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Any tour of multiple breweries carries with it both the possibility of discovering the next big thing or the next big disappointment. Sometimes a brewing company you had little to zero expectations for shocks your taste buds into standing up, taking notice and turning you into a lifelong fan or vehement hater. Other times, a place turns out to be everything you thought it would be and possibly even more. That was the case for me with Wet ‘N Reckless, which came across to me as every bit the train wreck I feared it would be…and more.

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Despite hearing multiple negative reports, I forced myself to leave them all behind as my companions and I made our way through the Mira Mesa business park labyrinth to Wet ‘N Reckless. Objectivity is not only important, but something it’s my duty to maintain until given firsthand evidence to abandon. Entering the small, mashed together, juvenilely decorated tasting room did little to foster encouragement, but no brewer should be judged on their interior design skills. We ordered a eight-beer taster flight, took our seat at a flimsy wooden table and sampled away.

Rather than spend paragraphs dissecting the individual problems we found in each beer, I’ll mercifully sum up the general problems we found across the line in as brief a manner as possible. Overall, the beers were syrupy (you could probably lacquer your woodshop creations with Hells Belg), suggestive of large amounts of diacetyl (too many to individually note), tasted awful (all of them), were the wrong color (the most unidentifiably dark IPA I’ve ever seen), and terribly named (Genocide IPA, Pop My Cherry Ale).

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Speaking of ill-conceived names, “wet and reckless” is a term used to describe a type of DUI plea in the State of California. Wet ‘N Reckless owner Dave Hyndman claims the name of his business has nothing to do with any of that and refers to his “reckless” (you can say that again) brewing style. Further driving all of that what-not home is a handful of laser-printed signs posted up in the tasting room encouraging people to consume responsibly and drive safely. My favorite was the one taped up next to a poster of sobriety spokesmodel, Jeff Spicoli.

The total cost for our shared misery was nine dollars—over a buck per plastic cup (because, really, nothing maintains the temperature, flavor and integrity of an artisanal beverage like plastic, right?) of subpar suds. Despite the three of us reluctantly taking second and third sips, trying to find redeeming qualities to note, not one of those beers got finished. I’m still reeling at the fact our hard-earned money was exchanged for lazily manufactured, extract-infused shortcut beer.

That’s right…extract is used. That in itself is not the worst thing in the world. I know many homebrewers—you know, beginners just getting their feet wet (but not necessarily reckless)—who produce totally drinkable extract brews. When given encouraging compliments, they typically smile before shrugging and saying stuff like, “thanks, but it’s just an extract brew…I’m working my way up to all-grain brewing.”

What’s the point in going to all the work when you can just take extract recipes, open up shop and join the ranks of San Diego’s rich pantheon of award-winning, top notch brewmasters? I suspect Hyndman is about to find out.

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I don’t presume to be clairvoyant or have the end-all opinion where craft beer is concerned, but I possess a pretty solid understanding of San Diego, our drinkers, and the rest of the local beer industry playing field. Not only can Wet ‘N Reckless not hang with the likes of heavy hitting Major Leaguers like AleSmith, Ballast Point and The Lost Abbey—they’ll be hard pressed to sustain a meager life treading water in the minors, especially with Green Flash Brewing Company’s grand scale facility occupying the intersection giving way to Wet ‘N Reckless’ obscure, darn-near-hidden digs. It’d be like passing up The French Laundry and driving a longer distance to get to Jacque dans le Boîte (Jack in the Box).

Wet ‘N Reckless (by the way, I’m not the one who thinks the apostrophe use on this name is correct) is located at 10054 Mesa Ridge Court, Suite 132.

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Comments

Ian Pike March 28, 2012 @ 12:20 p.m.

Maybe you're not so off-base to be on your guard with the fake cheap decor. It looks like they tried to make the tasting room look like a garage affair, even though it isn't, and the beer still ends up tasting like a mediocre homebrew.

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TheBigB March 28, 2012 @ 4:18 p.m.

I'm glad you don't pull any punches; I was halfway considering giving this place a try.

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M. E. March 28, 2012 @ 4:34 p.m.

So much for "in as brief a manner as possible."

What would be the long version?

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dhyndman March 29, 2012 @ 11:06 a.m.

This is Dave Hyndman, and it's my brewery he's talking about. Brandon is definitely entitled to his opinion, but the hundreds of people that come to my brewery and enjoy the beer enough to get a growler and keep coming back disagree with him. Perhaps the extreme beer snob will have problems with the colors of my beer or the fact that I don't have glasses, but good old regular beer lovers seem to resoundingly like it. Don't base your judgement on Brandon, make your own decisions. And, yes, if you need nice furniture or if a poster of Fast Times at Ridgemont High offends you, then perhaps you may not enjoy your visit. I try to appeal to people who like to have fun. It's beer for goodness sake! Don't take it so seriously.

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TheBigB March 29, 2012 @ 1:54 p.m.

OK, I've changed my mind again. I am so there.

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dhyndman March 29, 2012 @ 2:38 p.m.

Hey BigB, let me know it's you when you come in. If you don't agree the beer is awesome then I will refund your money.

Also, anyone who comes in this week and mentions this article will get $2.00 off their first two beers. www.wetnreckless.com buyah!

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bennettagius April 22, 2012 @ 2:42 p.m.

Hi Dave. Although that was a scathing review I still plan to come see you. Cheers, Chris

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Cinder548 March 29, 2012 @ 11:30 a.m.

One thing you have to remember is that no one begins as an expert. The breweries you compared Wet 'N Reckless to were largely started by very experienced award winning homebrewers (with the assistance of sponsorships and matching cash input) or employed accomplished brewmasters from the start. This brewery is brand new and developing; every time I go I see Dave frequently circling the tasting room asking for feedback on the beer.

The reason I like going to Wet 'N Reckless is that the atmosphere is casual, friendly, and social. A spot like this is definitely worth visiting if you like bars/pubs in the tradition of a "local" where there is a sense of camraderie. I too enjoy Greenflash but I've never been approached by friendly people to chat (except for a Jersey Shore-esque overly tan beer supplier that one time). There is a time and place for the more formal polished breweries, but I go to Wet 'N Reckless to unwind, relax, and joke around with new friends.

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CGabriel March 29, 2012 @ 12:29 p.m.

Brandon, thank you for your input on Wet ‘N Reckless Brewing Co. I have too been to Dave’s tasting room and had the experience of having strong drinks that are recklessly darker than they should be. It is a shame that when a man opens a brewery to supply us with beer, that some of us are incapable of appreciating it. I can tell by the way you speak about beer, that you believe your taste buds are superior to the rest of ours in describing the diacetyl profile and the viscosity of the beer. In my experience, both as a fellow brewer and beer connoisseur, little girls are typically poor judges of what good beer really is. If you’re not ready for a strong, thick beer, then maybe you should have a seat and let the men drink.

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jenjen April 5, 2012 @ 11:06 p.m.

Girls appreciate good beer just fine thankyouverymuch.

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bennettagius April 22, 2012 @ 2:47 p.m.

I'll vouch for you @jenjen. There are plenty of fine beer-lovin' lasses.

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Oscar March 29, 2012 @ 8:41 p.m.

OMG Brandon Hernandez!! Are you as unhappy in person as you are in your writing? I mean reallly... Everyone is clearly entitled to their opinion but was such a scathing report really necessary? No problem if you don't like the beer or the decor. How about some basic human respect for the owner who hand built everything in there, works 7 days a week by himself, brews on his own, and has no employees just to he can bring his dream to life. He didn't have tons of cash or investors, he did this all on his own. I have been to W & R many times and like to think of myself as a regular now. I really appreciate the relaxing atmosphere that it provides and how engaging and humorous the owner is. It's obvious with the tiny tasting room, wood table, wood bar, fermenter, fridge and decorations that the owner did all of this on his own and is doing what he loves without caring what people like you think. Seriously, my immediate thought after reading your article was that you must have some agenda to make the place look bad. Well either that or you are just an ass. I think the beer is great, and it's really unfortunate that due to your nasty article negative feedback goes much further than any postive feedback. People that might have gone there and choose not to after reading your article might miss out on something really fun, relaxing and nice while tasting some damn good beer too! Oh by the way, if his beer is so bad why have several local SD restaurants requested to have some of them on tap. Get over yourself!!

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emiliodelaplaya March 30, 2012 @ 6:35 a.m.

This place was packed last weekend. I loved the beers. Brainbuster Barleywine is off the hook!

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MaestroBigB March 30, 2012 @ 9:26 a.m.

I find this article very funny, I was at Wet N Reckless at the same time Brandon Hernandez was here, and while his article suggests he didn't enjoy himself --- if that's the case Brandon, why were you there drinking with your friends pass closing time?? there must have been some reason you hung out...were you and your friend's (one male and one female) having fun or were you just picking the place apart? This article is ridiculous on so many levels it's hard to pick out just one area of inaccuracy. The best thing everyone can do is disregard this authors opinion and come see for yourself. I personally enjoy the wide variety of beer Dave serves, one of my fav is actually "Pop my Cherry Ale" which I think is a very funny name... I can see how people without a sense of humor wouldn't find it funny.

If you want to have fun and great conversation with cool people - stop by Wet N Reckless

If you don't like having fun, have a close mind, don't like to try new things, or overall a snob in the Beer you like to drink...Hit your local liquor store and stay home

Another thing I'd like to point out, Brandon's tester beers looked very similar to how they looked in the picture...he was right to say they sipped the beer...beer is for drinking not sipping - this isn't wine. Pull your skirt up and drink the beer!!!!!

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dhyndman March 30, 2012 @ 10:39 p.m.

Dave the owner of Wet 'N Reckless again and I just had the best night so far. The place was packed as usual with people who overflowed with compliments about my place and my beer, like the girl who told me that every beer was great but the Genocide IPA reminded her of why she started to like beer. So, I wonder what kind of person would be so malicious as to want to take such joy away from these people not to mention try to take away my livelihood and dreams having never even met me. I don't know what your game is, sir, but you will not succeed. You are a young man and I will give you this advice: you will not find joy or happiness from hurting other people.

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bennettagius April 22, 2012 @ 2:53 p.m.

Dave, take heart in the fact that most of Brandon's writings receive no comments. The fact that 'your' article got so many comments says more about your career than it does about Brandon's.

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