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Thorn Street Brewery
Location: 3176 Thorn Street (map)
Hours: Monday and Tuesday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday: Noon to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday: Noon to 11 p.m., Sunday: Noon to 9 p.m.
Price: $

Yes, there are lot of breweries in North Park. And yes, a lot of them are delicious. But Thorn Street Brewery has a unique story to set it apart from the rest. It was originally opened as Home Brews and Gardens, a retail shop selling supplies for people brewing their own beer. Despite running a popular business, owner Dennis O’Connor felt like he was missing out on the best aspects of brewing.

So, he teamed up with other San Diego natives, Dan Carrico and Eric O’Connor, to remodel the space and start making beer instead of selling brewing supplies. These days, the space is home to a cozy and casual tasting room adjacent to a seven-barrel brewing space in the back room. They’re running a thriving brewing business, as well as a tasting room that is both kid and (perhaps more importantly) dog-friendly.

Nothing Thorny About the Beer Selection Here

The brewmasters at Thorn Street Brewery have already created 30 different beers to entice local enthusiasts. They generally have fifteen or so available in the tasting room on tap.

Their Imperial Red Ale, called December Nights, boasts an impressive 9 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and took home the Silver Medal in the World Beer Cup’s Imperial Red category. Cocomotive, their coconut porter, has 8.3 percent ABV and is a drinkable, smooth dark beer that steeps with toasted coconut for flavor. There’s also the Chewbocka Doppelbocka, with 8.1 percent ABV, and a chocolate and coffee malt flavor.

If you’d like something lighter and drinkable, check out their incredibly popular Barrio Lager. With a light, smooth taste and a friendly 4.5 percent ABV, this is a beer you can sip all night with your friends. Their Relay IPA is a West Coast IPA with 7.2 percent ABV and a host of layered flavors, including pine and tangerine.

Although they don’t cook in house, there is often a host of amazing food trucks nearby to satisfy your munchies. Stop in for a cold beer in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.