All posts by Grateful Hubby

Golden State Brewery Opens San Diego Tap Room

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Image courtesy of Golden State Brewery

Friday the 13th has turned out to be quite the day for Santa Clara’s Golden State Brewery.

Last week, the brewery shared some big news via social media – they would be opening a tap room in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood. And earlier this evening, they offered up the following notice:

“Golden State Brewery is officially flowing in San Diego! Come celebrate the opening weekend with us at Voltaire Beach House, 4934 Voltaire Street, Ocean Beach.”

From the Voltaire Beach House website:

“With the opening of Voltaire Beach House we’re excited to announce the opening of our ‘Tap Room’ where we’ll exclusively be pouring Golden State Brewing from Santa Clara, California. The Tap Room offers (12) Golden State craft beers on tap in addition to a selection of San Diego’s finest including ciders and sours, a selection of fine wine and fresh squeezed crafted cocktails with a limited Voltaire Beach House dining menu with favorites like the Golden State beer battered ‘Fish & Chips’!

“Golden State Brewery and their farm-to-draft offerings are made using only premium quality organic produce and botanicals from the Golden State. The result is a beautiful crafted beer that taste uniquely California – authentic, fresh and adventurous…perfect for the coastal community of Ocean Beach!”

When Golden State Brewery’s Seth Hendrickson first told me about this development in November, it sounded like such a unique opportunity, and I was very excited for him and the Golden State Brewery team. He was well aware that his beers would be joining the thriving San Diego beer scene and couldn’t wait to be a part of the community.

Voltaire Beach House is headed up by San Diego restaurateur David Schiffman who tapped consulting chef Abe Botello to design the restaurant menu. More info. about the restaurant below (from their website):

“Enjoy New Americans eats in the coastal escape paradise otherwise known as Voltaire Beach House. Consulting Chef Abe Botello designed the Voltaire Beach House menu to offer California-inspired eats for all San Diegans to enjoy – with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options dotting the menu. Options range from your classic options, like burgers, sandwiches and salads, to more unique offerings, such as fried oysters & shrimp, avocado toast and more.”



Scenes from ‘Breweries, Bars & Brothels of Downtown San Jose’ Walking Tour, Dec. 2016

We recently went on an excellent, adult-themed walking tour in downtown San Jose titled “Breweries, Bars & Brothels.”

Presented by the folks of San Jose Walks & Talks, the description for the hour-and-a-half long walking tour included, in part:

“Kickoff the New Year with a walk back in time, when San Jose lived up to its reputation as a drinking town. An alcohol themed version of our downtown walking tour will cover San Jose’s colorful drinking past and also introduce you to what is brewing in the present.

“This interactive stroll around the heart of the city will visit former brewery locations, introduce famous brews, and infamous drinkers. Stay after the tour and enjoy a drink at one of the downtown establishments pouring local favorites from Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Hermitage Brewing, and Strike Brewing.”

Local high school history and economics teacher Greg Adler, with assistance from San Jose State grad. student Jeremiah Haze, took us to a number of downtown San Jose sites accompanied by Greg’s expertly told stories that were both entertaining and full of titillating tidbits.

In addition to learning more about Fredericksburg Brewery, I learned lots of new facts and stories about people, locations, businesses and events from the past that, indeed, all point to San Jose having been quite the drinking town.

Though much was focused on the past, there were plenty of shoutouts given to current-day places and folks, including:

Some pictures from the walking tour are below:

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Greg greeted a group of us – about 20 – at Original Gravity Public House. He introduced the concept of San Jose Walks & Talks and what was in store for us on the walking tour. He also facilitated a brief discussion on the meaning of “original gravity.”

And then we were off to explore various parts of downtown San Jose as seen through the lens of a drinking town going back to the mid-1800s.

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There were opportunities to win prizes throughout the tour. I happened to score some chocolates for helping to explain the Reinheitsgebot.

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Greg wrapped up the walking tour by colorfully describing what life was like on Post St. back in the day when it was known as El Dorado St.

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After wifey and I said our goodbyes to Greg and Jeremiah (pictured above)…

We stayed on Post St. and offered up our hellos to Kevin Alan of Divine Wineries.

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Our outing was thoroughly enjoyable, and the walking tour exceeded our expectations – interactive, entertaining, informational, well organized and smoothly run.

We look forward to signing up for the other walking tours presented by San Jose Walks & Talks.

[Update 1/12/17: The next “Breweries, Bars & Brothels” walking tour is set to take place during SF Beer Week on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2pm-3:30pm.]

Prost! Gunbae! Cheers!

~Andy



SF Beer Week 2017, Feb. 10-19, to Feature Hundreds of South Bay Beer Events, Opening Gala Tickets Selling Quickly

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Photo from San Francisco Beer Week Opening Gala, Jan. 2016

This year’s San Francisco Beer Week (SFBW) – presented by the San Francisco Brewers Guild and Whole Foods Market – takes place Fri., Feb. 10 through Sun., Feb. 19, and eager beer fans have already begun perusing the SFBW website to plan their tentative beer week schedules.

Per the usual, the SFBW Schedule page is organized into four regions – San Francisco, East Bay, North Bay and South Bay – and a quick count of just the South Bay region indicates over 50 scheduled events so far.

Visitors can create an account on the SFBW website, browse the Schedule and then create an itinerary. Note that hundreds of events will be added between now and the start of beer week.

South Bay Region

A quick check of the Schedule’s South Bay region shows a number of local establishments – including those along the peninsula – that have already signed on to host beer-related events, including San Jose spots like Good Karma Artisan Ales & Cafe, Original Gravity Public House, Wine Affairs, Mission Creek Brewing at the Whole Foods Market on The Alameda, Jack’s Bar & Lounge, 20twenty cheese bar and 7 Bamboo Lounge, along with Spread Deli & Bottles in Campbell, Brew Hub at the Whole Foods Market in Cupertino, Tap Room at the Whole Foods Market in Santa Clara, Armadillo Willy’s BBQ (multiple locations), Chromatic Coffee in Santa Clara and Ale Arsenal in San Carlos.

Expect many more South Bay restaurants and breweries to sign up to host SFBW events in the coming weeks.

Also, expect many of the South Bay breweries to be pouring their best offerings at the very popular and well-regarded SF Beer Week Opening Gala.

SF Beer Week Opening Gala

The Opening Gala officially kicks off SF Beer Week each year and is a highlight for many. The Gala is a beer festival that features the latest releases, rare selections and classics from many of Northern California’s brewing community.

This year’s Opening Gala takes place in SF at Pier 48 on Friday, Feb. 10 from 6pm-10:30pm. The brewery lineup is yet to be announced, but expect over 120 breweries from throughout the Bay Area to participate.

Opening Gala tickets – which went on sale last month – have sold out quickly in recent years, so consider purchasing tickets sooner than later

General Admissions tickets are $80. VIP tickets – good for early entry at 5pm and an SF Beer Week t-shirt – are $120.

Visit the Opening Gala Eventbrite page for additional information.

About San Francisco Brewers Guild

The San Francisco Brewers Guild formed in 2004 as a non-profit 501(c)(6) during a renaissance in American craft brewing. Our mission is to restore and preserve San Francisco’s brewing heritage and unite those who make local beer with those who love it. The Guild achieves this by educating the public about craft beer, organizing and hosting events such as SF Beer Week, Brews on the Bay and Meet the Brewers, advocating for the craft beer industry in city government, donating services and product to local charities, and partnering with artisan producers in the food, beverage, hospitality and agricultural industries.



Special Ticket Prices for a Limited Time on All 2017 Beerwalks, the Ciderwalk and the Sakewalk

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Quick post here:

For a limited time, through Jan. 1, tickets for all 2017 Beerwalks – including the Ciderwalk and the Sakewalk – are available at 25% off current early bird ticket prices by entering Promotional Code “Christmas” (without the quotation marks) prior to “CHECKOUT.”

Listed below are the events scheduled for 2017:

  • Beerwalk Sunnyvale, Sat., Feb. 11 at 2pm
  • Beerwalk Downtown San Jose, Thurs., March 23 at 6pm
  • Beerwalk Downtown Campbell – Star Wars Theme, Thurs., May 4 at 6pm
  • Sakewalk Japantown San Jose, Thurs., June 8 at 6pm
  • Beerwalk Santana Row, Wed., July 26 at 6pm
  • Ciderwalk Santana Row, Wed., Aug. 30 at 6pm
  • Beerwalk Downtown Willow Glen – Halloween Theme, Sat., Oct. 28 at 2pm
  • Beerwalk Japantown San Jose – Christmas Edition, Sat., Dec. 7 at 2pm




Tickets to 8th Annual Meet the Brewers Beer Festival Currently Available at Special Early Bird Prices

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Just a quick note that tickets to the 8th annual “Meet the Brewers” beer festival are currently available at the early bird price of $40 until Jan. 1 and go up to $45 afterwards.

The popular event takes place Saturday, Feb. 18 from 1pm-5pm at Hermitage Brewing Company (1627 S. 7th St., San Jose).

There’ll be 30+ breweries, all within 150 miles of San Jose, plus live music and mobile eats.

I’ve had the good fortune of attending most of the previous Meet the Brewers beer fests and have greatly enjoyed each of them thanks to the good beers, good food, excellent organization and great people and vibe.

I’ll post again with additional info., including the names of the participating breweries, as such information becomes available.



Scenes from the ‘Beers Around the World’ Trade Show Presented by San Jose State University

The Department of Hospitality Management at San Jose State University (SJSU) presented an excellent beer event last week – the “Beers Around the World” Trade Show – replete with educational beer tastings, tasty food pairings, live entertainment and dancing.

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The semi-annual event, now in its third year, took place a few blocks from campus at The GlassHouse on Market St. It’s put on just for SJSU faculty, staff, administrators and a limited number of their guests.

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The trade show is coordinated by the students of two Hospitality Management classes – Beer Appreciation and Meeting, Convention and Event Industry. The trade show provides students the real world opportunity to put into practice many of the learning objectives from both classes, including being able to explain to guests about different beer styles and beer’s versatility when paired with food, as well as coordinate all aspects of hosting a big, sponsored beer event.

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Group photo: Dr. Kate Sullivan (Professor and Internship Coordinator), Kerry Feinstein, Dr. Andy Feinstein (Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs), Dr. Tsu Hong Yen (Department Chair).

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NorCal booth.

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Almanac Saison De Brettaville.

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Students in teams set up booths throughout the venue representing 15 different brewing regions. Each booth had at least two different beers to sample and corresponding food pairings to taste.

Group photo: Greg Filippi (Hermitage Brewing Company Cellarmaster and Head Brewer), Joel Wind (Hermitage Brewing Company Tasting Room Manager), Dr. Stef Frazier (Professor, Linguistics and Language Development).

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Awards were given in five categories – Best Booth, Most Creative, Best Pairing, Best Beer, Best Overall – as determined by a judging panel of local beer professionals. There was also a people’s choice awards for the same five categories.

Ticket options included $20 for 12 3-oz. tastings, $10 for 5 3-oz. tastings and $5 for general ticket admission (no tastings). Additional food and beverages were available for purchase.

Alaska booth food pairing items.

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SoCal booth: Ballast Point Barmy Apricot Ale and ceviche.

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Mexico booth: Manos De Calaca Guladon Bock and pork taco.

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Group photo: Dr. Dennis Papazian, Dr. Mary Papazian (SJSU President), Dr. Stef Frazier.

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Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout.

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Hawaii booth: students and Dr. Kate.

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Belgium booth.

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Ireland booth.

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Sweet, milk chocolaty treat (amazing!) with Smithwick’s Irish Red Ale.

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Denmark booth.

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Mikkeller Black Hole Imperial Stout.

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Australia booth: student and Dr. Stef Frazier.

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Some of the SJSU students who helped organize the event.

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The judges.

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List of Judges’ Award Winners

Best Booth: Hawaii (1st), Belgium (2nd)

Most Creative: Australia (1st), Mexico (2nd)

Best Pairing: NorCal (1st), England (2nd)

Best Beer: Denmark (1st), Colorado (2nd)

Best Overall: Belgium (1st), Ireland (2nd)

List of People’s Choice Award Winners

Best Booth: Hawaii (1st)

Most Creative: Iceland (1st)

Best Pairing: Alaska (1st)

Best Beer: Iceland (1st)

Best Overall: Iceland (1st)

Group photo: The students from the Iceland booth.

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A second tasting of the Mikkeller Black Hole Imperial Stout to end a fantastic evening.

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Again, the event was excellent – well organized, great venue, tasty beers and food, warm vibe, friendly and knowledgeable service, and I could go on…

Having earned two degrees from SJSU, having worked at the campus for five years and most importantly, having met my wife at SJSU, it was great to circle back and attend this SJSU-connected event.

Definitely looking forward to the next one!



Winter Release Party at Hermitage Brewing Company, Plus Scenes from Blood Orange American Sour Barrel Tasting

Hermitage Brewing Company will release three new beers Wednesday, Dec. 7 at its Winter Release Party, starting at 4pm at their Tap Room (1627 S. 7th St.). El Burrito Loco will be on hand to serve up Mexican eats.

The Winter Release Party will feature the following three beers (with notes from the brewery):

  • Blood Orange American Sour: “The blood orange is the darling of the citrus world with its trademark sweet and tart citrus flavors and a richer, berry-like sweetness. The beer pours a deep ruby red color in the glass and explodes with an amazing aroma of 35,000 fresh cut oranges.”
  • That 70s Beer (a collaboration beer between Hermitage Brewing and Palo Alto Brewing brewed with Comet, Cascade and Cluster Hops): “That 70s IPA is our homage to a much simpler time, like, 45 years ago. We used only malts and hops (Bullion, Comet, Cluster and Cascade hops) that were readily available in the 1970s, and combined them with a modern brewing approach.”
  • Half Tun Milk Stout Nitro: “To make the Half Tun, we collected the second runnings off a recent batch of Two Tun, a technique knows as “Parti Gyle” brewing. The result is smooth, sweet, and easy drinking, with notes of dark chocolate and a hint of coffee. Served on Nitro, it’s like chocolate milk for adults.”

Cellarmaster Greg Filippi is particularly enthused about his latest sour beer offering and can’t wait for it to be tapped and shared:

“We blended beautiful blood oranges into a tart and refreshing blonde ale and aged it in our cellar for 18 months, creating a juicy sour with lots of citrus and a hint of sweet raspberry.”

I had the good fortune of sampling the contents of the barrels used to make the Blood Orange when Greg took me on an impromptu barrel tasting a little while back. So I’m extra excited to taste the final blended creation.

Below are some pictures from the barrel tasting, which took place in late October.

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First, a bonus tasting of the base beers from the two 100-BBL foeders that Hermitage acquired earlier this year (excellent starts to both foeder-aged beers, of which I’ll write more about in a future post).

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Greg drawing samples from the aforementioned barrels that were used to make Blood Orange American Sour.

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I had originally stopped by Hermitage to simply enjoy their latest Single Hop IPA, but I fortuitously bumped into Greg and his lovely family. After catching up, Greg asked if I had some time to taste the progress of his latest projects. And what ensued was a tasty, educational and memorable tasting experience. Thank you, Greg, for being so gracious with your time!



The Beerwalk in Japantown: Christmas Edition, Plus Code for $10 Off Tickets

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The next Beerwalk – the 25th installment for those keeping track – is set to take place in Japantown on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 2pm to 6pm, and folks are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Christmas-themed attire (“Santa costumes, ugly Christmas sweaters, elf outfits!”).

It’s the first-ever Christmas holiday-themed edition for the award-winning Beerwalk series, while the Japantown Beerwalk itself marks the 7th time that Japantown – and its various local shops and businesses – have served as a host location.

Current Participating Breweries

  • 10 Barrel Brewing Company
  • Six Rivers Brewery
  • Anchor Brewing Company
  • Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits
  • Elysian Brewing
  • Firestone Walker Brewing Company
  • Golden Road Brewing
  • Golden State Brewery
  • Goose Island
  • Gordon Biersch Brewing Company
  • Hermitage Brewing Company
  • Kirin
  • Knee Deep Brewing
  • Lagunitas Brewing Company
  • Mad River Brewing Company
  • Discretion Brewing
  • Santa Clara Valley Brewing
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
  • Tsingtao

Beer Sampling Locations

  • 7 Bamboo Lounge
  • Aristocrats San Jose
  • Banana Crepe
  • Biscuits – Give a Dog a Bone
  • East Taylor Barbershop
  • Happi House Restaurant
  • Headliners
  • Jack’s Bar & Lounge
  • Japantown Dental
  • Jimbo’s in San Jose Japantown
  • Kaizen Salon
  • Kogura Company
  • Nichi Bei Bussan
  • Nikkei Traditions San Jose Japan-Town
  • Pavona Apartments
  • San Jose Autoworks
  • SJ Made
  • The Get Down
  • Wenzhou Fish, Noodles & More
  • Zonkey

Tickets, Plus $10 Off Code

Tickets can be purchased online for $30 throughout the remainder of this week and will increase to $35 next week. Tickets include beer samples, a custom glass and event passport.

To receive $10 off the current ticket price, enter Promotional Code “grateful” prior to checkout.

Check-in Location

Jack’s Bar & Lounge
167 E. Taylor Street
San Jose, CA 95112

Check-in starts at 12pm (from noon to two hours before the event).

Other Info.

The first 50 to check-in the day of the event will receive a complimentary tour of the nearby Gordon Biersch Brewing Company Bottling Plant.

Roy’s Station Coffee & Teas will provide free drip coffee, and H&R Block will have complimentary snacks on hand.

Event proceeds help benefit the Japantown Business Association (JBA) and the Bay Brewers Guild.

For more information, visit www.thebeerwalk.com.



Santa Clara Valley Brewing Hosts San Jose Founding Party, Plus Upcoming Loma Prieta Imperial Stout Release

San Jose is turning 239 years old on Tuesday, Nov. 29, and the fine folks at Santa Clara Valley Brewing (101 E. Alma Ave., San Jose) are celebrating with a San Jose Founding Party.

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Currently closed on Tuesdays, Santa Clara Valley Brewing will make an exception for this event and open their doors on Nov. 29 starting at 3pm. From their event page:

“239 years ago the beautiful city of San Jose was founded, and we are going to celebrate that birthday in the traditional way – with beer! With the help of History San Jose, we are going to bring you a unique night at the brewery.

“We are going to have an historical demonstration on brewing and leather working, a brief lecture on the history of beer in the city, historical artifacts, and photos to check out. Also Beer! Don’t miss out on this night at Santa Clara Valley Brewing!”

During a recent visit to the brewery, I got word that Santa Clara Valley Brewing will be releasing their first-ever imperial stout – Loma Prieta Imperial Stout – next month. Look below for additional release information as well as some photos from recent visits.

Co-founder and CEO Tom Clark.

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Co-founder and brewmaster Steve Donohue.

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Sales manager Peter Estaniel.

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The brewery.

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Assistant brewer Adam Nanni filling kegs with Alviso Mills Hefeweizen.

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New taproom manager Gavin Goodman.

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About to sample soon-to-be-released Loma Prieta Imperial Stout.

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Loma Prieta Imperial Stout

Loma Prieta Imperial Stout – coming in at 10.2% ABV – is set to be released in mid-December.

Look for special flights of the beer and its variants to be available then – straight-up Loma Prieta, Loma Prieta on nitro, barrel-aged Loma Prieta in bourbon barrels and barrel-aged Loma Prieta in rye barrels.

Additional photos from a prior visit below:

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Steve voguing to the music and with taproom employee Christian.

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Dairy Hill Milk Stout on nitro.

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Peter and COO Coleen Clark.

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Peter, Peter’s wife Sammy and fellow beer enthusiast Steve.

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Scenes from Scott’s Seafood Fall Beer Dinner Featuring Hermitage Brewing Company

Scott’s Seafood in downtown San Jose held another successful beer dinner last week. It was their best one yet in my opinion, a sentiment shared by several others who had also attended previous beer dinners there.

Many aspects were stellar – the organization and service, the outdoor space, the views from the sixth floor, the company, the weather, the informative previews of each course by the restaurant and brewery reps and the food-and-beer pairings themselves.

The sold-out dinner – 55 attendees – showcased a seafood-centric menu and a variety of beer styles courtesy of the featured brewery Hermitage Brewing Company. The beer styles included IPA, Scotch Ale, Sour, Session IPA and Saison.

Below are some pictures and notes from the memorable evening.

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Hermitage Brewing Company Citra Single Hop IPA.

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Hermitage Brewing Company brand manager Nicole Marquez, Scott’s Seafood marketing director Joann Vaega, Hermitage Brewing Company head brewer and cellarmaster Greg Filippi.

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Some of the sold-out crowd, including friends Mike and Lisa Pitsker (front and center).

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Welcome and introductions from Nicole, Joann and Scott’s Seafood Food and Beverage Director Sammy Reyes.

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Opening Reception: Oysters on the half shell with blood orange champagne foam, paired with Hermitage Brewing Citra Single Hop IPA.

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The citrus notes – plus hints of caramel – from the beer nicely complemented the foam while the hoppiness cut through the fresh, buttery oysters.

Scott’s Seafood managing partner Dave Buhagiar topping off glasses with more Citra IPA.

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Greg and Victoria Hatch enjoying the dinner.

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Scott’s Seafood public relations manager Trinidad Pena and Joann.

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Greg and Victoria.

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Course One: Classic Greek salad tossed in a lemon vinaigrette dressing, paired with Hermitage Brewing Maltopia Scotch Ale.

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The malty notes of toasted grain and caramel coming from Maltopia complemented the fresh salad and dressing.

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Next up: Hermitage Brewing Strawberry Rhubarb Sour.

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Course Two: Blackened Red Snapper Tacos with strawberry slaw and housemade potato chips, paired with Hermitage Brewing Strawberry Rhubarb Sour.

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The tart and sour notes – along with hints of of strawberry and wood from the barrel aging – from Strawberry Rhubarb Sour provided varying contrasts to the spicy red snapper, strawberry and cantaloupe slaw and the chips.

Greg sharing a bit of his vast knowledge of sour beers and their production while introducing Strawberry Rhubarb Sour.

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Hermitage Brewing 408 Session IPA from the tap.

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Course Three: Mahi Mahi with a tropical relish, new potatoes, spinach and champagne sauce, paired with Hermitage Brewing 408 Session IPA.

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The hoppy, tropical fruit notes – guava, in particular – of 408 Session IPA matched the mango and kiwi relish, while the flavors plus the body of the beer held up well to the meaty Mahi Mahi.

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Friends Noreen and Jim Helvie.

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Course Four: Poached “Myles Perry” Pear with French Vanilla ice cream, paired with Hermitage Brewing Myles Perry Saison.

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There was only a mild sweetness from the Saison, enabling the beer to stand up well to the dessert course.

Newfound friends – siblings Z and Susan were awesome tablemates.

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The last pic of the night: Wifey Andrea, Victoria, Greg, Nicole and Jim.

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