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San Diego Breweries

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San Diego is a beacon on any beer explorer's map! With so many breweries in the county and its own IPA category, it is easy to see why.

The "Craft Beer Capital of America" is a Mecca of breweries and, as of April 2014, the county is home to 87 licensed craft breweries and brewpubs, with 31 more on the drawing boards. The Double India Pale Ale (Double IPA), sometimes called the San Diego Pale Ale is the most notable beer style, but several other specialty beer styles have been pioneered by the county's breweries. Karl Strauss, Ballast Point, The Lost Abbey, Green Flash, and Stone Brewing Co. are just some of the top San Diego breweries that you do not want to miss!

Get comfortable in our sparkling limousine, Aall In Limo & Party Bus will do the driving as answer well as help you plan a perfect beer tasting day.

Pick-up & Planning
45m - 1hOur chauffeur will pick up your group and help you plan the breweries and go to spots.
Beer Tastings
1h - 3h Enjoy local beer tastings and demonstrations at several breweries in San Diego.
Beer & Food
1h - 2h Pick the best place to dine/lunch at one of the breweries, and enjoy more beer tasters.
Driving Back Safely
1 hour- 2 hours Our driver will safely drive you back.
*Please keep in mind that this is just an estimated brewery tour itinerary. The tours may be customized in any way you choose and could differ depending upon events or specials. Our drivers will be happy to help you choose your own itinerary for a special limo beer tasting tour throughout San Diego.

Each brewery has its own history, worth knowing. To find out which of the breweries you would like to visit please click on the logos. This way you will find out more about each brewery.

San Diego has been producing large quantities of beer, supplying 35% of the beer produced in the state in the late 40s. However, local brands were pushed out of the market as time passed and national conglomerates such as Anheuser-Busch, Coors and Miller began taking their place. Beer production was ceased in 1953 in the City of San Diego and beer would not be brewed commercially in the region again until 1987!

However, with the help of the vibrant brewing culture in the region and some changes in the statewide legislation, several local brewers/entrepreneurs started producing beers that brought a whole new plethora of flavors, textures and tastes that, in time, have gained notoriety worldwide. Today, San Diego is a leader in craft brew tourism and is home to over 60 breweries.

Brewing has been one of the fastest-growing business sectors in San Diego. Beer-related tourism is an important part of San Diego and the city is described by many as a "beer city destination". Many breweries offer tours of their tasting rooms and facilities and these tours are very common in the county. The local beer scene is best showcased by the San Diego Beer Week, launched in 2009, which is now a 10-day county-wide festival. Fostering knowledge about the area's brewing heritage, the festival kicks-off with the San Diego Brewers Guild Festival and continues with hundreds of large and small events hosted by SD's nano-breweries, breweries, pubs and alehouses.

Other key events include the San Diego International Beer Festival, the San Diego Beer Festival, the San Diego Festival of Beer and the Strong Ale Festival in December.

At this year 2014 World Beer Cup, San Diego brewers earned 11 medals! There were 94 categories of beer out of which San Diegans won 4 gold medals, 4 silver medals and 3 bronze medals. The competition was rough, as 1,447 breweries entered 4,918 beers from 62 countries! 22 judges from 32 countries determined the winners, which are listed below:

  • Habitus by Mike Hess Brewing Co. - Gold
  • Old Ale 2013 by AleSmith Brewing Co. - Gold
  • Islander IPA by Coronado Brewing Co. - Gold
  • Sculpin IPA by Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits / Old Grove - Gold
  • Framboise de Amorosa by The Lost Abbey - Silver
  • Old Scallywag by Coronado Brewing Co. - Silver
  • The Pugilist by Societe Brewing Co. - Silver
  • Shark Bite Red by Pizza Port Bressi Ranch - Silver
  • May the Port Be With You by Pizza Port Solana Beach - Bronze
  • Hop 15 by Port Brewing Co. - Bronze
  • Aged Navigator Dopplebock by Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits / Home Brew Mart - Bronze

The World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster, Mid-Size Brewing Company category was won by the Coronado Brewing Company. SD brews also stole the show at the San Diego International Beer Festival this year. Pizza Port won the 2014 Champion Brewery award for winning a total of 4 medals and besting 190 other breweries from across the globe. The Best of Show award was snatched by Port Brewing's Shark Attack, selected from all entries in the competition. The winner also became the proud holder of the San Diego Brewers Guild Trophy.

Good beer drinking experiences are akin to tasting fine wine or single malt scotch, but how do you identify good beer flavors from bad beer flavors when there are so many beers on the market? Understanding which beers might taste better to you and how to serve each beer so that it is at its optimal flavor can go a long way in labeling which beers taste better. You can also take the following steps to educate yourself better on the plethora of beer flavors and each of their characteristics:

  • Learn about the basic ingredients of beers.
  • Familiarize yourself with the styles of beer.
  • Try different beers.
  • Try a stronger tasting beer.
  • Try a lighter beer.
  • Try cask-conditioned beer.
  • Try beer from different countries.
  • Drink the beer at the correct temperature suggested for the variety.
  • Use the right glassware for drinking beer.
  • Have the right atmosphere when enjoying a beer.

There are 4 main categories of beer, namely:

  • ales/porters/stouts (top fermentation)
  • lagers (bottom fermentation)
  • wheat beer (top fermentation)
  • wild fermentation/lambic

The variety or style of the beer impacts the taste. If you have only tried very commercial, bland varieties, chances are you are not too fond of some varieties. Beer taste is considered to be measurable on a spectrum of 3:

  1. malty beer (sweet)
  2. hoppy beer (bitter)
  3. dark beer (heavily roasted malt), to pale and heavy (more alcoholic), to light (session)

Some beers might have some bitterness to them from the hops and tannins, but this bitterness should never reach acridity! Few people would like that taste regardless of their love of beer.

Varieties and Their Flavors

So, how does each variety of beer taste like? Below you will find the flavors each of the 4 categories of beer mentioned above possesses:

  • Ales, porters and stouts (English style): fruitier flavors (strawberry, orange, dessert apple flavors, sometimes a butterscotch flavor in ales from northern England and from Scotland); coffee and chocolate flavors can be detected in some of these beers
  • Lagers (German style): aroma of new-mown hay, fresh bread, cookies, caramel, varying flavor overtones of both the malt and the hops; crisp beers
  • Wheat beers: varying flavors dependent on the source of yeast (yeast from South German beers can have such flavors as banana, bubblegum, and clove); tart and refreshing to taste
  • Wild fermentation using yeasts from the air (lambics): acidic, similar flavors to rhubarb, fruit; funky or sour flavor

Even craft beer can go "bad" under normal conditions and the quality of beer starts to change as soon as it leaves the brewery. You should be able to send back any beer that you are unsatisfied with! All beer craft enthusiasts should know that not all beer is created to be equal. There is a distinction between bad beer and personal preference. Common ways that beer is mistreated include:

  • storage at improper temperatures
  • serving with no glass/dirty glass/wrong glass
  • serving at improper temperatures
  • serving from contaminated draught lines

It is never enjoyable to send a beer back, but when it has become obviously papery, waxy or otherwise well oxidized, you should not refrain from refusing it. Emphasize on recognizing the signs of bad beer, do your research and try to understand when something must be acted on.

If you are still not convinced to try out craft beer, here are 10 reasons for you to do so

1. Craft beer tastes better! - craft brewers spend their time focusing the quality of their beer rather than focusing on their marketing campaigns and stock prices.

2. More alcohol! - most craft beers range from 5-10% ABV (alcohol by volume), but some craft beers can reach 20%, 30%, and even 40% ABV!

3. Fewer trips to the bathroom!

4. Health benefits! - craft beer contains more nutrients than wine, some soluble fiber, some B vitamins, a range of antioxidants and it is also the richest source of silicon.

5. More choices! - there are almost 1,600 craft breweries throughout the United States and they are not making the same old beers, either.

6. Less expensive! - the cost per drinking session can be much lower if you drink craft beer.

7. Fewer calories!

8. Great beer makes for great times!

9. Meet the people making the beer!

10. Craft beer and good food go hand in hand! - pairing craft beer with fine cuisine is become a hugely popular trend in the food industry.

Choosing to go on a brewery tour with your friends means that you will be able to enjoy the brewery experience in a safe and responsible way. Nobody will have to worry about being the designated driver while the rest of the group enjoys samples of beer.

At Aall In Limo & Party Bus, we aim to provide the best brewery tour experience in San Diego! Our knowledgeable chauffeurs will take you to the most-happening breweries in SD and additionally, can recommend places worth hitting up for grabbing some food before and after your brewery hopping. Call 858.336.1894 and book your limo brewery tour now!