A bunch of events are coming up featuring local breweries, which is great to see. Most are officially part of Silicon Valley Beer Week. The upcoming stretch looks to be the largest concentration of special local brewery events ever. Very exciting times!
Fri., July 21: Locals Only Beer Garden
WHAT: Forager Tasting Room & Eatery will host a ‘Locals Only Beer Garden’ as part of the Taste of San Jose event for Silicon Valley Beer Week. 5-10pm.
WHAT: 20twenty cheese bar hosts a special event featuring all San Jose breweries, including Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Hermitage Brewing Company, Bellpenny Brewing Company, Uproar Brewing Company, Strike Brewing Company, New World Ales, GearTooth AleWerks, Hapa’s Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch Brewing Company and Camino Brewing Company, as well as nearby Golden State Brewery and Red Branch Cider Company. Brewers and brewery reps. will be in attendance. 5-9pm.
WHERE: 20twenty cheese bar, 1389 Lincoln Ave., San Jose
WHAT: Uproar Brewing Company hosts a four-course dinner – ‘The Beer, The Brine & The Brash’ – inside the brewery featuring brined ingredients from pickles to meats and beers selected by head brewer Jim. 7-9pm.
Thurs., July 27: Locals Only Featuring Floodcraft Brewing Company
WHAT: Whole Foods Market in Santa Clara will host an all-day tap takeover featuring only local breweries, including Floodcraft, Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Hermitage Brewing Company, Camino Brewing Company and more. 11am-10pm.
WHERE: Whole Foods Market, 2732 Augustine Dr., #1600, Santa Clara
WHAT: Having started back on May 18, the weekly Thursday night market presented by Gordon Biersch Brewing Company and Moveable Feast features Gordon Biersch beers, Wildcide ciders, street food, music, artists and makers at the Gordon Biersch brewery facility in Japantown, San Jose. 5-9pm.
WHERE: Gordon Biersch, 357 E. Taylor St., San Jose
WHAT: Taplands in Santa Clara will celebrate local beer and feature offerings from Golden State Brewery, Hermitage, Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Strike, Camino Brewing, GearTooth AleWerks and others, with plans to continue into the following week. 11am-10pm.
WHAT: Forager Tasting Room & Eatery hosts a talk – led by Mark Denari of New World Ales – about all things hops, including the local history of San Jose’s hop growing tradition. Tasting included. 5-7pm.
WHAT: Seth Hendrickson of Golden State Brewery and Matt Hartenstein of Taplands will participate in the inaugural ‘Inside the Brewer’s Studio’ series event to feature dynamic, local beer enthusiasts. 7-9pm.
A number of San Jose breweries will participate this Saturday, March 4, in a benefit to help the recent flood victims of San Jose.
Below are their respective Facebook updates.
Strike Brewing Company
Join us as we raise money to help our South Bay neighbors affected by the recent flooding. 10% percent of all taproom sales and all of the proceeds from the silent auction will be donated to the San Jose Flood Relief Fund.
KFOX live broadcast from the brewery
Hapa’s Brewing Company
Join us (and/or other participating San Jose breweries) this Saturday for a special benefit to raise money for the victims of San Jose’s recent flooding. We’ll be donating a portion of beer sales to flood relief funds. 333 Truck will be serving food and we’ll have a basketball shoot contest!
Santa Clara Valley Brewing
We are proud to be participating in Saturday’s fundraiser for the victims of San Jose’s recent flooding. Portions of the entire day’s sales will be donated to the San Jose Flood Victims Relief Fund, plus we’ll have great food on site and hourly giveaways of SCVB swag!
Hermitage Brewing Company
It’s San Jose Flood Relief this Saturday!
Join us at Hermitage, Strike Brewing Co., Santa Clara Valley Brewing and Hapa’s Brewing Company this Saturday for great local craft beer and good times. We’ll be donating a portion of beer sales to the San Jose Flood Victims Relief Fund! #dotherightthing #sanjosecraftbeer #drinklocal
Steve Altimari of High Water Brewing and Drew Ehrlich of Strike Brewing Co.
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!
Santa Clara Valley Brewing’s Coleen Clark.
Michael Barker of Sactown Union Brewery and Peter Licht of Hermitage Brewing Company share a laugh.
El Toro Brewing Company’s Geno Acevedo.
Almanac Beer Co.’s Brian Sneed, Fernando Tovar and Fernando’s wife Sandra.
Hermitage Brewing Company’s Mark Fazzio, Nicole Marquez and Joel Wind.
Enjoying a pour of Luponic Distortion No. 004 from Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Mark and Corey.
FireHouse Grill & Brewery’s Larry Hoang.
Beer enthusiasts Anita Arguello and Mike Condie.
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!
Jon Siddoway and Siobhan Faul of Red Branch Cider Company and Rabbit’s Foot Meadery.
There’ll be good eats available for purchase courtesy of El Burrito Loco , Brother’s Baby BBQ, Sarah’s Latin Taste, SweetDragon Baking Company and Mission Hill Creamery.
About a dozen SJ Made vendors will be on hand to sell their handmade crafts.
For additional info. – and to purchase tickets – check out the event page.
On a last note, credit to the successful growth of Meet the Brewers goes to Carolyn Hopkins-Vasquez, former director of marketing for Hermitage Brewing and Tied House. She recently shared that her family is moving out of the area. She has done much for the local beer scene, and her departure is a big loss for the community. I – along with many others – will miss her (and her lovely family) greatly. Cheers, Carolyn!
There’ll be 30+ breweries, all within 150 miles of San Jose, plus live music and mobile eats.
I’ve had the good fortune of attending most of the previous Meet the Brewers beer fests and have greatly enjoyed each of them thanks to the good beers, good food, excellent organization and great people and vibe.
I’ll post again with additional info., including the names of the participating breweries, as such information becomes available.
Hermitage Brewing Company will release three new beers Wednesday, Dec. 7 at its Winter Release Party, starting at 4pm at their Tap Room (1627 S. 7th St.). El Burrito Loco will be on hand to serve up Mexican eats.
The Winter Release Party will feature the following three beers (with notes from the brewery):
Blood Orange American Sour: “The blood orange is the darling of the citrus world with its trademark sweet and tart citrus flavors and a richer, berry-like sweetness. The beer pours a deep ruby red color in the glass and explodes with an amazing aroma of 35,000 fresh cut oranges.”
That 70s Beer (a collaboration beer between Hermitage Brewing and Palo Alto Brewing brewed with Comet, Cascade and Cluster Hops): “That 70s IPA is our homage to a much simpler time, like, 45 years ago. We used only malts and hops (Bullion, Comet, Cluster and Cascade hops) that were readily available in the 1970s, and combined them with a modern brewing approach.”
Half Tun Milk Stout Nitro: “To make the Half Tun, we collected the second runnings off a recent batch of Two Tun, a technique knows as “Parti Gyle” brewing. The result is smooth, sweet, and easy drinking, with notes of dark chocolate and a hint of coffee. Served on Nitro, it’s like chocolate milk for adults.”
Cellarmaster Greg Filippi is particularly enthused about his latest sour beer offering and can’t wait for it to be tapped and shared:
“We blended beautiful blood oranges into a tart and refreshing blonde ale and aged it in our cellar for 18 months, creating a juicy sour with lots of citrus and a hint of sweet raspberry.”
I had the good fortune of sampling the contents of the barrels used to make the Blood Orange when Greg took me on an impromptu barrel tasting a little while back. So I’m extra excited to taste the final blended creation.
Below are some pictures from the barrel tasting, which took place in late October.
First, a bonus tasting of the base beers from the two 100-BBL foeders that Hermitage acquired earlier this year (excellent starts to both foeder-aged beers, about which I’ll write more in a future post).
Greg drawing samples from the aforementioned barrels that were used to make Blood Orange American Sour.
I had originally stopped by Hermitage to simply enjoy their latest Single Hop IPA, but I fortuitously bumped into Greg and his lovely family. After catching up, Greg asked if I had some time to taste the progress of his latest projects. And what ensued was a tasty, educational and memorable tasting experience. Thank you, Greg, for being so gracious with your time!
Scott’s Seafood in downtown San Jose held another successful beer dinner last week. It was their best one yet in my opinion, a sentiment shared by several others who had also attended previous beer dinners there.
Many aspects were stellar – the organization and service, the outdoor space, the views from the sixth floor, the company, the weather, the informative previews of each course by the restaurant and brewery reps and the food-and-beer pairings themselves.
The sold-out dinner – 55 attendees – showcased a seafood-centric menu and a variety of beer styles courtesy of the featured brewery Hermitage Brewing Company. The beer styles included IPA, Scotch Ale, Sour, Session IPA and Saison.
Below are some pictures and notes from the memorable evening.
Hermitage Brewing Company Citra Single Hop IPA.
Hermitage Brewing Company brand manager Nicole Marquez, Scott’s Seafood marketing director Joann Vaega, Hermitage Brewing Company head brewer and cellarmaster Greg Filippi.
Some of the sold-out crowd, including friends Mike and Lisa Pitsker (front and center).
Welcome and introductions from Nicole, Joann and Scott’s Seafood Food and Beverage Director Sammy Reyes.
Opening Reception: Oysters on the half shell with blood orange champagne foam, paired with Hermitage Brewing Citra Single Hop IPA.
The citrus notes – plus hints of caramel – from the beer nicely complemented the foam while the hoppiness cut through the fresh, buttery oysters.
Scott’s Seafood managing partner Dave Buhagiar topping off glasses with more Citra IPA.
Greg and Victoria Hatch enjoying the dinner.
Scott’s Seafood public relations manager Trinidad Pena and Joann.
Greg and Victoria.
Course One: Classic Greek salad tossed in a lemon vinaigrette dressing, paired with Hermitage Brewing Maltopia Scotch Ale.
The malty notes of toasted grain and caramel coming from Maltopia complemented the fresh salad and dressing.
Next up: Hermitage Brewing Strawberry Rhubarb Sour.
Course Two: Blackened Red Snapper Tacos with strawberry slaw and housemade potato chips, paired with Hermitage Brewing Strawberry Rhubarb Sour.
The tart and sour notes – along with hints of of strawberry and wood from the barrel aging – from Strawberry Rhubarb Sour provided varying contrasts to the spicy red snapper, strawberry and cantaloupe slaw and the chips.
Greg sharing a bit of his vast knowledge of sour beers and their production while introducing Strawberry Rhubarb Sour.
Hermitage Brewing 408 Session IPA from the tap.
Course Three: Mahi Mahi with a tropical relish, new potatoes, spinach and champagne sauce, paired with Hermitage Brewing 408 Session IPA.
The hoppy, tropical fruit notes – guava, in particular – of 408 Session IPA matched the mango and kiwi relish, while the flavors plus the body of the beer held up well to the meaty Mahi Mahi.
Friends Noreen and Jim Helvie.
Course Four: Poached “Myles Perry” Pear with French Vanilla ice cream, paired with Hermitage Brewing Myles Perry Saison.
There was only a mild sweetness from the Saison, enabling the beer to stand up well to the dessert course.
Newfound friends – siblings Z and Susan were awesome tablemates.
The last pic of the night: Wifey Andrea, Victoria, Greg, Nicole and Jim.
The local brewing community – about 20 breweries at last count – will be coming together Saturday, Nov. 19 at CEFCU Stadium (aka Spartan Stadium at 1257 S. 10th St., San Jose) to rally support for a good person and a good cause – Peter Cogan, the longtime distribution manager for Tied House and Hermitage Brewing Company, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Presented by Hermitage Brewing Company in partnership with the San Jose State University Spartan Athletics Department, “For Pete’s Sake” Craft Brewfest will take place from 2:30pm to 6:30pm – in effect an epic tailgate party to be followed by the 7:30pm game time kickoff between the San Jose State Spartans and Air Force football teams. It’s the final home game of the season for the Spartans.
Tickets – $40 if purchased in advance and $50 for any remaining on the day of the event – include a 5-oz. taster to sample brewery offerings, unlimited tastings and a 50 to 30 yard line game ticket. You’ll need code “FORPETESSAKE16” to purchase tickets.
Below is the current list of participating breweries:
Hermitage Brewing Company
Tied House Microbrewery
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Santa Clara Valley Brewing
Strike Brewing Co.
Red Branch Cider Company
Rabbit’s Foot Meadery
High Water Brewing
Almanac Beer Co.
Santa Cruz Ale Works
El Toro Brewpub
Bison Organic Beer
Faultline Brewing Company
Gordon Biersch Brewing Company
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Sactown Union Brewery
Hermitage Brewing and Tied House Brewery & Cafe national market manager Carolyn Hopkins-Vasquez shares how this one-of-a-kind event came about:
“As soon as we heard the news of Peter’s lymphoma, we knew we had to do something, and a beer festival seemed like the perfect fit. SJSU Spartan Athletics has been wanting to work on a beer fest for a while, so it was perfect timing.
“Less than 24 hours after putting the word out about the festival, we had 20 breweries signed up and also had every volunteer position filled. Everything seemed to click easily.”
As for the quick response from the local brewing community, Carolyn shares:
“Do I really have to put in writing that Peter Cogan is special? Ugh. Okay, but don’t tell him I said anything nice about him. Ha!
“Peter has been around the South Bay brewing scene for almost as long as Tied House. He is the first to volunteer when a brewery needs help with something, whether it be an event, a delivery, anything.
“What’s the saying about 90% of life is showing up? Well, Peter always shows up, and when he does, he’s on time and brings along his British wit and charming accent.
“He and his signature “Brew Crew” t-shirt and khaki shorts have been working tirelessly to support the local brewing scene for years. After years of Peter helping everyone else out, it’s our turn to give back. There are very few people in the area more well-known or well-liked in our profession.”
I recently caught up with Peter to get an update on his health; he also graciously took the time to share a bit of his background and to answer some beery questions, including his thoughts about the upcoming beerfest.
Can you share a bit of your background?
I was born in London but raised in the West Country of England, specifically Plymouth, Bristol and Torquay where I lived from age 11 to 18. Sixteen days after my 18th birthday, I left home and moved back to London to work as a chef at the Savoy Hotel.
How did you get into craft beer? Any craft beer “Aha!” moment/experience?
After moving to California in late 1986, I was drinking the typical beers back then – MGD, Corona and stuff like that. I guess my “Aha!” moment came when I heard about a brewery opening just down the street from where I lived. I went there a day or two after it opened and was awed at how crazy busy it was. Eight beers on tap of varying styles? Amazing! I think for the next couple of months I didn’t drink anywhere else.
You’ve told me before your story of how you became a part of the Tied House team. Can you please share the story with me again?
As a regular customer they found out I used to be a chef back in England, so I was “recruited” to help them with events like New Orleans By The Bay at Shoreline where I would grill catfish and alligator sausage all day and be paid in Hurricanes.
Then I worked an event at Squaw Valley as a fundraiser for MS (the Tied House has been sponsoring this event for more than 25 years), and while I was on a chairlift with one of the owners and the GM, they asked if I would be interested in selling beer for them because I was very outgoing and had the English accent. How could I refuse them with a job interview like that?
How’s it been working with Tied House (and Hermitage) all these years?
Fantastic. I realized many years ago that one of the secrets to a good life is to be happy at work, and the owners and staff at both places have been instrumental in my happiness.
They have always encouraged me in whatever aspect of the business I happened to be in at the time and have always listened to me with any suggestions or criticisms I might have.
I will never be a millionaire, but I will be happy.
How has it been seeing the growth of the local beer scene these past years?
It’s almost like a runaway train. The movement has gathered so much momentum that I can’t keep up anymore. I could try 5 new beers a day for a year and barely make a dent in what is available out there.
As much as I love my IPAs, I grew up drinking European Pilsners, and when I find a good one (or Kolsch), I am like a kid in a candy store.
What does the upcoming beerfest mean for you? How is it seeing all the support from the local brewing community?
I used to run the beer side of the Small Brewers Festival of California in Mountain View from the early 90s until its last year in 2004, so I understand what it takes to put on a festival – the organization, the coordination between brewers, volunteers, equipment rental companies, cities to pull permits, charities…
I am humbled by how quickly all of these breweries offered their time and beer to support me and the LLS. Some brewers I have known more than 20 years, some only a few, but each and every one of them agreed to help no questions asked. I am going to be giving out a lot of hugs on the 19th.
Special thanks to Carolyn for putting this together.
How are you doing, Peter?
Overall, pretty damn good. I feel fortunate that so far chemotherapy hasn’t been too hard on me, although the third round has been a bit tougher.
I have a PET scan scheduled for the 16th to see how things are progressing, followed by another three rounds of chemo.
I didn’t want to see my hair fall out so before I started chemo, I had my signature ponytail cut off and donated it to Pantene so they could use it to make wigs for women with breast cancer.
I have been able to work part time so I am not sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. My brother Dave supplied my mantra for this adventure, and it is simply: “Kick Cancer In The Balls!”
Trust me. With the support I have from everyone, cancer has no chance.