I have set out on a quest to find the perfect San Diego craft brewery or brewpub.
That is a daunting task in this city; with more than 150 craft breweries in San Diego County, it has more than any other county in the United States. Surely there’s several good ones but I want the prefect one.
My criteria before starting my search is simple:
• It must have good beer. That does not seem too difficult a criteria in this city.
• There must be a lively atmosphere. No sitting on a lonely barstool with the only person available for a conversation being the bartender.
• The place must have at least a few girls; I do not want to hang out with a bunch of dudes with man buns and dogs at their feet.
This article is a work in progress and is being updated as I move along in my search.
North Park Breweries
I began my search for San Diego’s perfect brewpub in volume, North Park. This area northeast of Balboa Park has several craft breweries in a confined area and it seemed a good place to start. I went on a Friday evening, starting about 7 p.m., along University & 30th, and stayed until past 9 p.m.
Here’s my initial impression: I must be missing something. I walked up and down the area peeking into breweries but the most lively spot was not even a brewpub but a restaurant on the corner of 30th and University, Encontro. Now I didn’t expect North Park to be raging like the Gaslamp Quarter, but I certainly anticipated having a bit of difficulty in finding a seat at a bar. That was not the case.
I did have a nice lager at North Park Beer Company but the place was quiet. It certainly was not a singles scene. The place with the most character appeared to be West Coast Tavern in an old movie theater but people were lining up outside of it to pay a cover charge for a show inside the theater and that is not what I wanted so I kept walking. I liked the outdoor patio of Pretzels & Pints, other than it it appears to be more of a friends’ hangout rather than a good meeting and mingling brewery. Mike Hess Brewing looks impressive but nobody was in it. I did not go far enough on University to the Original 40 Brewing Company; when I saw a Target, I pretty much stopped in my tracks because I have a severe case of FOS (Fear Of Suburbia).
It would be unfair to judge and area on just one visit but my initial impression is that I need to keep looking for that perfect San Diego brewery or brewpub.
Point Loma Breweries
I enjoy going for bike rides along the coast and Eppig Brewing at the Point Loma Marina is a good turnaround point for me as I live in the Gaslamp. It’s all outdoor with a patio and those uncomfortable metal bar stools (more on those in another post!) with a very nice view of the boats in the marina. It’s easy to start a conversation with your barstool neighbors – this overall is a very good trait of most bars in San Diego – and while it’s fairly tame it is a good craft beer drinking spot.