It’s that time of year when many beer fans will satiate their thirst for a tasty double IPA by enjoying Waldos’ Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company.
Word is already out regarding this year’s batch, the latest release from the Onehitter Series of highly limited, experimental offerings. Spoiler alert: This year’s Waldos is as hoppy and dank as last year’s batch and perhaps even more delicious.
Lagunitas NorCal Specialty Specialist – and South Bay native – Rudy Kuhn chimes in, “It’s a refreshing, dank-ilicious hop bomb featuring a full-blown Perrault Assault,” adding that Jason Perrault is the mastermind, fourth generation hop grower at Hop Breeding Company responsible for the development of Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic, Equinox and other well-regarded hop varietals.
Official tapping events for the South Bay will take place at venerable craft beer locations Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café in downtown San Jose (37 S. 1st St.) and Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose (390 Saratoga Ave.). From their respective Facebook event pages:
Wed., 4/20, starting at 4:20pm: Good Karma presents Double Dank, Double Down 420 Tapping of Waldos’ Special: “It’s always an honor to be the official South Bay 4/20 Tapping Party for Lagunitas Waldos’ Special! This year’s is as sticky and dank as we can remember! 11.5% and hand selected hops by the Waldos themselves – Great vibe, fun takeaways and the greatest gathering of mellow beer heads to share such an awesome beer in the South Bay.”
Thurs., 4/21, starting at 4:20pm: Harry’s Hofbrau hosts It’s Waldos’ Time with Lagunitas 4/21 at 4:20: “Brewed every year for 4/20, Waldo is a huge, resiny, dank DIPA! We will be tapping ours for our Thursday event the 21st at 4:20pm along with some other rare and fun kegs from Lagunitas.”
Look for Waldos’ Special Ale at select establishments throughout the South Bay (currently on tap at Wicked Chicken in Santa Clara).
Check out the entertaining Lagunitas video below to learn about the connection between 420 and the Waldos.
Good Karma Artisan Ales & Cafe in downtown San Jose (37 S. 1st St.) is hosting a special 5-course vegan food-and-beer pairing dinner on Thurs., Dec. 3, 2015 from 5pm-8pm, featuring offerings from well-regarded Russian River Brewing Company.
Carefully crafted vegan dishes will be paired with the following ales – all on tap – from Russian River Brewing: STS Pils (Czech Pilsener), Blind Pig IPA, Pliny the Elder (Double IPA), Temptation (Wild Ale) and Consecration (Wild Ale). While Russian River Brewing IPAs and wild ales continue to be the standards for their respective beer styles among many beer enthusiasts, having these five beers all on tap in the South Bay is a rarity.
Tickets are $55 per person, and reservations can be made via the dinner’s EventBrite page. Payment for the dinner will be collected at the event. Good Karma will be open back to the public at 8pm.
Founded by San Jose native Ryan Summers, Good Karma is arguably the birthplace of the burgeoning craft beer wave in San Jose and for that matter, the South Bay. He recently took the time to answer a few questions regarding the upcoming beer dinner.
How did the idea for this dinner come about?
Natalie and Michael Benz from Russian River Brewing Company had been in town a few months back for business, and they were kind enough to stop by for dinner and a beer. At some point in the conversation, we threw around the idea of hosting a beer pairing and dinner. A few weeks and multiple emails later, the plan was in motion.
Can you please confirm that the five featured RRBC beers will all be on tap?
The lineup is all draught… Pliny the Elder, STS Pils, Blind Pig, Temptation and Consecration. We’re lucky that we get Pliny on the regular in Santa Clara County. Blind Pig hasn’t been down this way in 6 plus years. And STS Pils barely makes it out of the brewery, if at all. Temptation and Consecration – the sour, mixed fermentation barrel-aged beer components for the dinner – are such a treat.
The love, talent and care it takes to produce beers of this caliber is high art to say the least. We are beyond honored, and needless to say excited, to work with this great list of beers.
Can you provide a sneak peek of any of the vegan dish pairings?
There’s a lot to play with when it comes to food and beer. We’re excited to rehydrate Guajillo and California Chilis with Blind Pig for the Chili Colorado with young Jack Fruit. We’ll be incorporating Temptation with an Exotic Mushroom Ceviche… That’s too many spoilers already!
Anything else to add?
I’ve run Good Karma for almost ten years now. The relationships we’ve built, the experiences we’ve shared, the smiles we’ve inspired continue to inspire and us… day in, day out. The beer community continues to be some of the warmest, friendliest bunch of people I’ve ever encountered. Pair that with music, food, thought and reflection… the whole world just makes more sense.
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
Campbell Brewing Company
Craft Artisan Ales
El Toro Brewing Company
Firehouse Brewery and Grill
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
Strike Brewing Company
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.
Monstrous cabal (faction/gigantic)
Enjoy by (3.14)
Pizza port poor man’s IIPA
Pizza port thruster IIIPA
Mongo (kegged a week ago)
Dank and Sticky
Don’t act like you’re not impressed (alpine/mission)
What beer events, if any, will you be sure to attend?
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.
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
– Sculpin (Nitro)
Jeremy Marshall (BrewMaster), Lagunitas, Petaluma
– Day Time
– Fusion 27
– Special TBA
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.
The following is a roundup of many of the local beer-centric events taking place throughout the rest of this month in the South Bay.
Wed., Oct. 15 – Fri., Oct. 17
Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant is having a tap takeover with Drake’s Brewing from Oct. 15 to Oct. 17, 5pm-9pm each day. Drake’s Hausfest Lager will be one of the featured beers.
Thurs., Oct. 16
Market Beer Company (inside the San Pedro Square Market – the building on the corner of St. John and Almaden) will host their first “Locals Only” tap takeover event showcasing select draft beers from four local breweries, all from San Jose – Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Hermitage Brewing, Strike Brewing, and Clandestine Brewing. The event starts at 5pm.
This week’s edition of Thursday Beer Night at Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose features the South Bay debut of Golden Road Brewing out of Los Angeles. The tap list promises to be stellar, with opportunities to meet a brewery representative and take home glassware. Beer Night starts at 6pm.
Join Campbell Brewing Company for a special evening as guests will toast brewmaster Jim Turturici at 7pm for his recent medals from the Great American Beer Festival, including a silver medal from this year’s GABF for his Mastiff Barleywine in the Barley Wine-Style Ale category and a gold medal from last year’s GABF for his Scottish Ale in the Scottish-Style Ale category.
These medals complement a silver medal from this year’s World Beer Cup for his Romanov Imperial Stout in the British-Style Imperial Stout category.
There will be opportunities to sample his winning beers in the brewery as well as enjoy the latest seasonal beer – Weizenbock.
Fri., Oct. 17
Good Karma Vegan Café celebrates their 8th anniversary with a celebration featuring a number of offerings from owner and beer aficionado Ryan Summers’ personal beer collection. The party starts at 6pm and on tap will be rare, specialty and cellared kegs from the following breweries:
Sante Adairius Rustic Ales
Almanac Beer Co.
Port / Lost Abbey
Dogfish Head Beer
Plus a surprise or two to be announced
Sat., Oct. 18
The next quarterly installment of “Pints for Non Profits” takes place at Original Gravity Public House starting at 1pm. Three local non-profit organizations will be paired with three California breweries, and a percentage of proceeds from beer sales this day will be donated to the respective non-profit.
Veggielution paired with Lagunitas Brewing
UNAREP paired with Firestone Walker
Aspiranet paired with Ballast Point Brewing
Sat., Oct. 18 – Sun., Oct. 19
Downtown Campbell celebrates Oktoberfest featuring German food, beer and wine, live music and arts and crafts.
Mon., Oct. 20
Wine Affairs weekly beer tasting event features a Germany vs. USA tap takeover on all 12 taps. The event takes place from 4pm-10pm.
Tues., Oct. 21
Bay Area Beer Socials has teamed up with Stone Brewing for a pre-Halloween pub crawl in downtown San Jose.
Approximate beer schedule:
5:30pm – Market Beer Company
6:30pm – The Farmer’s Union – a cool new place with fantastic food!
7:30pm – Good Karma – More fantastic food and cool ambiance!
8:30pm – TBD
Thurs., Oct. 23
Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose presents a number of beers from Shipyard Brewing, including Monkey Fest IPA, Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, Barrel-Aged Double Old Thumper and Barrel-Aged Pumpkinhead. The event starts at 6pm as usual.
The latest installment of Beerwalk takes place in Willow Glen from 2pm-6pm, and it’s the Halloween edition.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $30 online at www.thebeerwalk.com. In the case the event does not sell out, tickets can be purchased day of for $35.
There will be a costume contest, an after party at the soon-to-open 20twenty Cheese Bar and prize raffles.
The current list of breweries includes:
Hermitage Brewing Company
Santa Clara Valley Brewing
Faultline Brewing Company
FireHouse Grill & Brewery
21st Amendment Brewery
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
Anchor Brewing Company
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Headlands Brewing Company
Six Rivers Brewery
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Green Flash Brewing Co.
Thurs., Oct. 30
Fans of Heretic Brewing Company are in luck as Market Beer Company hosts a Heretic Brewing Tap Takeover event starting at 5pm.
Fri., Oct. 31
Original Gravity hosts their annual Halloween costume contest starting at 7:30pm. Three categories (Scariest, Funniest and Most Original) will be judged by the staff, and the winner of each will receive a meal (Sausage/Grilled Cheese and Duck Fat Fries) and a beer of choice on draft for one cent.
Participants must bring valid ID and a before-and-after photo with makeup or have a removable mask. The contest kicks off at 7:30pm with the results revealed at 9pm.
The local region will be a “hoppening” place during the 2nd Annual Silicon Valley Beer Week (SVBW), which starts today and runs to Aug. 2.
Beer fans will have plenty of daily opportunities to enjoy good beer, including the following sampling of options:
FRIDAY, JULY 25
The only event taking place today is the SVBW Kickoff event from 6-9pm at downtown San Jose’s Blackbird Tavern. Chefs Dawn Smith (Blackbird Tavern) and Luis Silva (Naglee Park Garage) have prepared a beer-inspired menu to pair with specialty beers. A “Z Pass” ticket is required for this event (the same “Z Pass” is also good for the culminating KraftBrew Beer Fest on Aug. 2). Special beers include Bruery Smoking Wood (Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Smoked Beer), Echt Kriekenbier (Belgian Cherry Sour), Straffe Hendrik Wild (Belgian Pale with Brettanomyces), Bayerischer Bahnhof Berliner Weisse (Traditional German Sour Wheat), Allagash Confluence and more. More info.
SATURDAY, JULY 26
It has been an exciting time for downtown San Jose’s Original Gravity Public House. Their recent two-year anniversary celebration coincided with the unveiling of their finished expansion project. Original Gravity’s first SVBW event is “Pucker Up! Sour Fest 4.0” and features 15 national and international sour and wild ales. The lineup includes:
Allagash – Golden Brett (American Wild Ale)
Almanac – Bourbon Sour Porter (Sour Porter)
Anderson Valley – The Kimmie, The Yink and the Holy Gose (Gose)
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck – St. Louis Gueze (Gueze)
Bruery – Sour in the Rye (American Sour Ale)
Cismontane – Marea Roja (Flemish Style Red)
Drake’s – Barrel of Peril (Sour Tripel aged w/ Brett in Chardonnay Barrels)
Freigeist – Sauer Porter Raspberry (Wild Ale w/ Raspberries)
Jolly Pumpkin/Anchorage – Calabaza Boreal (American Wild Ale w/ Grapefruit and Peppercorn)
Lost Abbey – Spontaneous Cheer (American Wild Ale)
Mort Subite – Mort Subite Kriek (Lambic w/ Cherries)
New Belgium – La Folie (Flanders Style Brown Ale)
Priaire – Funky Gold Mosaic (Dry Hopped Wild Ale)
Russian River – Supplication (Sour Brown aged in Pinot Barrels)
Struise – WeltKrieg (Kriek)
Sour Fest is a popular Original Gravity event for sour beer fans and also provides a good opportunity for those curious about the “fruit, funk and tart” characteristics of sour beers to try them out. More info.
SUNDAY, JULY 27
Jack’s Libation House in Los Gatos, home to what is likely the South Bay’s largest beer garden, hosts a festive Los Gatos Brew Fest, featuring rare beers and one-offs from Firestone Walker (Paso Robles), Drake’s (San Leandro), Lagunitas (Petaluma), 21st Amendment Brewery (S.F.), Calicraft (Walnut Creek), Heretic (Fairfield), Stone (Escondido), Knee Deep Brewing (Auburn), Alpine (Alpine) and New Belgium (Fort Collins, CO). The event starts at 11am.
On hand will be Alpine’s Patrick McIlhenney, Calicraft’s Blaine Landberg, Knee Deep’s Jeb Taylor and Drake’s John Martin. More info.
MONDAY, JULY 28
Downtown Mountain’s Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant will feature 14 guest taps, seven from Allagash and seven from The Bruery, including:
Sucre – Madeira barrel aged
Kegs will be tapped at 5pm and pour until the beer runs out. More info.
Downtown Campbell’s Spread Deli & Bottles hosts Six River Float Night with their neighbors, Snake and Butterfly Chocolates from 5pm-8pm. More info.
TUESDAY, JULY 29
Downtown San Jose’s Good Karma Vegan Cafe hosts a dinner and tap takeover featuring The Bruery. A private paired dinner takes place from 5pm-6pm. Good Karma then opens to the public at 6pm with 19 beers on tap, including Grey Monday, Berazzled, The Wanderer, Tequila Barrel Aged Sucre and more. More info.
Santa Teresa Golf Club and Lagunitas team up to present the final Santa Teresa Summer Beer Talk on the Bar and Grill Patio. “Lagunitas Bloopers” takes place from 5:30pm-6:30pm and will be a discussion on how brewing mistakes can lead to brewing success. There will be beer tasting and happy hour prices on Lagunitas beers. For only $5 you will get to taste beers and participate in a discussion hosted by Lagunitas. More info.
Liquid Bread Gastropub in downtown Campbell presents Chef’s Choice Craft Beer Dinner, featuring selections from executive chef John Burke. The menu includes the following:
AMUSE: grape salad, almonds, olive oil
OREGON SHRIMP SALAD: mâche lettuce, toasted bread, palm hearts, charred tomato vinaigrette & REISSDORF KÖLSCH (german beer with light citrus, notes of sweet grain, and a mild hop finish)
UNI: basil spaetzle, chinese pepper, sesame seeds & WIDMER BROTHERS SAISON À FLEURS (farmhouse ale brewed with chrysanthemum, jasmine, and szechuan peppercorns)
LOCAL SOLE: salsify purée, woodear mushrooms, lollipop kale, pine nuts & EINSTöCK OLGERO (icelandic white ale dry with hints of coriander and orange peel)
Liquid Bread will offer the Chef’s Choice Craft Beer Dinner Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. More info.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 30
Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant will host a pop-up dinner with Hangar 24, pairing their beers with a four-course menu created by executive chef Colby M. Reade. The sample menu includes:
AMUSE BOUCHE (paired with Helles Lager) seared scallop spoon
RAVIOLO AL UOVO (paired with Farmhouse Saison) ox tail / braised greens / egg
BRAISED BEEF CHEEKS (paired with Alt Bier Ale) heirloom summer vegetables / veal glace / guanciale
CHOCOLATE TRIO (paired with Chocolate Porter) light chocolate pot du crème / chocolate porter ice cream / dark chocolate truffle
The prix fixe dinner is available for $75 per person with seating times available from 5:30pm-9pm. Reservations can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 650-386-1367. More info.
THURSDAY, JULY 31
The Farmers Union in downtown San Jose’s San Pedro Square will host Flights and Bites featuring beers from Stone Brewing Company. Executive chef Alex Jimenez will present six dishes paired with Stone beers starting at 6:30pm. The following is the beer-and-food pairing menu.
Chefs Crostini Fig Jam: Humboldt Fog goat cheese, jerk nuts paired with Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
Grilled Chicken Skewers: spicy peanut sauce paired with Stone IPA
Mushroom Cigars: porcini aioli paired with Stone Liberty Station Colonel Sykes East India Porter
Pulled Pork BBQ Sliders: apple-jicama slaw, jalapeño, brioche bun paired with 2012 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine
Housemade Veggie Sliders: white cheddar, cajun remoulade, brioche bun paired with Arrogant Bastard Ale
Pork & Ricotta Meatballs: crushed & roasted tomato paired with Stone Liberty Station The Sacred Druid
On hand will be Stone’s craft beer ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak. More info.
Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose is the host of the 2nd Annual California Craft Beer Throw down featuring Double IPAs. Last year’s winning Double IPA came from Heretic Brewing Company, and owner/brewer Jamil Zainasheff will be in attendance to defend his title against the offerings of Stone, Firestone Walker, Lagunitas, Altamont, 21st Amendment, Knee Deep and others. More info.
FRIDAY, AUG. 1
The last SVBW event for Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose is a good one, featuring the nearly divine offerings from Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey, including:
Older Viscosity ’12
Old Viscosity ’13
Santas lil Helper ’12
Cuvee De Tomme ’13
Angels Share Grand Cru
Framboise De Amerosa
Liquid Bread Gastropub hosts their 2nd Annual Ice Cream Social with Lagunitas Brewing Company from 3pm-5pm.
Enjoy a variety of ice cream flavors or build your own float. Examples include:
The Grapevine in Willow Glen will have Stone Brewing’s Dr. Bill will be on hand for a beer and cheese pairing event starting at 5pm. The event features 6 beers and cheeses:
Cabecou with Stone Saison
Picandine Pico with Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
Piave Vecchio with Stone Ruination IPA
Beemster Gouda Aged 18 months with Stone 2013 Oaked Smoked Old Guardian
Jasper Hill Bailey Hazen Blue with 2013 Double Bastard Ale
Colston Basset Stilton with Stone 2012 Imperial Russian Stout
Only $35 in advance or $40 at the door. Serving sizes: all beers are 4 oz pours and cheeses between 1/2 to 3/4 oz. portions. More info.
SATURDAY, AUG. 2
The popular KraftBrew Beer Fest is the culminating SVBW event and takes place at Gordon Biersch Brewing Company in San Jose’s Japantown. “This year’s festivities feature 60+ American craft, Belgian and German imports, home brews, a beer launch booth releasing a special or unique brew for tasting every hour, craft beer panel discussions, brewery tours, and lots of great food!” More info.
At last count, there were over 150 events listed on the SV Beer Week website, giving beer fans and those new to the world of beer a serious case of a first world problem – too many beer choices.
SF Beer Week is nearly upon us, and there are many, many events taking place throughout the greater Bay Area. Below are the 30 or so events, including the event descriptions (or parts thereof), that are taking place in San Jose.
Join us for our FOURTH Annual Double Blind Double IPA Tasting! 8 fresh and hoppy Double or Imperial West-Coast-Style IPAs on draft.
Why Double Blind? We want to make it less of a guessing game and more about the flavors, aromas, and over-all finished product of each beer. Once the results are revealed you may be shocked at your favorites!
Why Double IPA? With so many delicious styles of IPA we decided to even the playing field by featuring only Double or Imperial West-Coast-Style IPAs.
Tasting available from 4pm-8pm and results will be revealed as soon as scores are calculated after 8:30pm.
Known simply as the Lion, David Walker is Co-Founder of the infamous Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in Paso Robles, CA.
David brings the British elegance and Old World authenticity to their wonderful California inspired beers.
Come join us for a lunch and Q&A session with Mr. Walker and Jeffers, head of their Barrelworks program.
We will be tapping Velvet Merkin (2013), Lil’ Opal as well as other stand outs and surprises from their extremely diverse portfolio on draft. We will also be releasing a very limited quantity of XVI Anniversary and 2012 Double Double Barrel Ale in bottles for on site consumption that day as well.
Come join us for the only stop in the South Bay for Walker’s Wild Ride!
Are you… a homebrewer interested in starting your own brewery, … a beer geek that has thought about opening their own taproom, … interested in participating in a democratically run business? Come hear about the newest generation of local brewers to join the local craft beer scene.
The San Jose Cooperative Brewery & Pub, Inc., as a guest of and partnering with Hermitage Brewing Company, invites you to beer tasting and panel discussion of brewery entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley.
Panelists include representatives from Hermitage Brewing Company, Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Clandestine Brewing, Lincoln Court Brewing, and the San Jose Cooperative Brewery and Pub. The event will end with a brief discussion of San Jose Cooperative Brewery and Pub’s efforts to open California’s first cooperatively owned brewery (membership shares available on site).
Your $25 ”tuition” includes drink tickets good for two beers or a paddle of four six oz. tastings, a brewery tour, live music, one complimentary taco, and food available for purchase from the No Way Jose food truck.
Attendees who become a member who join the co-op on site will be entered into a raffle for a selection of awesome beer swag!
Showcase Chimay’s Red, White, and Blue with Trappist Cheese brewed/made by Trappist Monks in Belgium.
Back in 1862, those monks developed the production of Belgian beers and Trappist cheese in order to provide for their needs and those of their foundations, as well as to support employment in their region. Today monastic tradition of natural brewing still is part of those monks’ life and Chimay beers are sold only for financial support of the monastery, community needs and good causes.
Showcase three Chimay Trappist Cheeses each washed with different Chimay beers (the RED, WHITE, and BLUE).
Join us to have a taste of those fantastic Chimay Ales and Cheese! $18pp
We’re honored the folks from Prairie will be around this year to team up with what we believe to be the BEST brewery in the Bay Area, Sante Adairius Rustic Ales!
Rumors of West Ashley, Cask 200, BA Cellarman, BOMB!
Variations and more are likely to bless the palates of beer lovers who make the journey to downtown San Jose for an unforgettable evening of incredibly authentic farmhouse ales- a light tapas menu will support the tap list, incorporating the artistry of many of the brews.
Come meet Tomme Arthur the award winning Co-Founder & Director of Brewery Operations and David Johnson Director of Distribution for The Lost Abbey!
We will be pouring some exceptional beers for this event including the infamous Cuvee de Tomme! Here is the lineup, we are excited to see you there!
Pouring from Lost Abbey: Deliverance, Cuvee de Tomme, Red Barn, Devotion, Judgment Day, Serpents Stout
Pouring from Port Brewing: Mongo, Wipe Out, Board Meeting, Midnight Expression
The Table: Brewmaster Dinner: Los Gatos Meets Santa Clara, 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
$65 (excluding tax & gratuity)
Join The Table at 6:30pm on Monday, February 10th when the Los Gatos Brewing Company’s Kent Wheat and Santa Clara Valley Brewing’s Steve Donohue host an exclusive dinner for 50 guests featuring 4 courses of unique micro brews paired with a seasonal, farm-to-table menu as local as these two breweries. Reservations are required: www.thetablesj.com/the-menu/. Limited Seating.
First course: Los Gatos Brewing Company ‘coquettish blond’ kolsch, potato terrine, pickled spring onions
Second course: Santa Clara Valley Brewing Company ‘electric tower’ ipa, mustard green dumplings, mandarin butter
Third course: Los Gatos Brewing Company seasonal firkin, braised veal belly, stinging nettle velouté
Fourth course: Santa Clara Valley Brewing Company ‘peralta’ porter, chocolate pot du crème, coffee bean saltine
The Bay Area’s biggest Lagunitas Tap Takeover for SF Beer Week!
Showcasing the release of SF Fusion 20 (we can’t wait to try it, we helped make it!) as well as High-West Bourbon Barrel Aged Cap-Stout, 2013 So-Co Sour Stout, 2012 Brown Shugga, 2013 Hairy Eyeball, Fresh Fresh Fresh Maximus, Sucks, and IPA!!!
Can beer age just like the wines? Find out yourself with Fuller Vintage Ale from 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.
2010, 2011, 2012 Tasting notes from Fuller:
2010 – An initial fruit aroma with notes of Pears and Orange giving through to some more floral notes is followed by a clean, full, almost liquored initial palate. The finish is dark orange, satisfying and alcohol warming.
2011- Early tasting of the beer as recently bottled has been most encouraging; an opening fruit aroma of Maraschino cherries is underlaid with some Mandarin Orange notes. These are carried through to the initial palate before being enhanced with a fruit malt and alcohol warming after palate. Already this beer could be drunk but we expect it will continue to develop into another Classic Fuller’s Vintage.
2012-The early initial tasting notes for this rich brew are already revealing what we hope will be another truly Vintage beer. An initial aroma of ripe autumnal fruits with slight notes of Rosehips leads on to a smooth almost lush middle palate with just a hint of spice. There is a pleasant hop bitterness which is then finished with a satisfying alcohol warming on the after palate.
Join us for a night of beer and pizza with home-grown head brewer Steve Donohue from Santa Clara Valley Brewing.
Only blocks from the Peralta Adobe and the original site of San Jose’s famous electric tower…
We’ll have Electric Tower IPA, Peralta Porter, Little Orchard Saison, and New Almaden Imperial Red, with a [special] appearance by Steve’s new Oyster Stout and a super-secret one-off 8-gallon Woodinville Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged Peralta Porter spiked with who-knows-what.
Grapevine: Beer, Wine, Cheese, Fruit and Chocolate Pairing, 7 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Join us for a golorious evening of beer, wine, cheese, fruit and chocolate from Mariette – Premium Chocolates.
THURSDAY, FEB. 13
SmokeEaters: Double IPA Tap Takeover, 12 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Smoke Eaters will be featuring some of the best Nor Cal and So Cal Double IPAs. Tapping with “Keep the Glass,” Hopocalypse, Pliny the Elder, Palate Wrecker, Denogginizer, Ruination, Double Jack.
Back by popular demand it is our biannual Sour Fest at Original Gravity! Grab your sweetheart and come indulge yourself in 15 diverse and rare offerings from around the world.
Whether it’s the fruity funk of brett to the dry and citrusy lacto we will have whatever your sour little heart desires.
If you are in the mood for sweet as well, be sure to head across the street that day to our good friends at Good Karma for their Sweet Beer Fest and the ultimate sweet and sour experience!
Pouring: Allagash – Midnight Brett, Anderson Valley – Featherleggy Bulrusher, BFM – SQRT 225th Anniversary Sour Historical Saison, The Bruery – Sour in the Rye (2013), Heretic – Miscreant, Freigeist – Rhubarb Gose, Mikkeller – SpontanSeabuckthorn, Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V. – St. Louis Gueze Fond Tradition, Struise – Weltfreude (2011), Trois Dames – Oud Bruin
Specialty Timed Tappings: Almanac – Valley of the Hearts Delight (5pm), The Rare Barrel – Shadows of Their Eyes (5:45pm), Specialty TBA – (6:30pm), Russian River – Temptation (2013) (7:15pm), Extremely Rare/Specialty TBA (8pm)
**Proceeds benefit Can Do MS, a non-profit dedicated to empowering those living with Multiple Sclerosis.**
Breweries Attending (Updated November 21, 2013): Discretion Brewing, Uncommon Brewers, Strike, Campbell Brewing, Faultline, Rabbits Foot Meadery / Red Branch Cider, Los Gatos Brewing Company, Santa Clara Valley Brewing, The Rare Barrel, Peter B’s, Seabright Brewing, El Toro, Hermitage Brewing, Tied House
By now you know the event, 28 IPA, DIPA, and 3XIPAs on draft all day long! It’s a hop head’s paradise.
Pliny the Younger tapping, Black Label Hopocalypse, Boneyard, local IPAs, we promise a full out palate attack of hops. Check our facebook for Younger and Black Label tapping details.
Given the plethora of interesting, one-of-a-kind options taking place not only in San Jose but throughout the South Bay and the nearby regions, who else wishes for the ability to be at two (or more) places at the same time?
Offerings from Lagunitas Brewing Company can be found at a myriad of locations throughout the South Bay and beyond. But during SF Beer Week, Good Karma Vegan Cafe in downtown San Jose (37 South First Street) will be the hot spot for an epic Lagunitas event entitled “Get High-Westified & SF Fusion 20 Release Party.”
The event title is in reference to Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout (2012) aged in bourbon barrels from High West Distillery and the special SF Beer Week edition of the Lagunitas Fusion Series (made in part by some of the Good Karma crew). The event takes place on Tuesday, Feb. 11 from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
South Bay native and long-time San Jose resident Rudy Kuhn is the Central California Market Manager for Lagunitas and shares the following:
Good Karma is definitely the biggest SFBW event. The tap list is gonna rival the Lagunitas Tap Room. Ryan [Good Karma owner and beer aficionado Ryan Summers] has been cellaring a bunch of these flavors in anticipation for this event. It’ll be a true showcase of the dank and dark sides of Lagunitas… some of our happiest offerings and some of the few darker and barrel-aged beers we’ve made over the past few years. We’ll get funky with some vinyl spinning, too.
The beer lineup includes cellared kegs of 2013 SoCo Sour Stout, 2012 Brown Shugga, and 2013 Hairy Eyeball along with fresh Maximus Double IPA, Sucks, and IPA. Folks can also keep the glassware while supplies last.
A different kind of event takes place on Friday, Feb. 14, 7 p.m. at downtown San Jose’s Café Stritch. Rudy shares:
Taking place at Café Stritch is the spawn of our Beer Circus. We’re bringing some of those freaks down to San Jose for a pre-party and to show the locals a good time. We’ll have two of our recent Fusion beers and party down until The Bang start to jam away the night on the stage.
Rudy is just as happy in discussing the other exciting beer events coming up throughout the South Bay, like the Sweet and Sour Festival also taking place on Friday, Feb. 14 at Good Karma and Original Gravity Public House. Rudy adds, “You can pucker up with some sours at OG and then get some sweet barrel-aged brews across the street at Good Karma.” The Original Gravity event, “Pucker Up! Valentine’s Day Sour Fest 3.0,” takes place from 4 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. while the Good Karma event, “St. Valentine’s Barrel-Aged Sweeties,” takes place from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Be sure to say hi to Rudy, an exemplary representative of the local beer scene – he’ll be the guy with the big smile, big beard, and the big bundle of positive energy flowing around him.
To help celebrate the recent arrival of Colorado’s Oskar Blues Brewery beers to the South Bay, there will be an Oskar Blues “Chub” Crawl taking place in downtown San Jose on Thursday, Jan. 9 starting at 5 p.m.
The starting point is the Market Beer Store (100 North Almaden Ave.) in San Pedro Square Market.
The ensuing locations for the “Chub” Crawl include:
DBI Beverage’s craft/specialty brand manager Greg Sonick shares that there will be “swag to announce that you are part of the crawl,” and six brewery reps. in attendance who can answer questions about the Oskar Blues offerings, including Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Old Chub Scotch Ale, Ten FIDY Imperial Stout, the flagship Dale’s Pale Ale, and more.
Oskar Blues is one of Colorado’s largest craft breweries, having opened Oskar Blues Grill & Brew Restaurant in 1997. In 2002, they became the first craft brewery to offer beer in a can.
Sonick adds, “I invite everyone to come out, enjoy good beer, and help show support for the South Bay good beer scene.”
A growing number of folks are seeking out better beer by returning to their favorite spots or trying out new places, eager to enjoy a glass—or more—depending on the occasion. And in a continuing nod to the burgeoning craft beer landscape, respectable beer hubs are taking shape throughout the South Bay.
In downtown San Jose, the number of establishments offering good beer is helping to raise Silicon Valley’s profile among the state’s notable beer regions. There are currently a dozen or so downtown locations that serve better beer, with more places set to open.
The San Pedro Square neighborhood is turning into quite a beer hub on its own, with a block of distinct establishments serving craft beer. We’re talking about San Pedro Square Market Bar, the Garage Bar, Market Beer Co., O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub, Firehouse No. 1 Gastropub, Los Gatos Brewing Company, Britannia Arms, and the recently opened Farmers Union.
Along with the Market and Garage bars inside San Pedro Square Market, there’s also Market Beer Co. which opened this past March, becoming San Jose’s first craft beer bottle shop.
Since then, they have added eight taps and have more than 200 craft beer bottles. Market Beer Co. has quickly gained a following due in large part to the efforts of general manager Jake McCluskey and his knowledgeable and friendly team of beertenders, all of whom help to create a fun and relaxed vibe.
“We stock only bomber-sized (22 oz.) bottles to encourage sharing among our customers. For our taps, we try to get smaller-sized kegs so we can rotate our draft beers quickly,” McCluskey says. “It’s a place where you see seasoned beer connoisseurs talking beer with the greenest newbies. It’s cool to be a beer geek but not a beer snob.”
Of its 50+ beer taps, O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub dedicates 38 of them to craft. General manager David Mulvehill says he values the link between craft breweries and O’Flaherty’s, viewing both as small businesses helping to support one another.
O’Flaherty’s main goal, according to Mulvehill, is to make everyone feel welcome, referring to their motto, “You’re a stranger here but once.” He says, “We need to keep the integrity of an Irish bar – customers can enjoy a Coors Light, Stella, Guinness and feel welcome. We believe everyone is a beer drinker and that we can provide a stepping stone for them, from Stella to a craft beer. And we always have something to offer the beer geeks.”
For beer and food pairings, Firehouse No. 1 Gastropub and Los Gatos Brewing Company fit the bill. Firehouse is currently San Jose’s only gastropub and serves mostly craft beer from its eight taps. Los Gatos Brewing Company has three rotating guest taps, plus five of their own offerings crafted by brewmaster Kent Wheat. Currently, there’s a cask-conditioned porter as well.
Britannia Arms serves more traditional pub fare, along with pints poured from a combined 42 taps—24 inside the bar and 18 more out in the 3,000 square-foot, heated patio. Most of the 42 taps are craft selections.
The Farmers Union, which opened this past Thursday, rounds out the current crop of beer-centric places within San Pedro Square. A large square bar is the focal point of the establishment, and general manager Aaron Williams says that they will have at least 25 of their 60 taps dedicated to craft beer.
Williams says, “We are targeting a diverse clientele that likes great food paired with our great selection of craft beer. We will always have at least 25 taps dedicated to craft beers with flight options available. We want to support the local brewers as well as serve the highest quality craft beers possible.”
Original Gravity Public House became San Jose’s first establishment focused 100 percent on beer from the get go thanks to the efforts of owners Johnny Wang and Dan Phan. They celebrated their one-year anniversary on Saturday and have already made concrete plans for expanding the current location.
“We take craft beer very seriously but always aim to have a fun and informative conversation about it,” bar manager and events coordinator Rob Monroe says. “We hope to teach without the snobbery and find something new and exciting for you each and every time. No question is a dumb one, and we understand everyone’s palate is as diverse as our beer list.”
Original Gravity rotates beers in and out of its 25 taps so often that Monroe says the best way to keep up with what’s on tap is to check the website, where patrons can find live updates of the latest offerings.
Numerous customers throughout the recent decades have enjoyed the food, beers and the outdoor patio of Gordon Biersch. “We offer eight handcrafted traditional German lagers,” head brewer Jeff Liles says. “I would recommend starting off with a sampler of our beers. This way our guests get a chance to try some of our unique styles and flavors.”
Some people are still surprised when first noticing the extensive draft selection at SmokeEaters, which specializes in hot wings. ““SmokeEaters is the place to meet up with friends to eat great food, drink some cold beer and catch a game,” general partner Mike Burke says. “We rotate our craft beers frequently; do not hesitate to ask to sample a style of beer. With the expansion of the craft market, there are some great styles and brewers out there popping up almost every week. We want the customer to love the beer they are drinking.”
When it comes to Good Karma Vegan Café, many people quickly become hooked on not only the beer menu but the place’s carefree vibe. Owner Ryan Summers and the Good Karma staff simply know their beers. Summers embraces the downtown beer scene: “There’s just too much rad beer to be had, and we deserve the awesome beers right here.”
Live music is a wonderful accompaniment to good beer, and this combination is prevalent among several previously mentioned locations. Café Stritch—with nearly ten craft beer taps—and the recently opened Blackbird Tavern—with eight mostly craft beer taps—join the ranks of these establishments that feature live music.
Blackbird co-owners Chris Esparza and Brendan Rawson seek to provide a full sensory experience, matching food and beer to their live music. For example, when New Orleans jazz is playing, don’t be surprised to see featured beers from Louisiana’s Abita Brewing.
Folks passing by ISO: Beers can see that a lot of progress has been made at the yet-to-open beer bar and tasting lounge. The wait is nearly over. According to co-owner Dee Singh, what is left is painting, putting in floors, and installing fixtures. He plans to have 37 taps for beer and hopes for a mid-August opening. Customers will also be able to purchase bottles to go.
Rounding out the members of the downtown San Jose beer hub are longstanding establishments Trials Pub and Teske’s Germania. Trial’s offers an authentic British pub vibe and traditional English ales on tap, on cask, or in bottles. At Teske’s, it’s about experiencing German fare in a rustic Bavarian setting that includes a beer garden.
All of Teske’s beers are from Germany co-owner Greg Baumann says, and he invites visitors to come and enjoy the casual setting with a lager, pilsner, dopplebock or hefeweizen. Their current offerings include Spaten Premium Lager, Höfbrau Dunkel, Franziskaner Hefe Weizen, Bitburger Pilsner, Köstritzer Schwarzbier and Stiegl Lager on tap, with many more bottled German beers.
As Original Gravity’s Monroe put it, everyone’s palate is different. So it’s very fortunate to see the growing diversity reflected in the downtown San Jose beer scene. Ultimately, our personal preferences determine not only which beers we like, but also which places we return to over and over again.