By Elias Totah
Summit Staff Reporter
There are so many different fine tasting breweries in San Diego. With 70 operating in the county, San Diego breweries are among the most popular in the country, and they are a hot commodity for local beer tasters.
People who prefer craft beer will fall in love with these breweries and walk away satisfied. There is a ton of great variety and consistent quality on the local spectrum. Larger breweries like Karl Strauss, Ballast Point and Stone are three of the most popular breweries in the county.
Karl Strauss was destined to brew beer, plain and simple. Born in 1912, Strauss grew up around his father’s brewery in Minden, Germany. At age 19, he left home for Bavaria, the brewing capital of Germany, to attend the Technical University of Munich-Weihenstephan. During his tenure there, he earned a degree in the science and practice of malting and brewing, as well as a Master Brewer Certification.
He moved to America to pursue the American dream, and ended up seizing it. Beginning his career at the Pabst Brewing Company on the bottling line in 1939, Strauss ended up being vice president of production. He held the position until he retired in 1983, after 44 years with the company. In 1989, Strauss helped open the doors of Karl Strauss Brewing Company, where he trained the brewers, created the recipes and designed the brewery. He served as master brewer until his death in 2006.
As the oldest surviving brewery in the county, Karl Strauss Brewing Company is often credited with putting San Diego on the craft-beer map. Students who are over 21 can check out Strauss’ brews at the tasting room on Santa Fe Street, just off Interstate 5 in San Diego, or head to the brewery restaurant in downtown on Columbia Street.
Another spectacular brewery is Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits Company. Founder Jack White had a knack for beer in college, and decided to try and make more interesting beer you could not find at a local store or keg party. At this time, White did not have a partner to trade ideas or work with. In 1992, he opened Home Brew Mart, which he filled with supplies and ingredients. Soon after the opening, he found a partner in Yuseff Cherney, a man with the same passion as White. Together, they decided to open a “back room” brewery out of Home Brew Mart. In 1996, Ballast Point was born.
Serving up a range of brews, from its Longfin Lager to its Black Marlin Porter, Ballast Point has two tasting room locations, one in Little Italy and another up in Scripps Ranch. Students who are over 21 should sample Ballast Point’s award-winning India pale ales: Big Eye IPA and Sculpin IPA.
Stone Brewing Co.
Stone Brewing Co. brewed its first beer—Stone Pale Ale—up in San Marcos in 1996.. It’s now the largest brewery in Southern California. Many of Stone’s brews feature alcohol percentages well above average, ranging from 4.2 percent to 13 percent. It’s rated a “world-class” brewery by the two largest beer websites, RateBeer.com and BeerAdvocate.com, and has been named has been the “All-Time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by the readers of BeerAdvocate magazine.
Thankfully, students over 21 don’t have to go all the way up to the brewery’s headquarters in Escondido. Stone recently opened a restaurant in Liberty Station, complete with bocce ball courts.