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Stories by Brandon Hernández

Baja Beer Touring: Valle de Guadalupe — Part II

Time spent amid passionate, close-knit brewers trumps truly excellent gourmet fare.

The following is the fourth in a six-part series about that adventure, which yielded some good beer and a good deal more. The entrepreneurial spirit at the heart of Cerveceria del Valle is contagious. While ...

Cheesy, hoppy good times

Sampler flight of local beer events for September 29 to October 5

October 2 | Homage to Fromage: The Hilton Del Mar has a cheesy idea for showcasing some of the finest beer in the county. They’re bringing in the artisans from Port Brewing / The Lost ...

It's dessert in a glass

South of the border inspiration yields a sweet milk stout

For all the mixed emotions about the company’s branding, Belching Beaver Brewery makes some mighty fine beers. That sentiment is nearly unanimous across top-level local beer enthusiasts. Those who don’t spend their time hitting up ...

Baja Beer Touring: Valle de Guadalupe — Part I

Bout with carsickness rewarded with a World Beer Cup-winning IPA.

The following is the third in a six-part series about that adventure, which yielded some good beer and a good deal more. Tijuana - Part II is the previous stop on this tour of Baja’s ...

Ken Schmidt & Iron Fist’s ono pia

Respected homebrewer and Vista brewery team-up to provide plenty of Aloha.

In a county flush with domestic fermentation talent, Ken Schmidt is kind of a big deal. A homebrewer since 1966, he’s concocted inventive beer recipes for decades. Many are laced with flavorful adjuncts evocative of ...

Baja Beer Touring: Tijuana — Part II

TJ’s craft brewing scene is rich with local ties and influence.

Tijuana - Part II is the previous stop on this tour of Baja’s craft brewing culture. The following is the second in a six-part series about that adventure, which yielded some good beer and a ...

Baja Beer Touring: Tijuana — Part I

TJ’s artisanal rebirth has expanded to include craft beer in a big way

Being as keyed-in to the brewing industry as I am, I’ve been aware of the fact that there is a burgeoning craft beer scene in Baja, California. Unfortunately, keeping as keyed-in on the brewing industry ...

Beer bridging a variety of events

Sampler Flight of beer events from September 23-29

September 27 | Tour de Fat: Craft beer, music, fun and two-wheeled conveyances will collide in Golden Hill when New Belgium Brewing makes its annual Tour de Fat stop in San Diego. The event is ...

Biere de Gourde

The Lost Abbey debuts first draft of pumpkin-infused Belgian-style Brett beer

It’s pumpkin beer season, which means breweries around the country will offer their spins on autumnal harvest-themed brews. Because pumpkin is such a popular and familiar ingredient, these beers are easy to love. They envelop ...

Coming Soon: Inland Tavern

Long-time San Marcos watering hole, Penny Lane, being born anew

Though I always passed it up for nearby competitors Churchill’s Pub & Grille or Sublime Ale House, there was something comforting about driving past Penny Lane Pub & Grill. Tucked off the side of San ...

Brewers moving on

Examining recent resignations by local brewing personnel

Chuck at Green Flash. Mitch at Stone. Devon at Pizza Port. Employees of local brewing companies become so engrained into the fabric of their operations that followers of the San Diego craft beer scene think ...

Anniversaries, festivals, and more

Sampler flight of local beer events for September 16-22

September 16-20 | Five-Year Anniversary: Five years ago, Station Tavern opened its doors and it’s been a fave of South Parkers and family devotees ever since. Five days of fun will include the release of ...

Early Look: Lightning tasting room

Poway-based brewery finally opens up an official sampling space.

Jim Crute was almost giddy — well, about as animatedly giddy as an analytical science guy like him can get — as he opened the door to the business suite next to his Lightning Brewery ...

A deeper shade of pink

Green Flash’s annual fundraising beer a thing of beauty

There are few charitable causes as universally backed by the brewing community as the fight against breast cancer. This has much to do with how many peoples’ lives are touched by this scourge. One in ...

First Drafts: Toolbox Brewing Company

New Vista outfit is a center of wild yeast experimentation

These days, new brewery openings can feel very similar. Regardless of décor, back story and other defining characteristics, beers from new operations tend to be, for the most part, predictable. This isn’t because what breweries ...

Meet 32 North Brewing Company

Latest entrant into suds-heavy Miramar area will bring ex-Karl Strauss brewer

Miramar is already home to a plethora of local breweries including powerhouses AleSmith Brewing Company, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits and Saint Archer Brewery. Few communities offer as many brewery-touring options. The current count is ...

September suds sippin’

Sampler Flight of beer events from September 9-15

September 12 | Meet the Brewer: One of the best things about San Diego’s largest, beeriest eatery, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, is that anyone who loves craft beer wants to ...

Council rolls out the barrel(-aged beer)

Well-received new brewery releasing first of its tart, barrel-aged beers

Perhaps no brewery that’s debuted in 2014 has arrived to such immediate and nearly unanimous fanfare as Council Brewing Company (7705 Convoy Court, Kearny Mesa). From hop-forward pale ales and IPAs to low-ABV English-style ales ...

Aztec’s serpentine double IPA

Vista brewery turns out what may be its best beer yet

It’s common for brewing company owners to be high on the skills of their brewers (ironically, I type this shortly after the head fermentation specialists at Barrel Harbor Brewing Company and Helm’s Brewing Company have ...

Beerbucha in Oceanside

Craft beer and kombucha sharing space on tap and in the same glass

I’ve learned to expect the unexpected from certain breweries that don’t adhere to common rules of beer service. Chief among them is Oceanside Ale Works (1800 Ord Way, Oceanside), a company that’s played fast-and-loose for ...

It’ll probably involve offal

When I think of my ideal food day in San Diego, it doesn’t involve heavy white linens, maître d’s, or putting on a suit and tie. Maximum dining enjoyment in my laidback hometown comes from ...

Start September with a bang (& beer)

Sampler Flight of beer events from September 2-8

September 3 & 4 | Give a Pint, Get a Pint Blood Drive: The San Diego Blood Bank will post up its bloodmobile in the parking lot outside Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – ...

Early Look: Bagby Beer Company

Exploring ex-Pizza Port champion brewer’s new Oceanside digs

When I last toured the construction site of Bagby Beer Company, the place still mostly looked like the auto dealership and repair facility it was in its former life. A visit this weekend turned up ...

Societe’s beer bloggers’ delight

Unique Kearny Mesa brewery’s single-hop IPA delivers unanimously good flavors

Even if they don’t always write about it, beer bloggers tend to be extremely opinionated. It takes a lot to please one, much less several, but last weekend, after attending the 2014 Beer Bloggers Conference, ...

New San Diego brewery guide coming!

San Diego Beer Week launch planned for 2014 edition of critical local brewery guide

“We’ll need it by the end of the month,” said my publisher in regards to the first critical guide to brewery-owned properties in San Diego County. Even to non-writers, a month to complete a thorough ...

Abnormal Beer and more for RB

Upcoming Rancho Bernardo business has restaurant, brewery, winery all under one roof

It’s not all that abnormal, but it is unheard of — a combination restaurant, winery, and brewery all under one roof. Such will be the concept behind The Cork and Craft (16990 Via Tazon, Suite ...

Firkin reggae, sours, sliders, and more

Sampler Flight of beer events from August 26-31

August 29 | Firkin Friday: Scot Blair revels in introducing patrons of Hamilton’s Tavern to the liquid assets of special, smaller, lesser-known breweries, and will be sharing the wares of San Francisco small-batch outfit, Cellarmaker, ...

All Duck Foot’s quacked up to be

Gluten-free brewing operation to be housed near Miramar pyramid

When I sat down with Duck Foot Brewing Company owner Matt DelVecchio last September, I conducted my interview on the patio of his coastal North County condo. The next time we convene, it will be ...

Nothing spells “happy anniversary” like IPA

Breweries like Coronado’s eponymous fermentation outfit emoting I-P-YAY!

All the cool kids are doin’ it: brewing über-hopped double IPAs to celebrate their companies’ anniversaries. The most recent are San Diego stalwarts, Stone Brewing Co. and Coronado Brewing Company, both of which hit the ...

Open, open, open

A hit-list of planned opening dates for upcoming brewery projects.

I have nearly 50 upcoming breweries, brewpubs, tasting rooms, and other brewing company-owned facilities on my radar. Thanks to San Diego Beer News, people are well aware of this, which leads to me being asked ...

Belching Beaver going the brewpub route

Vista-based brewery bringing a combination brewery-restaurant to Vista

Brewery expansion remains in full swing, with yet another local brewing company closing in on a satellite location. This time it’s one of the breweries that helped start the tasting room trend, Belching Beaver Brewery. ...

Craft enjoyment in many forms

Sampler Flight of beer events from August 21-25

August 21-23 | Fallbrook Brew-sic Celebration: The county’s northernmost brewery, Fallbrook Brewing Company, is inviting musical acts into its tasting room for a groove-fest sharing the company’s acronym. Stop by in the evening to take ...

Bolt back in the brewing biz

Revived historic company brewing en route to La Mesa debut

The answer: Two months with any luck. The question (which has been burning in the minds of many a craft beer fan and La Mesa resident): When will Bolt Brewery (8179 Center Street, La Mesa) ...

Session beer from Esco's OTHER brewery

Offbeat Brewing Company’s session IPA a nice diversion from core beers

The word Caticorn is thrown about quite a bit at my workplace. It’s a noun meaning “liquid stress reliever,” referring to the India pale ale served at nearby Offbeat Brewing Company, a favorite post-work hang ...

Green Flash coming to Poway… you’re welcome

The latest beer-centric brewery to lay down stakes in my retreating shadow

I make a living reporting what happens in the local craft beer scene, but in my spare time, I use my special superpowers to ensure that neighborhoods I live and work in receive their very ...

Sneak Peek: Toolbox Brewing Company

Checking out one of North County’s most-anticipated new breweries.

When it comes to breweries, Vista’s motto is “come one, come all.” The City has embraced the budding craft beer industry and is currently home to 10 operating brewhouses. Come the end of the month, ...

Beeriness rising with mid-August temps

Sampler flight of local beer events for August 12–18

August 14 | Coronado Craft Beer Tasting Party: The Crown City is trading in island fever for beer fever, inviting the world’s reigning best medium-sized brewing company, Coronado Brewing Company, to show off its beer ...

A tree grows in PB

Twisted Manzanita Ales building tasting room in Pacific Beach

It used to be nearly every week I had a new brewery to write about. Nowadays, it’s like I have a new brewery tasting room to talk about. This week is no different. Joining the ...

The most unique Stone IPA ever?

Stone’s 18th anniversary beer unlike any that have preceded it

Some things in life are given — death, taxes, and Stone Brewing Co. putting out an India pale ale (IPA) to celebrate its anniversary. To date, 11 of Stone’s 18 anniversary brews have been IPAs. ...

Beer Touring: URBN St. Brewing Co.

New ownership and reconcepting of El Cajon brewpub makes for big improvements

I’ve been able to oversee the development of several local breweries from conception to brick-and-mortar status. Among them are Societe Brewing Company, Nickel Beer Co., and URBN St. Brewing Co. The latter officially opened last ...

Beer Touring: Dos Desperados Brewery

San Marcos’ house of diacetyl looks great, but needs help

The adage “never judge a book by its cover” is usually doled out for good things that don’t look so hot. Recently, the reverse was applicable when I walked into Dos Desperados Brewery (1241 Linda ...

Beer Touring: 2kids Brewing Company

Checking in on the spousal duo behind a young Mira Mesa nano

Last week, we explored Pacific Brewing Company, one of two nanobreweries in a Mira Mesa business park. This week, we’ll stumble the 30 or so yards from that spot to the fluorescent-hued domain of their ...

Even a slow suds week in SD rocks

Sampler Flight of beer events from August 4-10

August 7 | Summer Bike-In Movie: The Pearl Hotel is the latest stop on Colorado-based, long-time two-wheel enthusiast organization New Belgium Brewing’s Bike-In Cinema route. Pedal your way around Point Loma, then return to The ...

Beer Touring: Plan 9 Alehouse

Downtown Escondido yields a beer of the week and Sriracha duck wings

At my Escondido-based day job, it’s not irregular to go looking for members of management only to learn they’ve headed out for an off-site powwow. Such meetings of the minds often involve craft beer — ...

Beer Touring: Pacific Brewing Company

Keying in on the first of two nano neighbors at a Mira Mesa business suite

Driving by at normal speed, you might miss the handful of Mira Mesa business suites atop the hill near the intersection of Miralani Drive and Camino Ruiz, but that small complex houses two brewing companies. ...

Beer Touring: Fallbrook Brewing Company

Worth the trip north…or a few blocks down the street

When I first met Chuck and Jaime McLaughlin, the owners of Fallbrook Brewing Company (136 North Main Avenue, Fallbrook), I thought they were a sweet couple with a lot of heart. They were still building ...

Beer to fill the July-August gap

Sampler flight of local beer events from July 29 through August 2.

July 30 | Beer Dinner: Downtown seafood restaurant, Spike Africas, shows its commitment to local craft beer with monthly pairing dinners. The next event will focus on Mother Earth Brew Co., marrying Sin Tax Peanut ...

Fire destroys Wet ‘N Reckless Brewing

Welding torch sets fire to Mira Mesa nanobrewery

A fire broke out in the tasting room at Wet ‘N Reckless Brewery (10054 Mesa Ridge Court, #132, Mira Mesa) the night of July 27, causing significant damage. According to reports, repairs were being made ...

Pre-game craft conversion beer

Brews before a Padres game needn't be relegated to macro-lager

Because sports appeal to both macro and craft beer fans alike, many of the latter are familiar with the following scenario. You’re headed to Petco Park to take in a Padres game with a friend. ...

The craft beer architect

Meet Dustin Hauck, cornerer of the local brewery architecture market.

Dustin Hauck knew he wanted to go into business for himself, and in November 2011, after many years spent working on hospitality projects, he did just that. The timing couldn’t have been worse. The economy ...

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