Last updated 26 December 2018. To get a map of SD breweries, click on the latest West Coaster issue here (I recommend the E-Reader link), then go to the last 8 pages or so. Or if you’re already in SD, you can pick up a physical copy of one of these magazines at most local breweries. List of California breweries’ growler fill policies. This is a spreadsheet run by me – please let me know if you run into any discrepancies. Note that per California law, you can’t get growler fills at bars, as they are only allowed to be filled at the brewery that made the beer. In previous iterations of this guide I grouped breweries into a top tier and a secondary tier. This was easier to do when we had fewer breweries, but now we have so many that it’s a bit harder for me to get a general consensus of where to place things, so I’ve decided to just list any notable brewery/pub/tasting room, grouped by location. Starting north west and working roughly south east: San Clemente (not technically San Diego county but it’s sort of “Honorary San Diego”) Pizza Port, San Clemente Artifex Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas Bagby Burgeon Modern Times, Encinitas Pizza Port, Carlsbad Pizza Port, Bressi Ranch Rouleur Urge, Oceanside San Marcos, Vista, Escondido Wild Barrel Mother Earth Rip Current, San Marcos Churchill’s Pub Lost Abbey Urge, San Marcos Stone, Escondido Solana Beach Pizza Port, Solana Beach Bottlecraft, Solana Beach Rancho Bernardo Abnormal Urge, Rancho Bernardo Sorrento Valley, Miramar Alesmith Amplified, Miramar Pure Project New English Pacific Beach Amplified, Pacific Beach Kearny Mesa Societe O’Brien’s Pub Grantville Benchmark, Grantville Bay Park Benchmark, Bay Park Ocean Beach, Point Loma, Liberty Station Pizza Port, Ocean Beach Modern Times, Point Loma Bottlecraft, Liberty Station Stone, Liberty Station Downtown Resident Bottlecraft, Little Italy Monkey Paw Stone, Downtown University Heights, North Park Small Bar Eppig Tiger Tiger Modern Times Rip Current Toronado North Park Beer Co Bottlecraft, North Park South Park Hamiltons South Park Brewing Co El Cajon Burning Beard Alpine Alpine Beer Co Chula Vista Bar Sin Nombre Thr3e Punk Ales ------------------------ Bottleshops The best bottleshops in the county are Bine & Vine (Normal Heights), Bottlecraft (locations listed above), Olive Tree Market (Ocean Beach) and Holiday Wine Cellar (Escondido). Additionally, most Whole Foods carry a pretty good selection. To get a good idea of what kind of bottles are currently hitting SD, just take a look at the Bine & Vine or Bottlecraft Instagram accounts. ------------------------ Great reuben spots Antonelli’s DZ Akin’s Corvette Diner Milton’s Cheers Deli Tip Top Meats Hungry Bear Sub Shop ------------------------ Asian food I work near Convoy Street (Kearny Mesa), which has a massive selection of asian food, which is most of what I eat, so here are my personal recommendations (note these are mostly lunch suggestions, as I rarely eat dinner along Convoy): Ramen: Nishiki for black garlic ramen, Santouka for toroniku (pig jowl) ramen, Menya for ajitama (Menya is by far my favorite place, but it also has by far the longest wait times – get there during off-hours). Those are all tonkotsu places: for shio, miso, or nagoya I’d recommend Yakitori Yakyudori (I don’t recommend their shoyu or tonkotsu though). Japanese, non-ramen: I don’t really have any cheap Japanese recommendations other than Sushi Yaro. If you’re willing to shell out some coin though I can highly recommend Otan and Okan (yes, they’re owned by the same people), and Yakitori Yakyudori for yakitori (after 5 pm). Korean: Convoy Tofu House for my favorite sundubu. Note that there are two Tofu Houses, both on Convoy, but this one is very specifically named “Convoy Tofu House” (it’s south of Balboa). Thai: Mekong for Issan style Thai and Lao food. If you go to Linda Vista, I also highly recommend Sab-E-Lee (arguably the best Thai food in San Diego), and J&T Street Food (get their “steamed chicken rice”, which is actually khao man gai). Vietnamese: Phuong Trang for pho. Pho Duyen Mai for broken rice dishes, and they have these $4 ribs that they use to make the pho stock that are (usually) fucking awesome. Pho Fusion if you want bo kho. Chinese: Shan Xi Magic Kitchen. Can be a bit busy, so get there early. Get the sheng jian bao. ------------------------ Tips for travelers Keep in mind that the San Diego county is quite large (the size of Connecticut), thus part of the reason I broke it up into regions. Our public transportation is garbage unless your starting and stopping points are all along train/trolley lines, so you’ll generally need to rely on car-based transport. You can get a Lyft pretty much anywhere relatively quickly, unless you’re out in Alpine (you might be able to get one out there, but I wouldn’t rely on it). North Park is your best bet if you want a centralized location with lots of places you can easily walk to. Also, San Diego was one of the first cities to allow almost unrestricted bikesharing and e-scooter proliferation, so we’ve got plenty of those if you need to travel short distances (as of this writing, Bird is the most prolific one, but it’s a fast-changing market so—). If a brewery/bar doesn’t have a tap list posted on their website or social media, a trick that I use is to Google “untappd activity at [name of brewery/bar]”. Usually the first result will be that location’s Untappd listing, and you can often get a decent idea of what’s on tap by looking at the last 24 hours of check-ins. Alpine is a complicated issue that keeps changing over the years, so drop into the SD thread if you have specific questions. Let’s also address Pliny. Pliny bottles are somewhat hard to get – you have to hit a bottleshop soon after they receive a shipment. O’Brien’s and Toronado almost always have Pliny on tap. Seriously though, drink Alpine or Societe or Rip Current or Pizza Port IPAs if they’re on tap. Srs. Say hi to us over in the SD thread. We’re a chatty bunch and love sharing beer with fellow TBers, and can also give a heads up on any local events happening when you make your way here.