With its quaint downtown, lovely beaches, and miles of bike trails, Carlsbad is a great place to live. But it’s also a great place to visit. And if you find yourself in the area and want to grab a drink? Well, there are plenty of breweries in Carlsbad that offer something for everyone—whether you’re looking for a laid back atmosphere or a high-energy spot to hang out with friends.
Here are some of our favorites:
The Winner: The Pure Project
Pure Project (located in the wonderfully walkable Carlsbad Village) wins for its tasty (and in some cases creative) craft brews, charming atmosphere, open air patio, and energetic waitstaff. Pure Project was started in Costa Rica; the tasting room in Carlsbad opened in July 2020.
After reviewing the delicious menu and torn between all the mouth watering options, we decided there’d be no beer left behind and opted for two flights. (Bonus: Pure offers five small beers for the price of four!)
The unorthodox beer slushie (featuring hints of coconut) deserves its own cameo:
The Runner-Up: Karl Strauss Brewing
A logical choice after a long day at Legoland or Flower Fields, this Karl Strauss Brewing Company location offers an enormous space, including an outdoor patio. Though we didn’t try the food, the IPA (which the waitress informed us had recently won 3rd place in a worldwide beer brewing competition) didn’t disappoint.
Honorable Mention: Pizza Port
The Carlsbad Village location offers reliably good beer, friendly staff, arcade games, and reasonably good pizza (with some unorthodox recipes). We sampled the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger pizza, which I’m happy to say hit the spot.
Second Place, Honorable Mention: Barrel Republic
The concept of Barrel Republic is admittedly cool: collect an RFID wristband upon checking in, wave that band in front of the beer you want to sample, and pour as much or as little as you’d like. However, I just didn’t find the assortment or the vibe as delicious and friendly as some of the other options above.