Mission Creek Brewing Company in San Jose Set to Open Dec. 9, Plus Interview with Brewmaster Guy Cameron

Whole Foods beer crew Wesley Miller (l) and Mission Creek Brewing Company Brewmaster Guy Cameron (r)
Whole Foods beer crew Wesley Miller (l) and Mission Creek Brewing Company Brewmaster Guy Cameron (r)

The grand opening of San Jose’s second Whole Foods Market takes place on Tues., Dec. 9 at 777 The Alameda (at Stockton). The store houses Mission Creek Brewing Company, marking the first Whole Foods store in California with an on-site brewery and tap room. The company’s first brewery opened just a few weeks ago in Houston.

The opening day celebration starts at 9:45am with opening remarks and a bread-breaking ceremony. Doors open to the public at 10am, providing the first public access to the Mission Creek Brewing Company tap room.

There will be live, big-band music by Mark Russo and the Classy Cats, vendors sampling local foods and opportunities to meet regional and store leadership. Mix 106.5 (KEZR-FM) will host a live remote broadcast from 10:30am-12:30pm.

Mission Creek Brewing Company Brewery and Tap Room

The Mission Creek brewery and tap room are located on the second floor of a two-story, 5,600 square-foot “outbuilding” separate from the main store. The tap room has 22 total taps, featuring mostly beers and several taps for wine and sparkling water. On any given occasion, three to five of the taps will feature beers brewed by Mission Creek brewmaster Guy Cameron, who started just over a month ago.

The tap room has eight bar seats, a view of the brewery – which houses a seven-barrel system – and outdoor seating for about 75. The outdoor area also has a retractable roof and heating. Customers can also order cheese plates, pizzas and other pub foods from a restaurant-style menu.

Though the opening day tap list has yet to be finalized, specialty associate coordinator Wesley Miller, who oversees the store’s beer program, recently told me the following San Jose-brewed beers will be on tap for the grand opening:

  • Mission Creek Pale Ale
  • Mission Creek IPA
  • Santa Clara Valley Brewing Electric Tower IPA
  • Hermitage Brewing Company Cascade 45 Single Hop IPA
  • Hermitage Brewing Company Ale of the Imp Double IPA
  • Camino Brewing Company Nuberu Pale Ale

Miller further pointed out that the Nuberu Pale Ale serves as the first beer from Camino Brewing to make its public debut. Camino Brewing – whose focus is on organic, local ingredients – is seeking to open a brewery in downtown San Jose.

Mission Creek Brewing Company Brewmaster Guy Cameron

During a recent sneak-peek visit, Guy Cameron – a down-to-earth, likable good guy – told me of his local connection; he grew up in Fremont and lived in Los Gatos for about 10 years. Cameron attended UC Santa Barbara and completed a bachelors in business administration at CSU Hayward. He also has a technical writing certificate from De Anza College.

He was an avid homebrewer and remembers when his homebrew club Silicon Valley Sudzers – now a well-organized, thriving homebrew club – at times consisted of just him and a couple other folks.

His first commercial brewing job was as an assistant brewer at the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in Campbell. He then accepted an offer to join Vinnie Cilurzo at the well-regarded Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa just as the production brewery was opening in 2008.

Starting off washing kegs, Cameron has been a fixture on the venerable Russian River Brewing team the past six years, where he has played a major role in brewing Russian River’s much-vaunted beers, including sour ales Supplication, Beatification and Consecration, as well as Blind Pig IPA, Pliny the Elder (Double IPA) and Pliny the Younger (Triple IPA).

The process of becoming Mission Creek’s brewmaster has been a whirlwind experience, and much has happened quickly. Cameron is thrilled to return to the South Bay and reconnect with people and the local scene, as well as be able to see his parents – who still reside in Fremont – more frequently.

The first two offerings from Mission Creek Brewing Company reflect Cameron’s affinity for hoppy beers – an IPA and a Pale Ale. Both are currently in the fermentation tanks but, thankfully, will be ready to enjoy by next week’s grand opening.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]