If you are a fan of craft beer (of course you are!), then you need to check out the Hops Highway in San Diego County. This scenic route takes you through some of the best breweries in the Capital of Craft, which is how Highway 78 adopted the moniker of Hops Highway. One of our favorite stops along the route is San Marcos, where you will find five amazing breweries, all within close proximity to one another. Grab some friends, find a designated driver, and hit up Hops Highway San Marcos and enjoy exceptional brews!
Blue Fire Brewing
Your first stop on our list along the Hops Highway is Blue Fire Brewing, a neighborly brewery with an unabashed love for West Coast IPAS, Brown Ales, and other traditional beers. Despite their core beers, they are unafraid to try different styles to reach new heights.
Blue Fire Brewing loves its neighbors, and its neighbors love Blue Fire - many of them drop by for weekly trivia nights, to get dinner from rotating food vendors, and to simply have a good beer and socialize. Food vendors can be found at Blue Fire Brewing every Tuesday, with Sundays reserved for delicious birria. They also have two upcoming crawfish boils you won't want to miss on the third Wednesday of April and May.
Mark your calendar for September 24th, as Blue Fire Brewery will celebrate its one-year anniversary! They also have fun activities planned in celebration of Oktoberfest. Be on the lookout for custom steins being produced in Germany just for them!
Location: 2892 S Santa Fe Ave STE 107, San Marcos, CA 92069
Rip Current Brewing Co.
Rip Current is committed to producing a wide variety of award-winning beers. With nine years of experience under their belts, they have perfected the art of brewing flavorful and innovative beers that will please any craft beer lover.
They have won major awards across multiple beer styles, from low-alcohol lagers to imperial stouts. And with a wide variety of sessionable beers, IPAs (including hazy IPAs), dark ales, lagers, and barrel-aged beers, Rip Current draws craft beer rookies and seasoned pros all over San Diego. With San Diego as a leader in craft beer production, Rip Current Brewing is honored to be a part of such a passionate and creative community in north county.
Being in San Diego, it should be no surprise that IPAs and Double IPAs are their fastest sellers. They have plenty of new batches coming out in April, including their IBF medal-winning Helles, and GABF medal-winner Doppelbock, making its return in late April.
They've recently added a new smaller "brite" beer tank to their brewery to help them do more small-batch beer releases. This will allow them to experiment even more with their beers, creating limited-time releases that are sure to be a hit with beer lovers. Two of their latest beer releases are a result of these beer tanks - a chocolate version of their bock for Valentine's day, with cocoa nibs from Ghana and Ecuador and a touch of vanilla, and a Blanton's barrel-aged doubled imperial oatmeal stout.
Location: 1325 Grand Ave #100, San Marcos, CA 92078
Dos Desperados Brewery
Hospitality, family, and friends are what Dos Desperados Brewery is all about, which is why they have made San Marcos their home. Friendly competition and support for business growth make the Local Beer Community in San Marcos so great, driving Dos Desperados to create phenomenal beer for its fans.
The staff is friendly and always willing to help out, making this small, cozy, western-themed tasting room the place to go to enjoy award-winning beers with friends. For a true sense of community, their Beer Club Members foster a welcoming and friendly atmosphere that will make you feel right at home.
Location: 1241 Linda Vista Dr, San Marcos, CA 92078
Double Peak Brewing Co.
If you're looking for a brewery off the beaten path and surrounded by nature, Double Peak Brewing Co. is the place for you! This San Marcos brewery was founded by a seasoned home brewer-turned-pro who has a passion for brewing traditional and diverse beer. Double Peak is nestled between the hills and valleys of San Elijo, and when you arrive at this brewery, you'll be surrounded by beautiful scenery.
Bring your friends, family, and pets, and discover this hidden gem for yourself!
Location: 1801 Diamond St #101, San Marcos, CA 92078
The Lost Abbey | San Elijo Sanctuary
Many saints and sinners continue to find sanctuary at The Lost Abbey in San Elijo, imbibing pious and sinfully named brews in the hidden hills of San Marcos. Adorned with gothic and wooden fixtures, dimly lit to set the mood, The Lost Abbey is your final stop for prayer or penance.
Their award-winning barrel-aging program brews some of the best craft beer in San Diego, producing five unique brands of beer: The Lost Abbey, Port Brewing Co, The Hop Concept, Tiny Bubbles, & Kharisma Tea Co. Whether you find yourself at The Church or at The Sanctuary, you can expect to find brews from the various unique brands, so you know you're bound to find a new favorite or two!
Duck Duck Gooze is a Belgian-style Sour and is The Lost Abbey's most popular beer, and it's not hard to see why. This tart beer has hints of oak and leather, with a sour bite thanks to the Brettanomyces - this is a complex and delicious beverage. The initial sip may be overwhelming, but as with all sour ales, the initial sip wakes up your dull senses.
The Double IPA Mongo is a Port Brewing special that has captured the hearts of San Diego beer drinkers since its inception. This brew harnesses the flavors of Columbus, Cascade, Centennial, and Simcoe hops, imparting the beer with citrusy notes and a piney, bitter finish. After you give it a try, you'll understand why this has become such a massive hit with beer fans in San Diego.
There's no better way of experiencing San Diego craft beer than through the Hops Highway. We hope you enjoy your stop in San Marcos. With five different breweries, there's sure to be something for everyone. Blue Fire Brewing, Rip Current Brewing, Dos Desperados, Double Peak, and The Lost Abbey are all great places to check out. Each brewery has its own unique style and atmosphere and we hope you find a new favorite!
With so many great breweries to choose from and visit, you're bound to have a fantastic time exploring all that San Marcos has to offer. Cheers!