F rom the Mexican border to the Orange County line, San Diego is awash in craft brews like no other place in America. Nearly every neighborhood in the city now boasts at least one -- if not several -- locally owned small breweries. And when it comes to number of craft breweries and consistently mind-melting releases, there's San Diego, possibly Portland, and then the rest of thirsty America.
We have the smugly superior Stone Brewing (who helped put craft beer on the map). The locals-only magnificence coming out of Second Chance Beer Company (headed by award-winning brewer Marty Mendiola). And we're the first permanent home of Danish gypsy brewery Mikkeller. With more than 4,500 employees at 130-plus local craft breweries, it's more than "just beer" to us.
Certain beers put San Diego on the map decades ago, while plenty of new ones keep us there. And if you're visiting for the first time, you have to keep alert for the ultra-local one-offs that only lucky locals can get their hands on. We've got each category covered. It's overwhelming, but if you speak the beers on this list, you'll get around San Diego like an expert.