San Diego, over the last 20 years has established a well deserved reputation as a craft beer mecca. With over 75 craft breweries currently operating in San Diego County it is easy to see why, with names like Stone, Ballast Point, Green Flash, Alpine, AleSmith, Mission, Pizza Port, Lost Abbey along with many others that have become regionally, nationally, and internationally synonymous with quality craft beer. Given this, it is easy to overlook that it is now becoming an excellent whiskey town.
Beginning with Ballast Point a few years ago establishing a distillery to go with their outstanding beer operation, more recently craft distillers like Liberty Call, and Twisted Manzanita, began offering whiskies in their lineups. Others such as Old Harbor, and Malahat have some aging and will be offering whiskies by years end. Recently started distilleries in San Diego County, in various stages of development, include; Kill Devil Spirits, San Diego Distillery, Perfect Soul Whiskey, The California Spirits Co., Tonglen Spirits, Swinford Spirits, Mackay Distilling, and San Diego Sunshine. If these guys are able to attain the levels of quality of their beer brethren, then we have some exciting times coming for craft whiskey lovers.
As if that weren’t enough to have you packing your bags for an emergency business trip to San Diego, the bar scene has also come on board in some very big ways. Places like the Aero Club, are gaining national recognition, including Mr. Whiskey’s recent piece calling them the “Top Whiskey Dive Bar in America”, they and The Whiskey House, in The Gaslamp District both offer whiskey lists that run into the 1,000+ offerings range. Not far behind in offerings are San Diego’s branch of LA’s Seven Grand, and it’s more exclusive sibling Bar Three Piece with 650+. Polite Provisions is a great option for a unique trip back to a pre-Prohibition time and a relaxing environment of quality drinks and talented staff, that create a very friendly environment.
You will be happy to know that all of these bars also have a healthy selection of fine craft beers, after all it is San Diego. Be sure to check these places out and keep an eye on the burgeoning San Diego whiskey scene.