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I’m a beer guy. Specifically American craft IPAs.
And there is nowhere that does locally brewed craft beers better than San Diego,which this list gets exactly right:
As part of a research project, back in December, I started compiling a list of the nation’s beer meccas; those areas where a beer aficionado can go and taste to his/her geeky little heart’s desire and know that almost every stop will be filled with wonders.
So, after making my own preliminary notes, I Googled “Ten Best American Beer Cities” – and two variations thereof – and started to read.
For the first minute or so, I was puzzled. Then baffled. Then appalled. Just for an example, GQ gave the title of America’s best city to Los Angeles, a city that sports no real nationally-prominent breweries (with apologies to everyone who brews there) but has a fair number of mid-tier, fledgling, or sometimes downright mediocre producers. Travel + Leisure at least came up with a plausible Numero Uno, Portland, Oregon, but ranked what is pretty much inarguably the nation’s best single metro area, San Diego, as eighteenth, behind the likes of Savannah, Austin, Charleston, South Carolina(!)(?), and Anchorage! I read a total of 23 lists, including one in which the author names a tiny, ramshackle brewpub in rural Montana in his top five and left off Portland and San Diego altogether.
I was stunned.
On San Diego:
With superstars like AleSmith, Green Flash, Coronado, Port, Lost Abbey, Alpine, Stone, Societe, Ballast Point, Iron Fist, Mike Hess Brewing, the remarkable and venerable Karl Strauss Brewing, and the emerging AutomaticBrewingCo., and Rip Current, it’s inarguable that SDCA has more sheer brilliance per square mile than any other American city. Hosting Stone, Port/Lost Abbey, Alpine, and AleSmith alone would have made the SD area Top Dawg but both the numbers and quality seal the deal. According to the state of CA, the metro area surrounding SD currently has 39 pending brewery licenses. Obviously, quality breeds quality and the future for this SoCal vacation paradise is so bright they have to brew wearing shades. San Diego is simply the best brewing city in America.
The Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point is easily my favorite beer ever. Thankfully, I’m starting to find a few joints around Austin that are importing Ballast Point beers (I can usually find Green Flash’s West Coast IPA at Spec’s or Twin Liquors).
Austin is not on that list, but the quality and quantity of craft beers being brewed in Central Texas is growing.