National City

National City screams for beer and ice cream at Hannegan's House

At Hannegan's House Brewing Company and Creamery on Tidelands Avenue, craft beer and craft ice cream are on the menu.

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At Hannegan's House Brewing Company and Creamery on Tidelands Avenue, craft beer and craft ice cream are on the menu.

It's a pairing thought up by owner Andy Hannegan, inspired by batches of both he'd make at home.

“I was drinking a beer, I was eating my ice cream, I poured a little beer in my ice cream and mixed it up and I was like, ‘Oh, this is pretty good," Hannegan said.

Hannegan wanted to take it one step further. He didn't want to just mix beer and ice cream. He wanted to make ice cream infused with the flavors of his own beer.

“So I made it. Tasted. Like. Crap. Absolute garbage … And at that point, I decided, I’m going to make this good. There’s no way I can walk away from this concept. This is such a good concept.”

Hannegan moved out of the place he was renting and into his mother’s house so he could devote more time to his recipes. After three years of trial and error, he was ready. The biggest tweaks along the way?

“Butterfat content and one ingredient that I don’t talk about," he said.

Secrets unlocked the doors to Hannegan’s Hosue in 2020. His tap list features three Irish staples: the blonde, red and stout.

“My Irish Red is the flagship and I will say this: It is the best red you will ever drink. And I say that to people every day when they come in here and I haven’t heard anyone tell me otherwise.”

And don’t forget about his Mexican lager, a prerequisite for microbreweries this close to the border. Hannegan is half Irish and half Mexican and knows beers from both regions well.

Hannegan's House has an impressive tap list, but there's no ice cream menu. Hannegan makes one or two batches of beer-infused ice cream at a time based only on the flavor profiles that inspire him at that moment. When the ice cream runs out, he starts all over.

“I don’t have a weekly, ‘these are going to be the flavors consistently every week.’ No. I literally make the decision on what flavor I’m making the morning I walk in to make ice cream.” 

Last week he served peach ice cream with his Irish Stout. On St. Patrick's Day, he pairs the stout with a mint chocolate chip. It's anybody's guess what could be served if you stop by next week.

“Mint chocolate chip with the stout. That was the first ice cream that I introduced to the public, the mint chocolate chip with the stout," he said.

Opening a brewery during the pandemic wasn't easy, and keeping it open since hasn't either.

“Costs have risen, absolutely," Hannegan said. "Grain has gone up. Hops have gone up, yeast has gone up. Groceries in general because of buying stuff for the ice cream and whatnot. All that’s gone up."

Hannegan said he's had to raise his prices multiple times since 2020. He started out selling pints for $5, then went up to $7 in 2022 and just recently bumped his pints up to $8. But those necessary price bumps don't seem to be scaring away his loyal customers.

“Started out as a frequent customer, now a very good friend," Jayson Hanna said. "And that's a testament to Andy, really."

Hanna was cycling the nearby Bayshore Bikeway back in 2020 when he spotted what he called a "diamond in the rough."

"An oasis for beer. The finest Irish red you'll ever have," he said.

Hannegan's House hosted an art show in mid-September to celebrate Mexican Independence Day, there's an altar on display for Dia de los Muertos and the turnout on St Patrick's Day is what you'd expect. On any given Saturday, Hannegan has a local food vendor parked right outside his brewery serving food to go along with his beer and dessert.

With all that said, it might just be the personal connection and warm embrace that keeps you coming back.

“It’s called Hannegan’s House for a reason," Hannegan said. "When people come in I’m inviting them into my home."

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