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Stories by Brandon Hernández

Unique challenges yield unique triumphs

I’m proud to be the Y-chromosome-equipped period at the end of a long line of strong, self-sufficient women. My great grandmother, Viola, not only raised her own produce and livestock in the far-flung rural expanses ...

Salty Samaritanism

Consider this the equivalent of pink walking shoes and light blue sweatbands

If you’ve been following the Lupus Foundation of Southern California’s Beer to the Rescue campaign throughout the year, you’ve probably noticed that a number of the ales produced in support of the cause have incorporated ...

Take Dos on the Desperados

A return to the scene of crimes against beer

A second chance is something rarely afforded in this day and age, especially in the San Diego craft-beer industry. It’s not that people don’t want to go back to a brewery that registers as lackluster ...

May Day: Need more beer!

What and where to drink from April 28 to May 4

May 1 & 2 | Beer to the Rescue Fundraiser: The Lupus Foundation of Southern California is kicking off Lupus Awareness Month with two days of beer-release action at Coronado Brewing Company‘s mainland brewery and ...

Whatever you say, Bagby

What brewmaster says goes (really well) at Oceanside’s Bagby Beer Co.

Helping in the conceptualization of some interesting brews as part of my Beer to the Rescue lupus awareness campaign has been an amazing experience. A saison infused with yuzu and lemongrass, an imperial stout with ...

Vista’s Belching Beaver to construct second brewery in Oceanside

Damn, the Beav sure is growing fast!

Few brewing companies have shown such a burning desire to grow — and grow now — as Vista-based Belching Beaver Brewery. Less than a year after their early 2012 debut, they became one of the ...

RIP PB AleHouse

PB AleHouse will go on!

Original article redacted. PB AleHouse will not be closing its doors as is still in the process of rebuilding after its February kitchen fire. More details will be posted as they become available closer to ...

Meet Prodigy Brewing Company

Former San Diego Brewing Co. brewmaster follows arrow to new project

"Prodigy Brewing is about you, my friend, and you are what really sets us apart." Those were the words handed down to brewer Dean Rouleau from Prodigy Brewing Company founding member Howell Gillogy. With someone ...

High on the chai

Rock Bottom's chocolaty-spicy dessert-like beer

Vanilla, coffee, chilies…they’ve all had their time in the sun and their time in the fermenter as en vogue beer additives. Some were pretty obvious go-withs, while others (like, say, scorpion peppers and breakfast cereal) ...

Not (yet) enough kegs from the Toolbox

Brett specialists keep it exclusively adventurous

Though my initial visit to Toolbox Brewing Company didn’t yield beers that cashed in on the brewery’s ultimate potential, they were promising, and I’ve made it a point to check out their beers whenever an ...

Girl in Port prepares to ship out

Pizza Port brewer Devon Randall takes the L.A. job

Citra-R-Ama, Whale’s Tails, Gingerbread Chateau, May the Port Be with You, Saisian Persuasion — all are beers birthed from the system at Pizza Port’s Solana Beach brewpub…and I’m going to miss all of them. Devon ...

The best happy hour for a beer hound like me

The Bellows This wood-fired-oven-driven, casual-yet-upscale bar and resto has one of North County’s most conscientiously cultivated beverage assortments. From a beer list that features specialties, one-offs, and Bellows Forge, a smoked oatmeal stout developed especially ...

Not bulky but bueno

Glitterati shows to glug offerings from nth-level brewer-geek

Since the Cork and Craft debuted late last year, beer fans have awaited the debut of its onsite brewery’s ales. This has a lot to do with the fact that the man at the brewhouse ...

St. Paddy's Day's dark star

Black Irish Stout debuts at Scripps Ranch's other brewery

There’s never a shortage of fun imbibing opportunities come St. Patrick’s Day. Most involve Guinness, green beer, or whisky and car-bombs of Irish attribution. Being a beer locavore, I gravitate to March 17 celebrations involving ...

La Jolla’s Catania restaurant rolls out Italiano beers

Uncharted territory

“Everybody’s doing the local beer thing, so we’re going another direction.” This was my introduction to the beer menu at Catania, the coastal Italian spinoff of the restaurant group comprising Whisknladle and Prepkitchen. Despite this ...

Green Flash opening doors to Cellar 3

Opening date set for Green Flash’s new Poway facility and tasting room

Most expansion news concerning Green Flash Brewing Company has revolved around the construction of their upcoming Virginia Beach brewery, but today, the company announced the opening date for another venue — a 12,000-square-foot combination barrel-aging, ...

Moving, shaking, brewing

Urge Gastropub owners move on from Vista bowling alley to O-side brewpub

It’s been nearly two years since Urge Gastropub co-owner Grant Tondro announced a grand scheme to convert a former Vista fitness center into a combination brewpub, bottle shop, and bowling alley. That ambitious interest was ...

The milk stout route

Mind, heart, and soul went into Ballast Point’s Oompa Lupus

I felt like I’d unwrapped a foil-sheathed candy bar to reveal a golden ticket and been ushered to the site where some of my favorite things are made — specifically, the exotic specialty beers of ...

Centennial suds

A second collaboration beer to celebrate 100 years of Balboa Park

In January, I reported on a beer commemorating the 100th anniversary of Balboa Park named Centennial IPA. Karl Strauss Brewing Company brewmaster Paul Segura and Automatic Brewing Co. owner and head brewer Lee Chase collaborated ...

San Diego breweries among country’s largest

Brewers Association releases list of 2014’s top 50 breweries

Each year, the Brewers Association releases its list of the country’s top 50 craft-brewing companies based on the previous year’s sales numbers. Each year that I post the rankings and numbers, comment sections go wild ...

24-carrot brew

Juli Goldenberg takes the cake at Stone’s homebrewing competition

Stone Brewing Co. is known worldwide for its envelope-pushing beers. Stone Enjoy by IPA, Stone Ruination IPA, and Stone IPA are fan favorites that fall in the company’s wheelhouse, but some of its most beloved ...

Asia by way of Belgium

Far East ingredients find their way into a Euro-style farmhouse ale

I may not be a great beer formulator, but when it comes to flavor combinations, I’m no slouch. In fact, it was my ability to cook and create on a culinary level that earned me ...

Beer touring: Barley Forge Brewing Co.

Following a Vista brewer to his brand new Costa Mesa facility

Having so many breweries here in my home county, it’s tough building up the gumption to drive outside San Diego for beer. Throw in the workload of reporting on all those breweries and it's no ...

Combing the North 40

Unique Carlsbad food and drink venue to feature a trio of local breweries

A while back (nine months to be exact…time flies when you’re drinking beer), I reported that AleSmith Brewing Company was working on establishing a combination tap room and retail establishment. Referred to as an upscale ...

Rolling out the barrels

Local breweries pushing the barrel-aging envelope

We’re at the point in the craft beer renaissance where barrel-aged beers are no longer rare. Sure, they’re rarer versions of certain beers in most cases (typically imperial stouts), but many craft breweries have barrel ...

Lupulin Against Lupus

Aztec brings back formerly local brewer to collaborate on charity IPA

Even though it was for the best, I was sad to see Kevin Buckley exit the San Diego beer industry. A former brewmaster at Vista’s Latitude 33 Brewing Company who also logged time at Alpine ...

More beers coming to the rescue

New breweries join lupus charity campaign

In January, I launched a fundraising and awareness campaign for the Lupus Foundation of Southern California utilizing the quality wares of local brewing companies that volunteered to brew beers to raise proceeds for this year-long ...

The nature of the yeast

White Labs’ new saison strain brings old Aztec Brewery duo back together

Beer brings people together. Apparently, so do the ingredients used to make it. Local company White Labs, the country’s premier purveyor of yeast for the beverage industry, recently added a new strain to its product ...

Beers running hot and cold

Taking a look at the current beer scene’s most and least popular styles

Because nearly every beer style imaginable is produced in San Diego County, it would seem to the casual onlooker that the interest level in all ales and lagers is the same, but keeping a close ...

For the most insatiable hophead

Mother Earth’s Primordial Imperial IPA a balanced powerhouse

Two weeks ago, while manning my beer beat at the latest meeting of the San Diego Brewers Guild, I took advantage of the hospitality of our host, Mother Earth Brew Co., and cashed in my ...

BagbyFest is nigh

Oceanside brewpub Bagby Beer planning grand opening like no other

Bagby Beer Company was one of the most anticipated brewpub projects in San Diego. That’s a big deal considering this county is home to the mighty Pizza Port empire, from which Bagby transitioned in opening ...

Uni’s best beer bet

Palate-wowing brews, deep-dish and wings at Regents Pizzeria

It seems like I blinked and University City got wise to the rise of craft beer. As I’ve mentioned in the past, my formative drinking years were spent close to UCSD and consisted mostly of ...

For the love of lagers — and the coast

Former PB AleHouse brewer moves on to La Jolla and Ensenada

Until a year ago, the only Vincent Falcone I knew was the character who went by the handle Lieutenant Falcon on the ‘80s’ G.I. Joe cartoon. Now, I know a brewer by the same name. ...

Scorching Sculpin

Ballast Point’s habanero-laced IPA a commendable niche offering

I’ve been labeled a hot head in my day. No, not for having an incendiary temper. Sure, I get angry, but when you’re slight in stature like me you learn real quick that it’s in ...

New brewer a “Local” product

Taking a look at the homebrewer hired to man the Local’s brewpub project

Time flies when you’re covering a craft brewing scene that, in the past three years, has seen 78 brewery-owned hospitality venues come online within San Diego County. Of those, 55 were the products of completely ...

Mission accomplished at South Park Brewing Co.

A good look at the new brewpub and its initial beer offerings

You may remember the sneak-peek construction photos of South Park Brewing Company. Even with planks and sawdust strewn about, it showed great promise. And the finished product shows that promise has been fulfilled. The brewpub ...

Early Look: AleSmith’s new digs

An extensive look at popular “Beeramar” brewery’s expansion project

Like many San Diego beer fans, I’m looking forward to AleSmith Brewing Company opening the doors of its new, much larger facility to the public this summer. Until last week, I could only imagine what ...

LUP'd Up Singel (LUPUS)

Rhubarb and winey hops combine to give Monkey Paw charity beer outlandish character

There we were, Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery (and soon-to-open South Park Brewing Company) head brewer Cosimo Sorrentino and yours truly sitting across each other at his East Village stomping grounds. The topic, what to ...

Quad AleHouse coming to Gaslamp

Fifth Avenue address was a former Navy locker facility

The term “quad” can mean several things. My favorite reference is to the burliest, highest-alcohol of the Monastic Belgian abbey-style ales, the quadrupel, but it also refers to central meeting places such as those found ...

Lemonade from charred lemons

After the fires at Pacific Beach AleHouse and Wet 'N Reckless

Last week, a grease fire broke out in the kitchen at Pacific Beach AleHouse. Fortunately, the coastal brewpub is located across the street from a fire station. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze ...

Chocolate, rhubarb & the Younger

A sampler of beer events happening February 24-March 2

February 25 | Beer & Chocolate: Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits is teaming up with local chocolatier Lora Davis from Its Myne to present a quintet of beer-and-chocolate pairings, all of which will be explained ...

Indian Joe's without a home

Vista brewing company on hiatus until it can find a new home

One of Vista’s popular brewing companies is temporarily out of commission. After two years in business, nanobrewery Indian Joe Brewing is in search of a new base of operations. Owner Max Moran’s lease on his ...

Green Flash gets soulful

One of several new IPAs from Mira Mesa brewery has serious style

When people tell me I’m too negative, I reply: “You gotta stick with what you’re good at.” Apparently, Green Flash Brewing Company feels the same way. For some time, they have excelled at producing hoppy ...

Beer and doughnuts…yep, they're that good

UTC’s Draft Republic pours a perfect dessert pairing

The best thing about a restaurant with tons of beer taps is the ability for one to pair their brews directly with the food they order. That’s not to say one has to — many ...

AleSmith partnering locally with Mikkeller

Danish gypsy brewer not quite invading San Diego

While other regions are finding out what it’s like for a San Diego brewing company to expand into their backyards (Green Flash Brewing Company and Stone Brewing Co. are both constructing East Coast breweries in ...

Beer Touring: Half Door Brewing Company

In the house at East Village’s new, homey West Coast-Irish hybrid brewpub

When I first visited Half Door Brewing Company, it was still being constructed. There was a protective wall around the site, the outer veranda had no floor, and the interior was sheet white, showing zero ...

Yiga, Kim & Joe

Saint Archer brewer duo know their way around coffee and beer

When I first met Yiga Miyashiro and Kim Lutz, they were collaborating on a coffee beer at the former’s former workplace, Pizza Port’s Ocean Beach brewpub. We sat together between the turning of valves in ...

Meet North Park Beer Co.

Outstanding homebrewer Kelsey McNair closing in on professional debut

The first time I heard the name Kelsey McNair was in 2010 when Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits specialty brewer Colby Chandler finished up an email saying he was headed up to Stone Brewing Co. ...

Starting at Rock Bottom

Veteran brewmaster hands reins to go-getter who's into math and spreadsheets

I didn’t go to college, but thanks to some friends of mine who attended UCSD, I got to tag along and enjoy the recreational parts of higher learning. By virtue of geography, many of our ...

Early Look: South Park Brewing Co.

Sneak peek at Hamilton’s Tavern spin-offs brewpub and beer menu

It’s been ten months since we broke the news about publican and brewery-owner Scot Blair’s brewpub project, South Park Brewing Company. Since then, he and his crew have been hard at work converting the former ...

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