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Stories by Brandon Hernández

The 12 Beers of Remembrance

A beer-centric experience I was thankful (and honored) to be a part of.

Receiving emails from readers is something I look forward to. Every now and then I get to help people out with suggestions about breweries or beers. It’s one of the best parts of this job ...

The hoppiest comeback ever

Original Bolt Brewery mastermind set to debut redux in La Mesa

They say it’s what's inside that counts and that’s true of any business, including Bolt Brewery (8179 Center Street, La Mesa). After all, it’s inside that soon-to-open operation’s Quonset hut brewhouse where the beer is ...

Beer Touring: Fall Brewing Company

Veteran brewer’s passion project open for business in North Park

With hundreds of events going on throughout the county over a ten-day span, San Diego Beer Week was a blast, but the following week was actually far more exciting from a beer news standpoint. There ...

Reasons to give thanks

Sampler Flight of local beer events for November 25 through December 1

November 25 | Movember Night: It’s the time of year where razors are shelved in favor of scruff, ‘staches, and Samaritanism. That’s right, possibly the easiest charity movement on the planet — Movember. All it ...

Beer Week surprise

A straightforward IPA from Mike Hess Brewing stands tall during SDBW

It was the best of times. No, really, it was the best of times! This year’s edition of San Diego Beer Week was one of the finest since the 2009 advent of this annual ten-day ...

Intergalactic Brewing’s growing universe

Miramar brewery set to graduate from nano ranks with latest expansion.

Even before trying a single beer, one can’t help but be charmed by the collection of sci-fi cinema paraphernalia gracing the walls of Intergalactic Brewing Company (9835 Carroll Centre Road, #108, Miramar). During a recent ...

How y'like them apples?

Julian Hard Cider being sued for alleged abuse of trademark

In July, I introduced readers to Brian Kenner, an orchard owner working to open a cider and perry company called Julian CiderWorks in the community of the same name. When reporting on this, I wondered ...

Life after Beer Week

Sampler Flight of local beer events for November 18 through 24

November 18 | Fish Taco TKO: San Diego is well-known for fine craft beer and fish tacos. Both will share the spotlight at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station when ten chefs ...

Coronado Brewing's Pier-Side I.B. resto

Coronado business gives Imperial Beach first brewery-owned venue

While the craft brewing movement has saturated most segments of San Diego County, especially communities in the northern and central regions, its southernmost municipalities are mostly beer barren. The only city south of downtown San ...

2014 San Diego Beer Week: Day 10

A comprehensive roundup of San Diego Beer Week events for November 16.

Barrel-Aged Victory at Sea Day: If ever there was a high-alcohol beer that’s palatable all day long, it’s Victory at Sea, a coffee-vanilla imperial porter from Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits. So, no matter when ...

2014 San Diego Beer Week: Day 8

A comprehensive roundup of San Diego Beer Week events for November 14.

Friday, November 14 Beer Week Events Ballast Point Tap Takeover: Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits has been on a growth tear over the past few years, but even when they were smaller and mostly known ...

Green Flash acquires Alpine Beer Co.

Two of San Diego's hoppiest form mutually beneficial partnership.

Two of San Diego’s hoppiest brewing operations are, essentially, becoming one. Today, Green Flash Brewing Company (6550 Mira Mesa Boulevard, Mira Mesa) announced that it has acquired Alpine Beer Co. (2351 Alpine Boulevard, Alpine). Described ...

2014 San Diego Beer Week: Day 7

A comprehensive roundup of San Diego Beer Week events for November 13.

Events for Thursday, November 13 Dark Side vs. Wild Side: The folks at Hamilton’s Tavern are pitting the deep, dark, heavy, highly-alcoholic brews of Avery Brewing Company against that same interest’s light, tart, funky, highly-alcoholic ...

2014 San Diego Beer Week: Day 6

A comprehensive roundup of San Diego Beer Week events for November 12.

Tuesday, November 12 Beer Week events Battle of the Double IPAs: Urge Gastropub will pair two flights of five uber-hoppy India pale ales each and serve them together so guests can cast their votes for ...

2014 San Diego Beer Week: Day 5

A comprehensive roundup of San Diego Beer Week events for November 11.

Tuesday, November 11 The Full Table: Company’s like taking their most popular beers and using flavorful ingredients to create myriad tasty versions. Usually, these are stouts or porters, but Benchmark Brewing Company is leading with ...

2014 San Diego Beer Week: Day 4

A comprehensive roundup of San Diego Beer Week events for November 10.

Beer events on Monday, November 10: Bagby Beer & Stone Brewmasters Lunch: If there are all-stars in the brewing community, Jeff Bagby and Steve Wagner qualify. The latter is inviting the former to his digs ...

2014 San Diego Beer Week: Day 3

A comprehensive roundup of San Diego Beer Week events for November 9.

Sunday, November 9 Beer Week Events Barrel-Aged Beer Release: Though the name of Coronado Brewing Company’s pumpkin beer, Punk’n Drublic, is pretty silly, the brewers were serious enough about it to stash some away in ...

2014 San Diego Beer Week: Day 2

A comprehensive roundup of San Diego Beer Week events for November 8

Saturday, November 8 Beer Week Events Bikes, Brews & Brats: Meet up with the crew from Green Flash Brewing Company at Cal Coast Cycles, don a commemorative bike jersey then embark on a scenic off-road ...

2014 San Diego Beer Week: Day 1

A comprehensive roundup of San Diego Beer Week events for November 7.

While most publications point to the San Diego Brewers Guild site for a “complete” list of San Diego Beer Week events, doing so means missing out on quite a bit of action around town. Rather ...

The cream soda of cream ales

Vista’s Mother Earth Brew Co. has a vanilla-laced workhorse in its stable

When most brewers contemplate recipes for their beers, they envision Belgian abbeys, a rustic Germanic brewhaus, old English structures, or French farmhouses, calling to mind romantic notions of places where the world’s classic styles were ...

Phil’s BBQ sets new bar with local beer

Local ‘cue all-star revamps bar, installs San Diego suds

The name Phil’s BBQ is synonymous with San Diego… much like handles such as AleSmith, Ballast Point, and Karl Strauss. Now, the ‘cue giant and those local brewing operations will be more synonymous with each ...

Top 12 San Diego breweries

AleSmith Brewing Company Founded by brewer Skip Virgilio in 1995, the company was known for solid beer early on but lacked the demand and business infrastructure to remain viable. After being sold to talented brewer ...

Dictionary of must-try local beers

Covering a brewing scene as vibrant as San Diego’s is harder work than it may seem. I won’t lie, the many hours of labor spent on this job are offset nicely by the benefit of ...

Best spots to have a beer

With so many spots to choose from, it’s best to break the list into categories. Let’s begin with companies offering multiple locations. Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits A familiar nautical theme carries over from BP’s ...

Best new breweries

Thanks to a year in which a record number of new breweries and brewpubs came online, the number of operating brewhouses in San Diego County has risen to more than 100. That’s more brewing facilities ...

Craft beer haunts

Sampler Flight of beer events from October 28-November 3

October 29 | Trick or Cheese: It’s cheesy…in a good way. Local Habit is teaming with the fromage mavens at Venissimo Cheese to procure cow’s, goat’s, and sheep’s milk offerings that pair exceptionally with the ...

OB getting a shot of Culture

Solana Beach’s Culture Brewing Company opening Ocean Beach tasting room

Life’s been a beach for the team at Culture Brewing Company since opening their small but noteworthy brewery and tasting room in Solana Beach’s Cedros Design District in 2012. And it figures to stay that ...

Beer Touring: O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company

A visit to Scripps Ranch’s new brewery during its first week in business

Back in July, I visited Ed O’Sullivan, owner of namesake interest, O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company (9879 Hibert Street, Scripps Ranch). No beer had been brewed, but there was plenty to be impressed by, namely a ...

Dark Days at Iron Fist

Vista brewery set to debut a rum barrel-aged imperial stout.

As temperatures begin their annual, wintry decent — OK, so we’re only talking a few degrees in sunny San Diego, but humor me — thoughts of tropical isles are hardly top of mind. But Vista’s ...

“Marketing” local beer

Passage of AB 2004 allows local brewers to sell beer at farmers’ markets.

As one would expect from a county with a climate so well-suited to nourishing crops and orchards, plus a top-notch artisanal culture, San Diego’s farmers’ markets are a cut above; places that, in addition to ...

Early Look: 32 North Brewing Company

New Miramar business really gets it, and “it” includes skillful brewing

I’ve met many new-brewery owners in my day. Sometimes, they’re so out of touch from a business or brewing standpoint that I fear for them. I recently had the opposite experience when meeting Steve Peterson, ...

Opens and annies

October 24 | Grand Opening: New centrally located 32 North Brewing Company will throw open its doors and throw down with a Day One inventory of core beers such as Landfall Berliner Weisse, Fly By ...

No beer, no problem

The Cork and Craft’s food makes waiting for house beers easy.

“I cook food. I roast coffee.” This is the mantra Mike Arquines leads with from the helm of newly opened restaurant, urban winery, and soon-to-debut brewery, The Cork and Craft (16990 Via Tazon, Rancho Bernardo). ...

American Voo Doo

Oggi’s production arm releases two forms of its imperial stout.

The second I laid eyes on a bottle of Left Coast Voo Doo American Stout (produced by Left Coast Brewing Co., the brewing operation from which most of the beers of the Oggi’s brewpub and ...

Virginia is for (beer) lovers

Two San Diego companies building breweries in the Old Dominion

It may be 2,600 miles away on the opposite side of the country and bear little cultural resemblance to Southern California, but relatively soon, Eastern Virginia will feature not one, but two companies providing an ...

Ballast Point open for business in Miramar

Rapidly growing brewing and distilling company debuts new tasting room.

Between droves of beer fans driving in for a first look and an army’s worth of delivery trucks pulling up to have their trailers filled with palettes of fresh Sculpin IPA and Pale Ale, Carroll ...

Fests of all flavors

Sampler Flight of beer events from October 14-20

October 17 | Oktoberfest Celebration: For one über-fantastic Saturday, the gang at Helm’s Brewing Company will do everything it can to convert their nautical-themed industrial suite into a center for Germanic celebration. Deutsch costumes, music, ...

Bine & Vine looks the part

Recently renovated standout bottle shop ups its game with redone interiors

Believe it or not, there was a time when craft-stocked bottle shops weren’t in every neighborhood throughout San Diego. Sure, there was craft beer, even the local variety, but it took awhile for the retail ...

Julian's mascot beer

Nickel Beer Company brews ale-cider hybrid with local apples

I love the Padres and Chargers, but a balding, portly friar and buffed out lightning bolt are hard to get excited about. San Diego isn’t known for cool mascots. Fortunately, it is known for exceptional ...

Local beer cellar bets

San Diego County beers best suited for prolonged aging

The term “beer cellar” can come off a bit pretentious, intimidating ale and lager fans who are only ankle-deep in the liquid medium. But fear not. Unlike wine cellars, which veer toward the legitimately pretentious, ...

Coastal exposure

Santee’s Twisted Manzanita Ales opens PB tasting room

In going coastal, Twisted Manzanita Ales (4652 Mission Boulevard, Pacific Beach) has departed from the interior motif of the tasting room at its Santee headquarters. Ironically, this comes from the company desiring to provide a ...

Local 2014 GABF winners

SD shines early, often at Great American Beer Festival

San Diego County brewers are used to successful outings at the country's largest, most-respected brewing competition, the Great American Beer Festival. Held annually in Denver, the combination festival and competition draws thousands of beer fans ...

Underground beer tasting

Examining the first Barrel-aged Rare Form, Amplified Ale Works’ first Barrel Works release

In my day, I’ve been treated to grandiose tastings of fine food and beverage in posh, intimate settings replete with marble, rich mahogany, and fine Corinthian leather, where I’ve been served by tuxedoed and otherwise ...

Baja Beer Touring: Mexicali — Part II

Closing out three days in Baja with a fiesta, siesta, and of course, more craft beer.

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

Baja Beer Touring: Mexicali — Part I

Tasting through Mexicali’s hot craft brewing scene

The following is the fifth in a six-part series about that adventure, which yielded some good beer and a good deal more. Valle de Guadalupe - Part II is the previous stop on this tour ...

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. Valle de Guadalupe - Part I is the previous stop on this tour ...

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 I 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 ...

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