San Diego County, California has been called “the Craft Beer Capital of America.” The county is home to more than 100 breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs. Based on 2014 sales volume, four San Diego County breweries rank among the 50 largest craft brewers in the United States. San Diego County brewers pioneered the specialty beer style known as Double India Pale Ale (Double IPA), sometimes called San Diego Pale Ale. Its beer culture is a draw for tourism, particularly during major festivals such as San Diego Beer Week and the San Diego International Beer Competition. San Diego County breweries like Stone Brewing Co., AleSmith Brewing Company and Ballast Point Brewing Company are consistently rated among the top breweries in the world.

San Diego County brewers produce the full range of craft beers, but they are best known for strongly-hopped, high-alcohol beers such as India Pale Ale (IPA), and particularly for an even stronger, hoppier style known as Double IPA. Double IPA beers are made with intensely aromatic, bitter hops, which result in a very bitter beer. A standard mass-produced American beer scores less than 20 on the International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale; an average IPA scores about 60 IBU; and a double IPA commonly scores 100 IBU or higher. The style was pioneered by brewer Vinnie Cilurzo at the now-defunct Blind Pig Brewery in Temecula in 1994; nowadays almost every brewery in San Diego County produces a double IPA. Double IPA has been called San Diego’s signature beer, and some people refer to Double IPA beers as San Diego Pale Ale.

Walking Tour

This specific walking tour starts at the Mission brewing Company heads on over to the Stone Brewing Tap House and wraps up at the Half Door Brewing Company.

First Stop

Mission Brewery
1441 L St
San Diego, CA 92101

Second Stop

Stone Brewing Tap Room
795 J St
San Diego, CA 92101

Final Stop

Half Door Brewing Co.
903 Island Ave
San Diego, CA 92101