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San Diego’s Best Beer Isn’t an IPA

Puesto Cervecería’s Doug Hasker shares insights from his decades spent brewing San Diego beer
A set of Puesto Cervecería beers by San Diego brewer Doug Hasker
Courtesy of Puesto

Doug Hasker goes way back with beer in this town. He moved to San Diego in 1998 to head brewing at Gordon Biersch’s then Mission Valley location and stayed until Biersch sold its operations to Puesto in 2019. Not ready to hang up his skates, he stuck with the Puesto folks, tweaked his brewing style from German to Mexican lagers, and carried on the building’s legacy of being home to some of San Diego’s finest suds.

These days, Hasker is catching attention for the beer he brewed for the Padres, Puesto’s Clara. It’s a refreshing Mexican-style light lager with crisp malt flavor, hints of corn, and a smidge of bitterness from noble hops with 4.7 percent ABV. It comes in the standard 12-ounce size and the 19-ounce tall boys and is, frankly, the perfect beer for tacos and roasting in the sun. 

San Diego craft brewer Doug Hasker known for creating Puesto cerveceria's Clara and Marisi's new beer Marisi Italian Pilsner
Photo Credit: Mandie Geller

Once only found at Petco Park, now would-be drinkers can pick up a six-pack at any Puesto location. Hasker also recently brewed a beer for Marisi (which is also owned by the Puesto crew). It’s an Italian-style lager, like a Birra Moretti or Peroni, a bit more bitter than Mexican lagers with a more amber hue.

We talk all things beer with Hasker: the cyclical nature of beer trends and the coming and going of taste-bud-busting brews, how he came to be known as San Diego’s “King of Lagers,” why brewing beer with high-quality inputs actually matters, what it’s like being a lager guy in an IPA town, and his moonlight career as a low-key rock star.

We also get into the news. Puffer Malarkey Collective’s new high-end French restaurant Le Coq is open in the old Herringbone Space in La Jolla with Tara Monsod at the helm; Taqueria el Prieto, the first brick-and-mortar from beloved taco truck fleet Mariscos el Prieto, took over old Tacos El Gordo H Street spot; Amalfi Cucina Italian is opening in Oceanside in the old Orfila tasting room; and Georges at the Cove named Anna Adams its new pastry chef. 

Also, starting July 2, Plant Power Fast Food will offer “The Ribby,” a plant-based version of the McRib made with jackfruit, BBQ sauce, onions, and Grillo’s pickles; Coffee Cup on Wall St. in La Jolla will become Comedor Nishi, by Shōwa Hospitality serving Mexican-Japanese breakfast; Shawarma Guys will open its next location in Mira Mesa; and the Lola 55 crew is opening an even faster-casual taco spot, L55, in Westfield UTC.

By Jackie Bryant

Jackie is San Diego Magazine's content strategist. Prior to that, she was its managing editor. Before her SDM career, she was a long-time freelance journalist covering cannabis, food/restaurants, travel, labor, wine, spirits, arts & culture, design, and other topics. Her work has been selected twice for Best American Travel Writing, and she has won a variety of national and local awards for her writing and reporting.

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