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Stories by Brandon Hernández

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 ...

Comic-Con spilling over like so many suds

Sampler flight of beer events from July 22 through 28

July 25-27 | 4th Anniversary Extravaganza: Every year, Urge Gastropub goes big with its anniversary, starting with its celebratory burger, which weighs at least a pound and is piled high with exotic ingredients. Ditto the ...

San Diego Craft Beer in Europe

Stone and Green Flash have big aspirations across the Atlantic.

This weekend, Stone Brewing Co., my employer, announced that it will be the first American craft brewing company to own and operate a brewery in Europe when it opens the doors to a 43,000-plus square ...

Where the suds meet the turf

Ballast Point takes over former Oggi’s space at Del Mar Fairgrounds.

There’s nothing quite like a day spent at the track, picking the ponies and, hopefully, taking home some cash. For the longest time, doing so meant settling for Del Margaritas. I know, I know…first-world problems. ...

Twisted rusticity

Santee brewery’s red leans on chocolaty end of crimson spectrum

When most San Diegans sit down to a heady pint of a red ale, they expect a nose full of piney hoppiness followed by flavor that matches that olfactory promise. Living here, it’s no wonder. ...

What's on Draft at Belmont Park

Mission Beach gets authentic craft beer bar and grill

My friend and I sat at a table decorated with craft beer bottle labels, staring out at the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean. The beach was only 30 yards or so away; we could ...

In-progress brewery count up to 48

Seven new brewery projects pop up in two weeks' time

When I catch wind of a new brewery project, I feel a jolt of electricity shoot through me. I realize this speaks to the near-obsessive depth of my craft beer enthusiasm, but it is what ...

Suds from Santa to Sierra Nevada

Sampler flight of beer events from July 15 to July 21

July 19 | Christmas in July: There’s no chimney, so Santa’s using the roll-up entrance to get into the tasting room at Port Brewing Company / The Lost Abbey and deliver this year’s batch of ...

Belgian redemption via beers, meat canoes

Brabant’s Belgian Independence Day event to erase bitter taste of defeat

The World Cup is over, which means we can put all of our ill will toward Belgium behind us. It’s actually in our best interest and the timing couldn’t be better. Belgian Independence Day is ...

Hess goes big for Year Four

Anno Quarto IPA to debut at Mike Hess Brewing's anniversary fest

Mike and Greg Hess have come a long way from the mid-‘90s, when they lived in San Francisco and Philadelphia, respectively, and would share news of their homebrewing adventures over the phone. Back then, their ...

Meet Julian CiderWorks

Homebrewer-run packaged cider operation sprouting in Apple-ville

Stan Sisson’s love affair with hard cider dates back even longer than his decades-plus homebrewing career. Inspired by his grandfather-in-laws forays into tangerine wine-making using bread yeast, Stan added champagne yeast to apple juice to ...

Craft, beer, ads and advertorial

Like “crafty” beer brands, beer-related content isn’t always what it seems

A few weeks back, a reader tweeted to me, stating that when they went to check out my San Diego Beer News articles on the local craft beer scene, the webpage background displayed an ad ...

Dueling annies and more

Sampler Flight of local beer events for July 8 through July 14

July 12 & 13 | First Anniversary Extravaganza: Modern Times Beer is celebrating one year over the course of two days at both its Lomaland Fermentorium and North Park Flavordome. Tap lists 16 strong will ...

Just who are these Fat Cats?

The story behind the company contract brewing in Vista

Felines are known for being sly, but when I asked the folks behind The Fat Cat Beer Co. what they were all about, they were very forthcoming. While others may have skirted the question of ...

AleSmith forges beer for The Bellows

New San Marcos eatery’s custom-made smoked barrel-aged stout

When I first heard the name “The Bellowsman,” I assumed the Societe Brewing Company beer bearing that handle had been brewed especially for local publican Ivan Derezin. After all, the brew debuted around the same ...

Meet O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Co.

Siblings building nanobrewery in Scripps Ranch

Last week, I told the story of two brothers working to open a Bitter Brothers Brewing Company in Bay Ho. Turns out, there’s another pair of fraternal siblings doing the same thing over in Scripps ...

Declare craft beer independence

Sampler flight of local beer events for July 1 through July 7

July 3 | The Big Smoke: Whether its smoke rings on a slow-cooked hunk of brisket or peatiness in a rauchbier straight out of Germany, Hamilton’s Tavern is a proponent of smoldery, smoky goodness. They’ll ...

Lost Abbey’s Cardiff Confessional

Encinitas’ first brewery-owned venue to open this summer

It’s only 1,202 square feet, but when all is said and done, the satellite tasting room Port Brewing Company and The Lost Abbey are inserting into Cardiff Towne Center Complex (2007 San Elijo Avenue, Cardiff) ...

Drinking pink at home and abroad

Vista’s Latitude 33 does its part to support Pink Boots Society

The San Diego craft beer community extends beyond brewers to brewery employees and those who aspire to get into the industry. Members of each of these factions recently collaborated on a special beer brewed to ...

Toolbox Brewing meant to be?

The trio behind the next brewing entry into Vista’s populous scene

I didn’t believe in fate and things that were meant to be... until I met my wife. Once she came along, things just started falling into place. My life would be nowhere near the same ...

I believe that we will drink

No matter the outcome, Nickel Beer’s World Cup pale’s a winner

Tom Nickel isn’t one of those bandwagoners who become infatuated with futbol every four years. He follows soccer year-round, travels the world to take in matches at storied arenas, and has made his bar, O’Brien’s ...

Bay Ho's Bitter Brothers

Siblings shoot for early November launch of area’s first brewery

In addition to my work as a journalist covering the San Diego brewing scene, I proudly act as an ambassador for the region. There are few things as rewarding as exposing people to this county’s ...

Monday thru Sunday suds soirées

Local beer events happening June 23 to June 30

June 23 | Beer U: Sensory Evaluation: There’s more to beer analysis than sipping and swirling. Join Stone Brewing Co. research manager Steve Gonzalez as he teaches students to differentiate between styles and detect defects ...

Societe's celebratory dumpster-diver

Kearny Mesa brewery releases special second anniversary saison

At my day job, my colleagues and I recently brainstormed potential names for a saison. A rangy ale style originally brewed on French and Belgian farmsteads, we toyed with many farm-inspired names. In the end, ...

Belgians and barrels

Rip Current Brewing wading deeper into the suds spectrum

Despite tackling a wider range of beer styles than almost any brewery in the county, Rip Current Brewing Company (1325 Grand Avenue, San Marcos) has only dabbled in Belgian-inspired beers. That’s about to change big-time ...

AleSmith keeps rollin'

Suddenly expanding company to build satellite company store

The first half of this year has included huge news for AleSmith Brewing Company. In addition to the announcement that the company will be moving into a building all its own with five times the ...

Big beer doin's abound this week

Sampler Flight for June 18 through June 23

June 19-22 | AleSmith Weekend: The minds that brought beer fans the Night of a Million Zillion Speedways are teaming to present fine, award-winning beers plus specialties and one-offs from AleSmith during a four-day weekend ...

Award-winning QUAFF

Local homebrew club shows well at National Homebrew Competition

Each year, homebrewers across the country kill the flame on their portable burners and journey to the National Homebrewers Conference, where they can confer with fellow domestic fermentation enthusiasts over (many) beers. But there’s more ...

Black House at its new house

Modern Times’ new Flavordome offers three versions of coffee stout

When I checked out Modern Times’ original Point Loma tasting room, I made the company’s Black House Coffee Stout a Beer of the Week. So, earlier this week, when taking in the Flavordome — Modern ...

What’s in the hopper, part two

The best of the rest of San Diego’s upcoming breweries

Yesterday, I shared the top five most intriguing brewery projects on deck throughout San Diego County. Today, I’m disclosing the seven that round out my top 12 and why. 6 - Prodigy Brewing Company: When ...

What’s in the hopper, part one

Upcoming San Diego brewery projects with the most promise

I can remember when there were fewer than 45 operating brewhouses in San Diego County. Now, that’s the number of planned and in-the-works brewing facilities I am keeping track of. With new businesses coming online ...

Pop the top for Pop

Sampler Flight of events June 10 –15

June 14 | Second Saturday: Join the party animals from Coronado Brewing Company fresh off being named the Champion Medium-sized Brewery on Planet Earth at the 2014 World Beer Cup. They’ll be celebrating that tremendous ...

Islanders to brew inland

Pacific Islander Brewing Company coming to Santee

Santee is about to get an infusion of island style courtesy of Pacific Islander Brewing Company. Founded by a trio who’s two-thirds Hawaiian who are finalizing their lease, the business is set to be installed ...

Summer forecast calls for Lightning

Chardonnay-aged version of Poway brewery’s fruity strong ale now available

Poway’s Lightning Brewery is mostly known for its lagers and other true-to-form Germanic offerings such as Elemental Pilsner, Thunderweizen, and Ionizer Lager.

Beer flowing the way of wine

The satellite-tasting-room model is here to stay

To meander through downtown Sonoma and stop in at a winery tasting room or two feels natural. One is in the middle of wine country, after all. Why wouldn’t a winemaker looking to increase the ...

Societe Brewing goes long

Kearny Mesa brewery to celebrate two years over 10 days

I am in awe of birthday celebrants with the foresight, ability, and friendship base to stretch their special day into a full week of good times. So, I can’t help but to marvel a bit ...

Beer events to help quell heat

Sampler flight of events from June 3–9

June 4 | Archives Night: Escondido’s youngest and smallest brewing operation, Plan 9 Alehouse, is teaming with the North County municipality’s eldest and largest brewery, Stone Brewing Co., to present a wide array of the ...

Summer target for Fall Brewing

Well-traveled brewer opening North Park brewery with backing of Premier Stainless

Regular readers of my column are familiar with Premier Stainless Systems. The Escondido-based business has been wildly successful over the past several years, establishing itself as, well, the “premier” manufacturer of brewing systems locally and ...

World Beer Cup winners’ catch-up collab

International friends Coronado Brewing and Coedo join forces Stateside

Last year, I packed up my laptop and tasting glass, and boarded a plane for Japan, where I spent a week shadowing brewers from Coronado Brewing Company. The highlight of the trip was being a ...

The Summer Solstice Ale Trail

Passport-driven reward system encourages local beer touring

Without camaraderie, the San Diego craft beer scene would be much different—and much smaller. It’s the cooperation of local breweries through the San Diego Brewers Guild and on individual, inter-brewery levels that has allowed so ...

Beer and food ménage à trois

Nanobrewery teams up with hot sushi and taco eateries in Oceanside

Haven Harris says his beers are so colorful and eclectic that the name of his nanobrewery, Beer Brewing Company (1813½ South Coast Highway, Oceanside) doesn’t need to be. Brought into an exciting three-way food-and-beverage operation ...

Drink like it's your (or their) birthday

Sampler Flight for May 28 to June 1

May 28 | Adam Avery Birthday Dinner: The only Avery Brewing Company brew most people know is White Rascal wit, but there’s lots more where that came from and founder Adam Avery will bring 15 ...

Change of pace: a double IPA?

Green Flash going against the session-beer grain

Like any industry, craft brewing has its trends. Right now, the hottest of them all is the West Coast-style session India pale ale. We discussed this hot hoppy beer style three weeks ago. So far, ...

Beer Touring: Council Brewing Company

New Kearny Mesa brewery’s first drafts offer flavor and promise

Objectivity is everything, but I’ll admit, it’s hard not to pull for a nice husband-and-wife team that used their own four hands to build out their brewery and tasting room, and do everything from brewing ...

Amanda Vs. The Arbolcots

Waypoint Public chef brews collaboration beer with Stone

I’ve had the honor of being involved in the production of a few beers. Usually, brewers are kind enough to invite me into their space to lend conceptual and/or physical assistance in the brewing process. ...

Memorable, beery celebrations leading up to Memorial Day

Sampler Flight for May 20 to May 25

May 23 | Ritual Celebration: When you faithfully and regularly celebrate local brewing companies, they’re often happy to share the best of their wares with you. Case in point: the plethora of specialty beers such ...

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