If you’ve ever wondered what makes a Belgian ale taste so different from an American ale, this is the place to hone your palate. As one of the fermentation industry’s most important suppliers of liquid yeast, White Labs’ tasting room hosts both casual beer drinkers and hardcore beer nerds with equal aplomb. They offer free brewery tours at 2 pm and 3:30 pm every Friday and Saturday, with no reservation required. Afterward, you can head to the tasting room to experience how much yeast impacts the beer's flavor profile.
After opening a successful brewery in Brazil in 1999, owner Tiago Carneiro and his brother José set their sights northward to San Diego. First launching Novo Brazil Brewing in Chula Vista in 2015, they followed up with Novo Brazil Restaurant at Otay Ranch Mall, a tasting room in the Market on 8th in National City, and a brewpub in Imperial Beach. A quartet of core beers—Mango Fruit IPA, Momo Haze Hazy IPA, Ipanema DIPA, and Corvo Negro Russian Imperial Stout, are available throughout the year. Another half dozen rotate in and out periodically. You can also find Novo Brazil beer on tap at their other project, Nova Easy Kombucha, a tasting room for both beer and booch in the heart of Hippieville, Ocean Beach.
Initially launching as a tenant in the North Park Brewery Igniter, founder Stephanie Eppig created Eppig Brewing as an homage to her great grandfather, who owned a Brooklyn brewery from the late 1800s until it was forced to close during Prohibition. The company has now expanded to three beautiful locations, focusing on artisanal ales and lagers in a family- and pet-friendly environment, where you’re welcome to bring outside food. Local favorite selections include Doppelbock Strong German-Style Lager, Sinister Path Export Stout, and Try This! West Coast pale ale. Order online for pickup or California delivery.
Burgeon, which helped to pioneer Carlsbad’s craft brewing scene, has since opened The Oasis beer garden in Escondido, which is open seven days and hosts a food truck Wednesdays through Sundays; The Arbor in Little Italy, featuring their first scratch kitchen; and The Greenhouse, a gorgeous private event space in Carlsbad. Juice Press hazy IPA with Citra, Nelson and Mosaic hops is always a solid choice, or push the envelope with Dutchman's Pipe Imperial Stout conditioned on Steady State Roasting coffee and Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans, or Clever Kiwi Nelson Dry-Hopped Keller (unfiltered) Pilsner. For menus and to-go options, visit the individual locations page.
Border X is a family affair, founded by brothers David and Marcelino Favela and Marcelino’s two sons, Marcel and Martin. As San Diego's first Latino-owned and operated brewery, they drew inspiration from traditional Latin flavors, rather than imitating popular styles of European beer. Their flagship Blood Saison is a ruby red beauty rich with tart hibiscus flowers and crystal malt. The selection of beers has since expanded to include a trio of stouts, IPAs, and a Black Belgian Saison, earning it a 2020 James Beard Semifinalist nomination along the way.
Mujeres Brew House, San Diego’s first Latina-owned brewery, opened in 2020 with a handful of collaborative brews and guest taps. Since then, they’ve been pouring every Tuesday through Sunday, with events like Thursday Loteria Nights, a Sunday farmers markets hosted by Garden Unidos, and pop-ups featuring local vendors. Check Facebook and Instagram pages for info on what’s pouring and what’s happening.