Category Archives: Beer

Where to Find Waldos’ Special Ale in the South Bay

waldoposter_2017It’s that time of the year when those of us into ultra dank and hoppy IPAs go looking for Waldos’ Special Ale. Brewed by Lagunitas Brewing Company, Waldos will be featured at a number of upcoming events, including a bunch on Thursday, 4/20. FYI, this year’s batch comes in at 11.5% ABV.

Saturday, April 1

Original Gravity Public House in downtown San Jose looks to be the first of the local beer spots to feature Waldos on Saturday, April 1 at 12pm. They’ll have other Lagunitas offerings on tap, including PILS, Dark Swan Wild Ale, Davey Murray’s Best Scotch Ale and High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout (2016).

Thursday, April 6

IBU Taproom & Bottle Shop in Milpitas is hosting “The Waldos Get Westified” on Thursday, April 6 at 3pm. The event features 2017 Waldos’ Special Ale, 2016 High Westified Coffee Stout Batch 2, 2016 High Westified Coffee Stout Batch 3, 2016 Willet Whiskey Barrel Aged Imperial Stout and Lagunitas IPA.

Thursday, April 20

I just received word that there’ll be a “very disorganized pub crawl in downtown San Jose starting at high noon” with stops at Market Beer Company, ISO: Beers, Original Gravity Public House and finishing at Good Karma Artisan Ales & Cafe at 4:20pm. Look for Waldos and other Lagunitas goodies at these stops.

Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose will tap Waldos at 4:20pm alongside other Lagunitas offerings.

Finally, a Waldos’ Pub Crawl in downtown Campbell kicks off at Spread Deli & Bottles at 4:20pm with Waldo’s Special Ale on draft at every stop, along with other Lagunitas beers and beer cocktails:

  • 4:20pm – Spread Deli & Bottles
  • 5:30pm – Liquid Bread Gastropub
  • 6:30pm – The Vesper
  • 7:30pm – Khartoum

Don’t forget that you can also pick up Waldos’ Special Ale in bottles in the coming weeks at many of the local shops that carry craft beer.



Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant 4-Year Anniversary Celebration, Plus Q & A with Owner Ted Kim and Executive Chef Colby Reade

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A photo from last year’s anniversary celebration at Steins

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant in downtown Mountain is celebrating its four-year anniversary with a BBQ celebration – featuring a pig roast and a slew of special draft beers – on Saturday, March 25.

The BBQ will be available beginning at 11am (Steins opens at 10am with their regular menu as well).

BBQ Menu for Outdoor Patio Guests

There’ll be a walk-up window for guests sitting outside.

  • Choices of meat: Ribs, roast pig, spicy pork sausage
  • Choices of sides: Baked beans, mac & cheese, cole slaw.

Pricing for outside:

  • $8: Your choice of one protein and one side
  • $14: Choice of 2 proteins and two sides
  • $20: All proteins and all sides
  • Note: Extra sauces will be available outside only

Pre-Fixed BBQ Menu for Guests Dining Inside

For guests dining inside the restaurant, there’ll be pre-fixed BBQ plates available for $16.

Choices include:

  • Pig and ribs with cole slaw and baked beans OR mac & cheese
  • Pig and sausage with cole slaw and baked beans OR mac & cheese
  • Ribs and sausage with cole slaw & baked beans OR mac & cheese
  • All with housemade Maker’s Mark BBQ Sauce

Beer List

Steins manager Lynna Nguyen has provided a sneak peek to some of the beers to be tapped:

  • Allagash Hibernal Fluxus 2016 Belgian-Style Stout
  • Avery Oak-Aged Samael’s Barley Wine
  • Cascade Cranberry Sour Ale
  • Clown Shoes Hammer of the Beast Imperial Stout and Barleywine Ale
  • Elkhorn Slough Vierra Golden Ale
  • Goose Island Bourbon County Stout 2015 Imperial Stout
  • Lagunitas WTFarmhouse Sour Farmhouse IPA
  • Logsdon Oak-Aged Bretta Farmhouse Ale
  • The Bruery Poterie Anniversary Ale (Old Ale)

Included on the tap list will be the winner of last year’s annual Steins homebrew competition – Lower Ground American Stout brewed by Scott Wilson. All proceeds from this beer will go to a local charity of Scott’s choice.

Lynna – who’s been with Steins since the beginning – shares:

“We have come so far and worked so hard to make this restaurant what it is today. I am so proud of everyone and all that we have accomplished together. There is actually still a handful of us that have been here since the beginning, too.

“To watch this place develop into what Ted envisioned is amazing. I am so thankful and blessed to be a part of this company. This year is a big year for us. As you know, we are opening our Cupertino location soon, hopefully in Summer 2017! We are so excited for this expansion of our company and are looking forward to the journey.”

Q & A with Ted Kim and Colby Reade

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Throwback photo of Ted Kim and Chef Reade from Dec. 2012

Steins owner Ted Kim and executive chef Colby Reade graciously took time out of their very busy schedules to share some thoughts about reaching the 4-year milestone.

How does it feel to reach the 4-year mark?

Ted Kim: It’s a very humbling experience. We started this endeavor hoping for the best but being realistic about the crushing odds that all new restaurants face.

Four years later, to see the success and impact we’ve been able to have as a business and on the community is nothing short of amazing.

Chef Reade: It’s great! You know, Ted and I always joke about it, how it sometimes seems like we just started. It’s funny like that, but then we think about certain experiences and memories, and we realize that it was a while ago.

For us, we know that there’s always room for improvement, and that’s the key that keeps us young and looking forward.

What have been your greatest highlights?

Ted Kim: Steins marriages and babies! Four years in we’ve seen our first marriages and babies being born from staffers who met and fell in love at Steins. Very, very cool stuff.

Chef Reade: We strive for consistency with our dishes, and one of the things I’m proudest of is the kitchen crew we’ve built. We have two amazing sous chefs – brothers Paco Guzman and Cheke Guzman. Paco worked at Johnston’s Saltbox in San Carlos, and both have worked at Pixar and Google. They’ve been with us the last couple years, and now they have chefs under them. I couldn’t take on our new Cupertino restaurant without them.

I’m constantly amazed by how many dinner items we sell other than burgers and sandwiches. We have a really good spread. Our lamb trio – we go through 3-4 whole lambs a week – steaks, seafood… there’s really nothing I want to push more. The burgers are still most popular, but we’ve tweaked the menu and fine-tuned it enough to sell everything according to our expectations.

What’s the latest on Steins Cupertino?

Ted Kim: Coming Summer of 2017. We are hiring key management positions, so interested parties can visit our Facebook page for more info.

Aesthetically, Cupertino will be have an updated modern look. The food menu will be the same but with differing specials.

The beer list will be different as well. Same 30 taps of beer, but the selection will ride heavily on the respective bar manager’s preferences. Both are fantastic and I’m looking forward to seeing the varying directions they decide to go. You can definitely count on a great list either way!

Chef Reade: It’s coming faster than you think. From a kitchen perspective, we’ll open and start with the same menu as the Mountain View restaurant. We’ll let that run while taking a look at what the community wants.

Two pigs again for this year’s anniversary BBQ celebration?

Chef Reade: Yes, we’ll have two 80-pound pigs.

Anything else to add?

Ted Kim: We’ve officially launched our catering program. We received a lot of requests for it and finally decided to formalize our offerings. The reception has been great so far.

The Mountain View Oktoberfest was another stunning success. Every year seems to grow exponentially, and we’re already gearing up for 2017.

We also expanded and offered more hosted events throughout the year – the summer beer series, various pop-up dinners and pairings as well as showcasing some amazing new breweries. We even had a champagne brunch, flower-arranging class!

Chef Reade: Look out for a special spring Asian-French fusion dinner featuring Hitachino. It’s set for Wednesday, April 26 at 5:30pm. It’ll be our most formal dinner to date with six courses.

The first two courses will feature an unfiltered cold sake followed by a scotch distilled from the well-known Hitachino Nest White Ale. Four Hitachino beers will round out the rest of the dinner.

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Another throwback photo of Ted and Chef Reade from Dec. 2012




San Jose Breweries Announce New, Limited Release Offerings

Below is a quick roundup of the latest beer releases from several San Jose breweries, including Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Hermitage Brewing and Strike Brewing Co.

Santa Clara Valley Brewing

In part from a recent Facebook update: Cheers to our Assistant Brewer Adam Nanni for another sensational brew in our Beta Test series. Come on down to have a pint of Centennial SMASH – Beta Test #2.

Pilsner malt and Centennial hops make up this light-bodied session IPA that is bursting with intense citrus aroma, hints of melon and mild bitterness.

Enjoy SMASH in an SCVB pint glass (yours to keep) for $8, otherwise $6. This beer is very limited so don’t wait too long or you will miss out on something special.

SCV Brewing Centennial SMASH

Hermitage Brewing Company

The latest release from Hermitage Brewing Company’s Single Hop Series is Jester Single Hop IPA, now pouring in their Tap Room.

Coming from England, the Jester hop has characteristics of juicy grapefruit and tropical fruit notes.

The Jester Single Hop IPA promises to be a juicy, tropical offering.

Hermitage Jester Single Hop IPA

Strike Brewing Company

Strike Brewing Company will tap their latest Bullpen Series beer – Stone Finger Tart Saison – this Friday at their taproom.

Stone Finger Tart Saison has been aging in a wine barrel for the last 9 months and represents Strike’s first wine barrel-aged sour.

Per brewer Ryan Bridge, the various microbes have done wonders, producing a beer that’s “nicely tart with an awesome funk to it.”

Strike Brewing Stone Finger Tart Saison



Dine & Give: Family Flood Relief Day

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O’Flaherty’s irish Pub, one of the participating restaurants

A number of beercentric establishments are participating in a flood relief fundraising effort Sunday, March 5 from 12pm-9pm, including Britannia Arms (South San Jose on Almaden Expy.), Britannia Arms (The Brit, downtown San Jose), The Farmers Union, Henry’s World Famous Hi-Life, Ludwig’s German Table, O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub, San Pedro Square Market Bar and Garage Bar and Market Beer Company.

From the Facebook event page hosted by the non-profit San Jose Downtown Association:

“When the community needs, these restaurants respond. Like many last month, restaurateurs and the Sharks Foundation watched helplessly as Coyote Creek flood waters inundated the San Jose homes of neighbors and friends.

“Now, they’ve joined together to help. Visit any of these restaurants between noon and 9 p.m. Sunday, March 5 and 25 percent of the bill will go to flood recovery. Eat well. Give well.”

Below is the full list of participating locations:

  • Blush Ice Bar
  • Britannia Arms South San Jose (Almaden)
  • Britannia Arms Downtown San Jose (The Brit)
  • Da Kine Island Grill
  • El Guapo’s Campbell
  • Fairmont San Jose’s Lobby Lounge
  • Fountain Restaurant in the Fairmont.
  • The Farmers Union
  • Habana Cuba Restaurant
  • Henry’s World Famous Hi-LIfe
  • Hom Korean Kitchen
  • Konjoe Burger Bar
  • Konjoe Tei
  • Ludwig’s German Table
  • Mezcal Restaurant
  • O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub
  • Olla Cocina
  • Origins Juicery
  • Pizza Bocca Lupo San Pedro Square Market
  • San Pedro Square Market Bar
  • San Pedro Square Market Beer Company
  • San Pedro Square Garage Bar
  • Toasted, Craft Sandwiches – SoFA Market
  • Treatbot
  • Vino Vino
  • Veros Coffee in the SoFA Market

The Sharks Foundation is sponsoring Family Flood Relief Day.

This event supports The Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s San Jose Flood Victims Relief Fund, which helps the American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, Sacred Heart Community Service and The Salvation Army, Silicon Valley provide flood relief.

Learn more about the fund, giving or volunteering to help victims here: www.siliconvalleycf.org/sjflood



Introducing Firestone Walker’s Leo v. Ursus Chronology, Kicking Off with Fortem Unfiltered Imperial IPA

Firestone Walker Leo v Ursus Fortem

These are certainly hyper creative and experimental times at Firestone Walker. Their most recent beer – Fortem Unfiltered Imperial IPA – is the first beer to come out of the newly launched Leo v. Ursus Chronology program, which will feature the release of a new one-off beer every quarter. More nitty-gritty info. below per a recent press release.

Leo v. Ursus

The name Leo v. Ursus is a nod to the brewery’s distinctive culture of purposeful conflict, as embodied by founders Adam Firestone (The Bear) and David Walker (The Lion).

While diverse in style, each beer in the Leo v. Ursus Chronology will exhibit unifying threads – they will be bold, intense and often hoppy but strive for a sense of balance. Many will also address wish lists expressed by loyal fans.

The Leo v. Ursus Chronology was made possible thanks to the recent launch of the Propagator, Firestone Walker’s pilot brewhouse in Venice, a state-of-the-art miniature brewery. It’s designed to brew small batches, nimble enough to explore new ideas which can be fine-tuned and scaled at the main brewery in Paso Robles.

“Until the Propagator came along, our ability to experiment and go crazy with tiny batches was limited…” says brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “Leo v. Ursus opens the door to increased creativity with new and exciting raw materials – namely, a host of new hop cultivars that do not fit into our established recipes. We will also explore dark malts, experimental hops and alternative grains in this program.”

The launch of the Leo v. Ursus series is clearly a big deal for Matt. “This is a new chapter for us. We will go to our graves wishing we had made the perfect beer—but we will give it our best shot with Leo v. Ursus.”

Fortem

Fortem (Latin for “The Strong”) is a contemporary imperial IPA (8.2% ABV) that draws upon a range of influences while exhibiting DNA from Firestone Walker’s own forays into the IPA style, including Double Jack and Luponic Distortion. It’ll be available in draft and 16-ounce can (four-pack) formats.

Fortem aims for power through a balance of aromas, mouthfeel and bitterness. It blends newer hop varieties from the Pacific Northwest and Hallertau, Germany, along with pale malt, wheat malt and flaked oats for a full body and a rounded texture.

Look for a mix of aromas, including mango, blueberry, raspberry, lime zest and lychee. After time in the glass, it opens up to reveal stone fruit blossoms and mandarin oranges, finishing with just enough bitterness to encourage your next sip. Fortem has been left unfiltered for a hazy appearance and full hop impact.

Fortem on Tap in the South Bay

  • With the first keg of Fortem in San Jose, Good Karma Artisan Ales & Cafe will tap the inaugural Leo v. Ursus release Friday, March 3 at 5pm.
  • On Thursday, March 9 at 6pm, Original Gravity Public House will tap Fortem during their Firestone Walker Milk & Cookies Night event featuring Nitro Velvet Merlin Milk Stout and other FW offerings.
  • Armadillo Willy’s BBQ in Los Altos has scheduled to tap Fortem on Thursday, March 16 at 5pm.




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

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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.

Menu

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

Dessert

  • 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 www.hmbbrewingco.com. 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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prost! Gunbae! Cheers!

~Andy



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

2016-sake-walk

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.

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

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

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