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Stories by Brandon Hernández

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 ...

The ales of March

Sampler flight of local beer events from March 24–30

March 26–29 | Charity Beer Releases: It’s a big week for lupus charity Beer to the Rescue. Two fundraiser beers will drop starting Thursday with Saisian Persuasion, an Asian ingredient-studded farmhouse ale from Pizza Port ...

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 ...

Going beyond green beer

A sampler flight of local beer events happening March 17-21

March 17 | 50th Anniversary Celebration: When it comes to early adopters of craft beer, few match the foresight of Holiday Wine Cellar. This outpost for quality adult beverages has had artisanal ales on its ...

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 ...

Barrel-borne bacchanalia

Sampler Flight of local beer events for March 10-16

March 14 | Second Saturday: Hamilton’s Tavern will take visitors on a miniature tour of the burgeoning Los Angeles craft brewing scene when it puts on beers from Eagle Rock Brewery, El Segundo Brewing Company, ...

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 ...

Lots of beer events On Tap

Sampler Flight of local beer events for March 3-7

March 6 | Reader On Tap: Kick off a weekend of suds saturation at The Observatory North Park when the San Diego Reader assembles some of San Diego’s best breweries — Ballast Point, Rip Current, ...

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 ...

Beers from Belgium to Baja

Sampler flight of local beer events for February 17-23

February 20 & 21 | San Diego Winter Brew Fest: The chill from this winter of ours is pretty much over, but why not drink as though you’re seeking inner warmth to stave off low ...

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 ...

SD spells love B-E-E-R

Sampler flight of local beer events for February 10–17

February 14 | Brewbies Fest: This sixth annual fundraiser in support of the Keep A Breast Foundation will once again take place at Bagby Beer Co., but this year, they’re moving it and the oodles ...

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 ...

Dank, sticky and impressive

Mission accomplished with first beer from Port/Lost Abbey's "Hop Concept"

In December, Port Brewing Company/The Lost Abbey announced the coming of a third brand called The Hop Concept. This seemed an odd route to go for a house already divided, but this is craft beer. ...

Going pink for Brewbies

Valentine’s Day beer fest to sport charity brews for Keep A Breast

“Every week in San Diego is San Diego Beer Week.” It’s a popular saying among local imbibers seeing how there are so many beer festivals within the county throughout the year (sometimes two or three ...

Early Feb fermentathon

Sampler flight of local beer events for February 3-9

February 5 | Beer Dinner: With a name like Perfect Pairings, guests at Karl Strauss Brewing Company can expect good things from a five-course menu that includes Thai-style curry shrimp served with the rare Queen ...

Bolt Brewery to strike in Little Italy

New La Mesa sudsmiths find a more central locale they can't pass up

It’s the fastest expansion in the history of the San Diego County craft beer scene. Just two months after opening La Mesa’s first brewery, the ownership of Bolt Brewery has taken possession of a property ...

Meet Bay City Brewing

Upcoming Point Loma brewery led by former Monkey Paw talent

The San Diego brewing scene is growing so quickly that the open positions for brewing personnel seemingly outnumber the pool of qualified candidates. This means digging through droves of homebrewers for potential blue chips capable ...

Nickel Beer makes it a double (dubbel)

Collaborating with Julian brewery for Beer to the Rescue charity beer

Last year, I had the pleasure of collaborating in the brewing of an English-style extra special bitter (ESB) aptly named Bitter Beer Writer. It was the idea of Tom Nickel, the owner and brewmaster at ...

Go east, young beer aficionado!

El Cajon brewing rallies local talent for East County beer fest

When URBN St. Brewing Company installed its brewpub in the former home of El Cajon Brewing Company, one of partner Alex Carballo’s major goals was to help move the craft beer needle in East County ...

Beer Touring: Legacy Brewing Tap & Kitchen

Oceanside brewery celebrates opening of San Diego bar-and-restaurant

I wondered how a smaller Oceanside brewery would fare opening up a bar and restaurant in the relatively faraway Miramar community. Whereas larger, better-known North County brewing interests — Stone Brewing Co., Pizza Port, Rip ...

Beer SaturaTION

A sampler flight of local beer events happening January 27-February 1

January 30-February 1 | TION Weekend: It’s good to know people. Thanks to long-standing ties between O’Brien’s Pub and the world-renowned Russian River Brewing Company, the former is able to put on an epic list ...

New projects for New English

Sorrento Valley brewery working on expansion, signature beer for Catania

With the rapid growth of so many San Diego brewing companies, it’s easy to lose sight of those following the less-flashy, slow-and-steady model. One such operation, New English Brewing Company (11545 Sorrento Valley Road, #305, ...

Beer to the Rescue: Hildegard IIIPA

Benchmark Brewing Company goes REALLY big for charity

Last week, I shared news of Beer to the Rescue, a year-long campaign raising funds for the Lupus Foundation of Southern California (LFSC) via sales of specialty beers from local brewing companies. The first of ...

Beer Touring: Wavelength Brewing Company

New nanobrewery gives Old Town Vista its second craft beer dispensary

Most of the time, I try to suppress my enthusiasm over checking out new brewing companies, waiting long enough for them to get on their feet and get some brews under their belts before I ...

Green Flash truckin' along

Mira Mesa brewing company to sate visitor’s hunger with branded food truck.

I remember the day I first met Dave Adams. At the time, he was working to meld the wide-ranging array of beers at Churchill’s Pub & Grille with the venue’s evolving cuisine. Within five minutes ...

Howl at the moon… -light or -shine

Sampler flight of local beer events happening January 20-26

January 23 | Deconstructed Anniversary Ale Night: O’Brien’s Pub is inviting Jeffers Richardson, director of Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Barrelworks division, to taste through the numerous barrel-aged beers which were blended together to produce the ...

AleSmith & Mikkeller’s geeky collab

Renowned coffee stout experts band together for buzzy brew

It’s nice to imagine two guys who are now giants of the craft brewing movement meeting as homebrewers and forming a lifelong friendship. My, my — the conversations, ideas, and techniques Peter Zien and Mikkel ...

All that…and less

Stone debuts gluten-reduced India pale ale

Prior to my Lupus diagnosis, doctors attempted to determine the cause of my symptoms, which included severe stomach pains and other gastrointestinal distress. At one point, they speculated that I might be gluten-intolerant. My heart ...

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