Visit San Diego Area Breweries Like AleSmith, Lost Abbey, Port Brewing And Lightning Brewery For Seasonal Winter Beers

Tasting the season at San Diego County breweries

For craft beer enthusiasts, there's never a bad time to make a pilgrimage to suds-soaked San Diego. However, with the fine flock of holiday brews available, December is definitely the most wonderful time of the year...for a pint.

Here's where to go:

It's not just AleSmith's small size and industrial atmosphere that make it feel like your home-brewing friend's apartment: It's the abundance of amateur-turned-pro brewers ready to share a pint and a conversation with regulars and first-timers alike. The biting YuleSmith imperial red ale is a malty, hoppy brew that's perfect for the season.

The joint tasting room for Port Brewing and Lost Abbey (pictured) has expanded to include a larger bar, 29 taps and extended hours. Winners of numerous awards, these quality operations brew polar-opposite holiday beers: Port's robust Santa's Little Helper imperial stout and Abbey's frankincense- and myrrh-laced Gift of the Magi.

Visiting hours are limited to Fridays and Saturdays at Poway's small Lightning Brewery–and only six people can taste at a time–but it's worth the wait for these classically made Old World ales. One of the finest is Old Tempest Ale, a classic winter warmer made from a recipe originating from the UK's Burton-on-Trent region.