San Diego is the city for fun in the sun, so it is any surprise that the city is also known for producing the drink that many crave on a hot summer day? CISL students who love high quality beer have many choices of local brews while living in San Diego. Come find out why San Diego has been called “Little Belgium!”

How can you define the style of San Diego brews? Many find San Diego beers to have a citrus quality, high in alcohol content, and “hoppier” than most beers. (“Hoppy” refers to the “hops” in the beer, which give it a distinct, bold flavor.) Other local beer lovers might argue that you cannot define the beers of SD: the beer culture of the city comes from a group of passionate beer lovers who brewed beer in their own homes, so it is not uncommon to find influences of Belgium, British, and Bavarian brews in local beer. To truly define the style of San Diego beers, you’ll just have to try them!

To find a brewery in San Diego, you do not have to look far. In addition to the breweries listed below, the city is full of restaurants and beer bars that serve local products. Check out Pizza Port in Ocean Beach, Bottlecraft in Little Italy and North Park, or the Yard House (just one block from CISL SD on Broadway) to sample some delicious local beer. If you are staying in SD during November, make sure to check out the can’t-miss San Diego Brewfest.

San Diego Breweries


AleSmith Brewing Company

We owe the popularity of San Diego beers to the passionate home brewers, and AleSmith is a compilation of these ambitious folks: everyone on staff is a member of an award-winning homebrew club.
AleSmith began in 1995 when these local brewers came together to create the brand that is now so popular in San Diego. AleSmith beers are always unpasteurized, have no additives, and are produced using the best ingredients.
To visit AleSmith, you must plan ahead: the tasting room is only open for a short period on Friday and Saturday. The brewery also offers guided tours of the facilities once a month on Saturday at 1 pm, but you must make reservations in advance. There is a small fee for this tour.


  • Hours: Sunday through Friday: 3pm to 5pm, Saturdays: 1pm to 4pm
  • Admission: Tour, flight of samples, and souvenir pint glass: $5
  • Location: 9368 Cabot Drive, San Diego, CA
  • Phone: 858-549-9888
  • Website:

Ballast Point

Ballast Point Brewing Company

Just one year after AleSmith was born, Ballast Point joined the list of San Diego breweries. Ballast Point Brewing Company was born in 1996 when a brewery supply store called the Home Brew Mart expanded to make room for a brewery. In 2005, Ballast Point opened its second brewery in the Scripps Ranch neighborhood.

What is Ballast Point? The name is from the location in Point Loma where European settlers first came to San Diego. For most San Diegans, the name now reflects one thing: delicious beer!

Ballast Point’s two tasting rooms are open for tours and for purchase of its beers. The brewery produces many styles of beer, including Pale Ale, Wheat Beer, and IPA.

Old Grove Brewery Information

  • Hours: Monday through Friday: 11am to 7pm, Saturday: 10am to 5pm
  • Location: 10051 Old Grove Road Suite B, San Diego, CA
  • Phone: 858-695-2739
  • Website:

Linda Vista Brewery Information

  • Hours: Monday through Friday: 11am to 7pm, Saturday: 10am to 5pm, Sunday: 12pm to 4pm
  • Location: 5401 Linda Vista Road Suite 406, San Diego, CA
  • Phone: 619-298-2337
  • Website:

Green Flash

Green Flash Brewery

Opened in 2002, Green Flash is the “newcomer” to the San Diego beer scene. But after over a decade, it has definitely made a name for itself: Green Flash has won numerous awards for its beers, including being named the Number One IPA at the National IPA Championship.

What is a green flash? The green flash is the light you sometimes see the second the sun sets. San Diegans sit and closely watch the sun as it sets over the Pacific Ocean; each of them hoping that they will see this mysterious effect. The green flash may be mysterious, but there is nothing mysterious about the quality of Green Flash beers.


Brewery Information

  • Hours: Monday through Friday: 3:30pm to 7:30pm, Saturday: 12pm to 4pm
  • Location: 1430 Vantage Court, Suite 104 Vista, CA
  • Phone: 760-597-9012
  • Website:


Karl Strauss Brewing Company

If Green Flash is the “baby” of the San Diego brew scene, then Karl Strauss is the father. This brewery opened the Karl Strauss Brewery Restaurant in 1989 and today produces over 30 different types of beer each year, including delicious seasonal beers.

The brewery, located downtown and a short walk from CISL SD and Vantaggio, is currently undergoing construction. However, it is expected to open early in 2013! For now, check out one of Karl Strauss’ SEVEN restaurants throughout San Diego.

Brewery Information



Port Brewing / Lost Abbey

It started as a small craft beer endeavor at the Pizza Port in Solana Beach and quickly became a favorite of San Diegans. Port Brewing Company/Lost Abbey has come a long way since 1992! Owners Vince and Gina Marsaglia opened Port Brewing Company in San Marcos; soon after, they began The Lost Abbey: Belgian-style beers designed to be a very different taste than the Port brews they first began making.

The best thing about Port Brewing and Lost Abbey? It is unpretentious (not snobby). Take a trip to the brewery and look around and you will understand what we mean: the tasting room is in a warehouse, and guests get the experience of tasting beer inside a live, working brewery . . . not just a fancy tasting room.



Brewery Information

  • Tasting Room Hours: Friday: 4pm to 8pm, Saturday: 12pm to 5pm, Sunday: 12pm to 4pm
  • Location: 155 Mata Way, Suite 104 San Marcos, CA
  • Phone: 800-918-6816
  • Website: and



Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens

Is that a gargoyle on the label? It sure is! Stone Brewing Company has made a name for itself since it began in 1996, and this gargoyle has always been their mascot.

Stone began when the founders Steve Wagner and Greg Koch opened the doors to the first Stone Brewery in San Marcos in 1996. The brewery experienced such success in the first ten years that they decided to open a tasting room to the public, which is called Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens. The result? A Modern Gothic style brewery with a beautiful garden and koi ponds.

The brewery offers tours and tasting and also has a restaurant on site. Expect all the delicious fried foods that go well with beer, but don’t expect them to be done in the “fast food” style: everything at Stone is high quality!

Brewery Information

  • Hours: Sunday through Thursday: 11am to 11pm, Friday and Saturday: 11am to 2am
  • Location: 1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido, CA
  • Phone: 760-471-4999
  • Website: