Photo by Liannadavis / CC BY-SA 4.0

Mira Mesa is a suburban neighborhood located about half an hour north of Downtown San Diego. This part of the city is packed with parks like Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve  as well as single-family homes and shopping centers.

Mira Mesa is more spread out than most other popular brewery-laden neighborhoods, making it easy for tasting rooms and breweries to set up shop just outside of the neighborhood borders.  While these breweries are technically located in Miramar, Mira Mesa has adopted this small strip of businesses and breweries because the Miramar Marine base accounts for a majority of the neighborhood.

Breweries to Check Out:

  • Legacy Brewing Tap and Kitchen - Legacy does a great job by offering local craft beers on tap as well as guest brews from other local brewers. This taproom offers pet-friendly, outdoor patio seating and elevated bar food. 

  • 32 North Brewing Co. - 32 North has a large tasting room with rustic industrial decor and games like cornhole, oversized Connect Four, and giant Jenga to keep the good times rolling.

  • Alesmith - Home of two of San Diego’s most famous beers: the Speedway Stout and Tony Gwynn’s Legacy beer, the .394 Pale Ale.

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