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San Diego’s Mike Hess Brewing Releases Exclusive Hazy IPA for SeaWorld

Brother and co-owner Greg Hess talks about the Emperor hazy and their big plans in Alpine

I’m not sure how many stages of coping there are, but when Greg Hess told his wife and family they were moving to San Diego to start one of the first “nano breweries” in the country—I’d bet they ran through most, if not all of them. Probably added one or two. Harris’ brother, Mike, had the idea in 2010 to go even smaller than microbrewery. Launched a brewery in an 800 square-foot cubby hole.

It may not have sounded like a “sure thing,” but it sure became one.

Now Mike Hess Brewing is one of the most recognizable names in local craft beer, with tasting rooms in North Park (the OG, opened in 2013), O.B., Imperial Beach, Seaport Village, and Walnut Creek (where the Hess clan is from). For today’s podcast, he joins us under the metallic tower of funfear that is the Emperor, SeaWorld’s new roller coaster—the fastest, tallest, and longest plunge coaster in California. To commemorate the unveiling at the tap, Hess Brewing created the Emperor Hazy IPA, which will be served exclusively at the park. A portion of the proceeds for the beer will go to Penguins International to fund their conservation, education, and research efforts for the species.

We also talk about the  future of Hess, including the deal they signed to revive the iconic location where Alpine Beer Co. was created—a 4,000 square-foot space with a 5,000 square-foot patio. They’ll carry on the tradition of having a beer wonderland in the nearby hills of San Diego.

In “Hot Plates,” Mabel’s Gone Fishing–an oyster and gin shop from the beloved local owners of The Rose natural wine bar—is making its long-awaited debut in North Park soon. L.A.’s famed breakfast tacos joint, Homestate Tacos, is landing in the Freeman Collective in South Oceanside, joining BlackMarket Bakery, Northside Shack, Corner Pizza, and Artifex Brewing. The Freeman project should be a hangout for a long, long while. In Sherman Heights, Cafe X is opened by a mother-daughter duo in the cultural hub that is 1835 Studios—a spot for food trucks, art galleries, community doings. And a while back we did the hunt for the best birria in San Diego, and El Prieto was our personal favorite—a food truck in the parking lot of a muffler shop by the border. Well, they just opened a second spot in Mira Mesa and you should go immediately.

For “Two People, Fifty Bucks,” Troy pays homage to a San Diego icon of brunch and points you to the liquid obscenity that is the bloody Mary at Hash House A-Go-Go (pair it with the sage fried chicken with polenta and fried leeks). David recognizes the continuing evolution and betterment of San Diego mainstay, Crazee Burger, and Greg Hess hails the almighty Rocky’s Crown Pub.

See ya next week.

Episode Sponsored by SeaWorld San San Diego

By Troy Johnson

Troy Johnson is the magazine’s award-winning food writer and humorist, and a long-standing expert on Food Network. His work has been featured on NatGeo, Travel Channel, NPR, and in Food Matters, a textbook of the best American food writing.

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