East Village Brewery Guide

Baseball and beer have been brilliant additions to the East Village, adding value and local flavor to a part of downtown that continues to evolve

Considered by many to be the best ballpark in all of Major League Baseball, Petco Park rejuvenated a part of downtown that was in need of some love and attention when it touched down in the East Village in 2004. Its arrival sparked construction of new residential and mixed-use buildings and inspired entrepreneurs to open businesses in the area. And during the craft-beer boom of the 2010s, breweries hammered down stakes in the area, positioning themselves to service baseball fans heading to and from Padres games. Beer and baseball has proven a good formula for redevelopment success, but even without the latter, the former provides East Village visitors a winning

East Village Brewery Map


East Village Brewing
201 Park Blvd, Ste 101

East Village Brewing

What possessed a pair of brewers in the upper echelon of the org chart at one of the nation’s largest brewing companies to resign in order to construct one of San Diego’s smallest beermaking facilities? For former Ballast Pointers Aaron Justus and Brandon Green it was about following their passion, switching from focusing on efficiencies and batch-to-batch consistency with a finite portfolio of beers, to crafting an everchanging line of diverse ales and lagers in full view of their clientele. Enter East Village Brewing, a new arrival in a corner spot at the base of a residential high-rise steps from Petco Park.

Justus and Green aimed to revert to a time and place where tasting-room patrons felt like they were in a working brewery versus a high-concept hospitality venue. To that end, visitors can sidle up to the brewhouse or watch as future beers are boiled, lautered and racked into stainless steel or oak vessels, but the space is far more stylish than the nondescript industrial suites of yesteryear thanks to a contemporary living-room motif that includes murals from a local artist and furniture forged from reclaimed wood (tables, benches and a live-edge bar) extending to a wraparound patio. Those pieces celebrate the founders’ shared love for the great outdoors, while a sextet of serving tanks illustrate their affection for fresh-as-can-be beer.

Though a moving target, to date East Village’s beers have ranged from the earthy, extra-dry Bee Patient, a golden ale made with local honey (the company has vowed to exclusively use ingredients sourced in the U.S. and west of the Mississippi), a hazy IPA with peach and passionfruit notes called COG Bomb, and a spicy rye porter with coffee undertones going by the moniker Harbor Lights.

Half Door Brewing
903 Island Ave

Half Door Brewing

Growing up the hard-working, bartending heir to venerable family-run Gaslamp Irish pub, The Field, provided Stacy Drayne with valuable hospitality-management experience. And learning the art of brewing at The Siebel Institute before plying his trade at Coronado Brewing gave her brother, Dan, the knowhow to craft quality beer. Together, the tight-knit siblings joined forces to open their own family business in 2015: Half Door Brewing.

Installed in a lovely two-story corner house a block north of Petco Park’s Gallagher Square (a combination park and events space used for concerts and festivals), it’s a popular pre-game spot for Padres fans, but makes for a cozy hang all year-round. The spacious footprint of a second-story open-air patio is mirrored by a shady downstairs veranda, providing plenty of outdoor seating. Or venture inside and enjoy homey environs complete with photos of the Drayne’s familial ancestors as well as China, books, trunks and assorted bric-a-brac brought over from the old country.

As one would expect, Half Door stays true to its roots, with Irish-style house favorites Roark Red and the dry, nitrogenized Coleman’s Stout, but that’s just scraping the clover-covered surface. Drayne was on the bleeding edge of the haze craze and his fruity “super dank pale ale” Buzzwords is a classic, while hazy IPAs made with GMO yeast—the super-juicy Party Town and floral, strawberry-scented Childish Bambino (borrowing the nickname of former Friars outfielder Juan Soto)—are fun New England-style additions. Belgian-inspired ales are another specialty here, highlighted by a floral, lemony blonde ale dubbed Father Ted as well as a high-octane (10.8%), to-style tripel. Also not to be overlooked is a white chocolate- and peanut butter-infused golden milk stout called Gim Mick Ale that’s a longstanding fan-fave.

Knotty Brewing
at Knotty Barrel – East Village, 842 Market St

Knotty Brewing

Knotty Barrel had been known as a respected bastion for fans of craft beer for half a decade when its owner decided to take things a step further and install an on-site brewery. Abutting the west end of the original bar and restaurant, that operation, Knotty Brewing, opened in 2016. Head Brewer Donovan Lane has been there from the very start, having relocated from Maine to brew in America’s Finest City.

While there is always something new and different hitting Knotty’s taps, Lane has some nearly ever-present staples. Those include a 100% Chinook-hopped blonde ale with a bit of piney bite called Tom Tom, and Kicked Out, a nitro stout with big baker’s chocolate notes and accents of dried blueberry. Some version of an IPA or amber ale is typically on the beer board, as well. A representation of the former, Crypto Hops, features orange zest up front with pithiness on the back end that’s similar to Robot Barber, a bone-dry American pale ale hopped with Cascade and Columbus. Though he may brew just about anything, Lane always places an emphasis on drinkability, while keeping his beers low enough in alcohol (sub-7% alcohol-by-volume) that customers can easily enjoy more than one of any of them.

Lane’s rotating ales and lagers can be enjoyed (along with food from Knotty Barrel) from the bar or long high-top tables in the scarlet-draped tasting room or on a back patio. The latter is shared by both the brewery and the restaurant, and has its own dedicated bar stoked with guest beers from other local brewing companies.

Mission Brewing
1441 L St

Mission Brewing

The first of the East Village’s current cadre of craft-beer companies to take a chance on the area was Mission Brewery, which took over a circa-1890 Wonder Bread factory in 2010. Bordering Petco Park’s Tailgate Lot, it quickly became a go-to spot for the Friar faithful. That is still the case, though the environs have changed significantly.

In 2016, Mission closed its original tasting room in order to make more room for production and cellar operations, shifting its sampling space to the south end of its facility. In doing so, it installed circular banquettes and other creature comforts, giving it more of a laidback, lounge vibe. And in 2021, the space was further updated to provide additional seating, floorspace, games (darts, ping-pong, pinball, Golden Tee) and an area with views of the brewery. That evolution dovetailed with a rebrand that changed the name of the company to Mission Brewing.

Though packaged in sportier cans, Mission’s longtime standards remain recognizable and reliable. The kölsch-inspired Blonde is an easy-drinker while the imperial-strength Shipwrecked IPA continues to lead with old-school C hops and substantial maltiness seldom found in the modern era. Mission’s flagship IPA has been revised to include Citra and Mosaic hops, and now has a hazy cousin in Waves of Hazy, a New England number with a tropical-fruit profile. Other popular beers like Dark Seas, the reigning best imperial stout in the country (2021 Great American Beer Festival), share space with small-batch creations spanning many styles, a grapefruit radler and house-made hard seltzers, including a root-beer variety much beloved by longtime Mission fans.


Bay City Brewing - East Village

Bay City Brewing – East Village
627 Eighth Ave

Aiming to branch beyond its Point Loma HQ, Bay City Brewing debuted an inviting two-story restaurant with an open rooftop bar in the heart of the East Village just before the onset of the pandemic. Behind indomitable spirit, pretzels, pizzas, wings and beers built for San Diego’s sunny weather, it’s overcome challenges to build a local following.

Eppig Brewing - Bierhaus at the Park

Eppig Brewing – Bierhaus at the Park
795 J St

Located just steps from Petco Park’s Downtown Gate in the red-brick, tap-furnished lair that originally housed a Stone Brewing bar and restaurant, this is the newest location for Vista-based Eppig Brewing, a company that’s widely considered one of the best lager-producers in all of San Diego. Outfitted with lounge-style furniture, this is a comfortable spot for Padres pre-gaming with views of their ballpark’s recently revamped Gallagher Square multi-use outdoor area.

Little Miss Brewing - East Village

Little Miss Brewing – East Village
545 Park Blvd

Looking onto the trolley station at Park Boulevard and Market Street is this downtown link in Little Miss Brewing’s’ chain of eight satellite tasting rooms (more than any local brewing company). Done up in a World War II motif honoring the U.S.’s fellow Allied nation, France, it gets solid traction care of specials geared toward East Village residents.

The Lost Abbey - The Church

The Lost Abbey – The Church
1313 J St

Fittingly, this satellite from a San Marcos-based, Catholicism-steeped operation was built in an early-1900s church, the historic features of which meld with modern additions of an altar, stained glass, pews and tapestries. The beers of The Lost Abbey (Belgian-inspired , IPAs, sour and barrel-aged ales), Khárisma (hopped hard sparkling teas) and Tiny Bubbles (Brettanomyces-spiked beers) are all available along with tacos and other casual fare from a stand-alone kitchen set up an extensive outdoor patio.

WestBrew East Village

WestBrew – Downtown
701 Island Ave

Even before opening in Vista in 2020, WestBrew’s owners had plans to expand downtown. The brick-and-mortar embodiment of those ambitions includes 20 taps of largely hoppy beers, outdoor seating, a menu of upscale ballpark fare (hot-dogs, brats, tacos), salads and decadent shareables, plus a brunch menu available on Saturdays and Sundays.

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