In California, you go to Napa to drink wine, but you go to San Diego to drink beer, especially during the San Diego Beer Guild’s beer week. It kicks off with one of two marquee events, SD Brewers Guild Fest, the more laid-back, brewer-forward counterpart to the week’s closer, Beer Garden, which has a heavier emphasis on food and beer pairings. Just how good is the locally-made craft beer at Guild Fest? San Diego County has the trademarked nickname “Capital of Craft.” In all seriousness, the San Diego Beer Guild is one of the largest guilds of its kind, and its member brewers have won many, many, Great American Beer Festival awards, the industry’s top honor. Around 60 independent brewers will bring beer to Guild Fest, and you get unlimited samples of their wares with a General Admission ticket.
SD Brewers Guild Fest will have live music played by Totally 80’s Band and Paging The 90s, and, of course, food trucks. Those interested in learning about brewing can attend Beer College, a 30 minute class on how to make beer at home. Home brewing is encouraged in this corner of the country, so much so that Guild fest hosts a home-brewed beer competition in partnership with the San Diego Estate Beer Project.
For its fourteenth year, Guild Fest has moved to a new venue, San Diego Surf Cup Sports Park aka the polo fields, to make the event more accessible to the northern part of San Diego County. For the first time, they’re also bringing beer alternatives, such as wine, seltzer, and hard kombucha, into the mix. One thing that will remain the same: the annual collaborative beer made by a few select members of the Guild. This year, the famous Pizza Port hosts the collaboration and, along with eight other breweries, they have prepared a tropical, fruit-forward IPA. You must be 21 or older to attend.
- 2,000 people attended in 2019.
- Tickets come in two levels: Early Admission and General Admission. Early Admission tickets get you in an hour before the GA folks so you can have a better chance at trying the specialty beers before they run out. General Admission tickets cost $55.
- Designated Driver tickets buy you entry but no beer samples. They cost $20.