Reckless Brewing’s sudden, sad — and, yes — reckless demise

Not pouring at a brewery near you -- Reckless Brewing is closing in the midst of its “Black Lagers Matter” controversy.
(Jenny Kane/Associated Press)

Reckless to the End

It’s tempting to greet Reckless Brewing’s closure with dignified silence, but that wouldn’t be fitting. During Reckless’ six-year-plus run, few referred to Dave Hyndman’s passion project as “dignified.”

“Offensive”? Sure. “Stupid and clueless and ignorant”? That, too.

That last quote comes from Hyndman himself, Reckless’ owner, brewer and sole full-time employee, expressing contrition for a recent Facebook post about “Black Lagers Matter.” The post seemed to trivialize the “Black Lives Matter” movement and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech. (“I have a dream where beers are judged not by their color but by the content of the characters.”)

Social media erupted with outraged comments. Reached by phone this week, Hyndman said he’s had enough and will close after selling his current inventory.

“I honestly thought that my post was an homage to Martin Luther King and an insight into the sources of racism,” he said. “I had no idea that it would be taken the way that it was. That’s on me and I will own that and that’s my bad.”

Why was he surprised? Hyndman has courted controversy since 2012, with the opening of the brewery he dubbed Wet ‘N Reckless. When other brewers objected, noting that “wet and reckless” is a vehicle code violation — heedless driving by a motorist who has been drinking, if not quite drunk — Hyndman pled ignorance. And kept the name.

Fire destroyed his original Mira Mesa brewery in 2014. A year later, he re-opened as Reckless in Miramar. He continued to issue beers with names designed to provoke — Crazy Stupid Bitch IPA, say, or Pop My Cherry Ale.

Offending people, he insisted, was not the point. “I didn’t want anyone to be offended,” he said about the “Black Lagers Matter” incident. “The thing that I find so nonsensical is that people are saying, ‘Oh, I must have known that people would be offended.’ That is idiotic.”

Given its history, this brewery’s sad, sudden demise seemed inevitable. Reckless lived up to its name once too often.

Kings of Beer

Every beer is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but why grab an American brew when you can find genuine and genuinely pleasing beers from the Emerald Isle?

Exhibit A: Murphy’s Imported Stout (4 percent alcohol by volume) in the “draught style” can. When you pop the top, a widget dispenses nitrogen to fluff the black ale. Pour Murphy’s into a pint glass and you’ll be treated to a visual spectacle: cascading bubbles rise through the body, re-forming as a thick mocha-colored cap over the inky body.

Light on the tongue, Murphy’s bold roasted malt is softened by smooth, coffee-with-cream layers. For such a low alcohol beer, this one is rich, satisfying and authentically Irish.

Random Question from My Editor

Q. What are the five top Irish pubs in San Diego County?

A. Your choices, and your math, may differ. These seven are my top five:

1. The Field, 544 5th Ave., San Diego, for its imported rural artifacts — is that actual peat moss? — and menu, as well as the beer.

2. The Dubliner, 554 4th Ave., San Diego, an urban counterpart to The Field.

3. The Ould Sod, 3373 Adams Ave., San Diego, a true neighborhood bar whose Irish sensibilities never seem hokey.

4. O’Sullivan’s, 118 E. Grand Ave., Escondido, a North County landmark that often offers live Irish music.

5. Stout Public House, 1126 6th Ave., downtown San Diego’s pleasantly no-nonsense pub.

6 and 7. Hooleys Public House, both versions — 5500 Grossmont Center Drive, Suite 247, La Mesa and 2955 Jamacha Road, El Cajon — for a good craft beer lineup as well as Irish imports.

Gone to the Dogs

Is Buster barking for beer? Fear not — a handful of U.S. companies sell non-alcoholic brews for dogs.

Seattle’s Bowser Beer insists its namesake product “promotes healthy joints” and that its Beefy Brown Ale is “great for shiny coats.”

Florida’s Pet Winery bottles Barkbrew Beef Ale, which, it claims, “promotes hip and joint health and a good time.”

Almost two dozen bars near Good Boy Dog Beer’s Houston headquarters serve IPA Lot in the Yard, Mailman Malt Licker, Session... Squirrel! and Crotch Sniffin’ Ale.

While safe for human consumption, these brews are best reserved for your four-legged drinking buddy. A brewer’s review of the entire kennel of these beers: “Really bland.”


My recommendation of Yuengling Lager last week drew one-handed applause from Mark Wilson of 4S Ranch.

“Great call on this old school beer,” he wrote before dropping the hammer. “But it’s not sold here in Cali. What’s the point? Or do you know something I don’t?”

What I know now is that this Pennsylvania brewery’s beers — which I swear were once sold here — are distributed only as far west as Arkansas. If you’re not among my Natural State readers, I owe you an apology.

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Twitter: @peterroweut