Category Archives: Beer Bars

Half Moon Bay Brewing Updates: Coastside Brewfest, Pacific Standard Grand Opening

Visiting Half Moon Bay is always a treat, providing a wonderful opportunity for a quick coastal getaway to soak in the fresh, crisp air and help recharge our bodies and minds.

Visiting the area typically means an enjoyable stop at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. And though I’ve been seeing more of their beers available throughout the South Bay, nothing rarely beats enjoying a beer at the source.

As I enjoy keeping tabs on Half Moon Bay Brewing (including writing about a previous visit), I’ve rounded up some of their latest beer-centric news and developments.

Recent Beers

Brewmaster James Costa has crafted award-winning beers since his arrival at Half Moon Bay Brewing in 2013.

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In addition to the regular beer lineup, this fall has seen the releases of seasonal favorites and one-offs:

  • Pumpkin Harvest Ale – A seasonal favorite amber ale made with locally-grown organic, roasted and spiced Sugar Pie pumpkins, which are added to the brew kettle  resulting in a subtle pumpkin pie flavor balanced by a biscuit maltiness. 6.3% ABV.
  • Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Well-spiced, rich and malty, this beer is brewed with fresh local organic Sugar Pie pumpkins and pumpkin puree. 10.2% ABV.
  • Take it to the Limit Barleywine – The biggest beer the brewery has ever made, the beer displays a deep amber color with the Crystal and Munich malts presenting strong fruity-esters in the aroma, while the American hops identify this offering as an American take on a classic. The high alcohol is evident, adding to the complexity of this smooth barleywine. With two months aging in stainless and six months in bourbon barrels, the result is a smooth, dark and strong beer. 14.5% ABV.
  • Damage, Inc. – Inspired by brewers in the 1800s who were attempting to win over the Russian Czar, this beer is the king of stouts, boasting a high alcohol content and plenty of malt character, with huge roasted, chocolate and burnt malt flavors. It’s the second beer in their Bourbon Barrel Aged Series. A chewy malt sweetness with suggestions of dark fruit and flavors of higher alcohols is quite evident. Hop character from Columbus, Chinook and Ahtanum round out the attack on the senses. 10% ABV.
  • Presidential Alection – Known for their passion for politics, craft beer and sustainable coastal cuisine, Half Moon Bay Brewing has unveiled commemorative bottles of their popular IPA in honor of this year’s election. While the Alection IPAs are available individually on-site, guests can also create their own “SuperPACK” of two Alection IPAs for $12, which includes a set of two collectable Alection coasters and a ballot. ABV 6.1% and 80 IBUs.

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These fall beers follow the launch earlier this year of the Ocho Barril sour beer series:
  • Ocho Barril Series No. 1: The first in the long-anticipated Ocho Barril series, the Magic Beer Genie is a Belgian Dark Sour with strong acidity and plenty of funky flavors and aromas. 10.7% ABV.

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The Ocho Barril Series was named after the batch sizes in which the unique sour ale is produced. A batch of 420 gallons fills eight oak barrels while leaving room for the addition of fruits and spices. The beer is then fermented with a combination of Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pedioccocus and aged between 12-24 months to create a melange of bright acidity and a funky barnyard finish.

Coastside Brewfest

The third annual Coastside Brewfest is set for this Saturday, Oct. 22 from 1pm to 5pm in the expansive waterfront parking lot of Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. There’ll be live music and food trucks.

The current list of participating breweries includes:

  • Alpine
  • Alvarado Street
  • Berryessa
  • Deschutes Brewery
  • Discretion
  • E.J. Phair
  • Faction Brewing
  • Farm Creek
  • Fieldwork
  • Fort Point
  • Green Flash
  • High Water
  • Highway 1 Brewing
  • Hop Dogma Brewing
  • Magnolia
  • Marin Brewing Company
  • Morgan Territory
  • Moylan’s
  • New Bohemia
  • Santa Clara Valley
  • Santa Cruz Ale Works
  • Sudwerk Restaurant & Brewery
  • Temescal
  • Track 7

Tickets are $30 ($35 at the door) and include a keepsake tasting jar and unlimited tastings. Designated driver tickets are $10.

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For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit www.coastsidebrewfest.com.

This is a benefit for Mavericks Coastside Foundation; a portion of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to Coastside Hope.

Pacific Standard Taproom & Growler Station

Congratulations are in order! Half Moon Bay Brewing Company officially opens its first outpost today in Berkeley (Go Bears!).

Pacific Standard Taproom & Growler Station aims to become the premier local destination for craft beer, offering a wide variety of 16 to 24 local and regional beers on tap, including, of course, Half Moon Bay Brewing’s own beers.

Pacific Standard also features a rotating assortment of ciders and Northern California wines, as well as growlers and bottles of Half Moon Bay Brewing beers.

To complement the taproom’s local beer, wine and cider, chef Federico Godinez – the executive chef at Half Moon Bay Brewing – has crafted a small, eclectic menu featuring locally sourced meats, cheeses and produce. Opening menu items include:

  • Seasonal Salad
  • Prawns
  • Local Pretzels
  • Ceviche
  • Hummus
  • Charcuterie Board
  • Panini (Vegeterian, Andouille or PLT)

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To develop the concept for Pacific Standard, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company general manager Nate Rey enlisted the expertise of Joel DiGiorgio, a Berkeley-based food and beverage consultant with Farm League Design & Management Group, and promoted Half Moon Bay Brewing manager Kyle McCarthy to director of business development.

With custom decor, eclectic elements and an urban location, the atmosphere at Pacific Standard Taproom & Growler Station seeks to achieve the balance between refined, cool and approachable. Additional features include natural wood colors, large, communal tables, recessed lighting and pin lights that illuminate the bar.

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“We’re excited to expand our footprint beyond Half Moon Bay and introduce a new community to our extensive selection of top-quality, hand-crafted beers, and feature brews made by other West Coast breweries,” said Rey. “At Pacific Standard, we want our guests to experience the very best elements of the Coastside in an urban, casual environment.”

Pacific Standard Taproom & Growler Station is located at 2055 Center Street in Berkeley, CA. Starting today – October 19, 2016 – the taproom will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11am to 11pm and Friday and Saturday from 11am to midnight.

Additional information is available at pacificstandardtaproom.com. Photos courtesy of HMB Brewing Co.



Q & A with Ravi Takhar of Stuft Pizza Milpitas, Plus the Latest on the Soon-to-Open IBU Taproom & Bottle Shop

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The Stuft Pizza location in Milpitas has been making quite an impact on the local beer scene in recent years.

They’ve been hosting creative and very customer-friendly beer events – especially during the San Francisco and Silicon Valley beer weeks – and have well-regarded beers regularly on tap.

Along with a great tap list, the environment is fun and welcoming, and there’s a variety of hearty food options available.

The good folks behind Stuft Pizza Milpitas are general manager Ladi Musafar and assistant manager and beer buyer Ravi Takhar. Both have local ties – Ladi grew up in Yuba City and has been a Milpitas resident for the past 15 years, while Ravi was born and raised in San Jose and still lives in San Jose.

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Stuft Pizza Milpitas assistant manager/beer buyer Ravi Takhar (left) and general manager Ladi Musafar (right)

Through their social media accounts, Stuft Pizza Milpitas recently announced that they will be opening a new taproom and bottle shop right next door to be called IBU Taproom & Bottle Shop.

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Ravi recently took the time to answer some (mostly) beercentric questions about Stuft Pizza and to provide the latest details on the soon-to-open IBU Taproom & Bottle Shop.

Can you share a bit about the history of Stuft Pizza Milpitas? How long as it been around, and when did you first start offering craft beer?

Stuft Pizza Milpitas is a franchise of Stuft Pizza. Our location has been here since 1990 in Milpitas, and we are one of only two remaining in Northern California.

We started offering craft beer in 2013 when we decided to revamp our beer program by bringing in beers that you would never see at your local pizza place.

Our experiences in the world of craft beer have been really awesome because we have new people we get to meet each week when they find out about us on social media. New and regular patrons are always happy to try what is new on tap, and they are always fascinated with what we have to offer.

How many taps and bottled options does Stuft Pizza Milpitas have? What kinds of beers do you have on tap?

We have 40 taps and about 20 bottle selections.  Our bottle selection is going to go through the roof pretty soon once we get our bottle shop opened next door.

We like to keep our tap list with something from each style of beer we can find, like IPA, stout, porter, saison, sour, etc. I personally love IPAs, barrel aged porters and stouts.

What’s been your own experience with craft beer?

I have been a craft beer fan for about 6 years now, and I became a fan by going to places where I would try new beers based on the logo of tap handles. The more a logo would look interesting, the more likely it was that I would try the beer. I slowly started to learn more about beer by doing research.

I also met Jake McCluskey around 2014. He taught me more about beer styles and served me my first Pliny.

I fell in love with IPAs, Double IPAs, Triple IPAs, Imperial Stouts and barrel-aged variants.

Can you talk a bit about your extensive food menu? Which items are customer favorites?

Our food menu is definitely a highlight of coming here (our beer is awesome, too!) because our dough is made fresh daily here in our kitchen. The crust of our pizza pies are a very thick crust (we have thin crust and medium crust options, too) which is very tasty.

Crowd favorites include our Stuft Special, Meatball Pie, Chicken Bacon Ranch and Cool Ranch Luke. Our hot wings are also a favorite among patrons, which you can order sauced up with our sauces or without the sauce on them.

Anything else to add?

Our mission here at Stuft Pizza Milpitas is to provide a place and atmosphere that is simply for everyone to enjoy. We like to cater to everybody, which is why our dining room is set up for families or big parties. We have every major sports package on DirecTV for the sports fans, and we have a tap list of beer that has something for everyone to enjoy.

It feels really good to hear patrons say great things about our beer list, and it’s humbling when people say it is their favorite spot to come and hang out.

Seeing new people, meeting them and getting to know them is always amazing because this industry is all about bringing people together.

Switching gears a bit, how did the idea for IBU Taproom & Bottle Shop come about?

The idea for IBU Taproom & Bottle Shop came about one day when we realized how underserved our area of Milpitas is.

Everyone goes downtown to San Jose to drink great beer and we wanted to fill the void with offering great beers in bottles and on tap right here in Milpitas. So we decided to make a destination for beer drinkers by starting this taproom-bottle shop project.

Please share some of the details of the space, including any special features.

Our space is about 1,700 square feet. We plan to have 10 cooler doors of bottles and packaged beer for on-site and to-go with about 30-40 more taps of beer.

How did you come up with the name IBU Taproom & Bottle Shop? I assume IBU refers to the International Bittering Units scale, generally speaking the measurement of a beer’s bitterness?

The name IBU came about when we were drinking a Mega Fortunate Islands Double IPA by Modern Times Beer one night (shoutout to the other Andy Lee who gave us the bottle).

We were brainstorming what to name the new place, and when we turned the bottle around to read the caption (Modern Times and Lagunitas have the best beer label captions), Ladi saw IBU and the light bulb just clicked on.

The same bottle of Mega Fortunate Islands is on display at Stuft Pizza Milpitas above our taps as the motivation behind the new venture.

Do you have a tentative opening date yet?

We are hoping to be open mid-October, but that may change. Once all inspections are passed we will be able to set soft opening and/or grand opening dates. We will definitely keep you posted!

Additional photos from a recent visit to Stuft Pizza Milpitas below:

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New Whole Foods Market and Tap Room Opens in Santa Clara

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A new 50,000 square-foot Whole Foods Market – built from the ground up – opened last month, July 26, in Santa Clara at 2732 Augustine Drive.

Located at the bustling corner of Scott Boulevard and Bowers Avenue, it’s the first Whole Foods store in Santa Clara and – for those keeping track – the 44th in Northern California.

The store also features its own Tap Room, which I recently had the chance to visit.

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Jamie Silvestrini working in the Tap Room bar

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The Tap Room is bright, open and inviting, with indoor seating for about 60 guests. The cushioned benches lining the walls are comfortable and a particularly nice touch.

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There’s also a great outdoor space right next to the Tap Room that can seat 40 guests.

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I met up with Wesley Miller, the specialty associate coordinator for Northern California, and we discussed some of the highlights of the Tap Room and the store.

The Tap Room bar has 19 taps dedicated to craft beer, plus two taps for wine and a tap for maple cold brew coffee on nitro made in-house.

Tap specialist Art Escobar – having previously been at the Whole Foods Market in Fremont – has been busily procuring and maintaining the draft beers, setting up events and training bartenders.

The store has digital kiosk and self-serve stations, the first of their kinds in Northern CA. There are also wide and varied food options, including a sushi, ramen and bao (savory steamed buns) station and a special menu created just for the Tap Room by Top Chef finalist (from season 12) Melissa King.

Some of Melissa’s appetizer, hamburger and skewer creations include spinach sesame salad, kimchi summer squash, chicken karaage, lemongrass meatballs, Tokyo burger (served with shiitake mushrooms, greens, caramelized onions, yuzu miso aioli), Seoul burger (served with kimchi, arugula, sesame-gochujang aioli), chicken thigh and green onion skewer with yakitori glaze, enoki mushroom skewer wrapped in bacon with togarashi and simple zucchini skewer.

Wesley noted that Melissa’s exclusive menu items pair well with beer and wine and are meant to be shared and enjoyed in small bites.

Wesley also noted that specialty food items throughout the store will be featured at the Tap Room. For instance, look for cheese and chocolate pairing events to take place on an ongoing basis.

The opening of the Tap Room at the Santa Clara store continues Whole Foods’ contributions – especially with regards to fresh draft beer options – to the local beer scene.

The new Tap Room follows the opening of the Tap Room at the San Jose store on Blossom Hill Road this past October, the December 2014 opening of the Mission Creek Brewing Company and tap room at the SanJose Whole Foods on The Alameda and the opening of the Brew Hub tap room in the Cupertino store also in December 2014.

Below are some additional photos from my visit.

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Fries with Citrus Miso Aioli
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Skewers of Enoki Bacon and Shiitake Mushrooms
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Tokyo Burger, served with shiitake mushrooms, greens, caramelized onions, yuzu miso aioli

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Beer Flight
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Wesley Miller, Specialty Associate Coordinator of Northern California

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4th Annual Silicon Valley Beer Week

Silicon Valley Beer Week 2016
Image from SV Beer Week 2016

SV Beer Week 2016, July 22 – July 30

The 4th annual Silicon Valley Beer Week starts this Friday night, July 22, with the SV Beer Week Kick Off Party, spotlighting three local breweries – Santa Clara Valley Brewing (101 E. Alma Ave.), Hermitage Brewing Company (1627 S. 7th St.) and Strike Brewing Company (2099 S. 10th St. #30).

The ensuing days through Saturday, July 30, will consist of a myriad of beer-related events – about 145 at last count – hosted by businesses and organizations throughout the region.

SV Beer Week Kick Off Party, Fri., July 22, 5pm-9pm

The three participating breweries – all located within close proximity of each other – will offer Kick Off specials at their respective tap rooms, including 4-beer flights at Santa Clara Valley Brewing for $7, food truck El Burrito Loco at Hermitage and $1 off pints at Strike. Look for limited-release and seasonal offerings at each of the breweries as well.

Silicon Valley Beer Week Collaboration Beer

Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Hermitage and Strike are the founding members of the San Jose Small Brewers Association, established earlier this year. The Association has partnered with SV Beer Week to brew a collaboration beer to commemorate this year’s beer week.

Though the specific release date and the beer style have yet to be announced, I’ve heard through the hop vine that the beer might be a Brett IPA brewed with lots of fruity American hops coming in at a reasonably sessionable 5.5% ABV.

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The San Jose Small Brewers Association – comprising brewers from Hermitage, Strike and SCV Brewing – met up in June to discuss the Silicon Valley Beer Week Collaboration Brew (photo from the SJ Small Brewers Association)

Personal Picks

I’d love to support all the local establishments hosting events during Beer Week and taste all the good beers being offered up. Alas, I lack the time, the funds and the liver power – not to mention a teleportation machine – to be able to attend all the numerous and overlapping events and enjoy all the beers.

I’ll certainly make a point, however, to visit the venues that I can’t get to during Beer Week after Beer Week ends. After all, with the burgeoning local beer scene, any week can be made into a special beer week.

That said, the Beer Week events listed below catch my eye, and I’ll do my best to attend as many of them as possible.

Check out the SV Beer Week Events page for more details and to review all the scheduled events.

Oh, and for those wanting a head start to Beer Week, venerable beer venue Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose will host a ‘Barrel-Aged Deliciousness from Allagash’ event on Thursday, July 21 starting at 6pm and on the following day – July 22 – will host ‘Fieldwork Tap Takeover and Beer Pairing with Head Brewer Alex Tweet’ also starting at 6pm.

Sat., July 23

  • Lost Abbey and Port Tap Takeover at Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose, 2pm-11pm
  • Ruin your Saturday with Stone Brewing at Armadillo Willy’s BBQ Los Altos, 3pm-10pm
  • Walking Tour: Breweries, Bars & Brothels of Downtown San Jose, 5pm-6:30pm
  • California Brewery Showdown: 6 Brewers go Head to Head (Day 1) at Pizza California in San Jose, 11am-9:30pm (through Saturday, July 30)
  • Double IPA Release Party at Golden State Brewery in Santa Clara, 12pm-8pm
  • Los Gatos BrewFest at Jack Rose Libation House, 12pm-5pm
  • Stuft Bottle Share Vol. 2 at Stuft Pizza Milpitas, 5pm-10pm
  • Ballast Point 40+ Tap Takeover at O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub in Downtown San Jose’s San Pedro Square, 4pm-2am (through Tuesday, July 26)
  • The Maine Event 2 Featuring Allagash at Steins Beer Garden in Mountain View, 1pm-6pm
  • Wicked Weekend with Lagunitas at Wicked Chicken in Santa Clara, 11am-11pm (through Sunday, July 24)
  • Fieldwork Tap Takeover at Taplands in Santa Clara, 4pm-12am

Sun., July 24

  • Taste of Camino Brewing Company at The Farmers Union in Downtown San Jose, 10am-10pm
  • Strike Tap Takeover at Liquid Bread Gastropub in Campbell, 3pm-9pm
  • Pints & Poses at Santa Clara Valley Brewing, 10:30am – 11:30am
  • Cologne in California Featuring Calicraft at Steins Beer Garden, 1pm-5pm

Mon., July 25

  • Alvarado Street & Original Gravity Collaboration Beer Release and Tap Takeover at Original Gravity Public House in Downtown San Jose, 5pm-10:45pm
  • Sierra Nevada Special Release Night at Armadillo Willy’s BBQ Los Altos, 5pm-9pm
  • California Pale Ale Battle 2016 at Fibbar Magees in Sunnyvale, 6pm-10pm
  • Dank Times with Modern Times at Stuft Pizza Milpitas, 3pm-10pm
  • Beer & Cheese Pairing at Santa Clara Valley Brewing, 6pm-9pm

Tues., July 26

  • Modern Times Takeover at Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose, 6pm-11pm
  • Firestone Walker Tap Takeover at Burnt Rice Korean Restaurant in San Jose, 3pm-9pm
  • Strike Tap Takeover at Bourbon Pub in Santa Clara, 5pm-8pm
  • Donut and Beer Pairing with Psycho Donuts
  • Santa Clara Valley Brewing Tap Takeover at Liquid Bread Gastropub in Campbell, 3pm-9pm
  • Humboldt County River Run Tap Takeover at Spread Deli & Bottles in Campbell, 5pm-8pm
  • Taco Tuesday Cornhole Tournament at Jack’s Bar & Lounge in San Jose, 6pm-9pm
  • Alpha Acid Tap Takeover at South Winchester BBQ in San Jose, 5pm-9pm
  • Coronado Tap Takeover & Beer Can Chicken Party at The Socialight in Campbell, 5pm-10pm
  • 3rd Annual Official SVBW Bruery Event at Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant in Mountain View, 5pm-11pm
  • Sierra Nevada Pint Night at Taplands in Santa Clara, 6pm-9pm

Wed., July 27

  • The Beerwalk in Santana Row, 6pm-9pm
  • An Evening with Founders Brewer Jeremy Kosmicki at Liquid Bread Public House in Downtown San Jose, 5pm-10:45pm
  • Buy the Pint and Keep the Slice Vol. 2 at Stuft Pizza Milpitas, 4pm-10pm
  • Firkin Friends Fest at Freewheel Brewing Company in Redwood City, 6pm-10pm
  • Lagunitas Tap Takeover at Liquid Bread Gastropub in Campbell, 3pm-9pm
  • Barrel Aged Tap Takeover at Refuge in San Carlos, 11:30am-9pm
  • 54+ Sierra Nevada Tap Takeover at O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub in Downtown San Jose, 4pm-2am (through Sat., July 30)
  • Anchor Brewing Firkin Tapping and Rock Band Night at 7 Stars Bar & Grill in San Jose, 7pm-11:30pm

Thurs., July 28

  • Stone Tap Takeover and Meet the Small Batch Brewer at Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose, 6pm-11pm
  • Ballast Point Beer Bash at Armadillo Willy’s BBQ Los Altos, 5pm-10pm
  • Hermitage Tap Takeover at Liquid Bread Gastropub in Campbell, 3pm-9pm
  • California Craft Throw Down Round 6 at St. John’s Bar & Grill in Sunnyvale, 5pm-8pm
  • An Evening with Founders Brewer at Wicked Chicken in Santa Clara, 6pm-10pm
  • Who’s Your Daddy? at Taplands in Santa Clara, 5pm-9pm

Fri., July 29

  • Ballast Point 20th Anniversary Party at Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose, 6pm-11pm
  • New Belgium Bonanza and Cruiser Bike Giveaway at Armadillo Willy’s BBQ Los Altos, 5pm-10pm
  • Ice Cream Float Special at 20twenty cheese bar in Willow Glen, 1pm-7pm
  • Deschutes Ice Cream Social / Cellar Extravaganza at Original Gravity Public House in Downtown San Jose, 5pm-11:45pm
  • Meet the Brewers – Golden State Brewery & Six Rivers Brewery at Taplands in Santa Clara, 4pm-7pm
  • Red Branch Cider Company Tap Takeover at Liquid Bread Gastropub in Campbell, 3pm-6pm

Sat., July 30

  • Sour Fest 7.0 at Original Gravity Public House in Downtown San Jose, 12pm-11:45pm
  • 2nd Annual Beer Can Open Golf Tournament at Santa Teresa Golf Club, 11:30am-5pm (Sold Out)
  • Pizza Pairing at Oak & Rye in Los Gatos, 2pm-5pm
  • Sports Night with the Game Day Food Truck at Golden State Brewery in Santa Clara, 4:30pm-7:30pm
  • Founders Brewing Brunch at Cocina Central in Mountain View, 2:30pm-4:30pm
  • Taplands Celebrates Local Beer in Santa Clara, 11am-9pm


San Pedro Square Market Hosts New Belgium Brewing Company Tap Takeover

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Downtown San Jose’s San Pedro Square Market (87 N. San Pedro St.) will host a Market-wide tap takeover event featuring New Belgium Brewing Company this Sunday, July 17 from 12pm-4pm.

It’s the biggest event that New Belgium has done in the South Bay, and the taps at the three Market pouring locations – San Pedro Square Market Bar, Market Garage Bar and Market Beer Company – will have the following New Belgium offerings.

San Pedro Square Market Bar

  • Fat Tire Ale
  • Blue Paddle Pilsner
  • Snapshot Wheat
  • Ranger IPA
  • Citradelic IPA
  • 1554 Black Lager

Garage Bar

  • Fat Funk Ale – collaboration with Allagash Brewing Company
  • Fat Wild Ale – collaboration with Avery Brewing Company
  • Fat Hoppy Ale – collaboration with Firestone Walker Brewing Company
  • Fat Sour Apple Ale – collaboration with Hopworks Urban Brewery
  • Fat Pale Ale – collaboration with Reingheist Brewing

Market Beer Company

  • Loves Apple Felix
  • Peach Wheat Wine
  • La Folie
  • Transatlantique Kriek
  • Hop Kitchen Juicy Mandarina IPA
  • 2014 Cascara Quad

New Belgium Celebrates 25 Years with ‘Fat Tire & Friends’

The beers to be poured at the Garage Bar represent the ‘Fat Tire & Friends’ collaboration pack, involving Allagash, Firestone Walker, Avery, Hopworks and Rhinegeist. ‘Fat Tire & Friends’ is a special project to commemorate New Belgium’s 25th anniversary this year.

Ross Larkin, San Jose/Santa Cruz Beer Ranger for New Belgium explains, “We teamed up with some of our Friends from across the country to pay homage to our beloved Fat Tire Amber Ale. The number one Amber Ale in the U.S. was born on a bike seat during a trip to Belgium in 1989. Because of what New Belgium has done for the industry, our Friends were quick to come and brew a beer with us. Basically each of the breweries involved put their own spin on our flagship.

“Allagash used their house yeast called De Dolle. Firestone Walker used a lager yeast and tons of hops to make an IPL (Indian Pale Lager). Avery used a wild yeast to make for a very fruity and fun beer. Our house Belgian ale yeast already has some faint apple aromas so Hopworks spiked the beer with Lactobacillus and apples. Finally Rhinegeist used the world renown Rochefort yeast (a Trappist brewery) and kicked our malt up to make for an authentic Belgian pale ale.”

Fat Tire and Friends

Special Sours on Tap at Market Beer Company

Among the offerings pouring at Market Beer Company will be a selection of special sour options. Ross has provided his notes for these sour beers:

  • First up is Loves Apple Felix: A single-barrel, unblended light sour aged for 9 months in Leopold brothers Apple whiskey barrels.
  • Peach Wheat Wine: Some of the same base sour beer used in the above mentioned is aged in peach whiskey barrels with a ton of fresh peaches; at the same time a high gravity wheat beer is also aging in peach whiskey barrels with peaches. We then blend this beauty up and ooh la la!
  • La Folie: Our prized dark sour starts with our dark sour Oscar. We blend from a multitude of foeders to make for a unique beer every year.
  • Our Transatlantique Kriek will also be available. We collaborate with Oude Beersel from Belgium on this. He sends us his sour cherry beer and we back blend it with our in-house light sour Felix.

In addition, there’ll be live music, game, giveaways and a raffle for a chance to win New Belgium’s 2016 Cruiser bike made by Detroit Bikes, a small American-made bike company. San Jose Bikes will also be at the event to do minor bike adjustments and provide bike information.

Original Gravity Public House Celebrates 4-Year Anniversary

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Original Gravity Public House in downtown San Jose (66 S. 1st St.) is reaching the 4-year mark, and as in past years, a stellar tap list will help mark the milestone. The celebration takes place this Saturday, July 16 from 12pm-11:45pm.

The recently posted tap list is below in case anyone’s missed it.

  • Alesmith – Hawaiian Speedway Stout (2015)
  • Almanac – Tequila Barrel Noir (2014)
  • Almanac – Vanilla Cherry Dogpatch (2016)
  • Altamont – Rich Mahogany
  • Altamont – Maui Waui IPA
  • Alvarado Street – Tayberry Gose
  • Alvarado Street – Buzz Light Beer
  • Alvarado Street – Mai Tai P.A.
  • Anderson Valley – Briney Melon Gose
  • Anderson Valley – Thribble (2016)
  • Bear Republic – Barrel aged Grizz
  • Berryessa – Cream Ale (Nitro)
  • Berryessa – Double Tap
  • Berryessa – Mini Seperation Anxiety
  • Bruery – White Oak (2016)
  • Bruery – Terreux: Tart of Darkness (2016)
  • Deschutes – Mirror Mirror (2014)
  • Dogfish Head – 120 Minute (2012)
  • Evil Twin – Imperial Doughnut Break (2015)
  • Fieldwork – Good Conduct (2015)
  • Fieldwork – Terrace IPA
  • Fieldwork – Chocolate Milk Brown (Nitro)
  • Firestone Walker – Parabola (2015)
  • Firestone Walker – Pivo Pils
  • Lagunitas – High-Westified Coffee Stout (2014)
  • Lagunitas – Sucks
  • Lost Abbey – Angel’s Share (2014)
  • North Coast – Barrel Aged Old Rasputin XV (2012)
  • Perennial – Abraxas (2015)
  • SARA – Simpleton
  • SARA – Saison Bernice
  • SARA – Love’s Armor
  • Temescal – Weekend
  • Temescal – Basic Batches: Motueka
  • More beers TBA

Jeff Jagged from On the Corner Music will be spinning records on the patio and special pop-up food menus will be available throughout the day.

Spread Deli & Bottles Celebrates 3-Year Anniversary

Spread 3 Cheers to You
Graphic courtesy of Spread

With its friendly vibe and service, Spread Deli & Bottles in downtown Campbell has become a go-to spot for folks needing their sandwich fix, with 14 signature sandwiches plus the option to create your own.

Offering good beer has been a priority since day one at Spread. The 20 beers on tap reflect a wide variety of beer styles, so there’s bound to be a fresh offering to satisfy both beer enthusiasts and those new to craft beer. Over 200 bottles beers are available as well.

Spread Deli & Bottles Proprietors

Spread was started three years ago by owners Jordan Trigg and Charlie Mann, both of whom possess extensive hospitality experience. Jordan and Charlie – South Bay natives and all-around good guys – have also done much to elevate the profile of the local beer scene.

Beerwalk co-founders Jordan Trigg and Charlie Mann at last year's Mountain View Beerwalk
Jordan Trigg (left) and Charlie Mann working a previous Beerwalk. They founded the popular Beerwalk series back in Feb. 2012.

In part from Spread’s website, Jordan entered the restaurant and bar industry right out of high school and gained a broad range of experience from barista to server to banquet coordinator to bartender. With a bachelors in business economics and finance from the UC Santa Cruz, he opened his first place, Jack’s Bar & Lounge, in San Jose’s Japantown in 2006. Looking ahead, Jordan started the restaurant group Dipsomania, Inc., which has since created a unique array of venues focused on community and unmatched social and dining experiences.

Charlie has been in the restaurant and bar industry since the age of thirteen. He started managing restaurants at the age of seventeen and has since run various establishments. Charlie has a well-rounded and knowledgeable background in the hospitality industry, having held positions from dishwasher to district manager. He is also the co-founder of Beerwalk and marketing consultant for Liquid Bread Gastropub and Jack’s Bar & Lounge, where he is currently the operating manager handling all aspects of the business.

3-Year Anniversary Celebration

Jordan and Charlie – and the staff at Spread – invite all to come out on Thursday, June 30 as they celebrate their 3-year anniversary with a raffle drawing starting at 6pm. Guests will receive 1 raffle ticket for each and every sandwich and beer purchased throughout the day. Note that Spread will open at 11am with happy hour at 5pm.

Raffle drawings will start at 6pm and feature numerous prizes, including beer, gift cards and other swag. Drawings for raffle prizes will take place every 30 minutes until 8pm.

Youkilis Brothers to Open Loma Brewing Company Summer 2016 in Downtown Los Gatos

Loma Brewing Company

Visiting downtown Los Gatos is something we do on a regular basis. And though I’ve been seeing the recent construction and the remodeling taking place at the site of the former Los Gatos Brewing Company, I hadn’t seen much information about the new Loma Brewing Company that is set to open there.

So I was very pleased to receive news earlier today detailing the latest updates about Loma Brewing Company.

Loma Brewing is set to open in Summer 2016. The folks behind Loma Brewing Company are the Youkilis brothers: Scott, who is best known for his SF ventures including Hog & Rocks in the Mission, and his brother Kevin, a well-known retired Major League Baseball player – local A’s fans will certainly know who he is – with a long-time passion for craft beer.

Loma Brewing Company set to open in Summer 2016, not Spring 2016
Loma Brewing Company set to open in Summer 2016, not Spring 2016

Loma Brewing aims to become a part of the South Bay community, a local gathering hub with house-made beers from brewmaster Warren Billups, other high-quality craft beers on tap and food from Chef Aubree Arndt.

The announcement, provided below, is too informative to not share in its entirety:

Los Gatos, CA (May 26, 2016) – Brothers Scott and Kevin Youkilis are pleased to announce that their Los Gatos brewpub, Loma Brewing Company (Loma), is set to open in Summer 2016. Replacing the former Los Gatos Brewing Co., Loma aims to become a part of the South Bay community, a neighborhood hotspot with high-quality craft beers and approachable food.

Scott is a restaurateur best known for his successful ventures in San Francisco including the Mission’s favorite gastropub, Hog & Rocks, as well as Maverick and Hi-Lo BBQ. His business partner and younger brother, Kevin, is a retired Major League Baseball player, perhaps best known for his time with the Boston Red Sox, but who has always had a fascination and love for craft beers. Together they are excited to embrace their new community and thrilled to share this new brewery with locals and visitors alike.

THE BEER

Loma will feature 14 taps of carefully-selected craft brews, nearly half of which will be occupied by their own site-brewed beers from Master Brewer Warren Billups, formerly of Heretic Brewing. The remaining taps will feature high-quality West Coast brews in addition to hard-to find local selections, plus three Old Fashioneds on tap – one with bourbon, one with tequila and one with gin.

“We really wanted to make sure that we have something for everyone,” Kevin explains. “I typically reach for very hop-forward beers, but I also like to venture out of my comfort zone and switch it up with different styles. We definitely want to encourage our guests to do the same.”

To start, Billups will have a Pilsner, Pale Ale, Dry Stout and a seasonal IPA. He will also have a Kolsch made with Loma’s own yeast strain and a Berliner Weisse served with the option of a housemade raspberry syrup for those who prefer to stick with tradition.

“For me, it was really important to create social beers,” Billups remarks. “Loma is going to be a place to enjoy good brews and good company – we want you to be able to have a few and still be able to function!”

Billups and the Youkilis brothers are excited to share their passion with the public and realize that it can only come through with an equally enthusiastic and educated staff who understand their mission and the nuances of each beer. With that in mind they will require all servers, bartenders, and managers to undergo special training in order to qualify for employment.

Future plans include even more house-brewed beers, tap takeovers and brewer collaborations.

THE FOOD

Replicating the level of high-quality found in the beer selection, Loma will follow suit with a menu of casual comfort food created by Chef Aubree Arndt who worked as a line cook at Scott’s San Francisco restaurant, Maverick. After a devastating fire in October 2013 Maverick closed but Arndt moved to the South Bay and helped bring new life to Mountain View’s Beirhaus.  

The menu will consist of snacks such as beer cheese with dill potato chips, smoked chicken wings with Youk’s Hot Sauce in addition to various flatbreads, seasonal salads and a mix of lighter and hearty entrees. A sure favorite will, of course, be the Loma Burger made with aged American wagyu beef, American cheese, caramelized onion, lettuce and super sauce. For dessert guests can expect sweet treats such as a cookie plate with beer pairings, donuts and a boozy milkshake. Arndt will not only utilize locally based farms and organic ingredients in her new kitchen, she also will bring in vegetables and herbs from her own South Bay garden.

“I’m really excited about Aubree’s menu,” says Scott. “Everything is delicious and will lend itself well to the beer and overall environment.”

Scott, known for his mentorship (the last two chefs at Hog & Rocks have both been awarded the San Francisco Chronicle’s coveted Rising Star recognition) has given Aubree space to make the menu her own, stepping in only to advise and collaborate on beer pairing along with Billups and Kevin.

THE SPACE

Newly remodeled, the 150-seat, 7,000 square-foot interior is designed specifically to foster the convivial atmosphere associated with beer culture. The main dining room features comfortable banquette and booth seating. In the bar guests will find, two ten-foot communal “Brewer’s Tables” and a walnut-top bar with 20 of its own seats. Additionally, there will be a large private room intended for corporate or personal events which can accommodate up to 50 people and features its very own bar.

Loma will reinvigorate the downtown space and become a neighborhood favorite for locals and not-to-be-missed destination for visitors.

Loma will open with dinner served SundayThursday from 5:30-9:00 p.m. and a late-night menu on Friday and Saturday until midnight. Lunch, a mid-day menu and a weekend brunch will follow shortly thereafter.

About Loma Brewing Company

Loma Brewing Company is the vision of the Youkilis brothers – Scott, a Bay Area restaurateur and Kevin, a retired Major League baseball player with a longtime passion for craft beer. Loma brings together great brews and high-quality casual comfort food with a lively atmosphere in downtown Los Gatos. The neighborhood brewpub will offer the perfect environment for guests to eat, drink and socialize.

Loma Brewing Company is located at 130 North Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos, CA 95030. For more information, visit www.lomabrew.com and visit the restaurant on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @lomabrew.



Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant Presents ‘Summer Nights on the Patio’

The outdoor beer garden at Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant in downtown Mountain View will kickstart “Summer Nights on the Patio” on Thursday, May 26 starting at 5:30pm. It’ll be the first of a series of weekly beer events that’ll feature tasty offerings from a select brewery to be enjoyed in Steins’ outdoor beer garden.

Steins assistant manager Lynna Nguyen chimes in with the following:

“We are excited to be hosting our first out of many brew events this summer! The events will be every Thursday in our beer garden in the back at 5:30pm. Each week will be a different brewery featured, and we will be tapping some of their exclusive and specialty craft brews. There will be one highlighted beer that each brewery will release.

“We came up with this idea last summer. We did a summer brew series outside using our kegerator, which was a huge hit. People loved it! They got to enjoy our beer garden and try new beers. Some breweries may bring in some “swag” for you to take home as well.

“We decided on the name ‘Summer Nights on the Patio’ to welcome our guests to come in and spend their summer nights with us on Thursday to enjoy delicious food, great brews and awesome company in our beautiful patio outdoors, because we are spoiled with great California weather!

“We want to start off with just doing these events on Thursdays, but if it’s a huge hit again and busy, we may add additional nights to have these events.”

This Thursday’s first Summer Nights event will feature Almanac Beer Company. The beer list was announced earlier today and includes:

  • Cold Brew Coffee Barrel Noir (Imperial Stout)
  • Emperor Norton (Tripel)
  • Saison Dolores
  • Tropical Platypus (Sour Blonde Ale)

Lynna provides a sneak peek to the upcoming schedule of Summer Nights on the Patio at Steins:

May 26 – Almanac (Barrel Noir – Imperial Stout brewed with Sightglass Cold Brew Coffee)
June 2 – Evil Twin Brewing
June 9 – Hanger 24 Craft Brewery (Barrel Role No. 4 Wing Over – American Barrel Role)
June 16 – Working Man Brewing Company
June 23 – Altamont Beer Works
June 30 – Ninkasi Brewing Company (Ground Control Imperial Stout vs. Bourbon Barrel-Aged Ground Control)
July 7 – Boulevard Brewing Company (Tank 7  Farmhouse Ale with Brett)
July 13 – Freigeist: Meet the Co-Founder and Head Brewer, Sebastian Sauer
July 14 – Freigeist

Steins will post updates on the Steins Facebook page as events get closer.

Recent Visit to Eureka! at Main Street Cupertino

Main Street Cupertino

I drive past Main Street Cupertino on most days and from the streets have seen all the construction and development taking place in the immediate and surrounding areas. And it’s taken the recent opening of the South Bay’s first Eureka! location – Eureka! Cupertino opened earlier last month – to get Andrea and me to go visit for the first time.

Main Street Cupertino Clock Tower

So earlier this month on a weekday, we stopped by Main Street Cupertino to have an early lunch at Eureka! Cupertino.

Eureka! Cupertino

I liked the stylish exterior and interior elements and touches.

Eureka! Cupertino

Eureka! Cupertino

Respect Beer at Eureka! Cupertino

The gorgeous bar at Eureka! Cupertino

Rotating Beers List at Eureka! Cupertino

I also really liked seeing the local beers on tap.

Taps at Eureka! Cupertino

In particular, Santa Clara’s Golden State Brewery Heritage Honey Ale, San Jose’s Hermitage Brewing Company 408 Session IPA, Palo Alto Brewing Company Hoppy Ending Pale Ale and San Jose’s Strike Brewing Company Double IPA.

Each Eureka! restaurant consistently offers well-regarded craft beers made from breweries from all over the country, but I especially appreciate their inclusion of the local breweries from the get-go. Without a doubt, Eureka! is a welcome addition to the local beer scene and will do much to elevate the nascent Cupertino beer scene.

Local beer menu at Eureka! Cupertino

As for our meal, we opted to start with Osso Buco Riblets: sherry braised pork / firecracker aioli.

Osso Buco Riblets - sherry braised pork / firecracker aioli at Eureka! Cupertino

With Almanac Elephant Heart Wild Ale and Tolosa Pinot Noir.

Almanac Elephant Heart Wild Ale and Tolosa Pinot Noir at Eureka! Cupertino

We then ordered Kale Salad: cabbage / roasted garlic / walnuts / cranberries / Parmesan / parsley vinaigrette / chicken.

Kale Salad - cabbage / roasted garlic / walnuts / cranberries / Parmesan / parsley vinaigrette / chicken at Eureka! Cupertino

And the 8 oz. New York Steak: red wine jus / crispy crushed potatoes / seasonal grilled vegetables.

8 oz. New York Steak - red wine jus / crispy crushed potatoes / seasonal grilled vegetables at Eureka! Cupertino

With Rogue Cold Brew IPA.

Rogue Cold Brew IPA

For dessert, we had the Butterscotch Rum Pudding: caramel sauce / whipped cream / sea salt.

Butterscotch Rum Pudding - caramel sauce / whipped cream / sea salt at Eureka! Cupertino

All facets of our lunch were on point, including exceptional service from our server Samantha and manager Crystina Vu, who’s also the beer manager.

Samantha of Eureka! Cupertino

Manager Crystina Vu of Eureka! Cupertino
Manager Crystina Vu of Eureka! Cupertino

With Mother’s Day being a few days later, we returned to Eureka! Cupertino again for lunch, this time walking there with our boys. We arrived before the opening, so we explored Main Street Cupertino some before returning to get in line.

Some pictures from our Mother’s Day lunch at Eureka! Cupertino:

A kid who has recently discovered the joys of a root beer float
A kid who has recently discovered the joys of a root beer float
Bananas Foster Crunchy French Toast - pecans / spiced rum syrup / whipped cream
Bananas Foster Crunchy French Toast – pecans / spiced rum syrup / whipped cream
Jalapeño Egg Burger - fried egg / cheddar / bacon / chipotle sauce / pickled jalapeños / signature handcut fries
Jalapeño Egg Burger – fried egg / cheddar / bacon / chipotle sauce / pickled jalapeños / signature handcut fries
All Day Breakfast Burrito - carnitas / potatoes / pepper trio / ranchero sauce/ Monterey Jack / sour cream / fried egg / side of arugula with Toolbox Spring Shandy Berliner Weiss
All Day Breakfast Burrito – carnitas / potatoes / pepper trio / ranchero sauce/ Monterey Jack / sour cream / fried egg / side of arugula with Toolbox Spring Shandy Berliner Weiss
Andrea and our boys after lunch, feeling stuffed yet content
Andrea and our boys after lunch, feeling stuffed yet content

More details from last month’s announcement about the opening of Eureka! Cupertino:

WHAT: Cupertino’s newest restaurant, Eureka!, an all-American concept is opening Monday, April 4, 2016 at Main Street Cupertino. Eureka! provides one-of-a-kind discovery experiences with weekly events such as local entertainment, Steal The Glass, daily “Hoppy” Hour, an inventive rotating beer and craft beverage program, and a craveable menu.

Each dish is thoughtfully prepared to showcase quality ingredients, locally sourced when possible. Eureka! specializes in American classics with a modern twist with its diverse selection of appetizers, all natural, Angus chuck burgers, signature plates which includes innovative salads, hand-crafted sandwiches, and delectable desserts. Menu highlights include the Truffle Cheese Fries featuring signature handcut french fries tossed in truffle salt, topped with parmesan cheese, green onions, and served with a side of Truffle Cheese Sauce; Veggie Beet Burger with a housemade red beet and kidney bean patty, housemade pickles, red onion, tomato, arugula, topped with lemon vinaigrette, and served with signature handcut fries; Fresno Fig Burger topped with a fig marmalade, goat cheese, bacon, spicy porter mustard, arugula, tomatoes, onions, and served with signature handcut fries; Baby Back Ribs with housemade dry rub, spicy orange glaze, and chimichurri; Watermelon Salad with toasted walnuts, arugula, kale, homemade quinoa mix, watermelon, feta cheese, tossed with lemon vinaigrette and drizzled with balsamic glaze; and Butterscotch Rum Pudding featuring housemade whipped cream, caramel sauce, and sprinkled sea salt.

Weekend brunch is featured on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Delectable offerings include Huevos Rancheros with turkey chili, fried eggs, ranchero sauce, black beans, Jack and cheddar cheese, avocado, and sour cream; Creole Benedict featuring fried green tomato, Virginia ham, Creole mustard hollandaise, breakfast potatoes; and Bananas Foster Crunchy French Toast topped with pecans. To complement the flavorful brunch and menu options, Eureka! serves Mimosas and Bloody Marys on the weekends for $5.

Eureka! brings guests an inventive beverage program that revolves around the restaurant’s commitment to serving all-American craft beer, regional wines, both accompanied by a selection of over 50 small-batch whiskeys and specialty cocktails, ensuring a premium product that is highly sought after. The overall atmosphere combines an alluring blend of rustic charm with chic design elements, creating a look and feel that is simple yet elegant. The building provides a spacious dining experience with three story high vaulted ceilings and an inviting patio for when guests want to enjoy the beautiful weather.

WHEN:
Monday, April 4, 2016 at 11 a.m.

WHERE:
Eureka!
Main Street Cupertino
19369 Stevens Creek Blvd Suite 130
Cupertino, CA 95014

WEEKLY EVENTS:

  • “Hoppy” Hour Daily 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday: Half-off Wine all day
  • Wednesday: Steal The Glass at 6 p.m.
  • Thursday: Live Music
  • Saturday & Sunday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.: Brunch & $5 Bloody Mary’s & Mimosas all day

HOURS:
Sunday – Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Thursday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

  • Facebook: Eureka Cupertino
  • Twitter: EurekaCupertino
  • Instagram: Eureka_Cupertino

ABOUT EUREKA!: Eureka! is a leading family of restaurants that proudly serves only authentic, handmade food with locally sourced produce, all freshly cooked to order. The beverage program features 100% American craft beer, small batch whiskey, house-aged barrels and specialty cocktails sourced only from artisans throughout America to ensure a premium, innovative product that is sought after by those who appreciate the most. For more information, please visit www.eurekarestaurantgroup.com.