Tag Archives: Firestone Walker Brewing Company

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.




Scenes from ‘For Pete’s Sake’ Brewfest at CEFCU Stadium, Nov. 2016

Many in the local brewing community came together this past November to support a good person and a good cause – Peter Cogan and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

‘For Pete’s Sake’ Brewfest – which took place at San Jose State University’s CEFCU Stadium – produced plenty of good times as well.

Petes Sake 01

Peter Cogan.

Peter Cogan

Mark Fazzio of Hermitage Brewing Company.

Petes Sake 03

Steve Altimari of High Water Brewing and Drew Ehrlich of Strike Brewing Co.

Petes Sake 04

Strike Brewing Co.’s Tyler Rusten and a pour of Strike’s tasty Winter Camp (Winter Warmer Olde Ale). Tyler later shared that he had accepted a brewer position at Fearless Brewing Company in Oregon. Best wishes, Tyler!

Petes Sake 05

Santa Clara Valley Brewing’s Coleen Clark.

Petes Sake 06

Michael Barker of Sactown Union Brewery and Peter Licht of Hermitage Brewing Company share a laugh.

Petes Sake 07

El Toro Brewing Company’s Geno Acevedo.

Petes Sake 08

Petes Sake 09

Almanac Beer Co.’s Brian Sneed, Fernando Tovar and Fernando’s wife Sandra.

Petes Sake 10

Hermitage Brewing Company’s Mark Fazzio, Nicole Marquez and Joel Wind.

Petes Sake 11

Enjoying a pour of Luponic Distortion No. 004 from Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Mark and Corey.

Petes Sake 12

FireHouse Grill & Brewery’s Larry Hoang.

Petes Sake 13

Petes Sake 14

Beer enthusiasts Anita Arguello and Mike Condie.

Petes Sake 15

Santa Clara Valley Brewing’s Coleen Clark and Hermitage Brewing’s Carolyn Hopkins-Vasquez. Carolyn later shared that the end of the year would be her last day as marketing director of Hermitage Brewing Company and Tied House. With her family moving to Sacramento, her departure (which I’ve mentioned previously) is a big blow to the local beer scene (for instance, Carolyn coordinated this event). We’ll miss you, Carolyn!

Petes Sake 16

Jon Siddoway and Siobhan Faul of Red Branch Cider Company and Rabbit’s Foot Meadery.

Petes Sake 17

Rabbit’s Foot Meadery’s exquisite sipper Sweet Mead.

Petes Sake 18

Peter Cogan with his mum.

Petes Sake 19

Palo Alto Brewing Company’s Sikandar Syed and Kasim Syed with Santa Clara Valley Brewing’s Steve Donohue.

Petes Sake 20

Golden State Brewery’s Cinnabrown (Nut Brown Ale).

Petes Sake 21

High Water Brewing’s Steve and Barri Altimari and Mike Peasley.

Petes Sake 22

Palo Alto Brewing’s Kasim Syed and Tied House’s Ron Manabe.

Petes Sake 23

Palo Alto Brewing’s Sikandar Syed.

Petes Sake 24

Local stalwarts Jake McCluskey and Jim Helvie.

Petes Sake 25

Selfie with Jim.

Petes Sake 26

Codi Salazar, JD Stager, Peter Licht and Hermitage Brewing’s Greg Filippi. Codi also later shared that she was leaving Santa Clara Valley Brewing and moving to the Central Coast. Best wishes, Codi!

Petes Sake 27

Selfie with Steve.

Petes Sake 28

Beer fan Tim Haggerty.

Petes Sake 29

Campbell Brewing Company’s John Paine and Dan Doherty.

Petes Sake 30

Peter and Dan.

Petes Sake 02

My last tastes of the evening – Almanac Beer Co. Grand Cru Red: 2016 Vintage (Imperial Sour Red Ale) and Grand Cru White: 2016 Vintage (Imperial Sour Blonde Ale).

Petes Sake 31

Performance by the Spartan Marching Band.

Petes Sake 32

Petes Sake 33

Great to hear that you’re doing better, Peter.

Cheers,

~Andy



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




Beers in Hell Fest 2016

beers-in-hell-2016

Heavy San Jose recently reached out regarding their upcoming Beers in Hell Fest taking place on Saturday, September 24, 5pm to 2am in downtown San Jose at Johnny V’s Bar (31 E. Santa Clara St.).

Beers in Hell Fest is presented by Heavy San Jose, Ripple Music and Doomed and Stoned, with participating breweries Firestone Walker, Lagunitas, Ballast Point and Santa Clara Valley Brewing.

As Heavy San Jose’s JD Norton puts it, Beers in Hell Fest is the “first event of its kind in the Bay Area, at least according to [their] not-so-exhaustive research.” :)

The event combines craft beer and heavy music. A 12-tap takeover features the aforementioned breweries – brewery representatives will be on hand – along with 11 underground bands that all fall in the genre of metal and heavy rock.

The band lineup features: Blackwülf (Oakland), Zed (San Jose), Crimson Eye (Sacramento), Great Electric Quest (Oceanside), KOOK (San Jose), Mesmer (Oakland), Red Wizard (San Diego), Smoke (Santa Cruz), Supernaut (Santa Cruz), TVSK (Oakland), and War Cloud (Oakland).

Tickets ($20) can be purchased at the event, but presale tickets purchased via the Beers in Hell Heavy Music Fest Indiegogo campaign – which ends Friday, Sep. 16 – include tickets plus a variety of special merchandise options and add-on perks to enhance the festival experience.

These Indiegogo presale ticket and merchandise campaign deals are only available on the website, and 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the bands.

At last check, the Dark Lord’s Cellar presale package was still available at the Indiegogo page. That package ($150) is good for tickets, event poster, shirt, pint glass and the following 6 beers:

  • 2002 Rogue XS Old Crustacean Barleywine (are you brave enough to drink a 14 year old beer?)
  • 2009 Alaskan Barley Wine Ale (one of the best ever made)
  • 2012 Deschutes The Abyss Imperial Stout (the standard by which all are measured)
  • 2013 Fifty Fifty Eclipse Black Wax (Evan Williams Bourbon Barrel aged… made by one of the pioneers of modern barrel-aged beer)
  • 2014 The Bruery Black Tuesday Imperial Stout (at almost 20% alcohol, this is the gnarliest of the bunch)
  • 2015 The Bruery/Three Floyds Collaboration-Floyd D’Rue Imperial Porter (Three Floyds is the original heavy metal brewery… and originator of Dark Lord Day)

The beers listed above, including the parenthetical beer notes, are courtesy of Jeff Wilson, the other half of Heavy San Jose. In addition to being the bass player for the band KOOK, he’s a craft beer enthusiast. Jeff’s the craft beer buyer at Kukar’s House of Pizza and for a few of Johnny V’s taps as well. He’s the reason Kukar’s started getting 5-6 rotating taps of great craft choices in the past couple years.

Look for the “Hell Brew” firkin from Santa Clara Valley Brewing – 10 gallons of their Electric Tower IPA with blood orange, mixed with locally grown hot peppers and dry hopped with citra and cascade hops.

JD adds: “Our hope is that this first event will be a huge success and will turn into something we continue to do right here in San Jose year after year going forward.”



Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant Hosts Upcoming “Jeffers Drops Acid… Knowledge” Seminar

Jeffers Drops Acid Knowledge

For anyone wanting to learn more about wild or sour beers, then consider signing up for the “Jeffers Drops Acid… Knowledge” seminar coming up at Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant in downtown Mountain View on Thursday, September 8, 6pm-8pm.

“Jeffers” – for those unfamiliar with the name – refers to Jeffers Richardson, the director of Barrelworks in Buellton and an expert on wild beer. Barrelworks is the home to Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s much heralded wild beer program.

Jeffers is an excellent speaker – knowledgeable, engaging and articulate. He’s also very down-to-earth. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing him speak at several past events, including the Firestone Walker Roots of Anniversary Ale XVI event held several years ago at Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose.

The “Jeffers Drops Acid… Knowledge” series started earlier last year at Barrelworks, and has since been conducted at various locations throughout the country.

Firestone Walker senior sales manager Tony Riffis, a San Jose native and resident, confirms that the upcoming seminar at Steins is the first such event to take place in the South Bay.

Here are some additional details of this unique beer seminar courtesy of Firestone Walker:

Jeffers Richardson—director of Firestone Walker’s Barrelworks wild beer facility—is taking his trailblazing educational show on the road… under the banner of “Jeffers Drops Acid…Knowledge,” inviting you to explore how acidity shapes your sensory perception of wild beers.

“When it comes to wild or sour beers, acidity plays more of a role in the taste experience compared to traditional beers, which are more defined by their hop and malt profiles,” Richardson said. “This seminar is designed to explore the role of acidity, and to reveal not only what you are tasting in the beer, but also why.”

Perception vs. Reality

The seminars delve into the differences between pH and total (or titratable) acidity as well as the sensory relationship between smell and taste. Different concentrations of acetic, citric and lactic acids are tasted, enabling you to discover the signature characteristics of each. Along the way, you learn how each of these acids shapes flavor, mouthfeel and overall perception.

Each seminar then ends on a sour note with a special tasting of limited releases from Barrelworks to test your newfound knowledge and reinforce the lesson.

The “Jeffers Drops Acid…Knowledge” seminar series originated at the brewery earlier [last] year and was met with enthusiasm, prompting Richardson to take it on the road. A recent similar event in collaboration with The Rare Barrel in Berkeley sold out in two minutes.

“The response has been phenomenal,” Richardson said. “Many people are new to wild beers, and this is a really fun way to take a crash course.”

Jeffers’ upcoming talk will include a tasting of 3 Barrelworks beers:

  • Agrestic (American Wild Red Ale)
  • Bretta Rosé (Wild Ale Fermented with Raspberries)
  • Lil’ Opal (Barrel Aged Saison)

Steins will be providing appetizers for participants during the class.

Tickets to the event are $50 per person and available for purchase online. Tickets are required for attendance and include the aforementioned tastings and appetizers.



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.”

Roundup of top South Bay SF Beer Week events, Part 3

Meet the Brewers Beer Festival at Hermitage Brewing Company (2013)
Meet the Brewers Beer Festival at Hermitage Brewing Company (2013)

SF Beer Week rages on, though it is more than half way over. Below is a list of some of the standout, predominantly South Bay-centric events remaining on the schedule.

Note: Some of the events will likely be crowded and have long lines. Some of them will require tickets to be purchased ahead of time. Visit the SF Beer Week website for the complete schedule of events.

THURSDAY, FEB. 12

Brew Hub (Inside Whole Foods Market Cupertino), 20955 Stevens Creek Blvd.: Stone Brewing Old Guardian Barleywine 5-Year Vertical Tasting, 11am-10pm. This is an all-day event or until the beers run out.

Fibbar Magees, 156 S. Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale: Dogfish Head Night!, 5-11:30pm. The lineup includes 120 Minute IPA and World Wide Stout, among others.

Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café, 37 S. First St., San Jose: In Bugs & Barrels We Trust!, 5-11pm. Events at Good Karma are consistently special, and this event is no exception. Enjoy the well-regarded wild and barrel-aged beers from Port Brewing/Lost Abbey, including Spontaneous Cheer, Red Poppy, Cuvee de Tomme, Framboise de Amarosa, 2013 Deliverance, Angel’s Share, Track 8, Track 10, Avant Gourde, Older Viscosity, Agave Maria and more.

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant, 895 Villa St., Mountain View: Schubros Brewery Night & Meet the Brewer, 5-9pm. Schubros has prepared two special beers for SF Beer Week: Kirov Russian Imperial Stout, aged for 7-8 months in cab barrels and Aalbeke Golden Ale, aged in cab barrels since May. Steins will also feature Dante’s Door Belgian Dubbel, Rock City Amber Ale and Branch Line Double IPA.

Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose, 390 Saratoga Ave.: Firestone XVIII Deconstructed, 5-11pm. A marquee event, Brewmaster Matt Brynildson will, once again, be on hand to present a seminar on brewing and barrel aging. On tap will be Helldorado, Bravo, Stickee Money 2014, XVIII Anniversary, Parabola 2014, Sucaba 2015, Velvet Merkin 2014, Double DBA 2014 and Agrestic, as well as Double Jack, Union Jack, Pivo, Pale 31 and more.

Market Beer Company, 100 N. Almaden Ave., San Jose: Karl Strauss Brewing. Expect Mosaic Session Ale, Red Trolley, Big Barrel Double IPA, Queen of Tarts and more.

O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub, 25 N. San Pedro St., San Jose: For FIRK Sake, 6pm-11:30pm. It is no surprise that O’Flaherty’s has come up with another exciting beer event. Featured firkin casks include Stone Ruination with Dried Cranberries and Apple Blossoms, Sierra Nevada Scotch Ale, Knee Deep Hella Deep Wheat IPA, Strike Wit Firkin with Orange Peel, Coriander and Chamomile, Drake’s Oaked Denogginizer and Firestone Walker Double DBA. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online. Tickets include unlimited pours and all-you-can eat from the evening’s menu.

FRIDAY, FEB. 13

Mission Creek Brewing Company, 777 The Alameda, San Jose: Mission Creek’s Imperial Porter & Chocolate Pairing Party, 11am-10pm. Enjoy a special flight chocolates and craft beers, including a house-brewed Mission Creek Imperial Porter.

Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose, 390 Saratoga Ave.: Deschutes Abyss Vertical and Barrel Aged Madness, 5-11pm. Just as the event title indicates.

Harry’s Hofbrau Redwood City, 1909 El Camino Real: A Taste of San Francisco, the Breweries of the SF Brewers Guild Takeover! All 28 taps will be dedicated to SF Breweries 21st Amendment, Almanac, Magnolia, Fort Point, Triple Voodoo, Southern Pacific, Beach Chalet, Speakeasy, Social Kitchen, Southpaw, Cellarmaker and more. Plus opportunities to meet the brewers.

SATURDAY, FEB. 14

Original Gravity Public House, 66 S. 1st St., San Jose: Pucker Up! Valentine’s Day Sour Fest 4.0, 12-11:30pm. OG will pour 15 domestic and international sour, tart and funky beers on tap and release some very rare and specialty bottles for purchase. Draft sours include Allagash – Golden Brett (2014), Almanac – Cerise Sour Blonde, Brouwerij Hof Ten Dormaal – Zure Van Tildonk, Bruery – Sour in the Rye (2014), De Proef – Sour Barrel #1, Drakes Brewing – Brette Davis Eyes, Firestone Walker – Agrestic (2014), Freigeist – Sauer Porter Raspberry (2013), Gueuzerie Tilquin – Oude Gueuze (Draft Version), Hermitage – Boysenberry, Lost Abbey – Framboise De Amorosa (2014), Mikkeller – SpontanSourCherry, New Belgium – La Folie (2014), Prairie Artisan Ales – Cherry Funk! and Struise – WeltKrieg (2014).

Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café, 37 S. First St., San Jose: St. Valentine’s Barrel Aged Sweeties!, 5-11pm. This special barrel-aged beers event serves as a companion event to the aforementioned OG’s Pucker Up!

Hermitage Brewing Company, 1627 S. 7th St., San Jose: Meet the Brewers, 1-5pm. It is the sixth year for this quintessential South Bay beer event. Hermitage has recently acquired more space at their location, which means room for additional breweries and food trucks compared to past years. There will be live music and a special SJMADE pop-up mini market. Tickets are $40 and available for purchase online. Tickets will be $45 at the door if not sold out in advance. Participating breweries include:

  • 8 Bridges Brewing
  • Almanac Beer Co.
  • Alvarado Street Brewery
  • Calicraft
  • Campbell Brewing Company
  • Clandestine Brewing
  • Craft Artisan Ales
  • Drake’s
  • Discretion Brewing
  • El Toro Brewing Company
  • Faultline Brewing
  • Firehouse Brewery and Grill
  • FreeWheel Brewing
  • Gordon Biersch
  • Hermitage Brewing Company
  • High Water Brewing
  • Peter B’s Brewpub
  • Rabbits Foot Meadery/Red Branch Cider
  • Rock Bottom Campbell
  • Santa Clara Valley Brewing
  • Santa Cruz Ale Works
  • Seabright Brewery
  • Strike Brewing Company
  • Tied House
  • Uncommon Brewers

SUNDAY, FEB. 15

Rose & Crown Pub, 547 Emerson St., Palo Alto: Sour Sunday in PA (Part 2), 11:30am-11:30pm. Expect sour beers from Russian River Brewing, Bear Republic, Palo Alto Brewing, The Bruery plus many more on tap and in bottles.

Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose, 390 Saratoga Ave.: Annual IPA Day!, 11am-11pm. Harry’s first IPA Day back in 2012 invigorated the local beer community and helped to elevate the South Bay beer scene to newfound heights. Come experience the joys of hoppy beers as Harry’s will have 31 well-regarded IPAs, DIPAs and 3XIPAs on tap.

  • Black label
  • Younger
  • Scarcity
  • Evil3
  • Monstrous cabal (faction/gigantic)
  • Notorious
  • Hopocalypse
  • Fusion 27
  • Night time
  • Stoopid
  • Ruination
  • Enjoy by (3.14)
  • Hop soup
  • Hella deep
  • Dub red
  • Elder
  • 120 minute
  • Burton baton
  • Simtra
  • Hoptologist
  • Nitro sculpin
  • Pizza port poor man’s IIPA
  • Pizza port thruster IIIPA
  • Double jack
  • Mongo (kegged a week ago)
  • Dank and Sticky
  • Idiot
  • Dorado
  • Denog
  • Don’t act like you’re not impressed (alpine/mission)
  • Duet

What beer events, if any, will you be sure to attend?

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Roundup of Top South Bay Beer Events for SF Beer Week 2015, Part 2

South Bay banners at SF Beer Week 2015 Opening Gala
South Bay banners at SF Beer Week 2015 Opening Gala

Let us get right to it. SF Beer Week runs through Sun., Feb. 15, and as the opening weekend comes to a close, below is a list of some of the standout, predominantly South Bay-centric events scheduled from Monday through Wednesday.

Note: Some of the events will likely be crowded and have long lines. Some of them will require tickets to be purchased ahead of time. Visit the SF Beer Week website for the complete schedule of events.

MONDAY, FEB. 9

Mission Creek Brewing Company, 777 The Alameda, San Jose: Lagunitas Huge Tap Takeover and SF Beer Week Fusion Beer Release Party, 4:20-11pm. It is a CouchTrippin’ party as Lagunitas takes over all 19 taps with a special cask release of SF Beer Week Fusion. Replete with food pop-ups.

Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café, 37 S. First St., San Jose: To Feel Dank & Rustic After a Good Meal, 6-11:30pm. Good Karma is proud to showcase a number of offerings from Sante Adairius and Cellarmaker, including, among others, Saison Bernice, West Ashley, Christopher Riwaka, Bangerang and their collaboration beer I See a Dankness.

The Table, 1110 Willow St., San Jose: Brewmaster Dinner: David Walker of Firestone Walker, 6-9pm. David Walker, co-founder of Firestone Walker Brewing Company, hosts a 4-course tasting menu featuring Pivo Pilsner, Opal Dry-Hopped Saison, Wookey Jack Unfiltered Black Rye IPA, Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout and Lil’ Opal Barrel-Aged Saison. Seating is limited and by reservation only. $75 (excluding tax & gratuity).

TUESDAY, FEB. 10

Brew Hub (inside Whole Foods Market Cupertino), 20955 Stevens Creek Blvd.: Faction Brewing Take Over, 11am-10pm. An all-day tap event with 5 rotating taps from Alameda-based brewery Faction Brewing open to close.

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant, 895 Villa St., Mountain View: Tap It Event, 5-9pm. Steins hosts San Luis Obispo’s Tap It Brewing Company with a lineup of their IPA, 3 on the Tree Triple IPA, Rimfire Red, a specialty cask beer plus their new pilsner.

Harry’s Hofbrau Redwood City, 1909 El Camino Real: Hangar 24 Takeover with Pugachev’s Cobra!, 5-11pm. Hangar 24 will be bring special beers, including their 19% ABV beer Pugachev’s Cobra.

Fibbar Magees, 156 S. Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale: Trivia Night with Karl Strauss. It is trivia night and Karl Strauss Day with the opportunity to meet the owner Chris Cramer! There will be special kegs as well as a Karl Strauss question round for prizes.

O’Malley’s Sports Pub & Grub, 2135 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View: Heretic Tap Takeover Night, 5-11:30pm. O’Malley’s will present a whole roster of Heretic beers, including Evil Cousin, Evil Twin, Chocolate Porter, Petite Rouge, Tafelbully, Shallow Grave, Torment and Evil Bee. Beer flights will be available.

Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café (37 S. 1st. St., San Jose) and Original Gravity Public House (66 S. 1st. St., San Jose). Almanac Sour Pub Crawl, approx. 5-11pm. Join Good Karma, Original Gravity and ISO: Beers (75 E. Santa Clara St.) for a downtown San Jose beer crawl featuring Almanac Beer Company. Good Karma will pour Devil’s Advocate, Cerise Sour Blonde and Dogpatch Strawberry. OG is set to pour Farmer’s Reserve: Pluot, Farmer’s Reserve: Citrus and Farmer’s Reserve: Blueberry, while ISO will pour Valley of the Heart’s Delight, Farmer’s Reserve: Blackberry and Dogpatch Sour. Each stop is offering 3-oz. individual samples as well as flights of all three for $3 and $9, respectively.

Kukar’s House of Pizza, 257 S. Almaden Ave., San Jose. Tahoe Mountain Brewing Company Tap Takeover, 6-11pm. Enjoy offerings from Tahoe Mountain Brewing, including Passion Pale Ale, Hop Song IPA (Amarillo Dry-Hopped), Party Boy Farmhouse Style IPA (fermented entirely with a Brettanomyces), Viejo Rojo American Wild Ale and Ms. Coco and Delicate Oatsters Oatmeal Stout.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 11

Wicked Chicken, 2565 The Alameda, Santa Clara: Altamont Beer Works, 11am-11pm. Wicked Chicken routinely features South Bay and nearby local breweries. Up next will be Livermore’s Altamont Beer Works.

Rose & Crown Pub, 547 Emerson St., Palo Ato: Pliny the Younger/IPA Day, 11:30am-11:30pm. Rose & Crown has been celebrating SF Beer Week longer than most local establishments. They host their 6th annual Pliny the Younger event, which will also feature IPAs from Russian River, Palo Alto Brewing, Drake’s, Auburn Alehouse, Bear Republic, Faction and others. Follow them on Twitter (@PaloAloBrewing) for additional information.

O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub, 25 N. San Pedro St., San Jose: Stone Cold Trivia Night, 6-11:30pm. Trivia Night will consist of 12 Stone beers on tap and 12 beer-centric trivia questions. Beers on tap will include: Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone IPA, Stone Pale Ale, Stone Delicious IPA, Passion Project, Baird/Ishii/Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA, Enjoy by 2.14.15, 2013 Barrel Aged Old Guardian Barley Wine, 10 Barrel/Blue Jacket/Stone Suede Imperial Porter, Bang Bang and 2016 Double Bastard Ale.

Original Gravity Public House, 66 S. 1st St. California Craft Throw Down and Blind Double IPA Contest!, 6-10:30pm. Original Gravity will host a contest to determine which of the 11 participating breweries will be voted to having the best Double IPA. Doors open at 6pm. The contest begins at 7:30pm, and results will be announced at 9pm. Tickets are $30 and available online, and include one full draft beer of your choice and bar snacks, including house-made BBQ meat balls, baked panko mac and cheese and duck fat blanched green beans with bacon and roasted garlic. Additional beers and food can be purchased at the bar.

Brewery representatives will bring brewery swag, including glassware and other beer-related packages. In addition to the Double IPAs, most breweries will bring two other offerings: one core beer and one specialty or seasonal offering.

Greg Robles (Owner), Altamont Beer Works, Livermore
– Hella Lite
– Hella Revolutionary (Beer Revolution Anniversary Collab.)

John Gillooly (BrewMaster), Drake’s, San Leandro
– Dry Stout (Nitro)
– Hopocalypse (Green Label)
– Special TBA

Steve Donohue (Owner/BrewMaster), Santa Clara Valley Brewing, San Jose
– Electric Tower
– Heart’s Delight

Antoine Riffis (Senior Sales Manager), Firestone Walker, Paso Robles
– Pivo Pils
– Double DBA (2014)

Jamil Zainasheff (Owner/BrewMaster), Heretic Brewing, Fairfield
– Evil3
– Evil Bee

Kim Lutz (BrewMaster), St. Archer, San Diego
– White Ale
– Coffee Brown

David Johnson (Director of Distribution), Port Brewing, San Diego
– Shark Attack
– Barrel Aged Santa’s Little Helper (2014)

Gordon Brown (Brewery Rep.), Coronado Brewing, Coronado,
– Orange Ave Wit
– German Chocolate Cake

Jeb Taylor (Pilot Brewer), Knee Deep, Auburn
– Citra Pale Ale
– Hella Deep (Altamont Collab)

Aaron Justus (Brewing Manager), Ballast Point, San Diego
– Grunion
– Sculpin (Nitro)

Jeremy Marshall (BrewMaster), Lagunitas, Petaluma
– Day Time
– Fusion 27
– Special TBA

Week-Long Specials

Little Wine Counter, 1875 S. Bascom Ave., Suite 560: Little Local Beer Contest. Little Wine Counter has teamed with South Bay breweries Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Strike and Hermitage to provide opportunities to win prizes by earning points. Visit the contest website for the details.

SmokeEaters Cupertino, 10650 S. De Anza Blvd.: 36 IPA Tap Takeover. On tap all week will be IPAs of the single, double, triple and quad varieties, including Altamont Scarcity (Triple), Knee Deep Hop-De-Ranged, (Quad), Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin, Ballast Point Sculpin Nitro, Drake’s Hopocalypse, Lagunitas Fusion 27, Altamont Hella Deep and Stone Delicious IPA.

Mixx, 420 Castro St., Mountain View: Mixxing with Firestone: 4 Course Pairing Menu. Chef Joel Whitaker will prepare four courses to pair with four of Firestone Walker beers, including Pale 31 baby crab cake with Pale 31, butter lettuce wedge with mustard vinaigrette with Double Barrel Ale, salmon with Thai curry with Union Jack IPA and a scoop of housemade Wookie Jack sorbet with spiced cake bite with Wookie Jack. $40.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, 390 Capistrano Rd.: Beer and Dessert Pairing. Each dessert bite created by chef Gaston Alfaro has been paired with one of brewmaster James Costa’s seasonal beers (4-oz.), including Mavericks gingersnap mascarpone tart paired with Brown Ale, mini bleu cheese cheesecake with candied bacon and a maple bourbon reduction paired with Double Bore IPA, spiced poached pears paired with PaPa Juice Barleywine and beeramisu paired with Calf-eine Coffee Milk Stout. $20.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Roundup of Top South Bay Beer Events for SF Beer Week 2015, Part 1

Japantown beerwalkers in 2012
Japantown beerwalkers in 2012

SF Beer Week kicks off this Fri., Feb. 6 with the Opening Gala at SF’s Fort Mason Center, Herbst Pavilion, where over 80 Bay Area breweries will be pouring their finest offerings. As a testament to the Opening Gala’s popularity, tickets sold out in just twelve days back in December. Participating South Bay breweries include:

  • Campbell Brewing Company
  • El Toro Brewing Company (Morgan Hill)
  • Gordon Biersch Brewing Company (San Jose)
  • Hermitage Brewing Company (San Jose)
  • Palo Alto Brewing Company
  • Santa Clara Valley Brewing Company (San Jose)
  • Strike Brewing Company (San Jose)

SF Beer Week runs through Sun., Feb. 15 and features hundreds of beer-related events, over 700 at last count. As in years past, there is a plethora of beer-related events taking place in the South Bay.

The following is a list of some of the standout, predominantly South Bay-centric events scheduled throughout this opening weekend. These are the events that I would love to attend if I could clone myself.

Note: Some of the events will require tickets to be purchased ahead of time. Visit the SF Beer Week website for the complete schedule of events.

SATURDAY, FEB. 7

Fibbar Magees, 156 South Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale: Lagunitas Extravaganza, 11am-11:30pm. A tap takeover features 15 Lagunitas offerings, including a vintage Imperial Stout (2013) and the release of their annual special SFBW Fusion beer (Fusion 27).

Market Beer Company, 100 N. Almaden Ave., San Jose: Walker’s Wild Ride, 11:30am-1:30pm. Market Beer Company, located inside the San Pedro Square Market, is the first Bay Area stop for Firestone Walker co-proprietor David Walker and barrelmeister Jeffers Richardson. They are bringing their collection of specialty Barrelworks sour beers.

Rose & Crown, 547 Emerson St., Palo Alto: Sour Sunday in PA (Part 1), 11:30am-11:30pm. Get pucker faced with Rose & Crown yet again at their annual sour beer event, with offerings from Russian River, Bear Republic, Palo Alto Brewing, The Bruery, plus more on tap and in bottles.

Beerwalk: Japantown, Jackson St., San Jose: Japantown Beerwalk, 2-6pm. The award-winning Beerwalk series returns triumphantly to Japantown, the site of the first ever Beerwalk three years ago, and will feature offerings from a number of local breweries, including Hermitage, Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Strike, Gordon Biersch, Faultline, FireHouse and more. The first 60 to check in the day of the event will receive a complimentary tour of the nearby Gordon Biersch bottling and production facility. Tickets are $30 if purchased in advance at Jack’s Bar & Lounge or online.

Wine Affairs, 1435 The Alameda, San Jose: 6th Annual Double Blind Double IPA, 2-8pm. Always a fun event, come out and blind taste 8 Double IPAs and help determine the best in show. Admission is $15 per person.

Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company, 935 Washington St., San Carlos: Mavericks Brewing Tunnel Vision IPA Release, 2-5pm. Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company hosts the 2nd Annual West Coast Craft Can Invitational (16 confirmed breweries) which will showcase some of the Bay Area’s finest canned beers. A special beer launch features Half Moon Bay’s Mavericks Brewing and their newest canned beer Tunnel Vision IPA in 16-oz. cans. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online.

Harry’s Hofbrau, 390 Saratoga Ave., San Jose: Annual Stone Tap Takeover with Secret Ruination Firkin! 5-11:30pm. A special tap list of Stone beers will include a cask of Ruination conditioned with secret ingredients for which you will have to come out to find out.

SUNDAY, FEB. 8

Mission Creek Brewing Company, 777 The Alameda, San Jose: Bangers and Beer: An Ode to the Perfect Pair, 12-4pm. Mission Creek Brewing, California’s first Whole Foods store with in-store brewery, looks to honor the perfect pairing that is sausage and beer by pouring their own Mission Creek beers, along with other local beers, to be paired with items from an exclusive menu highlighting their made-in-house sausages.

Oak & Rye, 303 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos: Pizza & Beer Pairing, 12-3pm. The popular and well-regarded restaurant Oak & Rye will be making special pies (all you can eat) to pair with offerings from Firestone Walker, Oskar Blues and Ballast Point. Tickets are $30 and gets you unlimited food and 8-oz. pours of up to 9 beers. Tickets can be purchased online.

Bierhaus, 383 Castro St., Mountain View: Meet the Brewers: Clandestine Brewing, 1-5pm. Meet the founders of Clandestine Brewing and enjoy an afternoon of their beers. Plus there will be raffle prizes.

San Pedro Square Market, 87 N. San Pedro St., San Jose: Lagunitas Beer Parade, 1-4:30pm. Enjoy offerings from Lagunitas inside the Market or out in the patio as you roll through the Market Bar (1-2pm), Garage Bar (2-3pm) and Market Beer Company (3-4:20pm) for special releases that are typically available only at the brewery. There will be live music and giveaways.

The Brew Hub inside Whole Foods Market Cupertino, 2099 Stevens Creek Blvd.: Sierra Nevada Off-Flavor Tasting Panel, 1:30-6pm. Expand your skills towards understanding beer flavors and aromatics by participating in this sensory training event. Registration is $35 and includes beer for the flavor tasting and two Sierra Nevada beers: barrel-aged Torpedo and barrel-aged Narwhal (6 oz.). Tickets can be purchased online.

Santa Teresa Golf Club, 260 Bernal Road, San Jose: Meet Strike Brewing – A Talk and Tasting, 3-5pm. Come learn more about Strike Brewing Company, including how they built their business and what the future holds. A $5 tasting fee includes 4-oz. samples of 5 of their beers. There will be $4 pints and bottles of their beers as well.

WEEK-LONG SPECIALS

Several establishments are celebrating SF Beer Week with week-long specials. Highlights include:

Mixx, 420 Castro St., Mountain View: Mixxing with Firestone: 4 Course Pairing Menu. Chef Joel Whitaker will prepare four courses to pair with four of Firestone Walker beers, including Pale 31 baby crab cake with Pale 31, butter lettuce wedge with mustard vinaigrette with Double Barrel Ale, salmon with Thai curry with Union Jack IPA and a scoop of housemade Wookie Jack sorbet with spiced cake bite with Wookie Jack. $40.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, 390 Capistrano Rd.: Beer and Dessert Pairing. Each dessert bite created by chef Gaston Alfaro has been paired with one of brewmaster James Costa’s seasonal beers (4-oz.), including Mavericks gingersnap mascarpone tart paired with Brown Ale, mini bleu cheese cheesecake with candied bacon and a maple bourbon reduction paired with Double Bore IPA, spiced poached pears paired with PaPa Juice Barleywine and beeramisu paired with Calf-eine Coffee Milk Stout. $20.

Psycho Donuts, 2006 S. Winchester Blvd., Campbell: A Psycho Donut Walks into a Firestone… Firestone Walker, Hella Hot Hot Sauce and Psycho Donuts are teaming up to create an 805 Apricot Blonde Ghost, Union Jack Glazed and Chocolate Merkin.

As you can see, there are options galore. What SF Beer Week events do you plan to attend this weekend?

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Scott’s Seafood to Host Firestone Walker Brewmaster’s Dinner

As beer-and-food pairing events continue to grow in popularity, more people are discovering the versatility of beer thanks to its variety of styles. Plus, beer’s carbonation acts as a palette cleanser, enabling clearer flavor profiles to shine through after every bite and sip.

A special rooftop patio dinner is scheduled for June 26 at Scott’s Seafood in downtown San Jose with a brewmaster dinner featuring Firestone Walker Brewing Company.

Chef Alfonso Tamayo has created a special menu for the four-course dinner to complement Firestone Walker’s most popular, award-winning beers.

  • First Course: Nuts and berries cheese plate paired with Pivo Hoppy Pils.
  • Second Course: Butter leaf lettuce, spicy pecans, and goat cheese, with raspberry vinaigrette paired with Double Barrel Ale.
  • Third Course: Seared ahi tuna with ponzu sauce, sticky rice, and bok choy paired with Union Jack IPA.
  • Fourth Course: Bread pudding with whipped cream and caramel sauce paired with Stickee Monkee Central Coast Quad.

A light reception precedes the first course with bacon-wrapped prawns and shrimp ceviche paired with Pale 31.

There will be a brewer in attendance to introduce the pairings and guests will have the chance to meet original brewmaster Jeffers Richardson, who recently returned to Firestone Walker to direct the Barrelworks facility in Buellton, Calif., home to the brewery’s well-regarded barrel-aged wild beers and strong ales.

The cost of the dinner is $40. Space is limited, and tickets are available online.

[This post was shared on SanJose.com.]