Where to learn about craft beer in San Diego, California

From college courses and scholarships to museum exhibitions, there are many ways to tap into one of our city’s biggest industries. 🍻

SD Beerlogy Museum of Us

“BEERology” is a long-running exhibition at the Museum of Us.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

With 180+ independent craft brewing locations, it’s no wonder San Diego County is known as the Capital of Craft. The industry is built on innovation, collaboration, and knowledge — and through local classes, conventions, and museum exhibitions, there are plenty of ways to tap into the sudsy scene.

In fact, we’d say the cup of local beer education runneth over. Cheers. 🍺

🍻 “BEERology” | Museum of Us

Hop into the museum at Balboa Park for this interactive exhibition that takes you through thousands of years of beer history and its cultural importance — both locally and globally.

🍻 “Taste San Diego: Craft Community and Culture” | San Diego History Center

This exhibition taps into what makes San Diego a craft beer haven. Visitors can meet docents from Little Miss Brewing and guests age 21+ can partake in a beer tasting experience available Friday and Saturday, 1:30-6:30 p.m., and Sunday, 12:30-5:30 p.m.

SD Beerology Museum of Us

“Beerology” is included with admission to the Museum of Us.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

🍻 Science of Brewing | Southwestern College

Southwestern College launched this program in spring 2018 with a lecture class, followed by a brewing lab in fall 2019 with a 5-gallon system. Today, the curriculum is part of the college’s biology course offerings.

Last month, students from the program collaborated with NOVO Brazil Brewing Company to brew the limited-edition Tzunúm — an Australian pale ale. It was the first time students in the program had brewed outside the classroom in a professional craft brewery.

SD NOVO Brazil Southwestern beer students

A crafty collab: Southwestern College students brewed an Australian pale ale with NOVO Brazil Brewing in January 2023.

Photo via @novobrazil

🍻 Professional Certificate in Brewing | UC San Diego Extension

This curriculum offers courses ranging from Barrel Aging and Recipe Formulation, to the Flavor Attributes of Beer and Food and Marketing and Distribution for Breweries. The part-time, evening, and weekend program is built on practical training for entry-level brewing professionals and typically takes 12-18 months to complete.

Update: UC San Diego announced it would discontinue its brewing certificate program after 2024.

🍻 San Diego Craft Beer Con | Mira Costa College - San Elijo Campus

The San Diego Brewers Guild will host this annual conference on Tuesday, Aug. 8, co-produced by the BrewTech Program of Mira Costa College Technology Career Institute. Guild members and the general public are invited to learn about the craft beer industry across topics like brewing, culture, and business.

SD San Diego Brewers Guild BeerCon

San Diego Beer Con returns this August.

🍻 HomeBrew Con | Town and Country Resort

The 45th annual homebrewing conference and competition will be held in San Diego this summer, Thursday, June 22-Saturday, June 24. The event — only open to members of the American Homebrewers Association — will feature 50+ speakers from the craft beer industry discussing topics like beer styles, the brewing process, ingredients, and quality. Registration opens on Tuesday, March 7.

🍻 Professional Certificate in the Business of Craft Beer | San Diego State University

Get hands-on training to enter — or shift to — the business side of the craft brewing industry. Courses delve into subjects like beer styles, brewery start-ups, hospitality management, draught systems, and finance. Depending on the program, the certificate takes between six months to one year to complete.

🍻 Fermentation Management Program | San Diego Mesa College

If you’re eyeballing a career as a brewer, wine maker, distiller, distributor, beverage writer, taproom manager, or more, this program could give you a solid foundation. Courses focus on the history of fermentation and the basics of brewing, distilling, and winemaking.

🍻 EngiBeering Certificate | California State University San Marcos Extended Learning

This program specializes in the science and engineering behind brewing with courses like The Evolution of Beer Across Time and Space and Sensory Evaluation of Beer.

🍻 Pink Boots Society | San Diego

This group was formed to help women and non-binary beer professionals advance their careers in the industry. You can join as a member and keep an eye on scholarship opportunities.

🍻 Craft Beer Diversity Award | San Diego State University

This award — spearheaded by Coronado Brewing Company — is meant to help promote diversity and inclusion in the brewing industry. It’s open to students who are completing SDSU’s Professional Certificate in the Business of Craft Beer, and includes an internship with Coronado Brewing Company.

🍻 Ballast Point Brewing for Diversity Scholarship | UC San Diego Extension Studies

Launched in 2021 to advance diversity and inclusion across San Diego’s craft beer scene, this scholarship is open to new or current students of the Brewing Program at UC San Diego Extension Studies. The recipient will also gain insight through an internship with Ballast Point Brewing.

🍻 Museum of Beer | East Village (coming soon)

This museum has been in the works for years, with dreams of someday opening in downtown’s East Village. The plan is to create a museum featuring mini exhibits, plus a nano brewery, tasting room, and beer garden. The space would showcase eight core exhibits all about San Diego craft beer.

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