Beer has rarely been known as an understated beverage, but it’s all low-key at ISObeers, which opened its doors earlier this month with little fanfare, and on a limited-hours basis.
The downtown San Jose bar’s quiet launch belies the fact that some local beer aficionados had been patiently waiting for its opening, as those who know owner Dee—he also helps run Bobby’s Liquors in Santa Clara—know that he is a big beer fan and a knowledgeable one at that.
Don’t expect a formal grand opening any time soon, if ever, as that’s not Dee’s style. Rather, the bar’s current hours will gradually expand while more staff are hired and finishing touches made. Of note so far has been the hiring of Jake McCluskey, who previously managed Market Beer Company and, before that, Kelly’s Liquors.
I recently caught up with Dee, who was low-key as always as he showed me around. On tap were the well-regarded North Coast Old Stock Ale, Drake’s Hopocalypse Double IPA and Deschutes 2010 The Abyss Imperial Stout, among others. The keg room was stocked with a cache of hard-to-get beers that Dee will release in the coming weeks. (The bar will list current offerings on its website and Facebook page.)
I was struck by the sleek bar and the modern and spacious feel of the indoor space, as well as the potential of the outdoor patio. Dee mentioned already having ideas for possible events for this summer’s Silicon Valley Beer Week.
A lot of folks have been waiting patiently—many for well over a year—for ISObeers to open. Can you share why the delay and how it feels now to be finally open?
Dee: Inspections, but it’s all been good. We’re open—I feel relieved. It’s good to start paying some bills off [smiles].
Where does the name ISObeers come from?
ISO stands for “in search of” and is commonly used in the beer trading community. It sounded like a good name.
How would you describe ISObeers? What kind of a place do you want it to be?
Just a casual craft beer bar.
How big is the place?
We can hold about 45 inside and 45 outside. We’ll be putting up a trellis in the patio soon.
How many taps? How many bottled beers?
There are 40 taps, including two wine taps, one for craft root beer and a couple for mead or cider—the rest will be craft beer. We’ll have about 1,000 bottled beers.
Anything else to add?
We won’t be selling food, so people can bring in food and sit inside or outside.
[This post was also shared on SanJose.com.]