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Stories by Brandon Hernández

Sampler Flight: It's the Reader's turn on April 27!

This week, the Reader’s getting in on the ale-driven action!

April 22 | Homebrew Trade & Taste: Little Italy’s original Bottlecraft location is as much a center for craft beer communalism as it is a retail outlet. Helping to foster this well-earned reputation is this ...

The Bailey, Julian Brewing Co. for sale

Julian’s first brewpub has been put on the open market

When news broke in early 2012 of two families with deep local brewing ties teaming up to bring Julian its first brewpub, the townspeople — and most of the beer fans in San Diego County ...

Cross-genre jam session births massive IPA

Brewers helping non-brewers make their hoppy dreams come true

I’ll admit it. When I first heard Stone Brewing Co. was conducting a collaboration brew with a member of jam band The String Cheese Incident and a journeyman guitarist who’d shredded with the likes of ...

Viva Cervecería Azteca

Aztec Brewing Company’s beers returning to Mexico

Even before Aztec Brewing Company (2330 La Mirada Drive, #300, Vista) was up and running, owners John Webster and Claudia Faulk received inquiries from businesses in Mexico asking to carry their beer. The reason — ...

Sneak Peek: Karl Strauss Brewery Gardens

30-year-old Sorrento Mesa restaurant undergoes a complete refresh

With magnificent Japanese-style gardens, a waterfall, and a koi lagoon flanking its northern edge, Karl Strauss Brewing Company’s Brewery Gardens location (9675 Scranton Road, Sorrento Mesa) is the crown jewel of its brewery-restaurant empire. I’ve ...

Sampler Flight: April 15 – 21

From foodie to festival-goer, there’s something for everyone this week

April 19 | One-Year Anniversary: Join owner and brewmaster Alex Van Horne as he celebrates Year One of his sci-fi-themed Intergalactic Brewing Company over the course of three sessions including his favorite brews from the ...

2014 World Beer Cup winners

Local winners from the Olympics of brewing

The Olympics of beer, the World Beer Cup, went down last Friday, and while San Diego’s brewers didn’t get to parade into the event in matching jumpsuits to the cheers of their countrymen, they left ...

Beer of the Week: Rip Current Caught In A Rip IIIPA

One of the best beers from one of the county’s most prolific breweries.

Every time I go to Rip Current Brewing Company, I’m amazed at the large number of stylistically diverse beers they have available. Homebrewers at heart, brewers Paul Sangster and Guy Shobe do an impressive job ...

Brewery wanna-bes or never-will-bes

Prospective brewing company projects that are either silent or dead

At the time of this writing, I am keeping track of a whopping 42 brewing projects which are in the works within the boundaries of San Diego County. Of those, 35 are works-in-progress from new ...

Toronado blowing down wall

North Park beer bar poised to expand into neighboring space.

Though, at the right time of day, it can be a cozy, quiet, craft beer-equipped respite from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, at peak business hours, Toronado San Diego (4026 30th Street, ...

Sampler Flight: April 8 – 14

Slimmer pickings than most weeks, but still plenty of quality suds.

April 8 | Beer Dinner: Many are high on the rebirth of longtime Gaslamp Quarter eatery Croce’s as Croce’s Park West. Count Coronado Brewing Company among those excited about the change. Enough so that they’re ...

Meet Magnetic Brewing

Electrician among brewery owners setting up shop in Kearny Mesa.

“I am Magnetic Brewing,” replies Morgan McCarty when asked about the staff at his new brewery-to-be in Kearny Mesa. It’s a solo operation, and though he has the support of a loving wife and two ...

Beer of the Week: Mother Earth Brew Co. Printemps Houblon Ale

First in a four-part seasonal series is a multifarious beaut’

When the San Diego Brewers Guild presented its members with the opportunity to team with a European brewery, Dan Love, head of Mother Earth Brew Co. wasted no time taking the local advocacy group up ...

Modern Times & Half Door Hiring

Brewery and brewpub posting up help wanted signs.

Working at Stone Brewing Co., a business that regularly has between 50 and 100 job postings up at a time, I am intimately aware of how many employment opportunities exist within our burgeoning local brewing ...

Catching Up with Council Brewing

Husband and wife share details about upcoming Kearny Mesa brewery.

I entered to the sound of construction, but instead of a crew of burly dudes hammering and sanding away, I encountered a kindly looking couple wearing matching gear made dusty yet stylish by the addition ...

Sampler Flight: April 1 – 6

A trio of festivals form the basis for fermentable fun

April 5 | Craft Beer ‘N’ Bites: SILO, an open-air event space in East Village’s Makers Quarter, will play host to a beer-and-food-event featuring pairings from local restaurants and breweries including Societe Brewing Company, Green ...

Top 50 U.S. Craft Breweries

Three San Diego breweries make 2013’s list of largest craft operations.

Today, the Brewers Association, the industry group representing American brewing companies, announced the top 50 craft breweries in America as ranked by beer production for calendar year 2013. Of them, three operate in San Diego ...

Beer of the Week: Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout

Deconstructing the king of the growing PB brew niche

As I set out to figure out which San Diego County-brewed beer I would feature this week, I looked back on the past several months’ worth of ales and lagers I’ve spotlighted, and realized there ...

Dos Desperados comes out with guns blazing

San Marcos’ newest brewery opens with Wild West panache

These desperados have been tough to track down. Rather than drum up pre-open hype, Steve and Dora Munson have channeled their husband-and-wife energies into quietly establishing their plot a block north of San Marcos’ Restaurant ...

Meet Quantum Brewing Company

Small, scientific nanobrewery in the works in Kearny Mesa

Fifteen years saturated with constant travel provided Dylan Wallace many worldly experiences — he’s climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, traversed the Inca Trail, and eaten and drunk his way through many cities in Europe and Asia. But ...

Sampler Flight: March 25 – 31

Bands and women banding together among week’s beery highlights

March 29 | Two-Year Anniversary: Latitude 33 Brewing Company is throwing itself a “birthday party” with food from dueling gastrotrucks, music from a quartet of bands and five specialty beers including a strawberry-tinged version of ...

Pacific Brewing Company set to open

This weekend marks grand opening for new Miramar brewery

I’ve made it a focus to meet brewing entrepreneurs in the earlier stages of their brewery start-ups. Such was the case with Andrew Heino and Chris Chalmers, former Stone Brewing Co. brewers staking out together ...

Beer of the Week: La Jolla Brewing Big Time Stout

First seasonal from new, improved brewpub in The Jewel is a hit

In some ways it felt like nothing had changed. There I was on the patio of the brewpub on Fay Avenue, drinking beer with my dog. But that was the extent of any real similarity. ...

Meet Jamul Brewing Company

Not to be confused with the town’s other eponymous upstart

I’m not perfect. I accepted that long ago. So, two weeks ago, when I was notified that I’d used an incorrect Twitter handle to call out an article about a brewpub setting up shop in ...

AleSmith movin’ on up

Acclaimed brewing company locked-in for expansion to large-scale Miramar facility

It was an evening nearly half-a-year ago. I was sharing time, beer, and conversation with Peter Zien, owner and brewmaster at AleSmith Brewing Company (9368 Cabot Drive, Miramar). Over the years, this kindly San Diego ...

Sampler Flight: March 18 – 24

A small but formidable handful of local beer events

March 22 | Bands & Beers: Music and beer aren’t all that different. A creative drive is behind both of these artistic ventures, after all. Both mediums will be celebrated together when bands, The Mice, ...

From Rock Bottom to Mike Hess

Head brewer from closed downtown brewpub finds new life in North Park

Last October, I received an email from a colleague of a professional brewer Jason Stockberger asking if I knew of any open brewing positions. Stockberger’s job as head brewer was eliminated when national chain Rock ...

Beer of the Week: The Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme

If it’s on tap, it’s not to be missed

There are some beers that rarely make it on draft outside of their native tasting rooms. Produced in small quantities, they’re the types of brews that, regardless of what I’m in the mood for, I ...

A tale of two brewpubs

Urge nixes bowling, Amplified owner movin’ on up

This is a tale of two brewpubs…neither of which exist. This is nothing new for me, writing about businesses that aren’t yet tangible. In fact, reporting on the not-yet-realized dreams of hopeful brewers is pretty ...

North Park Beer Co. preview?

Pro-brewer to-be’s collaboration beer tapping around town

The name Kelsey McNair is well known among San Diego beer enthusiasts. To many, he’s looked upon as the next big hope for North Park. An accomplished homebrewer who’s brought home many awards and tantalized ...

Sampler Flight: March 11–17

St. Patty's Day suds and a whole lot more

March 11 – 16 | Anniversary Festivities: Mardi Gras was last week, but Ciro’s Pizzeria is keeping the good times rolling with eight days of celebration including a party with Stone Brewing Co., trivia nights ...

First Drafts: URBN St. Brewery

Former Stone brewer homebrewing eventual brewpub offerings

Just four guys sitting around the brewery drinking beer…and, yes, we all have beards. This was the Facebook post describing the first media tasting session for the beers of URBN St. Brewery (110 North Magnolia ...

Beer of the Week: Ballast Point Victory At Sea

Beer or cookies? Ballast Point and The Cravory say, “why choose?”

Good beer can be very inspiring. Tangible, edible proof is provided in confectionary form via The Cravory, a company popular for plump, delectable cookies encapsulating flavor profiles of popular desserts into compact, two-to-three bite servings. ...

Meet Jamul Town Brewery & Tap

Former Filippi’s being flipped into Jamul’s first brewpub

Being a native San Diegan, I have a soft spot for the Filippi’s Pizza Grotto chain. Just before writing this piece, I actually chowed down on a marinara-soaked meatball sub from that institution’s Scripps Ranch ...

Border X expands from the border to the Barrio

Otay brewery shares new Barrio Logan space with local taco company

It’s OK if the words “Border X” conjure little more than question marks for you. Nano-sized Border X Brewing Company opened only a few short months ago. Adding to its relative anonymity is its extreme ...

Before he was @sdbeernews, he was @offdutyfoodie

The Hake Sequestered below street level on Prospect, this seafood enclave has a broad assortment of mezcal, some of which find its way into tasty signature cocktails like the Oaxacan Old Fashioned — smoky mezcal, ...

Sampler Flight: March 4 – March 10

This week’s craft beer events a mixed bag of belles, beards and beer

March 8 | 2-Year Anniversary Celebration: They’ve quietly improved and expanded in the southern expanses of San Marcos, and now Stumblefoot Brewing Company is ready to cap off its second year in business with spiced ...

Bolt Back in Biz

Opened in 1989, Karl Strauss Brewing Company is the oldest, continually operating brewery in San Diego. But two years before Uncle Karl and his crew started serving amber lager downtown, an eclectic, low-frills yet high-energy ...

Beer of the Week: Green Flash Black IPA

Mira Mesa brewery opts for dark side in reembarking on Hop Odyssey

Hoppy beers are not new territory for Green Flash Brewing Company. The Mira Mesa-based operation has been dealing in lupulin-rich ales ever since brewmaster Chuck Silva came aboard, and have never looked back. Quite the ...

Valley Center Brewery finds home at home

Homegrown craft beer springing up in North County Inland burg

Last September, I introduced readers to Valley Center’s first brewery, Valley Center Brewery. At the time, the family-run operation was in the midst of its very humble beginnings, but they’ve been busy in their northerly ...

Business as usual for Local Habit

New ownership keeping Cali-Creole craft beer haven true to original vision

Last July, I reported the establishers of Local Habit (3827 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest) were selling the business. Immediately, regulars at the “Cali-Creole” spot were worried it would veer away from that unique style of cuisine ...

Sampler Flight: February 25 – March 2

Presenting a birthday, boobs, barrels and, of course, plenty of beer

February 27 | Second Anniversary Birthday Party: Is it an anniversary party or a birthday bash? With 15 Pizza Port beers on tap, including Raglan T-Rex IIPA, plus a cask of Green Flash Palate Wrecker, ...

Meet Social Jack’s Craft Brewing Company

Upcoming Little Italy nanobrewery tribute to fallen friend, beer aficionado

So, this guy walks into a bar (University Heights’ Small Bar to be exact), orders a beer, and promptly has it snatched up by a young woman who takes a sip and correctly identifies its ...

Beer of the Week: Coronado / Cigar City Jurata

Coast-to-coast collaboration yields mermaid-inspired Baltic porter

Last September, a most alliterate duo — Coronado Brewing Company and Tampa, Florida’s acclaimed Cigar City Brewing — collaborated to create a “not so common” India pale ale. Dubbed “Last Spike,” it was the first ...

Enter the Green Dragon

Combo tavern/museum celebrates history and the future of beer

When most San Diegans celebrate the history of beer, they start out with Karl Strauss Brewing Company. Or, if they really comb the annals of suds’ story, they mention the original Aztec Brewing Company and ...

Manzanita Brewing’s new name

Santee brewery goes national, adopts new moniker

From day one, the first image visitors to the tasting room at Manzanita Brewing Company’s associated with the Santee operation was its namesake lumber. The twisted tree was painted on the walls, and front and ...

Sampler Flight: February 18-22

Annual happenings galore top list of this week’s beer events

February 22 | 7th Anniversary Party: Spend an afternoon at SD Taproom’s outdoor beer garden, plucking from a long and impressive list of beers, many archived, rare or simply delicious, including a special beer brewed ...

Beer of the Week: Societe The Roustabout

An award-winning double IPA makes triumphant return

Last year, Societe Brewing Company (8262 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Kearny Mesa) made a lot of noise behind an ever-expanding fleet of diverse India pale ales that, even in a town awash with IPA, rated among ...

Meet Dogma Brewing Company

Husband, wife, man’s best friend working toward Clairemont nano

The eternal debate over religion and a German shepherd. These are the factors that led aptly named Michael Brewer to name his prospective business, Dogma Brewing Company. The homebrewer of more than ten years is ...

Big doin’s for Belching Beaver

The history of Belching Beaver Brewery (980 Park Center Drive, Vista) is short, but with a number of projects near completion, its future’s looking bright. A recent conversation with owner Tom Vogel turned up plans ...