San Diego is becoming the beer capital of the U.S., with dozens of great microbreweries popping up everywhere. In the past few years, some of the locally brewed San Diego beers have won a number of awards, and beer tourism is beginning to grow in popularity.
Go on an Organized Beer Tour
There are several companies in San Diego that offer private and public tours of the local breweries. One of the best is Brewery Tours of San Diego, which offers daily public tours that will take you to three fantastic San Diego breweries in one day. The tour package includes lunch, transportation, tastings and even a glass as a souvenir. If you prefer, you can arrange for a private group tour, so you can choose which breweries you want to visit. If you’re looking for a high-end luxury option, a company called Another Side of San Diego Tours has VIP tours that will take you to various breweries in a stretch limousine.
Tips for Taking a Brewery Tour in San Diego
The first thing to remember when taking a brewery tour in San Diego is to make sure that you bring your photo ID with you. You might be used to not getting your ID checked most of the time, but the drinking age of 21 is very heavily enforced in San Diego. If you look younger than 30, you will be asked for your ID.
You will also want to bring along some extra cash, as many of the breweries sell bottled beers on the premises, and you might want to take some home with you. As for tipping your guide, 15 percent is a good rate to keep in mind for the guided brewery tours. However, if you go on a tour of the Stone Brewing Company, tips are not required unless your guide did an amazing job and you want to thank him.
Make Your Own Beer Tour
If you feel like going at your own pace, you can make your way to several great breweries on your own. Of course, you don’t want to drive after imbibing, so you can use the public transportation to get to your destinations. The new Sprinter Rail system in north San Diego County will take you close to several great San Diego breweries including Back Street Brewery, Stone Brewery, Green Flash Brewery, Oceanside Ale Works, San Marcos Brewery, Lost Abbey/Port Brewing and many more.
If you’re in downtown San Diego, the famous San Diego trolley rolls past the Ballast Point Brewery, The Firehouse Brewing Company, Oggi’s and many more. There are more delicious beer varieties in this city than you could possibly sample in one day — while still being able to stumble back on the train or trolley to your hotel!
Visit During Beer Week
If you want to enjoy some of this city’s great beers, the best time to plan your trip to San Diego is during San Diego Beer Week in November. During this 10-day festival, all of the pubs, restaurants and breweries host great events and beer tastings so that you can drink your fill of the best local favorites. There are hundreds of Beer Week events held throughout the city, including Pint Nights, Beer Brunches and much more. On the last day of the festival there is the Beer Garden, the official closing event held at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. You can book a hotel package with tickets to the Beer Garden, but make sure you book them well in advance as last year tickets sold out early. The event is usually held during the first week of November.
Have fun sipping a cool refreshing pint of locally brewed San Diego beer and enjoying the friendly culture of this great city.
About the Author: Carter Warren is a freelance writer and long-time San Diego resident. He loves the city and all of the fun activities it has to offer. He suggests visiting Expedia to find other things to do in San Diego.