Beer Issue

When I sat down to write this introduction to our annual issue devoted to all-things beer, I couldn’t help but think to myself, What could I possibly say about the beer scene in San Diego that hasn’t been said a thousand times before?

Don’t get me wrong, we do our best to bring readers timely and informative news on the local brewing scene (our studious beer writer Beth Demmon does a fantastic job in her weekly Final Draught column). Rather, just as the scene itself, it does sometimes seem like there’s an oversaturation of beer news, beer writing and beer tweets these days. 

So I’ll just say this: When I first moved here nearly 20 years ago, the craft beer scene was just starting to really take off and garner national attention. Still, when I would travel to visit friends in places like Portland and Atlanta, San Diego was still primarily known for the more cliché destinations (the beaches, the zoo, SeaWorld, etc.). 

Nowadays, however, when I visit these places, one of the first things people mention when I tell them I’m from San Diego is the beer scene. I’m not huge into beer, but when strangers from other cities mention how they’ve heard about what a great beer scene we have here, it does make me feel proud. In the end, I love that I’m from a city known more for killer IPAs than killer whales. 

For me, that’s what this issue is all about. Celebrating a scene that, even if we don’t regularly participate it in it, we can all still be proud that it’s ours.

—Seth Combs 


beer issue 2018 header

The Beer Issue

I remember my first sip of Arrogant Bastard Ale like it was yesterday. 

I had just moved to San Diego from Atlanta, and Stone’s most famous ale was my first introduction to what was then a burgeoning local beer scene. Some would argue that San Diego’s reputation as a beer destination was already solidified by the early aughts, but for someone who grew up with a rather limited palate—thanks to years of thinking Samuel Adams and Pete’s Wicked Ale (RIP) were craft options—that first mind-blowing sip of Stone’s “aggressive beer” was all I needed to convince me that the hype was real. 

Over 15 years later, San Diego has solidified itself as not only the craft beer destination, but as a city that’s consistently setting industry trends and developing the most coveted brewers in the world. A little over a dozen breweries has skyrocketed into over a hundred. When relatives visit me from out of town, the zoo and Balboa Park often take a backseat to brewery tours and tastings. The community is as passionate as ever, as evidenced by anytime a corporate-owned brewery opens. Yeah, the community can be a little territorial, but they have every right to be.

Cappy intro 2018For this annual issue, our writers took a look at some of the more understated aspects of the industry. From the popularity of music-themed beers and the art design that goes into labels, to the undying attraction to the 40-ounce bottle and brewers returning to San Diego after moving away. There’s even articles on ciders and the future of Cannabis-friendly brews. The whole idea is not to ignore the current trends of the beer scene, but to give the reader an indication as to what might be the next big thing as the industry heads into the future. 

—Seth Combs


  • Flamenco Dinner Show

    The longest running Flamenco Dinner show in Southern California. Enjoy a three-course dinner menu combined with a two-part Flamenco dance performance. Read more

    Dec 14, 2019

    7:00 PM

    Cafe Sevilla



    Family-friendly monthly informal Shakespeare readings with discussion led by San Diego Shakespeare Society. No experience necessary. Tea and scones, clotted cream and jam provided by Shakespeare's Corner Shoppe. Third Sunday of every month. Free. Read more

    Dec 15, 2019

    2:00 PM4:00 PM

    Central Library

    Books Downtown