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The craft beer scene, especially in San Diego, can be intimidating. Just a couple of decades ago there were only a handful of craft brewers in the United States. We’re now approaching 3000, each with their own special releases and interesting twists on flavors and mouth feel. The options are so overwhelming they can drive the casual beer drinker to stick with their old reliable, which is usually a beer from one of the large, multi-national corporations like InBev (makers of Bud, Shock Top, Natural, Rolling Rock, Michelob, Busch, and a ton of other brands) or MillerCoors (makers of Coors, Miller, Blue Moon, Redd’s, Keystone, and a variety of other popular offerings), or Heineken.

Try this Beer, Not that Beer – San Diego Edition!

While there is a time and a place for a beer from one of the large companies, if you’re enjoying a beer in San Diego we HIGHLY recommend supporting your local breweries when possible. We are blessed with one of the most diverse beer scenes in the nation, and there is undoubtedly a beer out there you’ll enjoy based on your current taste preferences, if you only knew where to look. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide that makes craft beer recommendations based on the “macro” beer you currently enjoy:

Instead of:
Shock Top
Anheuser-Busch

Try This!
Orange Ave Wit
Coronado Brewing Company

One of the best selling, and most readily available, craft beers in San Diego is the dangerously drinkable Orange Ave Wit by Coronado Brewing Co. If you like Shock Top you’ll appreciate the orange and honey flavors present in the craft alternative. This is a great beer to try if you’re not into big hoppy craft beer, and one we always have in the fridge for guests.

Additional Craft Alternatives to Shock Top Include:

  • Citrusy Wit by Stone
  • Blood Orange IPA by Latitude 33°

Instead of:
Blue Moon
MillerCoors

Try This!
Luminous Blonde
Second Chance Beer Company

Blue Moon, despite its crafty can art, is no craft beer. If you’re in the mood for a crisp cold beer we highly recommend the Luminous Blonde by Second Chance Beer Co. This is a Kolsch-Style golden ale that is lightly hopped with flavors of herbs and flowers. It’s the perfect beer whether you’re spending a day at the beach, or hitting the town.

Additional Craft Alternatives to Blue Moon include:

  • Cali Creamin’ Ale from Mother Earth Brewing Company
  • Pale Ale .394 by AleSmith
  • Golden Child by Bitter Brothers

Instead of:
Corona
Grupo Modelo

Try This!
Sublime Mexican Lager
AleSmith

Corona….oh Corona. College wouldn’t have been the same without you. Tailgating, houseboats, and road trips too for that matter. But we’ve grown up (just a little) and it’s time to replace you with a tastier option. Our recommendation is the aptly named Sublime Mexican Lager by AleSmith. Remember to pour one out for Bradley.

Instead of:
Coors
MillerCoors

Try This!
PONTO S.I.P.A.
Pizza Port Brewing Co.

It’s time for ubiquitous Coors to get replaced by far tastier options. If you’re going for a chilled light beer we’d like to recommend a session India Pale Ale, which includes our local favorite by Pizza Port, PONTO S.I.P.A. This easy drinking ale is light on hops/bitterness and alcohol but heavy with flavor. It’s the perfect replacement for a light macro lager.

Additional Craft Alternatives to Coors Include:

  • German Black Lager by Eppig Brewing
  • Neptune’s Light by La Jolla Brewing Company
  • California Dream by Mikkeller

Instead of:
Guinness
Diageo plc & Guinness Family

Try This!
Black House
Modern Times

Guinness is a beautiful beer that is worthy of enjoyment any time of year. Once in awhile it’s good to shake things up, and we strongly recommend Black House by Modern Times , which is a delicious light-bodied stout that’s perfect served either cold or slightly warm.

Additional Craft Alternatives to Guinness Include:

  • Coffee Milk Stout by Stone
  • Peanut Butter Stout (all variants) by Belching Beaver
  • Speedway Stout by AleSmith (warning: this is a STRONG beer!)
  • Pirate’s Breakfast Stout by Council
  • Bacon and Eggs by Pizza Port
  • Vanilla Porter by Stone