San Diego breweries that left a mark in 2015

Benchmark, Council, Modern Times, New England, Rip Current, Societe, Stumblefoot, Toolbox

More than 800,000 barrels of beer — roughly 200 million pints — were produced in San Diego County…in 2014.

That’s enough to pour a pint for every American of drinking age.

In 2015 we’ve seen 18 new breweries appear, while dozens of others increased production, some by more than double. They produced well over 1000 different beers in the process.

These are the breweries, beers, and drinking establishments that made this another great craft beer year.

Breweries that left a mark on 2015

Most of the county’s breweries started after 2010. Despite their youth, some have produced fine assortments of beers. These operations in particular made for a good year.

Benchmark Brewing Co.

6190 Fairmount Avenue, Suite G, Grantville

Benchmark Brewing

Brewmaster Matt Akin brought some enviable experience when he left AleSmith to start his own company. More importantly, he brought a great breadth of beer knowledge and earnest devotion to brewing immaculately clean beer that doesn’t fail to satisfy, refresh, and impress.

Council Brewing Company

7705 Convoy Court, Kearny Mesa

(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)

Council Brewing

Husband and wife team Curtis and Liz Chism left the home brewer ranks last year to start Council, and with Liz at the helm have worked hard to produce a sterling lineup of beers ranging in styles from hoppy to tart. You won’t likely find a misstep.

Modern Times Lomaland Fermentorium

3725 Greenwood Street, Midway District

Modern Times Beer

Design savvy, social media savvy, and market savvy propelled this two-year-old brewery to a rocket-style start. And it’s managed to remain relevant by taking chances, experimenting with styles, and enlisting a host of talented brewers to execute its contemporary craft vision.

New English Brewing Co.

11545 Sorrento Valley Road #305, Sorrento Valley

New English Brewing Company

What began in 2008 as British brewer Simon Lacey’s homage to UK styles has become an award-winning business as the years have passed and a little more of San Diego has rubbed off on him.

Rip Current Brewing

1325 Grand Avenue #100, San Marcos

Rip Current Brewing North Park

4101 30th Street Suite A, North Park

Rip Current Brewing

It’s been a banner year for this Great American Beer Festival winner. With more than two dozen beers ranging in style from Belgian to German to Scottish to hoppy-as-you-like San Diego, the three-year-old beer company from Quaff home brewing club mates Paul Sangster and Guy Shobe has asserted itself as among the best in the country.

Societe Brewing Company

8262 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Kearny Mesa

Societe Brewing Co.

Founders and brewers Travis Smith and Doug Constantiner launched Societe in 2012 following stints at two of California’s greatest breweries, Russian River and the Bruery. But the breadth and quality of beers they’ve produced in that time has almost entirely eclipsed their pedigree as Societe’s become one of the top brewery destinations in town.

Stumblefoot Brewing Co.

1784 La Costa Meadows Drive #103, San Marcos

Stumblefoot Brewing Company

Homebrewing buddies Bill Randolph and Pat Horton started small back in 2012, and Stumblefoot has stayed mostly under the radar in its on-the-way-to-nowhere location in southern San Marcos. But the business has been incrementally upgrading and expanding, and with talk of bringing on a new brewer to take it to the next level it should stop being a secret pretty soon. All they’ve been doing in the meantime is making fantastic and flavorful beer across a spectrum of styles, and gathering a nifty collection of medals from small competitions around the state.

Toolbox Brewing Company

1495 Poinsettia Avenue #148, Vista

Toolbox Brewing

Some may argue my assertion that this is the best brewery in Vista, but none can challenge the idea it’s the most exciting. The wild ale specialist hasn’t produced a ton of beers, but new head brewer Ehren Schmidt has been hot out the gate, producing brews about as close to perfect as funky sours get in Southern California.

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