Quick Take:

Smoky winds from the wildfires in far northern California and southern Oregon are bringing smoke to the Santa Cruz area,...

That time again, friends. It’s Thursday, Sept. 21, and the forecast calls for mostly sunny skies around Santa Cruz County and temperatures in the 60s and 70s, though lingering smoke from wildfires to our north continues to make for air-quality readings in the unhealthy-for-some range (more on that later).

I promise that my guided tour is an efficient way to get Lookout’s latest, but if you’d rather follow your own roadmap, be my guest.
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Lily Belli leads us off with a dispatch from downtown Watsonville, where brothers Chuck and Phil Ornelas have big plans for Buena Vista Brewing Co., whose mix of familiar Mexican flavors has been a hit. “That was important — how do we connect with our Hispanic community through beer?” says Phil Ornelas. “Craft beer is difficult to bridge to the Hispanic market because we’re so used to all the import beer.”

Hillary Ojeda has the latest on that smoke that’s making outdoor activity dicey for some of us — and reports that the conditions could stick around into Friday.

Anderson Cooper makes an appearance in Lookout’s Community Voices opinion section, with columnist Claudia Sternbach writing about how Cooper’s podcast has helped her deal with grief and shouldering a load that becomes ever heavier as we age.

Let’s get to those Thursday headlines, and keep reading for an upcoming member event involving oysters and bubbly.

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Pouring Hispanic culture into craft beer, Buena Vista Brewing booms

Brothers Chuck (left) and Phil Ornelas of Buena Vista Brewing Co.

At Buena Vista Brewing Co., Chuck and Phil Ornelas channel their Hispanic heritage into their beers. Just four years ago, Buena Vista was a backyard hobby; now, the brothers are in the process of opening a new taproom and brewery in downtown Watsonville and recently purchased Watsonville’s three-year-old Slough Brewing Collective. Their success reflects the growth of brewery ownership by people of color in an otherwise stagnant industry. Lily Belli has the story.

MORE LILY: Slice Project flies the flag for authentic New York-style pizza in downtown Watsonville

10 must-see stops on the 37th annual Santa Cruz County Open Studios Art Tour

Anderson Cooper is helping me understand grief — and podcasting

CNN's Anderson Cooper recording.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper recording. Credit: Via Instagram

Lookout columnist Claudia Sternbach has fallen for Anderson Cooper. His podcast, anyway. On it, he unpacks his grief at the death of his famous mother, the heiress and fashion trendsetter Gloria Vanderbilt, and the suicide of his brother, Carter. Like most people in their 70s, Sternbach has lost loved ones and has become accustomed to carrying her grief with her. “The older we get, the more we lose,” she writes in her latest column on aging. “And yet, as we continue on, we are expected to carry more.” Read it here.

AGING IN SANTA CRUZ: Read more from Claudia’s series

Decades of dedication: Lisa Berkowitz’s lifelong commitment to Meals on Wheels PC roadblock

Free Lookout member event: On Wednesday, Oct. 11, food & drink correspondent Lily Belli will be shucking oysters at H&H Fresh Fish Co.’s Santa Cruz Harbor location, and Lookout members can, too.

Enjoy this free member event with a glass of sparkling wine and a behind-the-scenes experience with H&H Fresh Fish Co. Come eat fresh oysters, mingle with other Lookout readers, meet Lily Belli and learn more about our local fishing industry. Reserve your ticket today — space is limited!

This event is FREE for Lookout members and is limited to those 21 and up. Want to become a Lookout member? Sign up here. Questions? Not sure if you are a member? Email us at membership@lookoutlocal.com.

Oyster Shucking Member Event newsletter CTA
Click for the full event calendar

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You might or might not be ready for a beer, but I’m guessing you are just about ready for the weekend (no? Maybe that’s just me?) — and Wallace Baine has you covered. Weekender, his weekly look at Santa Cruz County arts and culture, complete with nine recommendations for things to do all over, is among what’s still to come this Thursday from Lookout. Sign up here for Weekender and all of Lookout’s other newsletters, and don’t forget our breaking news alerts while you’re there. Good old-fashioned social media is another good bet if you’re looking to stay current with everything we’re up to — follow Lookout on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads.

Our content isn’t possible without community support, so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member.

Keep those lungs safe, folks — here’s hoping for breathe-easier Friday.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz

Upcoming events in Santa Cruz County

FRIDAY 10/20
The Mountain Affair @Ristorante Casa Nostra
Beers, Bikes and Bon Bons @Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing
Vine to View Dinner @Chaminade Resort & Spa
10 O’Clock Lunch Band @Mid-County Senior Center
“The Thin Place” by Lucas Hnath @Santa Cruz Actors’ Theatre

Wonderland – The Gala @Hotel Paradox
Pickleball Tournament @Cabrillo College
20th Annual Bonny Doon Art, Wine & Brew Festival @Crest Ranch
The 7th Annual Floating Pumpkin Patch @Simpkins Family Swim Center
Pleasure Point Sip & Stroll @Pleasure Point
Symphony Concert: Operas Of Seville @Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
Uncork Corralitos @Alladin Nursery

SUNDAY 10/22
Symphony Concert: Operas Of Seville @Henry J. Mello Center for the Performing Arts
Lydia Pense & Cold Blood @Moe’s Alley
Gaby Castro @Chaminade Resort & Spa
Solidarity Records: The Fully Baked Tour @Shanty Shack Brewing
An Evening With Patty Griffin & Todd Snider @Rio Theatre

Click for the full event calendar

A veteran jack-of-all-trades journalist who is Lookout’s copy editor, writes and compiles Morning Lookout newsletter and produces Lookout’s other editorial newsletters and helps run Lookout’s social...