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Bottled in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A new exhibit at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park is celebrating San Diego's craft brew culture.

Did you know that you live in the "hoppiest" place on earth? For proof, at least 3.2% to 12% proof, look no further than the San Diego History Center's Bottled and Kegged, an exhibit that answers the age old question:

Why has the San Diego region become such a leader, and innovator in the craft beer production? The answer lies within.

"We try to show everybody just how many varieties of beer are brewed here in San Diego and how many brewers we have. Today, there are 65 different craft brewers in the county," said Matthew Schiff.

With 20 more scheduled to open by the end of the year, it's an amazing statistic, especially when you discover that from 1953 to 1987, no beer was brewed here at all.

"A lot of the professional craft brewers of the day started as home brewers," Schiff said.

Bottled & Kegged chronicles local brewing back to 1920's, when Mexico's Aztec Brewery, wetted the whistles of a thirsty gringos. Following prohibition, the Aztecs moved el norte to 21st and Main.

"Aztec Brewery built ostensibly the first brew pub in San Diego, which was called the Rathskeller," he said.

Bottled & Kegged even gives an opportunity for the under 21 crowd to sniff the ingredients used in the crafting of root beer.

Filmmaker Sheldon Kaplan has written, produced and directed an homage to San Diego brewing called, "Suds Country USA," that's a featured part of the exhibit.

"Basically, I wanted to tell the story of how we were a city that had no beer 25 years ago and all of a sudden, we had these breweries that were winning international awards," said Kaplan.

And yes, there will be beer tasting here, on the final Friday of every month, beginning in May -- yet another reason why San Diego's motto should be, "Don't worry be hoppy."

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