Oceanside is home to ten breweries and tasting rooms. They are fairly far-flung, though, so I’ll recommend two tours: this one of the “downtown”-ish area, and another for the rest of O-side.
Stay tuned in 2020 for the debut of two more breweries in the new Oceanside Brewery Igniter location (1575 South Coast Highway), just a mile south of Bagby, and a Booze Brothers tasting room two blocks northeast of Kilowatt.
If you are new to the San Diego region, don’t confuse Oceanside with Ocean Beach—they are about 40 minutes apart in reasonable traffic. Here is my beer tour of Ocean Beach.
The Oceanside Transportation Center is steps away from Breakwater Brewing. Consider taking the train/bus to avoid have to drive home.
In the area you might call “downtown” Oceanside, between the beach and Interstate 5 close to Oceanside Pier, you’ll find five craft beer locations in total, four breweries and one satellite tasting room. Four have food on site (Stone is the one that does not have food). It is a 1.2 mile walk to get to all of them.
Bagby Beer Company If you can only go to one brewery in Oceanside, make it this one. From the incredible indoor-outdoor spaces, rooftop patio, great service, and good food to the outstanding beer, you can’t go wrong.
Breakwater Brewing Company This one is a bit under the radar but it is definitely worth a visit, especially if you want a pizza or need a beer after spending time at the beach. The location has a patio, it is close to the Pier, the bar food is good. The venue is a tad run down, but that adds to the relaxed atmosphere. The house beer is outstanding and has many awards to prove it. (See: Rye Dawn brown ale.)
Kilowatt Brewing Oceanside Taproom and Provisions A comfortable, airy tasting room with some good beers, and a few great ones. The sci fi feeling of the interior design is largely from metallic surfaces and wild lighting fixtures. If you have to eat here, you can, though you’ll find better food a Breakwater, Bagby, or Northern Pine.
Stone Brewing Tap Room Oceanside In addition to the core line up of Stone and Arrogant Bastard beers, you’ll find a pretty wide selection of specialty small batch beers on tap here. They have a selection of merch, beer to go, and you can fill your growler here. The seating is all outdoors, though shady trees and fire pits help moderate the extremes—and San Diego’s weather extremes are never that bad, really.
Northern Pine Brewing Co-located with a barbecue food joint, the “pine” theme comes through in rough wooden accents, including a pretty cool wall feature made of split logs behind the bar. The drawings of the brewing process on the bathroom walls might make you want to stay in there longer than usual. I haven’t visited since 2017, so it is definitely time for a return visit for me. Recent Untappd and Yelp ratings are pretty solid.
While you are in the area, don’t forget to look at the Ocean. Walking out on the Pier is cool.