San Diego bubbles over with local brews

by Sandra De La Torre

Dustin Michelson, Staff Photographer
Dustin Michelson, Staff Photographer

Beer. It can be the remedy to a long stressful day or the perfect addition to any meal. Regardless of what individuals decide to pair it with, the abundance of beer in San Diego is vast and this can only be attributed to the multitude of breweries that call San Diego home.

The city was ranked No. 14 in The New York Times’ “The 45 Places to Go to in 2012” list, specifically because of its many breweries that pour a diverse range of craft beers every day.

According to the San Diego Brewer’s Guild, a nonprofit organization that seeks to “promote awareness and increase the visibility of fresh, locally brewed beer through education and participation in community events,” there are 36 breweries throughout San Diego County. Though these breweries work toward a similar goal, the services offered vary from place to place. Some serve food and are family friendly, while others are exclusive to individuals who are 21 and older. Some locations even fill growlers.

The San Diego Brewing Company is the closest brewery to San Diego State. The original opened in 1896 but was removed by the Navy in 1942. However, when Scott Stamp and Lee Doxtader opened Callahan’s Pub & Brewery in Mira Mesa in 1989, they felt an itch for expansion. That was when they decided to open a brewery in the name of the once-lost San Diego Brewing Company.

This brewery was the first multi-tap brewhouse in San Diego, meaning it was the first to offer both house and guest beers.

“The biggest change has been experimenting and brewing new kinds of beer,” The San Diego Brewing Company’s general manager Karen Bernauer said.

Dean Rouleau, the company’s brewmaster, serves fizzy concoctions to taste with a variety of pizzas, burgers and sandwiches. The San Diego Brewing Company is also an ideal place for sports fans as it boasts 21 TV screens and happy hour specials.

The Blind Lady Ale House / Automatic Brewing Company is located on Adams Avenue and is an excellent option for students who don’t want to drive far or would like to take public transportation. The alehouse is family friendly and serves food including thoughtfully crafted pizzas and salads. Some meals can be made vegetarian or vegan and much of the produce used is organic and comes from local markets and farms.

Dustin Michelson, Staff Photographer
Dustin Michelson, Staff Photographer

The Blind Lady Ale House also takes extra steps to make sure customers receive the most and the best beer available. According to its website, it is the first certified Honest Pint establishment in Southern California and all glasses used have a pour line. Serving sizes are on display for customers to see.

Hess Brewing is unique, as it is known for being San Diego’s first licensed nano-brewery. Even though it has only been in business since 2010, its popularity is growing among beer enthusiasts and it was mentioned in The New York Times’ list.

While this brewery does not sell food or have a bar, it does provide a tasting room for beer lovers, which is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2-7 p.m., Fridays from 2-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome during these times, however, specific tasting appointments can be scheduled outside the given time frame.

At Hess Brewing, beer enthusiasts can also request special beers be brewed to suit specific tastes. Orders must be placed at least six weeks in advance.

Whether individuals are looking to go out with family or friends, to find food to pair with their brews or to taste different craft beers, San Diego has the brewery for every occasion.

For a map and complete list of all the breweries in San Diego, visit the San Diego Brewer’s Guild website at