The American Homebrewers Association’s annual National Homebrewers Conference is just around the corner! From June 9th to 14th, homebrewers from all over the country will gather at the Town & Country Resort in San Diego to enjoy great beer.

Whether you’re a homebrewer heading to NHC to fine-tune your brewing skills, sample a variety of homebrew, or an enthusiastic guest of an AHA member, you’ll want to check out San Diego’s fantastic beer scene. The city’s breweries and bars feature diverse and delicious beers that will make you want to come back to San Diego again and again. (Still trying to make up your mind whether or not to go? Please reference this useful chart to help you decide.)

AHA will run complimentary shuttles on Tuesday, June 9th and Wednesday June 10th to a series of great bars and breweries. Bring your AHA membership card to receive discounts on your purchases all week long at those locations!

If you don’t have a car, and you feel the urge to get to a brewery - any brewery - after the free shuttle days on the 9th and 10th, you’re in luck! Town & Country is walking distance from the Fashion Valley trolley station. Once you hop on the trolley you can get to Gordon Biersch, Oggi’s, or BJ’s in Mission Valley without much trouble.

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With over ninety breweries in San Diego, beer-lovers have a wide variety of brews to sample and bars to visit. Here, Ed Little, President of the homebrew club, Foam on the Brain, shares his recommendations for the best beer in San Diego, many of which are located in the North Park area near 30th Street.

Here are Ed's San Diego Favorites:


Aside from the beer selection that will make it hard for you to decide, try the pork belly sandwich, which gets rave reviews. They also have a Vietnamese-style Banh Mi sandwich on the menu if you want to go in the direction of the exotic. When you’re here, be prepared to try a beer you haven’t had before. It gets loud on the weekends, so good thing NHC is during the week!

Mike Hess Brewing

Everyone loves the chill warehouse vibes of this brewery, and one of the coolest things about it is that Mike Hess actually built the brewery himself with help from his brother. Mike has spoken at the NHC in the past about becoming a professional brewer, so if you have dreams about going pro, you’ll have to stop by. Mike Hess Brewing has two locations: one in Miramar and the other in the heart of North Park, just off of 30th Street and University Ave.

Belching Beaver Brewing

Also known as “the beave,” this Vista, CA brewery is paradise for lovers of stouts and porters. Everyone raves about this brewery’s peanut butter stout - and just so you’re aware, you can add a scoop of ice cream to it! Belching Beaver will make a beer float out of any beer that you’d like. Most nights you’ll see a food truck or two parked outside too.

Thorn Street Brewery

With a great rotation of food trucks and extensive selection of beers, Thorn Street is a neighborhood go-to for San Diego residents. It’s got great ambiance and a back patio that you can escape to if you want the feeling of being out of the city for a moment. An added bonus: Thorn Street has Wednesday night trivia!


If you’re in San Diego on a Monday night either before or after the conference, Toronado offers $3 pints on Mondays. Every type of craft beer drinker is happy with the options here, and the clientele is mostly local. Try their burger or head there for Sunday brunch. They have also been known to have Pliny the Elder on tap. Don't miss Toronado's second location in San Francisco next time you visit the Bay Area!

Rip Current Brewing

All their beers are named with a surfing theme, so you’ll definitely feel like you’re close to the beach here! If you’re a hophead, good news - there are loads of IPAs here. If not, don’t worry, there are plenty of options for you, too. Try the Marine Layer Hefeweizen and anything on their menu that involves cheese (mac n’ cheese, grilled cheese, cheese fries all get strong reviews.) Visit one of their two locations in San Marcos or in San Diego.

Modern Times Beer

Step into Modern Times and you’ll get a blast from the past! The North Park location has things like floppy disks for coasters, a bar built from VHS movies, and all kinds of different lamps on the ceiling. There are even floppy disk mosaics on the walls! Try the Black House on Nitro, and order tacos from next door if you’re hungry.

Stone Brewing Company

Last but not least, consider checking out Stone Brewing Company if you haven’t been there before. It’s Southern California’s largest brewery and also one of the largest in the United States. When you go home, you’ll be able to tell all your friends that you got the chance to go there! (They’re also really nice - meet one of our friends who works there!) Tour their brewery in Escondido and visit one of their many locations in Pasadena, Oceanside, or around San Diego.

This article was written by Cathy Trainor, the Community Outreach Lead at Noble Brewer, a subscription-based beer club whose members receive quarterly shipments of beer inspired by local award winning homebrewers.

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