Ballast Point Tasting Room & Kitchen
Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits is a craft brewery with multiple locations across San Diego. The 9,000sqft Little Italy outpost was Ballast Point’s third location, but the company’s first location with both a brewery and restaurant, and it’s got a 50 tap tasting room and a lineup of beer-friendly (and beer-inclusive) menu items. Expect dishes like pretzel bites served with Sculpin beer cheese, Commodore stout-battered fish & chips, and Sea Monster-marinated bone marrow with rosemary toast. In addition to brewing its signature beers, the Little Italy location also serves as a “lab” for developing new beers, and for Ballast Point employees to try their hands at brewing as well.
Ballast Point is undoubtedly one of San Diego’s most beloved beer institutions, helping to shape the craft brew scene at both a local and national level. Thanks to an expansive indoor-outdoor space decked out with private cabanas ideal for large groups, the brewery’s family-friendly tasting room/restaurant in Little Italy is perfect for whittling away an afternoon. Beer lovers can choose from over 50 on tap—ranging from the award-winning Sculpin IPA (a hoppy beer with hints of apricot, peach, mango, and lemon) to the crisp, complex California Kölsch and refreshingly tangy Wahoo White—but the wine list is just as comprehensive and well-thought-out. Hearty bites and entrees mean you won’t go hungry either, thanks to Pretzel Bites dunked in Sculpin beer cheese, the Ballast Point Burger enhanced with sauerkraut and IPA pickles, and Beer Steamed Mussels (they use Wahoo White!) with salty, meaty bits of Spanish chorizo.
How to book: Walk-ins only, although making reservations is recommended for large groups by calling 619-255-7213.
Of all the staple beers made by San Diego breweries—the Red Trolley Ales, the Speedway Stouts, the Arrogant Bastard Ales—none are as nationally ubiquitous and uniformly delicious as Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA. And yet, while Sculpin consistently ranks among the best beers in the country, the brewery hasn’t rested on its laurels: of its three current locations, Ballast Point uses its spot in Little Italy purely for experimentation in the hopes of creating San Diego’s next truly iconic beer. In the meantime, enjoy the re-release of Watermelon Dorado and Swingin’ Friar Pale Ale. Order from your location for pickup or delivery.