I (Doug) love Hess Brewing. Perhaps I'm partial. (Doug is definitely partial.) They make great beer, they have a pretty rad team, and their beer comes in 16oz cans at my local corner store. Hess Brewing first came to my attention during beer week of 2011. Our beverage director befriended the Hess sales rep, Michael Skubic, and we agree to host a Hess Flight Night. At the time, Hess referred to itself as San Diego's only "nano brewery," which was in reference to only having a 2 barrel system. (That's only 4 kegs per batch.)
Hess's newer location in North Park has it's own tasting room and brews 30 barrels at a time. That means a lot more beer and a lot of fun new recipes. Remember those empty Elmer T. Lee bourbon barrels? They made their way to Hess to make Torulus (a Barrel-Aged Ex Umbris Russian Imperial Stout) and a Barrel-Aged Brunus Robustus Porter. (The Brunus Robustus was the first to be brewed in North Park, and the barrel-aged version was released to mark the 1-year anniversary of the North Park location. Really cool!) Being that I sent some free barrels, I decided to put in a few requests. I pitched a Strong Ale, which later became Validus (also a barrel-aged experiment), and a West Coast IPA, which I believe became a batch of Solis Occasus.
Just recently, Ted and I met with Greg Hess at the Hess tasting room in North Park. I hope to build upon our friendship and continue a great working relationship with Wheat & Water. While Ted and I work on getting the restaurant open, check out these new "Open Mike" cans from Hess. (Video on San Diego CW6: Getting Crafty with Cans.) The whole top comes off, so it's as if you are enjoying a pint at one of their tasting rooms. Or better yet, check out their tasting rooms - Mike Hess Brewing Locations.
On a side note, Michael Skubic left Hess soon after. He opened Old Harbor Distilling in 2014, so he's definitely doing alright. (We'll have more on Michael and Old Harbor on a future blog.)