Category Archives: Beer

Bravo Becomes First Firestone Walker Vintage Beer in 12-Ounce Bottles, Plus FW Barrel-Aged Takeover at Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose

Firestone Walker Bravo

Passing along the following item culled from a recent press release, especially for my friend Stef who had recently asked about it.

Firestone Walker’s Bravo Imperial Brown Ale will be bottled for the first time and sold in 12-oz. bottles starting this month.

The first-ever bottled release of Bravo corresponds with the transition of all Firestone Walker Vintage Reserve beers – their line of barrel-aged beers – from 22-oz. bombers to individually boxed 12-oz. bottles in 2017.

The Vintage Reserve series includes well-regarded Parabola Imperial Stout, the annual Anniversary Ale, Velvet Merkin Oatmeal Stout, Stickee Monkey Central Coast Quad and Helldorado Blonde Barley Wine.

Brewmaster Matt Brynildson noted that the primary benefit of 12-oz. bottles is the ability to enjoy a high-gravity, barrel-aged beer without committing to consuming a full 22-ounce bottle.

He adds, “The per-bottle price point ($9.99) becomes more palatable, and we can spread the same amount of beer farther so that more people can try it. It also makes it easier to drink one now and age another for later. It’s just a lot more flexible.”

About Bravo

Bravo was the first beer aged in retired spirits barrels by Matt back in late 2004, during the experimental stages of what would become Firestone Walker’s inaugural Anniversary Ale.

Matt says, “At the time, most barrel-aged beers veered toward the sweeter side. We wanted to make something more dry and lean that would really allow the true bourbon barrel character to pop.”

Bravo has remained one of the driest beers in Firestone Walker’s Vintage Reserve series of barrel-aged beers, and since day one has been considered a vital component in the annual blending of the Anniversary Ale, balancing out some of the stickier components.

“Coming out of stainless steel, Bravo is pretty bracing. But when it goes into the barrel, it really mellows out, and the barrel character comes to the forefront.”

Another signature of Bravo is a lively malt quality that is maintained through Firestone Walker’s cold-storage of its barrel-aged beers. “It has this malt character that is surprisingly fresh. There’s a ton of barrel character, and a lot of toffee and caramel. It has the flavor of things sweet, but without being cloying or oxidative.”

Firestone Walker Night of Barrels

‘Firestone Walker Night of Barrels’ takes place on Thursday, Feb. at 6pm at Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose (390 Saratoga Ave.). It’s an annual event during SF Beer Week.

Look for the following beers on tap:

  • XX Anniversary
  • XIX Anniversary
  • Krieky Bones
  • 2017 Bravo
  • 2016 Parabola
  • 2016 Stickee Monkee
  • 2016 Helldorado
  • 2016 Velvet Merkin

Half Moon Bay Brewing Updates: Valentine’s Beer Pairing Dinner, New Releases & More


It looks to be a super busy month for both Half Moon Bay Brewing Company and their first outpost – Pacific Standard – located in Berkeley.

First up is a special 4-course Valentine’s Beer Pairing Dinner – prepared by executive chef Federico Godinez – at Mavericks Event Center on Friday, Feb. 10 with seating at 7pm.


First Course

  • Slow oven roasted tomato soup served with Cypress Grove True Tremor goat cheese crostini
  • Paired with Belgian White Collaboration with Benoit Casper

Second Course

  • Cajun seasoned Jumbo prawns – red baby romaine salad with curly beets, tossed in a citrus chili oil vinaigrette
  • Paired with Lost in the Fog IPA Collaboration with Hop Dogma

Entrée, Choice of

  • Pan seared Australian lamb chops, served with soft polenta and roasted lemon asparagus, pomegranate red wine reduction, or
  • Prosciutto wrapped pan-seared Wild King Salmon, served with braised Lima beans, beet-micro salad with citrus vinaigrette, or
  • Caprese stuffed garlic butter mushrooms, served with polenta and micro-greens salad
  • Entrée paired with Amber Ale


  • Triple chocolate mousse cake
  • Paired with Crazy for Coconuts Porter

The dinner is $100 per person (which includes tax and service), and reservations are required. For additional info. and to purchase tickets, visit the brewery website at For the direct link to tickets, click here.

Special Releases

Brewmaster James Costa and his team have prepared for the releases of a number of special beers beginning Feb. 10 in conjunction with the kickoff of SF Beer Week. Below are the beers and beer notes courtesy of the brewery:

Belgian White Collaboration with Benoit Casper

  • This Belgian-inspired White Beer was brewed in collaboration with Benoit Casper Brewing Company. Half Moon Brewing Company’s house Belgian yeast strain, dried orange peel, coriander, and a bunch of wheat malt make this beer as true to style as possible not mention hazy, fruity, spicy and incredibly refreshing. 5.1% ABV.

Crazy for Coconuts!

  • The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company brewed this porter with the coconut lover in mind. Conditioned on toasted cacao nibs, vanilla and 50 lbs. of toasted coconut, this beer is bursting with dessert-like flavors without being cloyingly sweet. 6.7% ABV.

I Need a Miracle XXIPA

  • Brewed in collaboration with Peter Hoey from Brewer’s Supply Group, this IPA is all about the hard-to-get hops, hence the miracle. It starts off with a soft bitterness that showcases a blend of Simpsons Best Pale malt and Weyermann Premium Pilsner malt for a nice up front malt hop balance. The miracle hops in this year’s version are whole cone Cashmere and Mosaic hops.

Lost in the Fog

  • An IPA brewed in collaboration with Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s neighbor Hop Dogma uses revived heritage hops such as Citra, El Dorado, Denali, Idaho 7, plus Denali and El Dorado flowers.

Papa Juice Old Ale

  • A small batch, limited release old ale, aged six months in Redemption rye whiskey barrels. The deep ruby red color lets you know you’re in for a smooth ride, while the American hops add a well-distinguished dryness to the finish. The sweetness of the beer has been transformed by the oak and whiskey in the barrel, resulting in a treacherously easy drinking old ale that can keep you warm on even the coldest night. 13.1% ABV.

Red Sails in the Sunset

  • During the winter months in Half Moon Bay, residents and guests are treated to some of the most beautiful sunsets. As the boats float in the harbor, they are basked in the wonderful colors as the sun makes its daily departure from the sky. That very image is what the Brewing Company hoped to capture in Ocho Barril Series No. 3. A Flanders Red inspired beer, Red Sails in the Sunset was aged in oak for a total of eighteen months, with the last four months aged upon tart cherries from Michigan. This beer is bright, oaky, complex, and best paired with fading daylight. 7.3% ABV.

The Bat Flip XXXIPA

  • Brewed with Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic, Denali, and Ekuanot, in all the different hop formats available. The beer is also made with whole cone, pellet, CO2 extract, and Lupulin powder. 11.4% ABV.

Special Release Pourings and SF Beer Week Events

Half Moon Bay Brewing is set to pour their special releases at the following locations, which include a slew of South Bay spots:

  • San Francisco Beer Week Opening Gala
    Friday, February 10, 6 to 10 p.m.
  • Brews and Brats, Hayward – Tap Night
    Friday, February 10, 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Stuft Pizza, Milpitas
    Monday, February 13, 4 to 7 p.m.
  • Liquid Bread, Campbell – Tap Night
    Tuesday, February 14, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
  • Wine Affairs, San Jose – Tap Takeover
    Tuesday, February 14, 5 to 9 p.m.
  • SPiN, SF – Brewmaster Ping Pong a Palooza
    Wednesday, February 15, 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Taplands, Santa Clara – Tap Night
    Friday, February 17, 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Hermitage Brewing Company, San Jose – Meet the Brewer Festival
    Saturday, February 18, 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Zeitgeist, SF – IPA All Day
    Sunday, February 19, 9 a.m. to close

Lastly, below are additional events coming up at Pacific Standard (2055 Center St., Berkeley) unless otherwise stated.

Limited Draught & Bottle Release Party
Saturday, February 11, starts at 7 p.m. 

  • Half Moon Bay Brewing Company will kick off San Francisco Beer Week with their biggest beer release ever of seven never-before-seen brews. Special draught releases include a Double and Triple IPA, a Belgian White Ale collaboration with Benoit-Casper, an IPA collaboration with Hop Dogma, and a chocolate-vanilla-coconut Porter. In addition, 22 oz. bottles of Papa Juice Old Ale aged in Redemption Rye Whiskey barrels, and 750 ml. bottles of the Ocho Barril Flanders Red, Red Sails in the Sunset, will be available to enjoy on premise or to-go. 

Baby Brewery Night
Monday, February 13, starts at 7 p.m.

  • Check out some of the newest breweries in the Bay Area at Baby Brewery night, one of San Francisco Beer Week’s most popular events for more than a decade. Once held at Barclay’s Restaurant & Pub, Baby Brewery Night will be held for the first time at Pacific Standard Taproom & Growler Station. Participating breweries include Beniot Casper Brewing Company, East Brother Beer Company, Gilman Brewing Company, Hop Dogma, Novel Brewing Company, Tesmescal Brewing and more.

Beer & Comedy Night
Thursday, February 16, starts at 8 p.m.

  • In celebration of San Francisco Beer Week, Pacific Standard & Growler Station will host its first annual Beer & Comedy Night. The event will feature local comics courtesy of pilots Brandon Garner and Jesse Hett, some of the best local craft beer and organic bar bites.

Bay Area IPA Challenge
Friday, February 17, starts at 7 p.m.

  • The long-running Bay Area IPA Challenge has been a mainstay of San Francisco Beer Week for more than 10 years. The event, once held at Barclays Restaurant & Pub, has found a new home this year at Pacific Standard Taproom & Growler Station. Guests are welcome to enjoy a fun night of healthy competition in this blind challenge. Participating breweries include Altamont Beer Works, Beniot Casper Brewing Company, Drake’s Brewing Company, Faction Brewing Company, Fort Point Beer Company, Hop Dogma, 21st Amendment Brewery and more.

Half Moon Bay and Hop Dogma Specialty Tap Takeover
Saturday, February 18, starts at 6 p.m. at Hopwater Distribution (850 Bush Street, San Francisco)

  • Half Moon Bay Brewing Company and Hop Dogma are joining forces and coming up the Coast to showcase several beers in celebration of San Francisco Beer Week. To add to the fun, Hopwater’s beloved Chef John will make his famous Beer Braised Beef and Cheese SuperFrys so guests are encouraged to bring their appetites.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some pictures from the walking tour are below:


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

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




















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


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


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

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



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

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

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

Prost! Gunbae! Cheers!


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


Quick post here:

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

Listed below are the events scheduled for 2017:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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









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











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

Q & A with Taplands Founder Matt Hartenstein


Taplands in Santa Clara opened this year in early March – March 5 to be exact – and has since become a go-to spot for many locals and non-locals alike. Indeed, Taplands has become one of our favorite places to hang out and enjoy a beer. We greatly enjoy the bright space, the vibe, the friendly staff and the tasty quick bites.

The folks behind Taplands are the husband-and-wife duo of Matt Hartenstein and Shannon McGinley, who recently told me that she and Matt simply wanted to create a neighborhood place that they themselves would enjoy visiting regularly.

Taplands owners Shannon McGinley and Matt Hartenstein

Matt’s vision for Taplands is nicely spelled out on their website:

“My vision for Taplands is to be the center of beer discovery and enjoyment in the Silicon Valley. I want our customers to feel like it is a neighborhood bar and ‘packy’ and beer aficionados to feel like they have a place that understands and appreciates their sophisticated palettes. Lastly, I want the brewing community to recognize us as a place where their craft is recognized and truly appreciated. Thank you for making us a destination on your beer discovery journey!

“We call ourselves a neighborhood brewery in the pre-Prohibition sense. At that time there were over 4,000 breweries in America! And most were producing beer just for the folks who lived within their own little neighborhood. We want to bring that back! We brew one batch at a time, 15-30 gallons at a time, producing craft beer exclusively for the customers of our taproom. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or twitter to find out when we are tapping our next house made beer!”

Matt recently took the time to share more about his and Shannon’s backgrounds, how the idea for Taplands came about, what’s next for Taplands and more.

Can you share a bit of your backgrounds? What are your South Bay connections?

We moved from San Francisco to Sunnyvale in 2003, where we still live. I have been a home brewer since 1991, and like all home brewers dreamed of making it a career.

During the first craft wave in the 90s, Shannon and I had some ideas for a craft beer business that devolved into Taplands. As we got older we saved for this dream. Along with some help from the SBA we were able to take the step.

The original plan is still on the horizon as Taplands develops.

Can you expand on that last statement?

I think we have barely scratched the surface of our mission and goals at this point. We want Taplands to be a craft beer “hub,” where people can learn about and explore craft beer.

That is where Taplands gets its name – it was meant to be reminiscent of the original Disney map of lands. Like Frontier-land or Future-land, Taplands was meant to be a place to explore and discover craft beer.

Our intention was to make a place where folks of all kinds could learn about craft beer in an unpretentious setting, like a cafe for beer.

We also brew our own beer. With this we intended to create an environment such as the pre-prohibition neighborhood brewery, which brings us to the final intent – a community-oriented neighborhood pub where everybody is welcome.

How did you go about selecting the South Bay and Santa Clara as the location for Taplands?

We originally wanted to open Taplands in Sunnyvale so we could return the tax dollars to our community, but the process proved very difficult. I would be happy to discuss this in further detail, but basically the state of commercial real estate in Silicon Valley is not conducive to independent businesses.

It took 10 months and a dozen rejections before finding the location we are in. We chose it because the landlord was willing to have us!

And we are grateful for that. It has turned out to be better than any of the other locations that we would have thought perfect. We have learned a lot about our own business plans from this location and this community.

So far, have expectations been met?

It is hard to know what you will get when starting a business, but our expectations have been far exceeded, and we are grateful to the community who has supported us.

We are particularly proud to have met that neighborhood goal – our customers are of all ages and a good percentage walk to our place.

Business has been great!

How/when did you get into craft beer?

I started drinking craft beer around 1991 when I started home brewing. A friend said, “You’re going to start making real beer, so you better start drinking it.” I think all home brewers are throwing back a few while brewing!

Back then ambers were the rage. I was hooked on Boont Amber and Moose Drool.

Now I consider myself an IPA drinker, although I have recently become obsessed with the Gose style of beer. Shannon prefers “big” beers – high ABV doubles and triples, Tripels and Quads.

But I love to brew everything. I like to get creative and use offbeat ingredients – like rose petals in our Whole Lotta Rosie Blonde.

Can you share more about the beer offerings at Taplands?

Taplands has 24 taps and roughly 50 bottle selections. We serve from three different tap towers that are separated by style.

We offer 8 lighter beers that rotate between saisons, sours, wheats, lagers, pilsners, etc., 8 taps that rotate pale ale and IPA, 2 nitro, 2 ciders and 4 taps that rotate darker beers like porters, stouts and browns.

Jim Noe is our brewer along with myself. He is a friend I have brewed at home with. We have brewed 7 different beers to date that range from porter, red, pales and IPAs.

We mostly choose what to brew based on whim and home brew recipes. We have no intention to become a production brewery; we produce only for our customers at the bar. And we know we are not master brewers. We seek only to improve and satisfy our customers.


Can you talk a bit about your Snacks and Sandwiches menu?

Although we are not alone in this model, it is very unique to offer our own beer alongside others. To be permitted to do this, it was required to offer food.

We did not want to open a restaurant, nor would this location suit one. So we decided on a simple menu that complements beer.

We have 3 panini offerings – spicy turkey, pesto Italian and traditional with fresh mozzarella and tomato.

In addition we offer grilled pita with dips, charcuterie and a cheese plate.

We hope to adapt, alter and expand the offerings in the future but we will keep it simple.




What’s next?

We have been open for 6 months and closed on Mondays until now. We just began service on Mondays last week for opening night of Monday Night Football.

Until now we have been feeling things out and getting used to the business.

Be on the lookout in coming months for special events like pint nights and tap takeovers, in addition to new menu items and food specials.

We are also beginning preparations for our first anniversary blowout in early spring.

Anything else to add?

Taplands has a laid back environment with a cafe feel. You’ll be right at home alongside all ages and types of people chatting and getting to know one another. And the patio is dog friendly.

Thanks to everyone for the support, which has been overwhelming. We created a place where we would want to hang out, and we are grateful that others feel that way too!

Additional photos from past visits below:





Taplands’ Chris Sierras


The family



Taplands’ Dale Swanson and Matt
With friends Jim and Noreen Helvie



2016 Oktoberfest Events in and around San Jose and Silicon Valley

2015 Mountain View Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest in Munich takes place from September 17 to October 3 this year, and I’m sure there are many like me who wish they were going but won’t be.

Fortunately, there are a number of local, Oktoberfest-inspired events and celebrations taking place throughout San Jose and nearby, providing plenty of opportunities to enjoy German and German-style beer and food in a festive atmosphere. Many of the Oktoberfest celebrations will also feature live entertainment and family-friendly activities.

Below is a roundup of this year’s local Oktoberfest events listed by date. I’ll add to it as new ones come to my attention. Please let me know if I’m missing any. Prost!

Fri., Sep. 9 – Sun., Sep. 11: Redwood City Oktoberfest

What: For 3 days, downtown Redwood City will celebrate their 3rd annual Oktoberfest. There’ll be a huge tent with lots of seating, music (AlpinersUSA), dancing, contests and lots of beer, beverages, food and more. An entrance fee ($18-$20 and $10-$12 for kids & designated drivers) includes a commemorative stein and 1 drink ticket.

Where: Courthouse Square, Redwood City

More info.:

Fri., Sep. 9 – Sat., Oct. 29: Teske’s Germania

What: German fare and special Oktoberfest evening celebrations on Fridays and select Saturdays from Sep. 9 to Oct. 29 featuring music from The Family Gruber Band and The Internationals.

Where: 255 N. 1st St., San Jose

More info.:

Sat., Sep. 10: Jack Rose Libation House

What: 4th annual Oktoberfest from 4pm-9pm with live music from The Family Gruber Band plus German food and German beer. Admission to the beer garden is $10 for ages 21 and over, $5 for ages 13-20 and free for 12 and under. Feel free to come dressed in your best Lederhosen or Dirndl.

Where: 18840 Saratoga Los Gatos Rd., Los Gatos

More info.:

Sat., Sep. 10: Gourmet Haus Staudt

What: Annual Oktoberfest celebration. Doors open at 11:30am. $5.00 entry fee. The Internationals start playing at 3pm.

Where: 2615 Broadway, Redwood City

More info.:

Fri., Sep. 16 – Sun, Sep. 18: Naglee Park Garage

What: Annual Oktoberfest from Sep. 16-18. They’ll be serving German beers plus a special German menu and be hosting  musical guests all weekend. Come casual or dressed in your most authentic German outfits and celebrate.

Where: 505 E. San Carlos St., San Jose

More info.:

Sat., Sep. 17 and Sat., Sep. 24: Ludwig’s German Table

What: Get out your Lederhosen and Dirndl and join Ludwig’s for Oktoberfest on Sep. 17 and Sep. 24 from 2pm-10pm. They’ll be turning their restaurant into a traditional Munich style festival ground with live music and special Beer Garden & Restaurant ($28) and Hall ($35) tickets.

Where: 261 N. 2nd St., San Jose

More info.:

Mon., Sep. 26 – Sat., Oct. 29: Faultline Oktoberfest

What: Oktoberfest festivities at Faultline Brewing Company kick off Mon., Sep. 26. This year, Fautline will feature an Oktoberfest beer release, a German-inspired menu and more to be announced.

Where: 1235 Oakmead Pkwy., Sunnyvale

More info.:

Thurs., Sep. 29: Geektoberfest

What: The Tech Museum of Innovation presents Geektoberfest 2016, an annual event where brewers and scientists will explore the biology of beer with talks, demos and tastings. In conjuction with Geektoberfest, Content Magazine will host a Beer LAB event on The Tech’s private rooftop terrace, featuring music, food and beer tastings available only to Beer LAB guests. Ticket prices vary from $18 to $100. Local participating brewers include DasBrew, FireHouse Grill & Brewery, Gordon Biersch Brewing Company, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company and Santa Clara Valley Brewing.

Where: 201 S. Market St., San Jose

More info.:

Sat., Oct. 1 – Sun., Oct. 2: Mountain View Oktoberfest

What: 4th Annual Oktoberfest – taking place Oct. 1 and Oct. 2 – presented by Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant, Tied House and the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce. They’ll be taking over a part of Mountain View’s Dana St. and Bryant St. with the parking lot, promising to be bigger and better than the previous years. There’ll be German beer, good food and family friendly entertainment.

Where: Parking lot at Dana St. and Bryant St., Mountain View

More info.: TBA

Sun., Oct. 2: OktoBRAfest

What: The 3rd Annual OktoBrafest takes places at the San Jose Woman’s Club from 3-6 pm. $25 tickets include a buffet of sausage, potato salad, sauerkraut, bread, dessert and one beer, cider or wine. Additional beverages are available for a suggested donation of $5.

Where: 75 S. 11th St., San Jose

More info.:

Sun., Oct. 9: San Pedro Square Market

What: Their 4th annual Oktoberfest celebration – their longest running event – returns with a new name – Oktober Beer & Music Fest – and promises to take things to a new level, featuring 3 bands this year and activating the entire Market instead of only the Sidewalk Cafe. The event will have games in different areas throughout the Market. Early bird tickets are $30 and will score you 3 beers instead of 2, but tickets do go up the longer you wait. From 2pm-8pm.

Where: 87 N. San Pedro St., San Jose

More info.:

Sat., Oct. 15: Peninsula Oktoberfest

What: From 11am-4pm, enjoy the annual Peninsula Oktoberfest at Hiller Aviation Museum. There’ll be music (San Mateo Elks Band and Bayern Maiden), German beer and food trucks. There’ll also be beers from Devil’s Canyon, Voodoo Brewing and Anchor Steam.

Where: 601 Skyway Rd., San Carlos

More info.:

Sat., Oct. 15 – Sun., Oct. 16: Campbell Oktoberfest

What: Campbell Oktoberfest is hosted by the Campbell Chamber of Commerce, and it’s an entire weekend of live music, tasty food, arts & crafts, a kids zone and – of course – beer. Featuring 4 stages of live music and dozens of food vendors. Oktoberfest dress encouraged.

Where: Downtown Campbell

More info.:

Palo Alto Brewing Company and Hermitage Brewing Company to Release Collaboration Beer – My Name is Mud IPA

Palo Alto Brewing Company and Hermitage Brewing Company are set to release their next collaboration beer – My Name Is Mud IPA – first in Palo Alto on Thursday – July 28 – at Palo Alto Tap Room (233 University Ave.) and then in San Jose the following day, Friday – July 29 – at Hermitage Brewing Company (1627 S. 7th St.).

The beer follows their previous collaboration beer released earlier in the spring of this year – Clean Spin Triple IPA, a super smooth, citrusy Triple IPA coming in at 9.5% ABV.

About the new collaborative beer, Palo Alto Brewing brewer Kasim Sayed says:

My Name is Mud is an ‘East Coast IPA.’ Where clarity – or lack-thereof – is a hallmark for a beer, we collaborated to create a cloudy, juicy and satisfying IPA.

“Entirely unfiltered and ‘muddy,’ rolled oats and English yeast contribute to the haze as well as the malty complexity and velvety mouthfeel. Late hopping with Centennial, Cascade and Citra hops in the kettle supply hop flavor. Dry hopping with Galaxy, Mosaic and more Citra to make this one a juicy treat.”

Hermitage Brewing head brewer Greg Filippi recently posted a photo of the beer on social media:

My Name is Mud IPA

Greg added, “Sneak peek of our latest collaboration with our good friends at Palo Alto Brewing: ‘My Name is Mud’ is a big, fruity IPA that borders on ridiculously cloudy. Sweet and juicy like they do back East. Look for it in Palo Alto Thursday and at the Hermitage Tap Room Friday.”

The brewing teams from both Palo Alto Brewing and Hermitage Brewing will be at the Tap Room in Palo Alto at 2pm on Thursday for the new release.

Look for more collaborations down the road. Kasim shares, “After we brewed the delicious Clean Spin Triple IPA in the spring, we decided that we had to keep this collaborative effort to make the fun beers going. This is just the latest of beers that we will be creating together.”

Firestone Walker and Empire Seven Studios Host Charity Event to Support Local Art

E7S and FW charity event

Firestone Walker Brewing Company and Empire Seven Studios will host a charity art show on Sunday, July 24 from 12pm-5pm.

The event takes place at Empire Seven Studios, located in San Jose’s Japantown at 525 N. 7th St., and all proceeds from the beer sold will benefit Exhibition District. From Exhibition District’s website:

“We are a collaborative of artists and creatives who pay working artists professional wages for professional work that beautifies San Jose for residents, businesses and visitors. Our work aims to strengthen the local economy by keeping professional artists engaged, employed, and active. Our goal is to make our city the cultural destination of Silicon Valley.”

“This is something near and dear to my heart,” long-time Firestone Walker senior sales manager Antoine Riffis – a San Jose native and local resident – recently shared on social media. “I have a lot friends who are artists, and I really love what they’re doing for the scene here in Silicon Valley… I’ve been wanting to do an event involving art for some time.

“All the beer profits from this art show will help fund upcoming local art projects in San Jose. Please come out and support.”

Palo Alto Brewing Company and Freewheel Brewing Company to Release Collaboration Beer – Eye of the Storm Belgian-Style Golden Ale

Freewheel Brewing Company

Two peninsula breweries – Palo Alto Brewing Company and Redwood City’s Freewheel Brewing Company – brewed a collaboration beer earlier this week. It seems the beer, according to Palo Alto Brewing’s Kasim Syed, came about more or less on a whim.

Kasim and Freewheel Brewing’s Alisha Blue were recently enjoying a pint and reminiscing about their previous collaboration beer which was brewed some time ago. Alisha mentioned how at the time, it had been one of the first beers she helped brew at Freewheel. Kasim, in turn, suggested that it was time to collaborate on another, and the wheels <ahem> began to turn quickly on what beer style to brew.

Freewheel Brewing Company Brewer Alisha Blue
Freewheel Brewing Company Brewer Alisha Blue

Both Kasim and Alisha wanted to brew a beer that was different than the usual West Coast style, so they decided to brew a Belgian-inspired beer.

Kasim shares, “We did a bit of a tie-in with our own styles, but the beer is quite unique. We used all English malts and English and Pacific Northwest hops, but the interesting part is that we blended the Duvel yeast strain with the Freewheel house strain.

“The beer is called Eye of the Storm for the way the boil looked – whole leaf hops twisting around a pocket of wort. It was a cool sight.”

Freewheel Brewing Company and Palo Alto Brewing Company
Freewheel Brewing Company Assistant Brewer Erica DeAnda (left), Alisha Blue and Palo Alto Brewing’s Kasim Syed

Though the collaboration is expected to be available in time for the upcoming Silicon Valley Beer Week (which begins Friday, July 22), distribution will be limited to a small number of establishments, including Freewheel Brewing, The Rose & Crown and Palo Alto Tap Room.