Neighborhoods in San Diego are often recognized according to the quality of beer they brew. Craft beer runs through the veins of each San Diegan, and each microbrewery comes with its unique selection of craft beer.
Much like the rest of San Diego, North Park has developed notoriety for its high-quality beer. While the neighborhood also brings coffee, indie shops and music to life, its true pride is the collection of brewpubs it has to offer.
Traditional breweries in North Park have become well-established, but this does not mean that other up-and-coming breweries have lower quality beer. The best beers in North Park can be recognized by the awards they’ve received.
In order to create this list, each brewery was considered by its selection of award-winning beer and the people of North Park’s reviews.
Thorn Street Brewery
Home to the December Nights Imperial Red, Thorn Street Brewery is a North Park favorite. Their collection of stouts, lagers and IPA’s is truly unique. Take, for example, the roasted coffee flavoring they have in their stout selection, thanks to the chocolate macadamia cream nut coffee beans from Santos Coffee across the street. It’s that type of creative thinking that has made their selection special. Their IPA selection is centered around passion and citrus fruit flavors as a result of paring Columbus, Simcoe, Citra, Centennial, Cascade and Amarillo hops. Some of their IPAs, such as their Triple IPA and Imperial IPA, are dry-hopped multiple times with several different hops to provide a bitter, assertive finish, along with citrus and floral flavors. While their lager selection is also unique, what really sets them apart is their ales. If one is looking for a great selection of ales, then Thorn Street Brewery is highly recommended.
Mike Hess Brewing Company
With three different locations in San Diego and 21 awards in major contests, Mike Hess is a clear winner. It might be a crime to visit North Park without visiting Mike Hess. The lineup of award winners should be enough to inspire the beer enthusiast’s tongue. In the 2016 World Beer Cup, Mike Hess’s Claritas Kolsch won the gold medal in the Kolsch category. American pubs have taken on German styles like the kolsch, and Mike Hess has followed by creating this authentic beer that features fruit-like aromatics with medium hop bitterness and a beautifully light body. Another World Beer Cup winner is their Habitus Double IPA. This Rye holds up to the characteristics of any rye beer. The spicy, earthy notes derive from the dry-hopping process, wherein they pair Sterling and Chinook hops. The bitterness is noticeable, but the spicy characteristics breach consistently and provide an infamous rye finish. These two award-winning beers are a testament to the abilities of Mike Hess Brewing Company. If one is looking to visit a well-established, well-loved brewery, then Mike Hess Brewing Company in North Park is your destination.
Belching Beaver Tasting Room
The first priority at Belching Beaver is the ingredients they use, as is the case at any brewery, but they have the reviews and awards to prove it. Their Beavers Milk Stout and their Peanut Butter Milk Stout are well-loved. Between them, they have won two gold medals, one silver medal, and one bronze medal through the World Beer Championships. Roasted aromas and a variety of malts make both of these stouts incredibly tasty and incredibly unique. Other honorable mentions within their core beer lineup include the Rabid Beaver Rye IPA (Gold Medal, WBC 2014), Dammed! Double IPA (Gold Medal, WBC 2014), and the Hop Hwy IPA (Silver Medal, WBC 2014). These IPA’s are packed with a variety of unique hops, yet the bitterness of these ales doesn’t compromise the flavoring. The meticulous attention to detail Belching Beaver practices is the reason they have such a successful brewery. If you’re looking to visit a brewery that puts quality above all else, then the Belching Beaver Tasting Room in North Park is for you.
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