Brandon Hernandez, Author, San Diego Beer News Complete Guide to San Diego Breweries
Related Story: New Book: Complete Guide To San Diego Breweries
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: If the beer lovers in your life are smiling just a little bit more this week it's probably because their favorite time of year. San Diego beer week is underway and it continues through the Sunday. With all the beer around, how can you be sure that you are taking the pub that is right for you? Brandon Hernandes has sampled about all the craft beer that San Diego has to offer and he is out with a new book.
BRANDON HERNANDEZ: I appreciate you pointing out my bravery.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: It took a lot of guts. Is it something that you look forward to or is it mainly for the beer?
BRANDON HERNANDEZ: It's that way for anybody. This proved people for have any compassion or people who know nothing about it. Get in there and get your feet wet. It's really your palate not your feet. Everybody in town is doing something to nobody is missing out. Every breweries thing on events. Some even have anniversary party systemic way. One had a circus theme to be release with performers like Cirque du Soleil going on. Everything happening right now and you can find something that is your thing even if. Not your thing.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is a real event for San Diego whether or not you want to indulge. Case you go to one of these events and there are hundreds as he said. Tell us about the real standouts outside of this circus event.
BRANDON HERNANDEZ: One of the standouts was the San Diego Brewers Guild Festival. It shows solidarity amongst all the rumors here to bring the attention to our region. For ten days we can bring out people in a very chill manner. The festival includes every brewery in San Diego.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: How many?
BRANDON HERNANDEZ: Eighty now and forty on the way. By next year it favors to grow by 15% you can try beers from all of them and take your pick and choose geography or style of beer and go for it. Second chance to do that is the unofficial closing ceremony. As cold beer garden. It's where we take the breweries in collaboration with local chefs and specific beers to the cuisine. In great food and having great beer. I can't think of anything better than that.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: You write a lot about here, what gets you so interested about this?
BRANDON HERNANDEZ: My first experience with craft beer was actually my first experience with beer. I had a couple of swigs of coronas and bud light and did not impress me. I was only drinking spirits and wine here and there. My friends said they are going out to prepare. Tried it were a Heineken because of the fanciest thing to think and they did stop me. Now you can try this and it's from Stone brewery in Escondido. Dark brown roasted flavor and hops is an intense. I thought this is what real beer is like? I never went back. A lot of people have this experience and I found in San Diego. Local breweries and going out it's only time in my life have been ahead of the curve. Since then it's been a passion and I think passion brings passion. These guys do with their beer and there's a lot of heart. It rose often there's something I can't help to be fascinated with.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Tell us about your book. It was sort of a passionate enterprising your part as well.
BRANDON HERNANDEZ: A labor of love, it is the first guide to all breweries and San Diego. There's eighty already and forty coming is the time for some many people to have a guide to what all these places are about specifically. If the names and never once used by names you want reputation. You want to know what you're looking for. A group where I can get this kind of food in these can appears in this area of town? Can expect how is the service and what is the setting. I went ahead and took these places and broken down and give them scores in three different categories. Quality, setting and service. You can go by individual stores at the settings that are important to you, if you'd rather be at a fancy restaurant you can find that, or if it's all about beer you just got the beer in the score of 1 to 50.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: See you rated the entire experience and not just quality of beer?
BRANDON HERNANDEZ: Yes. I figured I should go ahead and do this. I'vewritten a lot of articles and I have the guide to do it.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Give us a feel of how you get into what makes places interesting. Which rose to the top?
BRANDON HERNANDEZ: I should point out instead of trying to be the voice definitively, no one can sum it up for everyone. I had an expert panel of people who actually got them together and all the scores averaged out here are panel had those points for the highest consistency and quality of those companies go from Pilsner to IPA to anything. They have overriding quality. They managed to uphold the standards of time.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Do you find a brewery that had one standout feature for that the highest rating but something special? To do there a lot of places like that.
BRANDON HERNANDEZ: Usually breweries are little subpar but there may be a few good beers there in this book does point out the best of the best one or two beers at each assumption that you can probably count on and are usually available. That is the differentiator here. We might say the quality is down, but their dark beers are outstanding.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Other up-and-coming breweries in San Diego?
BRANDON HERNANDEZ: In the last year I want to say 12 to 20. They've all been different. They've been making sour beers and a hitting it with ales and stouts and this third tier of beers other people are excited about. One of the others was top in the country they had a slow start but they dialed in the quality fast and they are making tremendous beer.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Considering there are some members in San Diego is a heart for a new brewery to break in these days? To get attention of people and find their clientele?
BRANDON HERNANDEZ: It's not hard to break in at all. Maybe you will feel the pain of permitting and the once you are up and running the cool thing is that everybody is interested in the new one. To get flexible business regardless of who they are. This is great because people and that is why San Diego is a hot place for. People are always opening new things right here. Still get that influx of people will tell their friends. The hard part is to sustain the business and continue to differentiate. Some of the breweries are starting to seem a little the same and that is the base challenge. Say what I do and what I love and bring quality to back it. Then you are due to the public in a real way. It's not a fickle claim of your enthusiasts.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The complete guide to San Diego breweries. Have you ever seen any feedback from breweries in your book?
BRANDON HERNANDEZ: I have feedback all the time. Most of articles. Sometimes it's good or bad.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let me point out that these are not all okay to the breweries. You have some really lacking in some areas.
BRANDON HERNANDEZ: Exactly. The middle-of-the-road places got in touch with me today and I appreciate being honest in making the best.. These are really helpful comments that I received in here and I'm working on that and maybe next year will have a higher score. One person actually think me for being critical instead of gung ho and forward with it. That method allows everybody to ride the wave. It's not a bad thing here someone comes from out of town and they go to a brewery and have a terrible experience, that shatters the reputation that every on else's work so hard to build. That is why it's important to me. Even above that the consumer. It always has to be about the consumer. I want to make sure they had everything they needed to find what they want and I think they can.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What are some of the challenges they see ahead for city of craft. To mention one already, after the breweries established differentiating itself from other things. There's this same mistake or quote of the challenges other?
BRANDON HERNANDEZ: Does bring out the possibility for things to change. They have to change. There's so much more going on. What I would say, it's great because were at the top. These things can only go bad from here. That everybody in the industry gets along really well they help each other out, one company runs out of hops another will run them some. Something breaks and someone will lend them something to fix it or competition and more people who love not been around as long will see the challenge of remaining the brotherhood and sisterhood going on here going from being collaborators to the competitors. One of the reasons we're so great as we have been able to work with each other and do the rising tide, but if they start competing that's like to be that way anymore. They will be struggling to keep it the way it is or to adapt.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Finally, I think it's important to point out this is an industry with a $300 million economic impact to San Diego am wondering, with that pressure, the big money at stake is it likely that this camaraderie is going to continue? Is a going to become a cutthroat business?
BRANDON HERNANDEZ: The country is kind of the same to the extent all across the nation. It is very degrees of people are able to work together your there varies through very few enemies and craft beer. Studies show that 10% of the population right now is into craft beer. 90%, 90% still plenty of room to grow still.