‘Tis the season to crack a frothy one and get merry with friends and family. Did you know that beer especially comes in handy around the holidays? Just think of all the benefits of beer this time of year… potentially awkward family and work parties get lightened up, there is no preparation except to chill it in the fridge before hosting an ugly sweater party, you can make ordinary recipes (hyperlink ‘recipes’ to http://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/cooking-with-beer/index.html) extraordinary, and there are countless special holiday editions (make ‘special holiday editions’ hyperlink to http://draftmag.com/features/25-beers-of-christmas/). Beer season- I think so! Being that San Diego is the craft beer mecca of our country, and possibly the world, we don’t really have a season for extra beer consumption, but for all of you feeling extra keen to drink some crafty brews, you’ve come to the right spot. To follow are my picks for the five best breweries in San Diego (did I hear someone say brewery crawl?) and a standout brew from each. Santa, if you’re reading this, feel free to put these five ales under my tree…
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#5: Ballast Point | Sculpin IPA
Hints of apricot, peach, mango and lemon with a bitter bite make this one of my favorite IPAs.
Three locations in San Diego – Visit
#4: Lost Abbey | Avant Garde Ale
A smooth, crisp beer with a subtle hop presence; this is a great beer to accompany meals.
San Marcos – Visit
#3: Green Flash | Palate Wrecker
This beer will challenge even the biggest hop heads. It’s a double IPA that you’re sure not to forget once your taste buds recover from the punch.
San Diego (Mira Mesa area) – Visit
#2: Ale Smith | Speedway Stout
I must admit- I have two favorite beers and this is one of them. I’m the type of girl that likes a breakfast beer for a treat when out camping and this beer fulfills every breakfast beer drinker’s desires. Strong flavors of espresso and dark chocolate give this stout a robust body that warms the soul from the gullet-out.
San Diego (Miramar area) – Visit
#1: Stone – Arrogant Bastard
Alas- my other favorite beer. This strong ale has a complex blend of vanilla, lemon, and grapefruit, with a caramely malt finish. I’ll let the bottle do the talking: “This is an aggressive ale. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth.” But you do- so get one!
Stone is by far my favorite brewery of all time thanks to its extravagant grounds complete with brewery, restaurant (amazingly delicious food), gardens, farm, and tasting room. They are even building a hotel across the street! Who said craft breweries were small and off the radar? If there is one brewery you go to in San Diego- or California for that matter- go to Stone San Marcos.
San Marcos plus other tasting rooms in San Diego/Oceanside – Visit