Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits
Address & Neighborhood: 10051 Old Grove Road, San Diego, CA 92131; Scripps Ranch
Best For: Beer drinkers, politicians, gregarious types, kind souls
Free tour times: Daily at 12:00pm, 2pm, 5pm
San Diego is home to many breweries and it seems like a new one opens nearly every week. Per the local beer-centric magazine WestCoaster, there are currently 60 operating brew houses in San Diego County and an additional 27 in planning or development. With San Diego Beer Week beginning tomorrow, 11/2, and running through 11/11 I thought a free activity related to San Diego’s suds scene would be appropriate. There are also an incredible amount of events going on during Beer Week – check the website for more information.
Touring a brewery is an opportunity to learn about the brewing process and about the history of the brewery and the styles of beer they produce. Although the brewing process portion of tours can get repetitive if you’ve been on a couple before I find it interesting to experience the personality of a brewery that comes through on a tour, and the opportunity to try some their wares at the conclusion.
Although San Diego has many breweries, there are not many tours offered and only one that I could find that is free. Both Green Flash and Stone offer tours, costing $5 and $3 respectively. The Stone tour used to be free but was constantly swamped, making getting a tour token a difficult task. The one tour I was able to locate that is offered free of charge is at Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits in Scripps Ranch. (If you know of other free tours in San Diego please let other readers know in the comments section.)
Ballast Point was formed in 1996 and currently has two locations – the main production facility in Scripps Ranch and a home brewing supply mart with tasting room in Linda Vista, just south of the USD campus. At the 2010 World Beer Cup Ballast Point was named Small Brewery of the Year, a great achievement and testament to the quality of the beers they create.
If you haven’t ever been on a brewery tour you’ll learn a lot about the steps in the brewing process. If you’ve been on a tour (or many) in the past, you’ll still likely learn something about Ballast Point and get to try a variety of their libations in the tasting room after your tour.
Have a great rest of the week and I hope you have a chance to enjoy the bounty of beers that San Diego is home to during San Diego Beer Week. Cheers!