Category Archives: Beer Bars

Original Gravity Public House Celebrates 5-Year Anniversary

Original Gravity Public House

[Updated 7/20/17 to include the anniversary tap list.]

Original Gravity Public House in downtown San Jose is set to celebrate its five-year anniversary on Saturday, July 22 starting at 12pm to closing.

As in past years, a stellar tap list will help mark the milestone.*

  • Alesmith – Decadence (2014) (Wheat Wine)
  • Allagash – Golden Brett (Dry Hopped Golden Ale w/ Brett)
  • Altamont – Maui 3x (Triple IPA w/ Mosaic & Citra)
  • Altamont – BA Something New (Bourbon Barrel aged Imperial Stout)
  • Alvarado Street – Chiffon Fog (Double IPA w/ Vic Secret, Mosaic, El Dorado, Denali & Eureka)
  • Alvarado Street – Nitro Best Part of Waking Up (Stout w/ Coffee)
  • Alvarado Street / Original Gravity – Tumeke Pils (Pilsner w/ Simcoe, Motueka, Pacific Gem & El Dorado)
  • Bruery – White Chocolate (2017) (Bourbon BBL aged Barley Wine w/ Cacao Nibs & Vanilla)
  • Cascade – Sang Du Chêne (2015) (Oak aged American Wild Ale)
  • Coronado – BA German Chocolate Cake (Bourbon Barrel aged Imperial Stout w/ Toasted Coconut)
  • Coronado – Pompous Moose (Witbier w/ Ruby Red Grapefruit, Orange Peel & Coriander)
  • Deschutes – The Abyss (2013) (Barrel aged Imperial Stout)
  • Drake’s – 1500 (Dry Hopped American Pale Ale)
  • Elkhorn Slough – Jewel (Barrel aged Saison)
  • Faction – S.A.P.A. (American Pale Ale w/ South African Hops)
  • Faction – Summer IPA (IPA w/ Nelson, Galaxy & Citra)
  • Fieldwork / Original Gravity – More Betterness (IPA w/ Citra, Mosaic & Calypso)
  • Fieldwork – Galaxy Sauce (Double IPA w/ Galaxy)
  • Firestone Walker – Pivo Pils (Hoppy Pilsner)
  • Firestone Walker – XIX Anniversary (Barrel aged Strong Ale Blend)
  • Lost Abbey – Genesis of Shame (Foeder aged Sour Blonde Ale w/ Peaches)
  • The Good Beer Co – George (French Oak BBL aged Wild Ale w/ Peaches)
  • Lost Abbey – Track 8 (2015) (Barrel Aged Quad w/ Cinnamon & Chilis)
  • Mission Trail – Fairy Land (Port Barrel aged Cider Pluot Blend)
  • Modern Times – Double Dry Hopped Orderville (IPA w/ Mosaic, Ekuanot & Nugget)
  • North Coast – Barrel aged Old Rasputin XIX (Bourbon BBL aged Russian Imperial Stout)
  • Perennial – Abraxas (2016) (Imperial Stout w/ Chilis, Cacao Nibs, Vanilla & Cinnamon)
  • Russian River – Yup, that Beer. No not the one released in February
  • SARA – Tomorrow, Today (IPA w/ Simcoe, Citra & Mosaic)
  • SARA / Peter Hoey – Hoeybier (Odonato Wine Barrel aged Saison w/ Brett)
  • SCVB / Original Gravity – Fountain Alley (American Pale Ale w/ Wakatu, Centennial & Mosaic)
  • SCVB – Barrel aged Loma Prieta (Rye) (Rye Barrel aged Imperial Stout)
  • Temescal – Take the Time (Keg Conditioned Saison)
  • Temescal – Extra Credit (IPA w/ Citra & Dr. Rudi)
  • Track 7 – One Legged Zebra (Nitro) (White Stout w/ Vanilla, Cinnamon & Lactose)

* List Subject to Change at Any Time

Additionally, Original Gravity has partnered with Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Alvarado Street Brewery and Fieldwork Brewing Co. to create three collaboration beers to be released on tap on Saturday.

Look for a very limited number of the Fieldwork collaboration to be available in cans.

There’ll be pop-up food specials, music in the patio and commemorative shirts for sale.

Earlier this month, owner Dan Phan shared the following message on Facebook:

“Wow, can’t believe it’s going to be FIVE YEARS! Seems like yesterday I decided to change course and open a business. I’m so thankful for all the people who have been involved with Original Gravity over the years, especially my business partner Johnny Wang. I’ve made lifelong friendships and met so many amazing people throughout the years.

Dan Phan and Johnny Wang, April 9, 2012

“A big shout out to the guys who run the show at Original Gravity. Thank you Rob Monroe and Anthony Jwanouskos for your extraordinary leadership throughout the years. Original Gravity wouldn’t be what it is without our amazing staff.

“If you’re free July 22nd, come party with us and see what we’ve been up to. We got to brew three awesome beers with three amazing breweries! Come down to the bar that day and have a beer with me.”

Collaboration beer (Fountain Alley Pale Ale) brew day at Santa Clara Valley, June 2017, Credit: Original Gravity
Collaboration beer (the second batch of Tumeke Pils) brew day at Alvarado Street Brewery, June 2017, Credit: Original Gravity
Collaboration beer (More Betterness) brew day at Fieldwork Brewing Co., July 2017, Credit: Original Gravity

Whole Foods Market’s Floodcraft Brewing Company Grand Re-Opening

A name change is happening for the popular brewery and tap room Mission Creek Brewing Company, located at the San Jose Whole Foods Market on The Alameda (777 The Alameda).

Brewmaster Guy Cameron recently shared with me the reason for the name change:

“Due to the success of the first Whole Foods Market Northern California brewery here in San Jose on The Alameda, we wanted to create a trademarked brand that could be distributed beyond this location. We chose Floodcraft because it is original and relates to the history of Whole Foods Market.

“People might be surprised to learn that on Memorial Day in 1981, there was a devastating flood that nearly destroyed the first ever Whole Foods Market store in Austin, TX. The inventory was wiped out, and most of the equipment was damaged. There was a question of whether or not this first Whole Foods Market store would ever reopen.

“Customers, neighbors, and team members came together to help clean up and repair everything. Thanks to all these efforts, the store was able to reopen 28 days later.

“If it weren’t for that community support, Whole Foods Market might not be what it is today. It’s a very important part of the history of Whole Foods Market that continues to be celebrated and honored to this very day.”

Grand Re-Opening Party

Floodcraft Brewing Company is celebrating the renaming with special events and activities throughout the weekend.

Kickstarting the festivities is a “grand re-opening party” Friday, June 2, 6pm-8pm to feature:

  • Bread-breaking ceremony
  • Four Floodcraft beers
  • Meet-and-greet with brewmaster Guy Cameron
  • Classic and local beers from guest breweries on tap to provide a variety of styles
  • Pop-up food items

To receive a complimentary Floodcraft beer koozie at this Friday’s shindig, register on Eventbrite and check-in at the event with a printed ticket or show the RSVP on your phone.

Floodcraft Offerings, including Curry for 3 Triple IPA

Below is additional information regarding the four Floodcraft beers that’ll be poured on Friday:

  • Curry for 3 Triple IPA: ABV: 10.5%; Juicy, orange, tangerine, marmalade, papaya, heavy dank.
  • Solely Simcoe American Pale Ale; ABV: 6.5%; Orange, passionfruit, peach, grapefruit, pine/resin, light dank.
  • Nelmo American Pale Ale; ABV 6.6%; Tangerine, papaya, gooseberry, tropical fruit, dank.
  • Mindfulness American Amber Ale; ABV 6.1%; Citrus, gooseberry, passionfruit, light floral, pine, toast, bread.

The Curry for 3 Triple IPA is a special release tapping brewed just for the re-opening. The three other beers have already been available.

Guy brewed a first batch of Curry for 3 Triple IPA for SF Beer Week earlier this year in February which highly anticipated, given his extensive experience previously brewing big, well-regarded IPAs – including Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger – at Russian River Brewing Company.

The first batch lasted only a week and was a standout beer according to many. Guy himself described Curry for 3 as his favorite – a “10.4% Citra orange juice bomb.”

As I sadly missed it earlier this year, I’ll be sure to enjoy some this time around.

P.S.: Go Warriors!

(Update: Click here for my recap post from the grand re-opening party.)

Taplands in Santa Clara Celebrates 1-Year Anniversary, Plus Q & A with Founder Matt Hartenstein

Taplands Johnny Mac Rye Red Ale
Matt Hartenstein pouring Taplands Johnny Mac Rye Red Ale, Credit: Taplands

Bona fide craft beer hub Taplands is celebrating its one-year anniversary Saturday, March 18 with live music, raffles, BBQ and beer specials from 12pm-9pm (Taplands will open at 11am).

Five of Taplands’ own beers will also be on tap.

My previous Q & A with founder Matt Hartenstein focused on his background and how Taplands came to be. This time around, Matt – who’s as great a guy as they come – graciously took the time to share his thoughts about reaching the one-year mark.

Congrats on the 1-year mark! How does it feel to reach this milestone?

It feels great! It’s funny – for the first few months we felt like, “It’s ONLY been a month, or two months…” Now it’s, “Wow, it’s been a year already!”

What’s been the biggest eye opener?

Definitely the community support. It has been humbling to continually be appreciated and thanked by our customers for being in this location. We have been very lucky.

What’s been the greatest accomplishment (highlights, surprises) this past year?

Again, I think it would be the support. We set out to make a “neighborhood” spot. Being part of a community was very important to our plan. To have it in such abundance so quickly has been awesome.

Also, to be recognized within the craft beer community as well. We are often offered special release beers from breweries because they know our customers appreciate it.

Being invited to judge at the Bacon & Beer Classic was also flattering and confirmed to me that we are accepted by the beer community as well.

What can we look forward to in the upcoming year at Taplands?

We are planning to add a Mug Club this year and add more special events like takeovers and Firkin events. And we hope to mix up the food menu a bit more this year, too.

What house beers will you have on tap at the upcoming anniversary celebration?

We are very excited to be offering five Taplands beers at the anniversary event! We will have our:

  • Johnny Mac Wry Red
  • Sid’s Serrano Ale
  • Grape Ape IPA
  • 1086 Kolsch
  • Brothers from Other Mothers – our Imperial Porter Collaboration with our friends at Golden State Brewery

We are also planning some special beers from our favorite and local breweries, as well as beer specials, BBQ, oyster bar, live music, and giveaways. We are planning a blow out!

Anything else to add?

Just a BIG THANK YOU! to the beer community for supporting us. Keep coming, and we’ll keep adapting to make you happy!

Tapland 1 Year Anniversary
Credit: Taplands

Below are some pics from several month ago.

Taplands Nov 16 01
Matt entertaining his guests
Taplands Nov 16 02
Matt joined by friends Kirill Egorov and Seth Hendrickson of Golden State Brewery
Taplands Nov 16 03
Taplands’ Jillian Stone joined by friend Irene Murphy of Fibbar Magees

Taplands Nov 16 04

Forager Tasting Room & Eatery Grand Opening Celebration

Forager Now Open
Credit: Forager Tasting Room & Eatery

Renovations began last July at Forager Tasting Room & Eatery located in downtown San Jose’s SoFA District.

A note on their website at the time indicated that the 14,400 sq. ft. space at 420 South First St. (former home of South First Billiards) would comprise of a coffee bar, a main bar, 2 beer walls, 6 micro-restaurants, a stage, a corner art gallery and plenty of seating arrangements.

In the ensuing months, as renovation and construction continued, Forager utilized available space to host a “pop-up” series to showcase local artists and musicians: “We witnessed the potential for what Forager will soon become – an inviting and creative space where culture thrives and guests enjoy food, the arts, and community.”

Heinz Jones and Andrea
Heinz Jones and Andrea at last year’s Mountain View Oktoberfest.

When I caught up with Forager founder Heinz Jones this past October during the Mountain View Oktoberfest – where he serves as the emcee at the annual event – he was his usual enthusiastic self when talking about Forager.

He was eager to get Forager going as a business incubator for local entrepreneurs in the food, beverage and arts industries who are passionate about launching their respective enterprises.

He confirmed his wanting to play a part in bolstering the downtown San Jose business landscape by cultivating a community through good food, beverages, music and art.

As a beer enthusiast – Heinz had been working weekly at Market Beer Company – he was excited about opening his own tasting room at Forager.

Fast forward to earlier this month. Forager announced that they would be open daily from 7am to 7pm. Their coffee bar would serve offerings from Devout Coffee, and beer would be served from among their 16 taps.

Grand Opening Celebration

Forager will celebrate their official “hard” opening Friday, March 3, as part of the monthly South First Fridays Art Walk. Forager will host the photo exhibit “Picture This” featuring local San Jose photographers.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 5:30pm, and all beers will be $5 and coffee drinks $2 from 5:30pm to 7pm. There’ll be small bites available as well.

Forager will also be open longer starting March 3, from 7am to 11pm daily.

Scenes from the Neighborhood Bottle Share

Look for Forager to continue hosting a variety of creative events. For instance, Forager hosted a “Bottles of the Bay: Neighborhood Bottle Share” event back in October that focused on beers from the local brewing community.

Forager’s Bryan Chen.

Forager Bottle Share 01

Billy and Hermitage Brewing Company’s Nicole Marquez.

Forager Bottle Share 02

Peter Estaniel of Santa Clara Valley Brewing.

Forager Bottle Share 05

Bellpenny Brewing Company’s Jim Turturici in conversation with brewer Dave Roberts and Stacey.

Forager Bottle Share 06

Stacey pouring Dave’s homebrewed porter – very enjoyable.

Forager Bottle Share 03

Forager Bottle Share 07

Uproar Brewing Company’s Steve Vandewater, Nicole and Billy.

Forager Bottle Share 08

Steve and Jim.

Forager Bottle Share 09

Forager Bottle Share 04

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Forager Bottle Share 13

Forager Bottle Share 14

Heinz about to pour local beers Santa Clara Valley Brewing Valley Surprise DIPA and Hermitage Brewing Company Citra Single Hop IPA.

Forager Bottle Share 15

Forager Bottle Share 16

Forager Bottle Share 17

Forager Bottle Share 18

Forager Bottle Share 19

Forager Bottle Share 20

Forager Bottle Share 21

Forager Bottle Share 22

Forager Bottle Share 23

Peter and brewer Ryan Campagna of Touchstone Brewing Company in Sacramento. Ryan previously worked at Strike Brewing Company.

Forager Bottle Share 24

Ryan and Calicraft Brewing Company’s Zac Taylor.

Forager Bottle Share 25

Peter, Billy, Nicole and Hermitage Brewing Company’s Joel Wind.

Forager Bottle Share 26

Forager Bottle Share 27

Forager Bottle Share 28

Bryan and Heinz.

Forager Bottle Share 29

Forager Bottle Share 30

Forager Bottle Share 31

The Neighborhood Bottle Share was the first time I visited the space, and I was struck by how big the space was and how much warmth seemed to radiate throughout.

I look forward to returning to Forager and checking out the changes and enjoying the ambience, some coffee goodness and a beer or two.

Cheers! Prost! Gunbae!

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant Presents 2nd Taco & Beer Pairing Event, Plus Upcoming Save-the-Dates

Steins Taco Beer Pairing Event
Photo courtesy of Steins

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant in downtown Mountain View (895 Villa St.) will be hosting their 2nd Taco & Beer  Pairing event Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 5pm.

Manager Lynna Nguyen shares, “We had such a great turnout the first time, we thought why not ring in the New Year with another taco & beer pairing event… This time we will be doing seafood.”

Made with house-made tortillas, the event features three prix-fixe pairings of tacos and beers (including beer cocktails) selected by bar manager Ryan Hummel:

  • Shrimp Ceviche Tostada paired with Steins’ Michalada
  • Veracruz Seabass Taco paired with Paloma Cocktail
  • Fried Rockcod with Chipotle Salsa paired with Moody Tongue Applewood Gold (smoked pilsner)

There’ll be a salsa bar as well:  Guacamole (mild), Roasted Tomato (medium), Tomatillo (hot).

Simply visit the restaurant and let the host know that you are looking to join the taco event.

SF Beer Week Events at Steins

SF Beer Week is coming up quickly, and Steins has a couple of events scheduled:

  • Tues., Feb. 14: Fort Point Beer Company “My Bitter Valentine” – Featuring an IPA with Satsuma mandarin and fir tips, Steins will be offering up a salty pork dish to pair with the beer for Valentine’s Day. Other Fort Point beers will be on tap as well.
  • Thurs., Feb. 16: Look for a collaboration beer dinner with Elkhorn Slough Brewery Co.

Steins’ 3rd Annual Home Brew Competition and 4th Anniversary Party

For their 3rd annual home brew competition, Steins is inviting homebrewers to craft any beer style within the 2015 BJCP guidelines with the caveat that the beer will be called  “Nägar The Destroyer,” named after one of their employees.

The drop-off period for home brews is March 11 – 16, and the winner will be announced at the 4th anniversary party to be held on Sat., March 25. Check out the Facebook event page for additional info. regarding the home brew competition.

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.


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.


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.


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.


For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit

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)


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.


“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 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


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.

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.


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:











New Whole Foods Market and Tap Room Opens in Santa Clara

Whole Foods Santa Clara 01

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.

Whole Foods Santa Clara 02

Whole Foods Santa Clara 03
Jamie Silvestrini working in the Tap Room bar

Santa Clara Whole Foods 04

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.

Whole Foods Santa Clara 06

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

Whole Foods Santa Clara 05

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.

Whole Foods Santa Clara 08
Fries with Citrus Miso Aioli
Whole Foods Santa Clara 09
Skewers of Enoki Bacon and Shiitake Mushrooms
Whole Foods Santa Clara 10
Tokyo Burger, served with shiitake mushrooms, greens, caramelized onions, yuzu miso aioli

Whole Foods Santa Clara 11

Whole Foods Santa Clara 12
Beer Flight
Whole Foods Santa Clara 13
Wesley Miller, Specialty Associate Coordinator of Northern California

Whole Foods Santa Clara 14

Whole Foods Santa Clara 15

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.

SJ Small Brewers Association
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

Fat Tire and Friends

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.