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How Vista, California, Became the Capital of Craft Beer

In just the past few years, a suburb of San Diego has become a national destination for beer brewers and connoisseurs.
Iron Fist is one of a dozen craft breweries that have clustered in Vista, California.
Iron Fist is one of a dozen craft breweries that have clustered in Vista, California. John Holzer/Flickr

It's a Sunday afternoon on the sleepy main street of Vista, California, in northern San Diego County, but the cavernous home of the Mother Earth Brew Company is hopping. And hoppy.

The craft-beer tasting room, with its 19 varieties of Mother Earth on tap, is packed. People sip from small glasses of beers in varying shades of amber, with names like Sin Tax, Hop Diggity, and the ever popular Cali Creamin' (a vanilla cream ale). Just a few miles east, at its manufacturing facility, Mother Earth has another tasting room.