The Cork and Craft: San Diego, CA

Beer flights at The Cork & Craft

Beer flights at The Cork & Craft

The Cork and Craft / Abnormal Beer Co is a newer spot that’s popped up in Northern San Diego and already making some waves.

It’s a unique all-in-one place that brews their own beer and makes their own wine. They seem to be pretty well connected considering they’ve already done collaborations with The Bruery, Alpine Brewery, St Archer and Mostra Coffee Roasters within their first year of opening. Their beers are good – real good – which makes it nice that they offer flights to taste a few of them in a sitting.

The 40-something tap list speaks for itself and you can find a nicely curated selection of beer outside of what they brew onsite. The selection is diverse and ranges over many different styles from Lambic to Double IPAs with a concentration on California beers. They also have a nice bottle selection and occasionally offer some vintage bottles.

The food menu is diverse and offers something for everyone – whether you’re a carnivore or vegetarian. The good thing is that although the food is certainly on the higher end, the price point is reasonable so it won’t break your wallet.

This is worth visiting regardless of whether it’s for a pint or dinner. It’s worth the drive further up North. It’s also only 15 minutes from Stone Brewery and The Lost Abbey, so there’s always that too.

The Cork & Craft

The Cork & Craft
16990 Via Tazon
San Diego, CA 92127

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Hamilton’s Tavern: San Diego, CA

Busy Night at Hamilton's Tavern

Busy Night at Hamilton’s Tavern

Hamilton’s Tavern (or “Hammy’s” as the locals call it) is located in the South Park neighborhood of San Diego right next to South Park Brewing Company. It’s in a great neighborhood if you’re trying to escape the crowds of Gaslamp or North Park.

Hamilton’s has a neighborhood bar feel and is decorated with tap handles hanging upside down from the ceiling and white Christmas lights. The 30-tap selection is written on a chalk board next to the bar. There are a couple pool tables in an area separated from the bar which makes it a nice place to have a few beers and play a game of pool. They also serve food, but I didn’t get the chance to try it while I was there.

Hamilton’s has a history as being one of the oldest bars licensed to serve been in San Diego so needless to say, they’re very well connected in San Diego beer. The taps are constantly rotating and it’s not uncommon to find some cellared kegs on tap. The selection seems to be California and West Coast centered, but I don’t really see that as a bad thing. While I was there I grabbed a pint of Pliny The Elder and one of Council’s Tart Saisons. Before I left the selection changed again to include Deschutes Abyss.

I’d consider this one of San Diego’s must-visit places, but beware that you may be sucked in, lose track of time and not want to leave.

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Bottlecraft (North Park): San Diego, CA

Another beer destination in the North Park section of San Diego. This place is located a block away from Toronado and is right on the main strip near the big “North Park” sign, so it’s hard to miss. As expected, this place has a large selection of San Diego and California beers, but you can find some surprises as well. Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen and other rarities have been known to make appearances on the shelves every so often. Even if you’re not into beer, you can still go there to buy wine, soda and cheeses. Like the other location, this one offers some beer on draft but it’s pretty limited (4 taps).

Bottlecraft – North Park
3007 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104

Bottlecraft – North Park

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Holiday Wine Cellar: San Diego, CA

If you’re visiting Stone (Escondido location) or Lost Abbey and you’re looking to grab some great bottles, then Holiday Wine Cellar should be your bottle shop of choice. They’ve been around for over 50 years and have the best service and bottle selection in the area. They have a great selection of beers from the San Diego and the rest of the country along with some international rarities. Of the several times I’ve been there, I’ve picked up bottles from Council, Russian River, Toolbox, Beachwood Blendery, Westvleteren, Cantillon – I think you get the point. They also have an extensive selection of wine, spirits and cigars.

Another great service that this store offers is that they will also ship your bottles home – whether you purchased them there or not. They’ll pack the bottles for you in a shop with bottle shippers and insure them legally since they’re an authorized shipper of alcohol. It’s a great service if you want to send your stuff home and be able to enjoy the rest of your trip without having to worry about getting your bottles home. I’ve sent up to 25 cases of beer home at one time without a bottle going missing. Needless to say, this is a great place and worth visiting if you’re in San Diego – whether it be to purchase bottles or send bottles home.

Holiday Wine Cellar
302 W Mission Ave
Escondido, CA 92025
Holiday Wine Cellar Website

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Neighborhood: San Diego, CA

This was one of the bars I visited during my first trip to San Diego. It’s located on the outskirts of the Gaslamp Quarter on the corner of 8th Ave and G Street. What originally drew me to this place was the smell of their amazing burgers. I had no idea that that had a good beer selection, so that was certainly a nice surprise. Gaslamp Quarter can be a bit baron when it comes to bars with decent beer so this comes as a haven. The place is dark and the bar area is small, but there’s plenty of seating and a small outdoor area to accommodate. The food menu is mostly burger based but they offer a black bean burger in case meat isn’t your thing. The 30-beer tap list changes frequently and is mostly California dominated, so be sure to visit their website to pick your beer before heading over.


777 G St
San Diego, CA 92101

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Bottlecraft (Little Italy): San Diego, CA

Bottlecraft is one of the better beer stores in San Diego with a few different locations (this article being about Little Italy). They carry a great selection of brews from all over the world, but you’ll find most of the selection California based. The Little Italy location is pretty awesome because it also doubles up as a beer bar. You can grab a beer and go shopping. It reminds me a bit of City Beer Store (San Francisco) because you can either grab a pint from one of their 18 taps or buy a bottle from their shop for onsite consumption. The tap list alone is worth checking out even if you’re not planning on going shopping.

Bottlecraft Little Italy
2161 India St
San Diego CA, 92101

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Ritual Tavern: San Diego, CA

Yet another great spot in the North Park area of San Diego. I’ve always liked this place and most of the time I’ve been here were for bottle shares. The draft list isn’t the largest in the area, but there always seems to be good stuff on tap centralized around Southern California breweries. The inside feels like an old pub except with way better beer. There’s an outdoor area in the back and front of the restaurant with an overhang which will usually stays open all year round. From my experience, the food here has also been great and I’ve always ordered either the Sheppard’s Pie (available in vegan) or the Burger. I haven’t found myself hanging here for an entire night, but have mostly found this as a place to get a good beer and some great food before heading out.

Ritual Tavern
4095 30th St
San Diego, California

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