Strike Brewing Company has released their latest collaboration effort this week – Four Bagger Hoppy Lager (6% ABV, 40 IBU) – brewed alongside Megan Parisi, head brewer of the innovative Samuel Adams Nano Brewery.
From Strike Brewing head brewer Ryan Bridge:
“We used German lager yeast and pale, wheat, oats, and light crystal malts. After a slow fermentation and cold conditioning process, we dry hopped it like an IPA using El Dorado, Citra, Simcoe, and Loral – some of my favorites. This is truly one of the best beers that we’ve made during my time at Strike, and I can’t wait to see the response in the taproom…”
I was fortunate to make it the taproom on its release day this past Tuesday.
The beer is super smooth and juicy with wonderful aromas and flavors of tropical, citrus fruits. I certainly agreed with the folks at the table next to me who described the Four Bagger Hoppy Lager to be one ‘crushable’ beer.
It’s a very limited offering and currently available on tap and in four-pack, 16-oz. cans.
Strike’s Collaboration Series is the brainchild of veteran brewer and consultant Ben Spencer, who joined Strike earlier this spring as director of brewing operations and brewmaster. Incidentally, this week’s release of Four Bagger Hoppy Lager also marks Ben’s last week at Strike, as he’ll be returning to his native state of Virginia.
The first release in the series was a collaboration with Marin Brewing Company brewmaster Arne Johnson (Winning Saison). Ensuing collaborations saw Strike team up with Half Moon Bay Brewing Company brewmaster James Costa (Hop Closet Double IPA), Social Kitchen & Brewery brewmaster Kim Sturdavant (Pop-Up Pilsner) and Magnolia Brewing Co. (Strong Arm English Strong Ale).
As Strike co-founder/brewmaster Drew Ehrlich puts it, “The Collaboration Series has been a great way to trade brewing tips and see first-hand how these brewers go about making their signature beers.”
Look for the series to continue in the near future with upcoming collaborations to feature fellow South Bay breweries.
San Jose’s Strike Brewing Company recently tapped the latest offering from their Bullpen Series – Cherry Bonds, a kettle soured blonde ale conditioned on tart cherries.
Cherry Bonds – their 14th Bullpen release for those keeping count – was tart (naturally), crisp, refreshing and very tasty.
Previous Bullpen Series beers from earlier this year have included – to name a few – Berliner Weisse with blueberries and pomegranate, Rained Out Pale Ale with pineapple and toasted coconut, Bergamot Breakfast Pale Ale with local lemon zest and Earl Grey tea, Milk Stout and Big Wall Imperial Stout with Madagascar Vanilla Beans.
Because of the growing popularity of the Bullpen Series and the consistently positive feedback on these beers – combined with the fact that they’re brewed in micro-batch quantities – a Bullpen beer is consumed quickly and then, in most cases, gone forever.
Indeed, Strike co-founder and brewmaster Drew Ehrlich confirmed that the Bullpen beers – released periodically throughout the year and available only at the taproom – rarely last past a couple days.
The Bullpen Series is an excellent complement to their regular beer lineup and is the brainchild of Strike brewer Ryan Bridge. A South Bay native, he joined Strike about two years ago and has been quickly making his mark as a professional brewer.
Ryan recently took the time to share a bit about his background, how the Bullpen Series came about and upcoming beers to look forward to from the Series.
Can you share a bit about your background? Where are you from/where did you grow up? College/major?
I grew up in Mountain View and Sunnyvale, so I’m originally from the South Bay. After high school I moved down to San Diego to study History and Literature/Writing at UCSD. In August 2014, I moved back up to the Bay Area and started working at Strike.
What’s been your experience with brewing?
I began brewing in college, experimenting first with mead and wine until eventually my dad bought me a homebrew starter kit for one of my birthdays. From that point on I homebrewed regularly.
I spent a lot of time visiting local breweries and usually attempted to clone the recipes of beers that I liked.
How did you go about joining the Strike team? When did you start at Strike?
When I moved back up to the Bay Area in 2014, I knew I wanted to commit to becoming a part of the beer industry. I got in touch with [Strike co-founder and CEO] Jenny [Lewis] and began helping out by pouring beer at events and in the taproom.
Eventually I worked my way into the production side, learning to work the bottling line as well as the cellar. After assisting Drew in the brewhouse for a while, I began brewing full time in early 2015.
How has it been working at Strike?
Working at Strike has been an awesome experience. Since we are such a small operation, we all wear many hats and inevitably learn something new every day.
I’ve grown tremendously as a brewer, and it has been really fun to see Strike expand and become a bigger part of the San Jose community.
Can you share how the Bullpen Series started? What were the goals?
We began the Bullpen Series beers with a couple of goals in mind. First, we wanted to bring a wider variety of styles into the taproom for our regulars and those visiting the brewery.
We also needed an outlet to develop new recipes in the hopes of eventually scaling them up into full production (Shoeless Joe Imperial Coffee Brown, for example).
Ultimately, brewing the Bullpen beers has been a great way for me to practice with fun, new ingredients, as well as brewing techniques.
Can you share more about the brewing system for the Bullpen Series?
When we first started the Bullpen Series, we were brewing on a 10 gallon homebrew system – our mashtun was an Igloo cooler and our kettle was a 15.5 gallon keg with the top cut off.
Once we realized all of the benefits of a dedicated pilot system, we upgraded to a two-tiered K-RIMS system that allows us to brew up to 20 gallons at a time.
How often do you try to release a new Bullpen Series beer?
Our goal is to release two Bullpen beers a month, but it is really dependent on our production schedule.
Just curious – what’s been your favorite one so far?
My favorite so far was probably the barleywine we brewed for our first anniversary party. I think I still have a couple of bottles of that one stashed away somewhere…
Any beers and/or beer ideas coming up for the Bullpen Series?
We have a long list of beer styles ready to be brewed. There is a cucumber/lime Kolsch conditioning in our walk-in cooler currently, and we have some experimental single-hop pale ales in the works as well.
I plan on brewing at least one (hopefully two) for our Second Anniversary party on October 8th at Strike.
Cheers to 2 Years!
The Second Anniversary party on Saturday, Oct. 8 – from 1pm to 9pm – commemorates the 2-year mark for Strike’s South 10th Street brewery and taproom location.
And as demand for Strike beers continues to climb – both Jenny and Drew recently confirmed that Strike’s never been busier – the party will also be an occasion to celebrate their accomplishments to date.
$20 gets you a special glass that’s yours to keep and 3 pints of your choosing. Everything is a pint that day.
There will be a band, a raffle, a Sports Gallery Silent Auction and more.
On hand will be food trucks Gow Chow (1pm-5pm) and Kushi Yaki (5pm-9pm).
The year has been one of major growth for San Jose’s Strike Brewing Company (2099 S. 10th St.). Next month, Strike celebrates a major milestone – the one-year anniversary of the opening of their production brewery and warehouse taproom. The anniversary bash takes place Sat., Oct. 3 from 1-9pm and features special food and brewery releases. There will also be brewery tours at 2pm and 4pm. Tickets to the bash can be pre-ordered: $20 for three pints and a Strike pint glass to take home.
Another highlight takes place later this evening when Strike brewmaster Drew Ehrlich throws the ceremonial first pitch during the Oakland A’s vs. Seattle Mariners game at O.co Coliseum. Below is the press release issued earlier this morning:
Oakland, CA, September 4, 2015 – Strike Brewing Co. Brewmaster Drew Ehrlich will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to today’s game when the Oakland A’s take on the Seattle Mariners at 7:05 PM. An Oakland A’s marketing partner at O.co, Strike Brewing Co. is also participating in the Oktoberfest Brewmaster Event prior to tonight’s game.
“The sponsorship has been an amazing opportunity for us to share our beers with the East Bay,” shared CEO and co-founder Jenny Lewis, “and it’s only natural that Drew is on the mound once again here in the Bay Area”.
The return to the mound is in reference to the Former Stanford baseball pitcher and graduate, Drew Ehrlich, who also pitched in the Boston Red Sox organization. Drew immersed himself in the brewing industry after baseball, and became co-founder of Strike Brewing Co. in San Jose, CA.
Strike Brewing Co.’s current lineup features Hunt for Oktoberfest, Horn Rounder IPA, Double IPA, Lucky Bullet Belgian Style Wheat, Lumber Buster Brown Ale, and the Colossus of Clout Irish Red Ale. Strike Brewing Co. beer is also available at several other locations throughout the ballpark.
Strike Brewing Co. is a craft brewery and warehouse taproom located in San Jose, CA. Strike makes thirst-quenching “session” beers, as well as seasonal and specialty brews. Founded by Los Altos native and startup veteran Jenny Lewis and brewmaster Drew Ehrlich, Strike beers are distributed throughout the Bay Area. Ehrlich played college baseball at Stanford University and within the Boston Red Sox organization, which led to the company’s name Strike Brewing Co.
San Jose’s Strike Brewing Co. has opened a beer garage (concession stand) at O.co Coliseum, and fans attending the Oakland A’s home opener earlier this evening had first crack at purchasing draft and bottled Strike beers offered for the first time inside the stadium.
The initial draft lineup features Wit, Brown and Opening Pitch Pale Ale, plus three bottled selections – Blonde, IPA and Irish Red Ale. Strike beers will also be available at several other locations throughout the ballpark.
“We’re thrilled to be able to offer A’s fans more choice when it comes to the beer they enjoy during the game,” said Strike co-founder and CEO Jenny Lewis in a recent press release. “This expansion is just one piece of our larger effort to make the world aware of the great craft beer being brewed right here in the Bay Area.”
Speaking of expansion, the Strike team has added a number of key personnel in recent months. The brewery has also added new equipment. All of which to help keep up with both the demand for their beer – Strike is on pace to produce 5,000 barrels this year – as well as spur continued growth.
Strike chose a particularly good home game this evening to debut their beers – an exciting win punctuated by plenty of offense, solid defense, and shut-out ball with a no-hitter into the eighth inning by A’s ace Sonny Gray. Certainly an impressive win. May there be many more wins this season, to be celebrated with a Strike beer – or two – in hand when at the stadium.
Strike Brewing Co. is a craft brewery and warehouse taproom located in San Jose, CA. Strike makes thirst-quenching “session” beers, as well as seasonal and specialty brews. Founded by Los Altos native and startup veteran Jenny Lewis and brewmaster Drew Ehrlich, Strike beers are distributed throughout the Bay Area and parts of Southern California. Ehrlich played college baseball at Stanford University and within the Boston Red Sox organization which led to the company’s name Strike Brewing Co.
A significant milestone in the San Jose and South Bay beer scene takes place Sat., Oct. 4 as San Jose’s Strike Brewing Company (2099 S. 10th St., #30) celebrates the grand opening of their warehouse taproom and brewery from 2-8pm.
After a two-and-half month soft opening period, the grand opening marks the first time that all 8 taps will be in full use, featuring the following lineup of seasonal and year-round beers:
Oktoberfest (seasonal and making its debut) – IBU: 28, ABV: 7%
Porter (seasonal) – IBU: 23, ABV: 5%
Double IPA (seasonal) – IBU: 93, ABV: 8%
Chin Music Extra Pale Ale (seasonal) – IBU: 42, ABV: 7%
Co-founder and CEO Jenny Lewis recently provided me the following details regarding the grand opening:
“Please bring your own chairs! We expect to be tight on seating. Food vendors will include Fusion Jerky and the awesome food truck – Melts My Heart.
“We’ll have a band – Alec Lytle & Them Rounders – and games like corn hole set up. New merchandise apparel will be available, and a portion of the proceeds will support the US Pain Foundation.
“We won’t be doing flights that day, just pints. Pints of all beer will be $4 during the grand opening, and [co-founder and brewmaster] Drew [Ehrlich] will provide brewery tours at 3, 4, 5 and 6pm.”
Strike Brewing Company makes thirst-quenching, “session” beers as well as seasonal and specialty brews. On pace to produce 1,000 barrels this year, they are distributed all over the Bay Area and various parts of Southern California. The warehouse taproom and brewery is located in San Jose, California.
Strike Brewing Company is nearing completion on a brewery and tap room in San Jose that could produce up to 5,000 barrels of beer annually.
The space on 10th Street takes up just under 6,000-square-feet of a large 90,000 square-foot warehouse building about a mile south of downtown San Jose.
The idea for Strike originated in 2008, stemming from a love for home brewing and the observation that there was a dearth of options for drinkers wanting a full-flavored beer with relatively low alcohol content.
Co-founders and South Bay residents CEO Jenny Lewis and brewmaster Drew Ehrlich wanted to make sure their first releases emphasized session beers with less than 5 percent ABV.
They also connected their brand to beer drinkers who lived very active lifestyles. Lewis was a collegiate swimmer at Rice University while Ehrlich played baseball at Stanford, eventually playing a couple years professionally with the Red Sox organization. Their commitment to starting Strike led Lewis to embark on an MBA program while Ehrlich spent those years gaining professional brewing experience.
Since releasing their first offerings back in December 2011 on a contract basis with Hermitage Brewing Company, sales have steadily risen, requiring more capacity to keep up with demand.
Strike currently has four beers offered year-round—the session Blonde, session Brown, IPA and Imperial Red. These staples can be found at locations throughout Northern California, including Safeway throughout Santa Clara County, select BevMo and Costco stores and even the San Jose International Airport.
Last month, Strike mounted a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 to help furnish the tap room. Brewing equipment arrived several weeks ago and final preparations are under way. I visited with Lewis and Ehrlich at the soon-to-open brewery site.
Do you have a better idea of when the brewery will open?
Lewis: We have inspections to get through. It’s possible to do test batches early June. We could soft open the tap room in mid to late June once we have a few new things coming out that we can pour. We’ll do a grand opening in July once we smooth everything out and know what beers we want on tap. We’ll have an eight-tap system so we want eight fun things on those taps. The first one coming out is the new pale ale that we already announced.
Speaking of which, how did you decide on the “Opening Pitch” Session Pale Ale as your next new beer?
Lewis: We wanted to add to the session series. When we first launched back in December 2011, we put out four session beers and haven’t done one since. There’s clearly a huge demand for them; you have all the big guys doing it and everyone knows what that word means now. It’s just a good hoppy, summer beer. We want to eventually make it a baseball season beer.
Ehrlich: We’ll continue to focus on our session and year-round beers, but we’ll be able to do more small batch beers. I look forward to creating some more interesting seasonals, barrel aging some beers, developing a house yeast and making sours.
Why open your brewery in San Jose?
Lewis: The building itself is great, in close proximity to venues like Sharks Ice, Spartan Stadium, and San Jose Municipal Stadium, along with other locations within walking distance or a bike ride away. San Jose is a place we’ve gotten to know and love.
Though we want to expand distribution throughout the Bay Area and beyond, there’s no reason to go anywhere else. Plus the number of South Bay production breweries is still very low compared to other regions. With the opening, we’re giving the South Bay another local place to drink, mingle and call our own.
Congratulations on hitting your Kickstarter goal. What can you say about the tap room?
Lewis: Thank you. That was a relief. The tap room’s going to be about 600 square feet. It’ll be a roped-off area, similar to what you see in other tap rooms—a couple high-top tables and a couple picnic tables. There will be a big wall of fame with all the names of the first Mug Club members on it. We have more than 150 names to put on that.
Who are greatest sources of help?
Lewis: My dad. He’s heavily involved. He’s really watching our finances at this point. Coming from a biotech operations background, he has a lot of know-how on how to build a manufacturing facility and keep budgets under control. There are others, but he’s the one involved on a day-to-day basis that I work with, and he’s always there to edit my presentations and emails to potential investors and whatnot.
Ehrlich: Steve Donohue (Santa Clara Valley Brewing co-founder and brewmaster) has definitely helped me a lot. Whenever I have any questions, I can go to him. The same with Peter Licht (Hermitage Brewing brewmaster). He’s helped me out quite a bit. I shot out questions to the Bay Brewers Guild and have gotten some good answers back. And really, any of the South Bay brewers.
Has the reality of the brewery opening sunk in yet?
Lewis: It sinks in every time I write a check, but getting this place actually open is first on our minds right now. There’s still a lot to do.
Ehrlich: Now that the equipment is here, it’s sunk in a lot more. I can’t wait to get the system up and running, get it dialed in so we can get it fully operational and running at peak capacity as quickly as possible.
One of this year’s top South Bay beer stories is Strike Brewing Company’s new production brewery set to open this June in San Jose at 2099 South 10th Street. With their capital tied up in building the brewery, Strike has turned to a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 to help fund their taproom.
“We plan to have a spacious open seating area with tables, chairs and benches. This concept gives customers a wide open view of the entire brewery so they can watch the creative process behind the beer they are enjoying. The benches will also allow the folks drinking to get to know each other better, whether they came together or not. An eight tap bar will allow us to pour our four year round beers (Blonde, Brown, IPA and Imperial Red) as well as all seasonal and specialty beers Drew comes up with.”
Visit the Strike Kickstarter page to get the whole taproom story, as well as learn about the various rewards offered at different contribution levels. The most popular reward, with 39 backers so far, has been the Mug Club (“The Sixtel”), offered at a pledge of $100 or more. There is also a video featuring Strike co-founder and brewmaster Drew Ehrlich on the Kickstarter page.
Many folks have enjoyed Strike beers ever since the first Strike bottles and kegs made their debuts back in December 2011. Strike has continued to experience sales growth but is now counting on the support of the community, especially San Jose locals and South Bay beer fans, to get the taproom up and running as soon as possible.
Don’t wait too long to consider making a contribution, as the Kickstarter campaign closes on Saturday, April 26.
Stay up to date on their progress through their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Good beer in the South Bay continues its ascent, with many locally made, quality offerings available in bottles to give—or to get together and share.
San Jose’s Hermitage Brewing Company opened their tap room this past July, offering visitors the chance to taste well-crafted beer while connecting with the down-to-earth Hermitage vibe. Bottles of Hermitage beers are for sale at the Tap Room and can also be found in stores throughout the area, such as Saratoga Bottle Shop and local markets. Bottles of their Single Hop IPA Series continue to be popular items. For the colder weather season, the Ale of the 2 Tun Imperial Stout is a good choice. There’s also limited release, Ryetopia, a rye barley wine aged for a year in Kentucky bourbon barrels. It’s the first product of Hermitage’s barrel-aging program. The brew sounds like its own self-contained holiday confection with notes of chocolate, caramel, toffee, licorice, vanilla oak and—of course—bourbon. Another gift possibility: make a present of tickets—and maybe even offer to drive?— to Hermitage’s fifth annual Meet the Brewers Festival, Feb. 15 at their tap room ($35 per person/$5 designated driver).
Continuing its growth since the launch of their first beer in late 2011, Strike Brewing Company recently made a huge announcement—the construction of its own brick-and-mortar facility in San Jose at 2099 S. Tenth Street. Founders Jenny Lewis, Ben Lewis and Drew Ehrlich expect to open their brewery in early 2014. In the meantime, Strike bottles, such as their Brown, along with their IPA and Imperial Red (all $4-$5 per bottle), can be found at Cask & Flask in San Jose, and local markets such as Zanotto’s and Sprouts. And their seasonal stout, a Russian Imperial style with its deep chocolate and coffee notes coming in at 9 percent ABV, is back in a limited release, due out next month.
Santa Clara Valley Brewing Company proprietors Tom Clark and Steve Donohue possess great pride for the local area, as evidenced by their namesake brewery, as well as the names of their first series of beers brewed earlier this year—Electric Tower IPA ($6-$8 per bottle) with its hoppy, citrusy flavors and the chocolaty Peralta Porter ($5.50-$7 per bottle), both available at local bottle shops, including Jane’s Beer Store in Mountain View and Market Beer Company in downtown San Jose’s San Pedro Square. The bottles have artwork and write-ups on the labels that pay homage to this region’s history. The next beer to be made available in bottles will be an Imperial Red—ready just a couple weeks into 2014. Brewmaster Donohue says, “I was just looking at the final five label mockups. We’ll be brewing the red, probably late December. It should be bottled and available in mid-January.”
Rabbit’s Foot Meadery was founded in 1995 by Mike and Maria Faul, and business has never been busier according to Mike, no doubt fueled by the growing interest in ciders in conjunction with the increased demand for locally made, artisanal products. Rabbit’s Foot offers a diverse selection of meads (wine made out of honey), ciders and honey ales. Flavors range from light and dry to the sweeter profiles. Visitors can sample Mike’s creations at the Meadery, where the tasting fee is $5.50 and no appointment is needed. Both beer and wine drinkers often appreciate and enjoy meads and ciders; plus they make for tasty gluten-free gifts. Bottles of Hard Peach and Apple Honey cider are $5.99 (500 ml.) and a 750 ml. bottle of Sweet Mead goes for $16.99. Most of the meadery’s offerings are available in bottles under the Red Branch Cider Company label and can be found, in addition to their tasting room, at many local locations that sell quality beer.
Owner and brewer Kasim Syed of Palo Alto Brewing Company has been diligently brewing well-regarded beers since 2009. Most of his ales are available in bottles, and many of them are punnily-named: including his Hoppy Ending Pale Ale and the Barley Legal Coconut Porter—with a flavor profile of roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate and a hint of coconut milk—and Cool Beanz Coffee Porter, brewed with Philz Coffee. Kasim’s beers are available in bottles ($5-$7 per bottle) at a growing number of locations throughout the valley, including Ava’s Downtown Market & Deli in Mountain View and Boynton Liquors in San Jose.
By featuring beers from Strike Brewing Company in their upcoming brewmasters dinner this Thursday, March 14, California Cafe in Los Gatos is truly making this beer-and-food pairing event a South Bay affair.
The 3-course dinner costs $44 per person, excluding taxes and gratuities, and starts at 6 p.m. To make a reservation, call 408-354-8300.
Here’s a look at the menu crafted by executive chef Bobby Laggan.
The latest Beerwalk took place Sat., Feb. 9, 2013 in San Jose’s Japantown and marked the one-year anniversary of the first Beerwalk, which was also held in Japantown.
The Beerwalk was a successful one, reflecting the experience and the ongoing efforts of its principle organizers – the folks at Jack’s Bar & Lounge.
Here are some pics from the Beerwalk.
Checking in at Jack’s Bar & Lounge.
Glassware and program.
And we’re off.
Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company (Belmont) and their California Sunshine Rye IPA and Full Boar Scotch Ale.
Spotted Campbell’s Liquid Bread Gastropub beer manager Larry Hoang and friends.
San Ramon’s Schubros Brewery and their Diablo Dark, a complex layered stout, and Nico American Wheat, an American wheat beer with rye.
Ran into the always affable Charlie Mann of Jack’s Bar & Lounge. He’s also co-founder of these South Bay beerwalks.
Firestone Walker’s regional sales manager Antoine Riffis pouring some Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA.
The young adult and me.
Uncommon Brewers of Santa Cruz and their Siamese Twin Belgian-style Double and Baltic Porter.
South Bay’s Strike Brewing Company co-founders Jenny Lewis and Drew Ehrlich and their IPA and Stout.
Past beerwalks I’ve been to have been fun and smoothly run, and this one was no different. In fact, I think it was the most smoothly run beerwalk yet – a testament to the efforts of the organizers, who I know continually work on fine-tuning these events.
The especially cool thing about this Beerwalk for me was that the whole family attended – the young adult, younger kid, wifey, and me.