A pint of Irish stout, and a pint of mint chocolate chip stout ice cream made with it
There’s a conspicuous cocoa flavor running through the green mint ice cream, it’s nearly as rich as the chocolate chips scattered throughout. But behind the frozen dessert’s sweetness lurks the tonic burn of alcohol. Because there’s no chocolate flavoring the ice cream, there’s beer. Specifically, a dry Irish stout.
1535 Tidelands Avenue Suite C, San Diego
You can get a pint of each — the ice cream and the beer — at their source: Hannegan’s House Beer Co. & Creamery. The combination brewery and small batch creamery sits within a small warehouse space near the shipyards in National City. Behind the venture is South Bay native, Andrew Hannegan. As sole proprietor, Hannegan brews the beer, makes the ice cream, and virtually everything else.
That includes building out an Irish pub-inspired tasting room — complete with brick wall façade — that he originally scheduled for a March 17, 2020 grand opening. Instead, that St. Patrick’s Day party would have to wait another year.
Hannegan’s beer menu isn’t restricted to Irish styles — he highlights an easy-drinking saison made with orange blossom honey — but they do make up the brewery’s flagship beers. In addition to Where the Stout Has No Name, the Irish stout behind the mint chocolate chip ice cream, he brews an Irish blonde, and an Irish red ale dubbed The Color We’re meant to Bleed. As Hannegan puts it, he brews what he likes to drink.
An old school type of San Diego taproom, inside a warehouse at the edge of town
“What truly got me into brewing was the Irish red,” says Hannegan. As a customer, he had trouble tracking down his favorite beer style locally, so decided to give homebrewing a try. “Okay, I’m not going to look for it,” he recalls thinking, “I’m just going to make it."
Back in 2015, he made his first batches at Citizen Brewers, the Grantville brew on-premise shop that gives homebrew customers a place to brew using professional equipment. Pretty soon, he set up his own rig at home, and within a couple years he found himself enrolled in the Business of Craft Beer program at SDSU, to see what else he might learn.
But by the time he completed the program, an acquaintance who enjoyed Hannegan’s beers offered to put up the money to start a beer business together. Though the partnership didn’t materialize, the idea had been given shape, and Hannegan grew determined to see it through.
“I was already all in, in my head and in my heart to do this,” he says. He moved back into his childhood home to save money, and the career termite inspector diverted his income into launching a brewery.
As his St. Patrick’s Day opening was disrupted by coid-19, Hannegan decided to continue following through, serving beer to go with occasional hours throughout last spring. But it wasn’t until the Hannegan’s House July 16 official opening that he introduced ice cream to the menu.
It had been part of the plan all along, though. Hannegan had grown up making ice cream with his family, and was making some for his children during a homebrew day when he decided to experiment with combining the two hobbies. When it came time to start a brewery, he’d spent years refining recipes to the point the beer adds to the flavor profile, rather than just taste like beer added to ice cream.
They were all specific to his beer recipes, so it made sense to combine the offerings. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to have that distinction. “There are so many good breweries here in San Diego, I had to be able to set myself apart,” Hannegan says. “It’s not just about the beer, there’s something more that people want to come in for.”
With his red ale he makes a strawberry chipotle ice cream, the blonde alternates between strawberry and peach ice creams. His personal favorite at the moment is honey raspberry with saison. Each gallon of ice cream contains roughly 24 ounces of beer, meaning there’s too little beer in a pint to get anybody drunk. Though a handful of restaurants and shops have shown interest in selling the beery ice cream, Hannegan prefers to sell exclusively in-house. Customers have to pay Hannegan’s House a visit to get their hands on a pint of mint chocolate chip stout.
The same is true of Hannegan’s remarkably easy drinking beers. Though the pandemic forced the business to sell packaged beer, this will be chiefly be a drink-in-person taproom. Customers looking to take beer to go may request a bottle fill, but Hannegan hopes the ABC will continue to allow outdoor service just outside the brewery’s large roll up door, and is already eyeing expansion into a neighboring warehouse suite to make more room for guests.
In other words Hannegan’s modest ambition isn’t to ship beer and ice cream, across the country. Rather, it’s to bring people here, to the outskirts of National City, for stouts, ales, and dessert.