San Jose’s Floodcraft Brewing Company – located at the Whole Foods Market on The Alameda (777 The Alameda, to be exact) – has just released ‘Inner Strength’ Hazy Double IPA.
According to brewmaster Guy Cameron, Inner Strength was brewed with a Vermont Ale yeast strain plus Citra, Mosaic and Azacca hops.
During my recent visit on its release day, a good crowd had formed before noon, and many looked to be enjoying the new beer.
Inner Strength Hazy Double IPA is flooded <ahem> with ripe citrus, pineapple and melon aromas and flavors, well balanced by a pleasant hop bitterness. It’s a super smooth beer that belies the 8.4% ABV.
Inner Strength Hazy Double IPA is the third ‘hazy’ offering from Floodcraft Brewing, with all three having been released within the past couple months.
‘Perspective Shift’ New England IPA, brewed with all Citra hops, comes in at 6.8% and showcases bright aromas and flavors of orange, peach, passionfruit and pine.
‘Forward Momentum’ Hazy Pale, 5.5% ABV, exhibits orange and stone fruit aromas and flavors with a slight hop bitterness.
Additionally, ‘Song for You’ Blonde Ale with Hallertau Blanc (5.6% ABV) is a bright, citrusy beer with floral and peppery notes.
It’s certainly a busy time for Guy and assistant brewer Ben Wright, as the current tap list features ten of their beers, marking the highest number of Floodcraft Brewing beers on tap at one time.
Inner Strength stands out as my current favorite of the Floodcraft Brewing offerings. I’m struck by its citrus, melon juiciness and smoothness, making for one delicious and memorable Double IPA.
Brewmaster Guy Cameron was busy interacting with the first of many guests that evening.
The friendly bar staff.
On tap were four of Floodcraft Brewing’s own beers:
Curry for 3 Triple IPA
Solely Simcoe American Pale Ale
Nelmo American Pale Ale
Mindfulness American Amber Ale
Charcuterie, cheese and fruit platters galore. Plus cupcakes.
My bud Stef enjoying his flight of Floodcraft’s inaugural offerings.
All four Floodcraft beers were tasty, but I especially enjoyed Curry for 3 Triple IPA, a very well-balanced orange juice bomb with notes of tangerine, marmalade and papaya with a smoothness that belied its 10.5% ABV.
It was great – as always – catching up with Guy.
The Whole Foods team and guests expressed their appreciation for Guy’s leadership as well as for his consistently excellent creations.
Whole Foods also celebrated the occasion with their signature ‘breaking bread’ ceremony, which included pretzels that spelled out “FLOODCRAFT.”
Words of appreciation were given – again – to the Floodcraft Brewing Company brewing team, consisting of Guy and assistant brewer Ben Wright (right).
Ben and Guy.
I was grateful to have more than my fair share of the limited Curry for 3 Triple IPA.
In fact, it didn’t take long after the first initial sips to realize that Curry for 3 is one of my all-time favorites of any style.
What a memorable event – delicious food and beer, happy vibes and good times with good folks.
And look for Floodcraft offerings to start appearing at the other South Bay Whole Foods locations with taprooms.
A name change is happening for the popular brewery and tap room Mission Creek Brewing Company, located at the San Jose Whole Foods Market on The Alameda (777 The Alameda).
Brewmaster Guy Cameron recently shared with me the reason for the name change:
“Due to the success of the first Whole Foods Market Northern California brewery here in San Jose on The Alameda, we wanted to create a trademarked brand that could be distributed beyond this location. We chose Floodcraft because it is original and relates to the history of Whole Foods Market.
“People might be surprised to learn that on Memorial Day in 1981, there was a devastating flood that nearly destroyed the first ever Whole Foods Market store in Austin, TX. The inventory was wiped out, and most of the equipment was damaged. There was a question of whether or not this first Whole Foods Market store would ever reopen.
“Customers, neighbors, and team members came together to help clean up and repair everything. Thanks to all these efforts, the store was able to reopen 28 days later.
“If it weren’t for that community support, Whole Foods Market might not be what it is today. It’s a very important part of the history of Whole Foods Market that continues to be celebrated and honored to this very day.”
The Curry for 3 Triple IPA is a special release tapping brewed just for the re-opening. The three other beers have already been available.
Guy brewed a first batch of Curry for 3 Triple IPA for SF Beer Week earlier this year in February which highly anticipated, given his extensive experience previously brewing big, well-regarded IPAs – including Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger – at Russian River Brewing Company.
The first batch lasted only a week and was a standout beer according to many. Guy himself described Curry for 3 as his favorite – a “10.4% Citra orange juice bomb.”
As I sadly missed it earlier this year, I’ll be sure to enjoy some this time around.
Located on the second floor, the tap room has a covered outdoor seating area for up to 75 people.
There’s also the direct view of the home of our beloved Sharks.
There’s good food aplenty with a variety of tasty starters, small plates, entrees and sushi.
On one of the ground floor walls – next to the elevator and staircase that lead up to the tap room – is a large, smiling photo of Guy Cameron, the brewmaster of Mission Creek Brewing.
Guy has been with Mission Creek Brewing ever since the store, brewery and taproom opened back in Dec. 2014.
Posted along the wall is also a description of the brewery:
“In the days before the Alameda was paved, Mission Creek flowed into irrigation canals along the roadway. This provided water to the mission and helped early Spanish settlers and Native Americans to establish agriculture in the area. Mission Creek Brewing Co.’s name celebrates the history of the San Jose landscape and community it helped establish.”
Their website indicates, “Our brewery was designed with a contemporary and modern twist to San Jose’s famous and historic Falstaff Brewery. The design uses reclaimed red cedar wood and locally produced brick. The brewpub bar is completely open and features a rooftop view of SAP center, home-ice for the San Jose Sharks hockey team.”
This location is the first – and remains the only – Whole Foods Market in California with its own on-site brewery. The brewery itself is located behind the tap room.
We got to meet up with Guy, who’s as humble and down-to-earth as they come. He shared that he’s brewed about 30 different beers since Mission Creek’s opening. He also confirmed the good news that the brewery would be adding three fermenters.
On any given day, guests can expect three to five of Mission Creek Brewing’s own beers to be among the 20 or so draft beer options.
On tap during our visit were Mission Creek Solely Mosaic (American Pale Ale), Fade to Brown (Brown IPA), Punch List (Pale Ale), Sorta Session IPA (American IPA) and Citra Fix (American IPA).
Each was excellent, full of distinct aromas and flavors of hoppy goodness ranging from citrus and floral to piney and dank. My favorites were Solely Mosaic and Citra Fix.
Hoppy beers are Guy’s favorites, so expect to see plenty of such offerings always in the mix at Mission Creek.
The grand opening of San Jose’s second Whole Foods Market takes place on Tues., Dec. 9 at 777 The Alameda (at Stockton). The store houses Mission Creek Brewing Company, marking the first Whole Foods store in California with an on-site brewery and tap room. The company’s first brewery opened just a few weeks ago in Houston.
The opening day celebration starts at 9:45am with opening remarks and a bread-breaking ceremony. Doors open to the public at 10am, providing the first public access to the Mission Creek Brewing Company tap room.
There will be live, big-band music by Mark Russo and the Classy Cats, vendors sampling local foods and opportunities to meet regional and store leadership. Mix 106.5 (KEZR-FM) will host a live remote broadcast from 10:30am-12:30pm.
Mission Creek Brewing Company Brewery and Tap Room
The Mission Creek brewery and tap room are located on the second floor of a two-story, 5,600 square-foot “outbuilding” separate from the main store. The tap room has 22 total taps, featuring mostly beers and several taps for wine and sparkling water. On any given occasion, three to five of the taps will feature beers brewed by Mission Creek brewmaster Guy Cameron, who started just over a month ago.
The tap room has eight bar seats, a view of the brewery – which houses a seven-barrel system – and outdoor seating for about 75. The outdoor area also has a retractable roof and heating. Customers can also order cheese plates, pizzas and other pub foods from a restaurant-style menu.
Though the opening day tap list has yet to be finalized, specialty associate coordinator Wesley Miller, who oversees the store’s beer program, recently told me the following San Jose-brewed beers will be on tap for the grand opening:
Mission Creek Pale Ale
Mission Creek IPA
Santa Clara Valley Brewing Electric Tower IPA
Hermitage Brewing Company Cascade 45 Single Hop IPA
Hermitage Brewing Company Ale of the Imp Double IPA
Camino Brewing Company Nuberu Pale Ale
Miller further pointed out that the Nuberu Pale Ale serves as the first beer from Camino Brewing to make its public debut. Camino Brewing – whose focus is on organic, local ingredients – is seeking to open a brewery in downtown San Jose.
Mission Creek Brewing Company Brewmaster Guy Cameron
During a recent sneak-peek visit, Guy Cameron – a down-to-earth, likable good guy – told me of his local connection; he grew up in Fremont and lived in Los Gatos for about 10 years. Cameron attended UC Santa Barbara and completed a bachelors in business administration at CSU Hayward. He also has a technical writing certificate from De Anza College.
He was an avid homebrewer and remembers when his homebrew club Silicon Valley Sudzers – now a well-organized, thriving homebrew club – at times consisted of just him and a couple other folks.
His first commercial brewing job was as an assistant brewer at the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in Campbell. He then accepted an offer to join Vinnie Cilurzo at the well-regarded Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa just as the production brewery was opening in 2008.
Starting off washing kegs, Cameron has been a fixture on the venerable Russian River Brewing team the past six years, where he has played a major role in brewing Russian River’s much-vaunted beers, including sour ales Supplication, Beatification and Consecration, as well as Blind Pig IPA, Pliny the Elder (Double IPA) and Pliny the Younger (Triple IPA).
The process of becoming Mission Creek’s brewmaster has been a whirlwind experience, and much has happened quickly. Cameron is thrilled to return to the South Bay and reconnect with people and the local scene, as well as be able to see his parents – who still reside in Fremont – more frequently.
The first two offerings from Mission Creek Brewing Company reflect Cameron’s affinity for hoppy beers – an IPA and a Pale Ale. Both are currently in the fermentation tanks but, thankfully, will be ready to enjoy by next week’s grand opening.
The much-anticipated Whole Foods Market on The Alameda in San Jose created quite a buzz last month with the announcement of its Dec. 9 grand opening date. Some highlights from the news release included:
42nd Whole Foods store in Northern California and the second Whole Foods in San Jose
35,000 square-foot space with a whole host of environmentally efficient features
Estimated to bring 150 jobs to San Jose
First store in California to have an on-site brewery and taproom and only the second store in the company with an on-site brewery (a Houston store will have a brewery up-and-running in early November)
Two-story, 5,600 square-foot brewery building to also house a coffee and fresh juice venue along with a restaurant-style menu
An in-house brewmaster who will create signature beers for the taproom
Like many San Jose residents, I have been keeping track of the store’s status ever since plans were first announced for the site in 2005. For me, the long wait has been justified thanks to the announcement made a couple summers ago that the site would have a brewery and restaurant.
And when construction finally began late last summer, I knew that it would be just a matter of time before folks throughout the area would flock to the store to check out the brewery, the taproom and, of course, the beers.
Overseeing the beer program for the new store is Wesley Miller, specialty associate coordinator for Northern CA and Reno. I had the opportunity to speak with him yesterday, and Miller shared some of his background as well as the latest updates on the brewery front, including an introduction to the recently selected brewmaster.
Can you tell us a bit of your background?
I grew up in San Jose and attended Foothill College and a couple other colleges in Humboldt. I’ve been with Whole Foods since 1999 and have worked primarily in the beer, wine and cheese specialty areas. Most of my positions have involved craft beer, from the store level to the regional level. I’ve opened up taprooms and have trained beer staff. I’ve taught proper pouring techniques and have procured new vendors.
How did you get into craft beer? Any “Aha!” moment?
After college I started working at the Whole Foods store in Campbell, and the search was continually on for the next great beer to enjoy. The South Bay didn’t have much beer culture at the time. There weren’t many beer stores. Teske’s stood out. Rose & Crown in Palo Alto had some cool beers. There was Sierra Nevada. Lagunitas was just getting big, and I was really into Belgian beers. My first Cantillon bottle was probably the “Aha!” moment.
I was also interested in making beer and wine and became a very avid homebrewer, attending homebrew club meetings.
The local beer culture started emerging in the mid to late 2000s, and I just really enjoyed the culture of craft beer. I wanted to be a part of the community and the industry. I appreciated the history of brewing, and I could taste the artistry in the beers.
I’ve enjoyed seeing the craft beer community grow first hand, and I’ve made great connections and relationships.
Who’s the brewmaster, and can you provide a brief background on him/her?
Guy Cameron. He starts today. Guy brewed with Russian River Brewing Company the last six years and before that was an award-winning homebrewer. He also previously brewed at the Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in Campbell.
He grew up in Los Gatos, so he’s a South Bay guy as well. He went to De Anza College and then to CSU, Hayward. He’s lived the last six years in Santa Rosa.
How is the buildout of the brewery coming along? When will the first beers be brewed?
We have a 7-barrel system, a couple fermenters. The tanks and equipment are in, and we’re installing a lot of it this week and next. We will start brewing in the next two weeks.
How much do you expect to brew in the first year?
Will the brewery have a separate name?
Yes. A distinct name will help differentiate the brewery. The name will pay homage to the local region.
How many taps will the taproom have, and which beers will you make first?
The taproom has 20 taps. We will start off with two taps of our own beers, and we’ll have a third tap for our seasonal beer. The rest of the taps will be dedicated to rotating guest taps.
In collaborating with Guy, we decided that the first style will be a nice, West Coast IPA. For the second beer, we’re still deciding, but it’s going to be something more sessionable, lower octane. Perhaps a saison or red ale.
Will you carry local beers on your guest taps?
We will look for local brewers to highlight them and help them grow. Each of our stores strives to do that.
I met with Camino Brewing Company last week, and I’ll be working on getting their kegs for the opening. Camino Brewing is based in San Jose, and we will be the first place to offer their beer on draft.
We will most likely have something from Santa Clara Valley Brewing on tap as well, hopefully a special beer for our opening.
We dedicate a lot of space in the stores for beer, really focusing on craft and local. We try to ensure that we’re up on the seasonal and limited-release beers by making relationships with breweries and helping to build their brands. We want each store to have the autonomy to bring in local beers.
Can you share more details of the taproom?
The taproom can fit 70 people comfortably. We’ll have bar seating and communal table seating, and all open to the outdoor elements on the rooftop deck. We want guests to have a beer or a glass of wine – we’ll have local wines on tap – and have a relaxing, enjoyable experience.
We will serve a pub menu to pair with the craft beers on tap, and that’s a big thing for us – to have a place that the community can come out to and find something new that can pair wonderfully with beer. We want to convert beer newbies to craft beer through such pairings and elevate the customer’s experiences with beer.
Why select San Jose as one of the first Whole Foods to have a brewery and taproom?
It made sense with our growth in the craft beer scene. We’ve built craft beer bars, and building a brewery was something we’ve wanted to do for a while. Brewing was simply the next logical step in the evolution.
And San Jose has a rich history of brewing. Very close to the store is the location of Fredericksburg Brewing Company, which was built in 1869. We want to bring back some of the history to the neighborhood.
Your take on the burgeoning San Jose beer scene?
Wine Affairs. Original Gravity. Good Karma. ISObeers. There’s more, and it’s great to be a part of that community. There may be something on tap at Good Karma that you’re excited about, but then afterwards you can go to Original Gravity for a different beer and experience a different atmosphere. And then check out San Pedro Square Market after that. There’s so much variety out there, and if you’re a craft beer drinker, you’re adventurous and seek out different things.
We will highlight the other beer bars and establishments. It’s about partnerships and creating that community.
Our opening is on Dec. 9, and we welcome folks to come on out and visit us.