Back to profile

Stories by Brandon Hernández

50 beers of the year

San Diego brews that left a lasting impression over the past 12 months.

With more than 100 brewhouses in San Diego, hundreds of new beers are produced throughout the county each year. I have the good fortune of sampling a great many of them, and the following is ...

Best beer futures: Part II

The rest of the county’s most exciting upcoming brewery projects.

On December 18, I shared the top five most intriguing upcoming brewery projects in San Diego County. The following are the seven that fill out the dozen top brewery-owned works in progress. 6. Project X ...

Best beer futures: Part I

A list of the county’s most exciting upcoming brewery projects.

Per San Diego Beer News tradition, I’m closing out the year by taking a look back at some of the best 2014 had to offer, while keeping an eye trained on what 2015 holds. In ...

Most improved breweries

The local brewing companies that upped their game in 2014.

Last week, I shared an article about the improved beers at Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment, and it got me to thinking of other breweries I’ve tasted progress from over the past 12 months. The following ...

Closing out with craft

Sampler flight of local beer events from December 16 through 31

December 18 | Santa’s Secret Stash: Few places not only procure so much fine beer, but also archive it, the way the folks at Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery, Hamilton’s Tavern, and Small Bar do. ...

All I want for Christmas is patience

Karl Strauss releases holiday ale designed to be enjoyed in 2021.

I don’t know about you, but the words “don’t open ‘til Christmas” come across like a mandate not to think about pink elephants. Once communicated, all I can think of is what I’m not supposed ...

Half Door swinging open soon

The Field’s upcoming offshoot East Village brewpub project a family affair

It’s easy to typecast. You hear a tenured local restaurateur has purchased an East Village property in which to install a brewpub for his son to brew at and his daughter to manage, and you ...

Meet Kilowatt Brewing Company

Beer plot thickens in brewery-dense Kearny Mesa

It’s hard to believe that, although two-and-a-half-years ago there had never been a brewery in Kearny Mesa, there will soon be five. It’s even more inconceivable that three of those share a strange, unplanned thematic ...

Acoustic Ales rising up the charts

Mission Hills brewery has shown much improvement over past year.

Some operations come a long way after initially disappointing. Such is the case with Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment (1795 Hancock Street, Mission Brewery Plaza, Mission Hills). My first visit to Acoustic’s tasting room was roughly ...

Supper, signings & Saturday suds

Sampler flight of local beer events from December 9 through 15

December 9 | Book Signing & Rare Beer Extravaganza: To celebrate the release of the *2014/2015 edition of my Complete Guide to San Diego Breweries*, my colleagues at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – ...

A green holiday red ale

The winter version of AleSmith’s YuleSmith belongs on any hophead's wish list

Most holiday beers are high in alcohol, heavy in texture, and rife with flavors of winter spices, caramel, dried fruits, chocolate, and booze. The majority fall into two categories — Belgian strong ales and imperial ...

Meet Second Chance Beer Co.

Longtime Rock Bottom brewmaster going his own way in RB.

In San Diego, award-winning, long-tenured brewers are treated like rock stars. Jeff Bagby (Bagby Beer, Pizza Port), Tomme Arthur (Lost Abbey, Port Brewing, Pizza Port), Chuck Silva (Green Flash Brewing), Peter Zien (AleSmith), Pat McIlhenney ...

Rare beer (and a book signing)

Come for the awesome beer and get a book signed while you’re at it.

My boss, Stone Brewing Co. co-founder and CEO Greg Koch, gets lots of attention. He’s a cult figure in the craft beer world, and when he makes appearances at craft beer bars and events, he’s ...

The Hop Concept

Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey add third brand to its two-headed monster.

Uncomplicated hoppy beers from the people who know how to make them. This is the tagline of The Hop Concept, a new, third brand for the multifaceted Pizza Port production brewing arm that is Port ...

Beer Touring: Quantum Brewing

Two local beer writers team up to taste through new Kearny Mesa beers.

One of the best things about the San Diego brewing scene is the fact that most of its players opt to regard each other as comrades versus competitors. Sure, they produce similar products and vie ...

Sudsy holiday shopping respites

Sudsy holiday shopping respites

December 3 | Sour Mania: Any chance to select from a bevy of tart blondes, Flemish reds, and the like merits the “God bless us, everyone” tagline, but offer that opportunity on a weeknight and ...

A Modern take on amber ale

Point Loma’s Modern Times updates a semi-forgotten classic

Remember when the most popular style of beer was amber ale, AKA red ale? Not Irish-style red or West Coast-style red... just a nondescript red ale that looked pretty much the same color as those ...

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). ...

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!

Close