Tag Archives: KraftBrew Beer Fest

Tasty Beers on Tap for Silicon Valley Beer Week 2014

KraftBrew Beer Fest
KraftBrew Beer Fest

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:

  • Humulus Lager
  • Hottenroth
  • Loakal Red
  • White Chocolate
  • Sucre – Madeira barrel aged
  • The Wanderer
  • BeRazzled
  • Neddles
  • James Bean
  • Saison
  • Golden Brett
  • Odyssey
  • Confluence
  • Red Howes

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 brittany@steinsbeergarden.com 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:

  • Deliverance ’13
  • Agave Maria
  • Older Viscosity ’12
  • Old Viscosity ’13
  • Red Poppy
  • Santas lil Helper ’12
  • Cuvee De Tomme ’13
  • Angels Share Grand Cru
  • Track #8
  • Spontaneous Cheer
  • 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:

  • Lagunitas Imperial Stout & Salt Carmel Ice Cream
  • Rabbits Foot Meadery Cider & Champagne Strawberry Sorbet
  • Classic Root Beer Float with French Vanilla.

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.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Silicon Valley Beer Events for July 2013: Mark your Calendars Now

Following an initial meeting back in March, the First Annual Silicon Valley Beer Week takes place later this month
Following an initial meeting back in March, the First Annual Silicon Valley Beer Week takes place later this month

With the plethora of beer-related events set to take place this month, punctuated with the First Annual Silicon Valley Beer Week starting on Sun., July 28, July is certainly one for the South Bay record books in terms of both quantity and quality. Some might think of July as Silicon Valley Beer Month.

The festivities include brewery nights and other special events taking place throughout the region, like the Santa Clara Valley Brewing Peralta Porter Release Party at Market Beer Co. (Tues., July 9), Original Gravity Public House’s One-Year Anniversary Party (Sat., July 20), the 2nd Annual Los Gatos Brewing Company Firkin Fest (Sat., July 27), and the aforementioned First Annual Silicon Valley Beer Week (Sun., July 28 to Sat., Aug. 3), which currently has 80 scheduled events with still more to come. A number of South Bay establishments will host beer events every day during Silicon Valley Beer Week.

Onwards to the event listings. Most if not all of these dates and events have been culled from Facebook, Twitter, and emails.

MONDAY, JULY 8

6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Wine Affairs Weekly Beer Tasting: This week’s weekly beer tasting features German styles. “While it’s not Oktoberfest yet, we do love the lighter side of German beers as a great escape from this heat! Both classic and unusual styles from the traditional lager to the super-sour Berliner-Weisse. $10 per person or free for members!”

TUESDAY, JULY 9

5 p.m. – 7 p.m., Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Blonde Bock Tapping Party: It is another tapping party, this time the Blonde Bock in honor of their 25th anniversary – a smooth malty lager with balanced bitterness from Hallertau hops and a kick from its 7% ABV. This event features a silver anniversary national toast, complimentary cake, live music, passed appetizers, and a raffle benefit. Join Gordon Biersch for $2.50 Tuesdays on July 9, 16, and 23, to enjoy fresh pours of their handcrafted beer at a throwback price.

6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Santa Clara Valley Brewing Release Party – Peralta Porter – at Market Beer Co.: “Brewer and all around nice guy Steve Donohue will be at Market Beer to release Santa Clara Valley Brewing latest beer, Peralta Porter. We will have draft and bottles on hand that are being kegged and bottled on the same day as the event. Also former San Jose mayor and local historian Tom McEnery will be there to give a brief history of the Peralta Adobe (the oldest building in San Jose). Hope to see you all there!”

8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., 54 Tap Launch Party at O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub: – O’Flaherty’s celebrates having both the largest craft beer selection in downtown San Jose and winning “Best Irish Pub” 10 years in a row in Metro Newspaper’s annual Best of Silicon Valley survey. “Be sure to join us for $1 beers (all taps) Tuesday, July 9th from 8-9:30 pm for our 54 tap launch party! And here is your chance to win a one month Beer Club membership and an O’Flaherty’s gift basket filled with Jameson, Guinness, O’Flaherty’s gift card, and much more!”

THURSDAY, JULY 11

Starting 5 p.m., Jolly Pumpkin Tap Takeover at Original Gravity Public House: “Featuring seven incredible offerings from Dexter, Michigan’s very own Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, this night will be an absolute delight for lovers of truly hand crafted beer. Come on out and taste the difference oak aging and bottle conditioning can do to the complexity of a beer. Starts at 5pm, see you then!”

Set to be poured: Calabaza Blanca, Bam, Bam Noire, Madrugada Obscura, Oro de Calabaza, IO, and Maracaibo Especial.

FRIDAY, JULY 12

4 p.m. – 7 p.m., Hermitage Brewing Company Tap Room Grand Opening: San Jose’s Hermitage Brewing (1627 S. 7th Street) will be opening their own tasting center on site. “You’ve waited and the day has finally come – the Tap Room Grand Opening is here! Come join us as we celebrate the newest addition to our brewery. As a part of the Grand Opening, the Firkin Friday event normally held at Tied House will be tapped at the Tap Room at 5pm.” And “The Tap Room will feature HBC’s award winning beers along with rotating local guest beers.”

SATURDAY, JULY 13

Santa Clara’s Wicked Chicken Wings (2565 The Alameda) has been offering up good beer and they will host a Stone Tap Take Over event on this day: $6 and keep the glass plus $5 refills.

9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Silicon Valley Sudzers Homebrew Club Brew Day at MoreBeer (991 N. San Antonio Rd., Los Altos): “For the MoreBeer summer sale, the Sudzers will be doing a brewing demonstration on the  ‘Death Star’ brewing system. Good beer, good food, good fun!”

SATURDAY, JULY 20

12:30 p.m. – 11 45 p.m., Original Gravity Public House One Year Anniversary Party: It is time to celebrate San Jose’s first establishment to open with craft beer as its focus. “We can’t believe it either, but I guess time flies when you’re pouring beer. Come out and celebrate this special day with us starting at 12:30pm. We just updated the [Facebook] event page with the anniversary beer list (which in our humble opinion is something to behold). Commemorative T-Shirts, food specials, a panel with Jeffers from Firestone Walker, patio firkin pours and On The Corner Music spinning all vinyl on the back patio, this is going to be one for the ages. Hope to see you there!

Specialty tapping times:

1pm (music starts on the patio): Drake’s – Aroma Coma/Prieta

2pm: Very special TBA

3pm: Stone – French/American Oak Smoked Guardian

4pm: Evil Twin – Imperial Biscotti Break

5pm: Panel and Q&A w/ Jeffers from Firestone Walker

6pm (music resumes): North Coast – Barrel Aged Old Rasputin

7pm: Russian River – Supplication

8pm: Firestone Walker – Parabola

SATURDAY, JULY 27

2 p.m. – 6 p.m., 2nd Annual Los Gatos Brewing Company Firkin Fest: “Come check out our 2nd Annual Firkin Fest being held at the Los Gatos Brewing Company at San Pedro Square in Downtown San Jose. Come out, support and drink some firkin beer! Hope to see you all there! For more info. and to purchase tickets: http://lgbcfirkinfest2013.eventbrite.com/.”

“A firkin is a cask which holds nine imperial gallons. Firkins hold cask-conditioned beer. Cask is the container and this was the original method of storing and serving beer. The beer’s ingredients are allowed to mature naturally in the firkin, leaving the beer unfiltered and containing live yeast. The living yeast conditions the beer through a process called secondary fermentation and produces the CO2 naturally. No artificial carbonation allows you to taste the true flavor of the beer. The beer is dispensed either by gravity or by a beer engine/hand pump.

Firkin Fest celebrates this method and allows you to try unique, one-of-a-kind beers from your favorite local breweries!”

Participating breweries include: LGBC, Seabright Brewery, Rock Bottom Brewery, Faultline Brewery, Firehouse Brewery, Strike Brewing Co, Hermitage Brewing Co, Tied House Brewery, Magnolia Brewery, Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Boulder Creek Brewing Co., Drake’s Brewing, Peter B’s, Two Rivers Cider, Lagunitas, and more.

SUNDAY, JULY 28

Sun., July 28 – Sat., Aug. 3, First Annual Silicon Valley Beer Week: The week-long Silicon Valley Beer Week will see many events and activities where good beer will be the focus. It is set up to really be “the region’s ultimate beer-lovers event,” highlighting “all venues, restaurants and breweries that are passionate about craft beer.” At last check, there are currently 80 events listed on the Silicon Valley Beer Week website.

“The week will kick off with an exclusive opening party on July 28, feature five days of hosted events throughout the valley and close with the very popular Summer KraftBrew Beer Fest on August 3.

During the five days, beer-lovers can experience a variety of activities featuring their favorite craft beers including tap takeovers, food pairings, seminars, demonstrations, brewmaster’s dinners, new release nights and other exclusive events.

Silicon Valley Beer Week is a celebration of all the vibrant brewing and culinary traditions that the region has to offer. You’re invited to join in the celebration and spread the word about this exciting event to your friends, family and co-workers.”

Keep in mind that there are other South Bay establishments that host ongoing events and specials; the information just is not in the public sphere yet. And keep in mind the many South Bay brewpubs, beer bars and stores that sell good beer.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

South Bay Beer Scene Making News

Bottled beers from South Bay's Gordon Biersch, Palo Alto Brewing, Hermitage Brewing, and Strike Brewing
Bottled beers from South Bay’s Gordon Biersch, Palo Alto Brewing, Hermitage Brewing, and Strike Brewing

South Bay. Greater South Bay. Silicon Valley. Santa Clara County. The San Jose area and its neighbors. Whatever the geographic label, there is a growing number of media outlets filing reports and articles dedicated to beer-related news and events taking place locally.

From newspaper articles and radio reports to blogs and vlogs, coverage of the South Bay craft beer scene is at an all-time high. The extensive coverage is positive as more folks can learn about the various ways to go about enjoying good beer, such as checking out local brewing companies and brewpubs, beer bars, restaurants, stores that sell quality beer, homebrew shops, and homebrew clubs.

On the business side, cheers to the founding entrepreneurs behind Tied House (1988), Gordon Biersch Palo Alto (1988), Gordon Biersch San Jose (1990), Los Gatos Brewing (1991), El Toro Brewing (1992), Stoddard’s Sunnyvale (1993 – now FireHouse Grill & Brewery), Faultline (1994), and Stoddard’s Campbell (2002 – now Campbell Brewing). For the past twenty to twenty-five years, these local establishments have provided customers a chance to enjoy fresh, quality beer throughout the South Bay and its neighboring areas.

And cheers to the relatively newer folks (e.g., brewing companies, beer bars, gastropubs, beer stores, individuals coordinating community-wide beer events, etc.) who are taking up the good beer cause throughout the local South Bay communities and beyond. The early players included places like Rose & Crown (2006), Good Karma (2006), and Wine Affairs (2007) among others. Then came enterprises like Hermitage Brewing, Strike Brewing, Harry’s Hofbrau, Kelly’s Liquors, Bobby’s Liquors, Jane’s Beer Store, Original Gravity, Liquid Bread, Beer Walk, KraftBrew, O’Flaherty’s, SmokeEaters, and more.

These businesses all have a common bond – at least one person in their midst, if not many more, who is passionate and knowledgeable about, and appreciative of, good beer and diligently endeavors to share good beer with others.

On the media front, kudos to the one-and-only Better Beer Blog for modeling the way and providing consistent South Bay coverage since March 2007.

The following are some of the latest examples of the recent coverage spike of the local, South Bay craft beer scene. Expect more coverage in the year ahead as new beer-related developments take place and the public’s appetite for such coverage continues to grow.

Silicon Valley Business Journal

KQED

Metro Silicon Valley Newspaper / SanJose.com

San Jose Mercury News / Contra Costa Times (Bay Area Newspaper Group)

Examiner.com

Better Beer Blog

The Beer Heads

Ramblings of a Beer Runner

Grateful Hubby

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

KraftBrew WinterBall

KraftBrew Beer Fest in San Jose
HEADS OF THEIR TIME: The last KraftBrew event enticed beer lovers to the historic Landmark Ballroom.

Beer festivals are great ways to connect people with better beer, and San Jose is fortunate to have the KraftBrew beer fests on a regular basis. Started by the trio of Luis Silva, Brendan Rawson and Chris Esparza—owners of the San Jose restaurant Naglee Park Garage—the KraftBrew festivals celebrate the valley through great beer, food and live music.

The fourth installment, KraftBrew WinterBall will be held Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Landmark Ballroom at the San Jose Woman’s Club. The event will feature tastings of more than 35 seasonal and holiday beers, many reflecting variations of bold, complex and spicy notes in aroma and flavor.

The beer list includes Belgian beers Affligem No‘l and St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, as well as Lost Coast Winterbraun, Heretic Shallow Grave Porter, North Coast Old Stock Ale, Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper, Lost Abbey Gift of the Magi, He’Brew Jewbelation 16, Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin, Ninkasi Sleigh’r Altbier, Uinta Anniversary Barley Wine and Shmaltz/Terrapin Reunion Ale 2012.

KraftBrew event specialist Vanessa Reed confirms that South Bay beers will be available for tasting. Look for Hermitage Maltopia and Ale of the 2 Tun Imperial Stout, Strike Imperial Red and Faultine Winter Strong Ale and Dunkel Weisse. She adds, “The WinterBall is a tasting event; unlike past KraftBrews, where people could choose to buy tastes or full glasses, for this event we will only pour 4-ounce tastes of the beers.” The “tasting event” mentality is a good one as winter beers typically have higher alcohol levels than their season counterparts.

The event runs from 6 to 11pm. Tickets are limited and available at the presale price of $35 each (any remaining tickets to be sold for $45 the day of the event). A ticket includes the beer tastings and light appetizers consisting of artisan cheeses and meats, charcuterie, fruit platters and other beer-friendly snacks from Naglee Park Garage. There will be food for sale from the food truck Grilled Cheese Bandits. Bay Area favorite the Bang will provide the live music.

Tickets can be purchased at a KraftBrew partner location, including Naglee Park Garage, Good Karma Vegan Cafe, Original Gravity Public House, Wine Affairs and Kelly’s Liquors.

KraftBrew WinterBall
Saturday, Dec. 8, 6-11pm; San Jose Woman’s Club, 75 S. 11th St., San Jose.

[This post was shared on SanJose.com.]

Upcoming South Bay Beer Events: Original Gravity, Tied House, KraftBrew & More

Original Gravity Public House in downtown San Jose
Original Gravity Public House in downtown San Jose

There are special beer events taking place every day in the South Bay from Wed., Dec. 5 to Mon., Dec. 10, including a cask ale tapping, a beer festival, and a beer and food pairing dinner.

Wednesday, 12/5/12

Original Gravity Public House in downtown San Jose shares the following event information from their Facebook page:

Come celebrate the anniversary of Repeal Day at Original Gravity with a wide array of 21st Amendment beers! We will be pouring some great stuff from the San Francisco based brewing company and celebrating our right to drink beer!

Bitter American (Extra Pale Ale)
Brew Free or Die (IPA)
Hop Crisis (Imperial IPA)
Fireside Chat (Winter Spiced Ale)
Marooned on Hog Island (Oyster Stout)

This Original Gravity Repeal Day event is scheduled from 3:30 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

San Jose’s Poor House Bistro hosts their weekly Blues & Brews $2 Tasting with Ron Thompson and beers from Samuel Adams Brewery from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Thursday, 12/6/12

The weekly Pint Night at Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose, starting at 6 p.m., features beers from Widmer Brothers. In particular, according to a recent Facebook update, Harry’s will have a vertical of Brrrbon 2012, 2011 (bottle), and 2010. They will also pour Milk Stout, SXNW, and Lemon Grass Wheat.

For those that will be further up the peninsula, the Harry’s Hofbrau in Redwood City will be tapping Firestone Walker XVI at 6 p.m. The following is from their Facebook page: “This Thursday we will be tapping the Firestone XVI keg at 6 p.m.! We have one 5 gallon keg, but we are expecting to have enough for everyone. This is a blend of 8 different brews from Firestone barrel-aged in everything from Tequila barrels to brandy. We will also have DBA on draft for $1 off til it pops!”

Friday, 12/7/12

Tied House in Mountain View taps a firkin (cask ale) the first Friday of each month at 5 p.m. This month’s firkin features Hermitage Brewing’s newest Single Hop IPA Galaxy with its citrus and tropical aromas and flavors.

Saturday, 12/8/12

KraftBrew is back with their next KraftBrew beer fest installment in San Jose – KraftBrew WinterBall 2012. Hosted by Naglee Park Garage in the Landmark Ballroom at the San Jose Woman’s Club, this event takes place from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and focuses on seasonal, winter beer tasting. The KraftBrew WinterBall Facebook event page contains all the information, including the beer list. You can go to this link to purchase tickets.

Speaking of the KraftBrew WinterBall beer list, look for South Bay beers Hermitage Maltopia and Ale of the 2 Tun Imperial Stout, Strike Imperial Red, Faultine Winter Strong Ale and Dunkel Weisse, and Rabbit’s Foot Sweet Mead.

Sunday, 12/9/12

There is a food and beer pairing dinner starting at 6 p.m. at Morocco’s Restaurant in Mountain View featuring Moroccan delicacies and beers from Strike Brewing Company. For the menu and to purchase tickets, click here.

Monday, 12/10/12

Wine Affairs in San Jose hosts their weekly beer tasting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will feature beers from Schmaltz, including He’Brew and Jewbelation Sweet 16.

As events and beer lineups may change from time to time, please do check with the host establishment directly, especially if you are extra excited about a particular event and/or beer.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

San Jose Area Beer Events and a Look Ahead for Nov. 12-18, 2012: Beerwalk Willow Glen, Left Bank Beer Dinner and More

Wine Affairs in San Jose
Wine Affairs in San Jose

The following is a collection of craft beer news and events in San Jose and the greater South Bay for the upcoming week and beyond. As event details may change from time to time, please do check with the establishment directly, especially if you are extra excited about a particular event.

Recent beer news

Check out the recent article on a co-op brewpub in San Jose in its initial planning stages with a Q&A with one of the principle organizers.

Beer events this upcoming week

Mon., Nov. 12, 2012: San Jose’s Wine Affairs hosts a Ballast Point keg tapping event. 1435 The Alameda, 408-977-0111. The following is from their recent newsletter: “We will be featuring Ballast Point beers with a special keg tapping of Indra Kunindra (stout brewed with madras curry, cayanne pepper, cumin, toasted coconut, and kaffir lime leaf). Keg tapping at 5 p.m. plus some other delicious treats from Ballast Point will be available all day on draft and in bottle.”

Tues., Nov. 13, 2012, starting at 4:20 p.m.: Original Gravity Public House in downtown San Jose hosts a Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ tapping event. 66 S. First St. Per their Facebook event page: “October 2012 marks the return of the feared and revered Brown Shugga after a painful year of drought! Come hang with Rudy of Lagunitas and warm your insides with this incredible beer.”

Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.: There is a tapping party featuring WinterBock at Gordon Biersch San Jose. 33 East San Fernando St., 408-294-6785. Per their recent newsletter: “WinterBock beer is a dark, full-bodied lager with overtones of caramel and toffee maltiness with a hint of holiday spirit.” There will be live music and complimentary passed appetizers. Folks who bring an unwrapped toy to be donated for Toys for Tots will receive 2 complimentary WinterBock beer tickets.

Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.: A tapping party featuring Winter Tartan Scottish Ale takes place at Rock Bottom Campbell. 1875 S. Bascom Ave. #700, 408-377-0707. Per their recent newsletter: Winter Tartan is “a traditional Scottish ale with a smooth, malty flavor and a hint of vanilla.” Folks can also meet brewer Russell Clements at this tapping event.

Wed., Nov. 14, 2012, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.: Catch live music and good beer at Poor House Bistro with “Blues & $2 Brews” featuring 21st Amendment Brewery. 91 South Autumn Street, San Jose, 408-292-5837.

Thurs., Nov. 15, 2012, starting at 6:00 p.m.: Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose hosts their weekly Pint Night. Check the Harry’s Hofbrau Facebook page for updates. 390 Saratoga Ave., 408-243-0434.

Thurs., Nov. 15, 2012, starting at 6 p.m.: Jack’s Bar & Lounge in Japantown offers up their weekly $2 Pint Night. Check the Jack’s Bar & Lounge Facebook page for updates. 167 East Taylor St., 408-287-5225.

Fri., Nov. 16, 2012: BevMo! stores host weekly Beer Tasting events on Fridays. Check your local BevMo! store for details.

Sat., Nov. 17, 2012, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.: The fourth SJ Beerwalk (previous SJ Beerwalks took place in Japantown and downtown Campbell) takes place in downtown Willow Glen. For details, including ticket purchasing, click here. The following is from their recent media release: “SJ Beerwalk will be bringing the same thoughtfulness in beer selection and strong emphasis on community to Willow Glen. The focus of the first Willow Glen Beerwalk will be seasonal/winter brews… ‘Beerwalkers’ will be invited to discover and explore twenty-five charming venues, from exclusive boutiques to unique restaurants.”

Sat.-Sun., Nov. 17-18, 2012: Left Bank Brasserie Santana Row hosts a prix fixe meal paired with beers from Drake’s Brewing Company as part of their Left Bank Santana Row Summer Beer Pairing Series, La Fête de la Bière. 377 Santana Row, Suite 1100, 408-984-3500.

Looking ahead: Save the date

Tues., Nov. 27, 2012, starting at 6:30 p.m.: Winter Wonderland Brewer’s Dinner takes place at Rock Bottom Campbell. 1875 S. Bascom Ave. #700, 408-377-0707. Beer pairings to be announced. Call the restaurant to make reservations. For the Facebook event page, click here.

Thurs., Nov. 29, 2012: Pint Night at Santa Clara’s Wicked Chicken featuring Strike Brewing Company takes place. 2565 The Alameda, 408-246-9464.

Sat., Dec. 8, 2012, 6 p.m. – 11 p.m., KraftBrew Winter Ball 2012. Seasonal beer tasting and holiday ball at the San Jose’s Woman’s Club – 75 S. 11th St. Per their recently posted Facebook event page: Featuring newly released holiday ales and specialty brews, the KraftBrew Winter Ball will be a festive event in which guests are encouraged to dress in their holiday finery, dance, drink, and be merry. And now, for the first time ever, the KraftBrew WinterBall will feature a ticketed price which includes all food and beer tasting. Tickets are limited and will go on presale for $35.00 each. Light Appetizers will be provided by the Naglee Park Garage. Other highlights of the night include two live bands that will be sure to get your toes tapping and best beer purveyors from around the Bay Area. More info on bands, brews, and special menu to come, so stay tuned!”

Sun., Dec. 9, 2012, starting at 6:30 p.m.: Morocco’s Restaurant in Mountain View hosts a beer dinner featuring beers from Strike Brewing Company.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

A Brief History of Craft Beer in the South Bay

Meet the Brewers at Hermitage Brewing Company, Feb. 19, 2011
Meet the Brewers at Hermitage Brewing Company, Feb. 19, 2011

It was the Feb. 2011 second annual Meet the Brewers beer festival held at San Jose’s Hermitage Brewing Company that provided me more than just a memorable beer experience. Truth be told, my wife and I had originally gone mainly for the food trucks, but when in Rome…

I tried a refreshing Tied House Brewery wheat beer which served as a prelude to the Campbell Brewing hefeweizen with its pleasant combination of sweetness and bitterness. My wife, who is from Bavaria, heartily approved.

After talking with the pourers – many of whom were the actual brewers – about their beers, I opted for unfamiliar-to-me beer styles next.

The Uncommon Brewers organic brown ale had a flavor profile of roasted nuts and a slight bitterness. Seabright Brewery’s oatmeal stout poured black and smooth with hints of dark chocolate. Finally, there was the Faultine Brewery porter, a dark beer that smelled and tasted of roasted coffee beans.

The beers were tasty; they also paired well with our Korean tacos and burritos that we got from one of the aforementioned food trucks.

We left relatively early and did not sample any more beers from the other breweries, but thanks in large part to this beer festival, I gained a new hobby – to learn more about beer and the wide range of beer styles while checking out the local beer scene.

We began complementing our already existing wine rituals with beer exploration. I’d go online and learn about solid examples of various beer styles and match that information with the selections at nearby stores that sold craft beer.

I stayed up-to-date with Peter Estaniel’s BetterBeerBlog to see if there was anything new going on in the South Bay.

In April 2011, the first KraftBrew Beer Fest – organized by Naglee Park Garage – took place at the historic San Jose Woman’s Club, and we tried a larger selection of different styles of domestic and international beers.

Some beer styles we enjoyed from the first sip (IPA for my wife), while others we grew to appreciate over time (IPA for me).

Events like the Meet the Brewers beer festival and the KraftBrew Beer Fest not only provided opportunities to discover the wide variety of beer styles, but they also showed that there are plenty of folks in the area interested in good beer.

For the next year-and-a-half, our appreciation for beer and the local beer scene would continue to grow, and for me in particular become a passion as I started blogging and writing about the local beer scene.

Local Craft Beer Boom

As recently as late 2008, William Brand wrote that the South Bay was a craft beer desert, but from our ventures out to local beer spots, stores and events, we learned that Brand’s observation was surely evolving.

Beer enthusiasts no longer had to routinely drive at least 45 minutes to try the latest touted, hard-to-get beer. There were establishments that made and carried great beer right here, from Morgan Hill through San Jose to Palo Alto.

We observed first hand the growing demand for – and distribution of – good beer, a relatively recent development according to a number of longer-term South Bay beer fans. The various, possible reasons for why the South Bay was such a latecomer continue to be discussed (and might perhaps be a topic in a future write-up).

Fortunately, such discussions these days often end on a positive note; many beer drinkers throughout the South Bay are enjoying the current craft beer boom and imagining the potential for the local area.

Craft Beer Movement and the South Bay

“Craft beer” – as defined by the Brewers Association – refers to beer made by a “small, independent, and traditional” brewing company. Such definitions illustrate the contrast between local and regional craft beer brewing companies and the giant, macro brewing companies that still dominate the overall beer market.

But according to recent numbers released by the Brewers Association in March, overall beer volume sales are down while the U.S. craft brewing industry continues to grow in volume and dollar sales. More beer drinkers are trying craft beer and learning about the various aspects that make craft beer more compelling compared to macro beer.

This nationwide growth within the craft beer segment reflects the growing interest and demand for craft beer here locally. A number of recent developments highlight the increasing popularity of craft beer within our region – from the popular and successful beer festivals to the growth of local brewing companies like Hermitage and Strike, as well as a new San Jose brewery that is in the works.

Greg Filippi - Lead Brewer at Hermitage Brewing Company, May 18, 2012
Greg Filippi – Lead Brewer at Hermitage Brewing Company, May 18, 2012

The Bay Brewers Guild, a collective of brewers representing the South Bay and nearby Santa Cruz and Monterey areas, continues to take shape, while the spotlight on the beers made at our local brewpubs – and the brewers who make them – grows bigger and brighter.

More establishments are offering craft beer in the South Bay and taking care to ensure that their staff are knowledgeable enough about beer to be able to make just the right recommendation to both beer enthusiasts and newbies alike.

Restaurant James Randall in Los Gatos has joined California Café (both the Palo Alto and Los Gatos locations) in hosting a growing number of beer-and-food-pairing events.

With craft beer’s growing popularity, it’s no surprise that more folks are interested in homebrewing and joining homebrew clubs. “We receive several inquiries a month from new homebrewers… where even just a year ago inquiries were much more infrequent,” says Derek Wolfgram, president of the homebrew club Silicon Valley Sudzers.

And there is a growing list of craft beer-centric businesses that have just opened or are set to open this year.

In downtown San Jose, the list includes craft beer bars Original Gravity Public House and ISO: Beers, and restaurant Blackbird Tavern.

In Campbell, there is Liquid Bread beer bar. In Mountain View, there are Jane’s Beer Store, South Bay’s first specialty beer store, and Steins Beer Garden + Restaurant.

History and Emergence of the South Bay Beer Scene: Breweries

Even hardcore South Bay beer fans might be surprised to learn that the valley had its share of early breweries, as cited in the 1992 book The Bars of Santa Clara County: A Beer Drinker’s Guide to Silicon Valley co-written by Bay Area beer scribe Jay Brooks and Karen Knezevich.

These breweries produced predominantly German-style beers and included Eagle Brewery (San Jose, 1853), Fredericksburg Brewery (San Jose, 1856), and other San Jose breweries opening between 1875 and 1905, including San Jose Brewery, Louis Krumb’s Brewery, and the St. Claire Brewing Company. After breweries such as these closed, there were no local South Bay breweries until the mid-1980s.

Breweries like Winchester Brewery and Palo Alto Brewing Company would come and go, but not before making their impact.

In 1986, Pete Slosberg launched Pete’s Wicked Ales in Mountain View thanks to Palo Alto Brewing Company and Bob Stoddard, of whom Slosberg refers to as “one of the first, true pioneers” in craft brewing.

Stoddard would later open his eponymous Brewhouse & Eatery in Sunnyvale in 1993 (now FireHouse Grill & Brewery) and in Campbell in 2002 (now Campbell Brewing Company/Sonoma Chicken Coop).

Mountain View’s Tied House Brewery opened in 1988, and later in the same year Dan Gordon and Dean Biersch opened the first Gordon Biersch brewery restaurant in Palo Alto.

The second Gordon Biersch opened in downtown San Jose in 1990, replacing a brewpub that had closed in four months, proving in part that South Bay native Gordon – “Born in San Jose. Grew up in Los Altos,” he shares – had a strong case of South Bay pride. Gordon would go on to open a brewery and bottling facility in San Jose in 1997.

Dan Gordon, June 26, 2012
Dan Gordon, June 26, 2012

Los Gatos Brewing Company opened in 1991 with their downtown San Jose location opening in 2010.

El Toro Brewing Company started in 1992 with the opening of their Morgan Hill brewpub in 2006.

Additional breweries and restaurants would open, including Sunnyvale’s Faultline Brewing Company in 1994.

“We have breweries here in the South Bay that have been around for a while, and it’s nice to see people appreciating beer more,” states Campbell Brewing’s brewmaster Jim Turturici.

Steve Donohue, currently brewing at Hermitage while working on the initial stages of opening Santa Clara Valley Brewing Company in San Jose, asks that people give South Bay breweries a chance and says, “I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

Steve Donohue and Peter Licht (Brewmaster at Hermitage Brewing Company), June 22, 2012
Steve Donohue and Peter Licht (Brewmaster at Hermitage Brewing Company), June 22, 2012

Craft Beer Bars and More

Moving along the local craft beer landscape, every beer region has its share of go-to hangouts for good beer. Since last year, Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose has become a destination for the South Bay craft beer community. General manager Kevin Olcese has earned a solid reputation for his beer knowledge and passion, for bringing in hard-to-get beers on tap, and for informing customers via Facebook of the latest beer arrivals.

Kevin Olcese, June 26, 2012
Kevin Olcese, June 26, 2012

Olcese, however, is quick to give credit to Palo Alto’s Rose & Crown Pub and San Jose’s Wine Affairs – “They’re huge,” he simply says – for helping to pave the way in the beer scene, contributing greatly to the American and micro/craft beer knowledge base among local beer drinkers.

Kasim Syed took over the Rose & Crown in 2006 with an immediate goal to bring better quality beers along with beers that other places didn’t have. His second goal was to get people to try these different beers and get his customers to change their tastes. On a moment’s notice, he would drive to Santa Rosa to pick up a single keg of the latest Russian River Brewing Company offering – all to get more people to try different styles of beer.

As for the growing number of local beer spots, Syed says, “It’s not a competition. It’s about giving people choices; there’s more fun with more choices. These are happy times right now.”

Kasim Syed, June 27, 2012
Kasim Syed, June 27, 2012

Owner Diane Chang-Laurent remembers opening Wine Affairs in November 2007 with only five Belgian beers in bottles. But the customers, including mostly homebrewers at the beginning, would constantly request various beers from particular breweries. The beer focus really took shape in 2009.

Chang-Laurent says, “All the credit goes to the customers. They pushed me, and I listened.” As for the growing number of beer spots opening up in the South Bay, she says, “The more, the better. Plus, competition is always good.”

Diane Chang-Laurent, June 28, 2012
Diane Chang-Laurent, June 28, 2012

In downtown San Jose, Ryan Summers opened Good Karma Vegan Café in 2006 and has worked quietly yet diligently on bringing and maintaining a quality rotating craft beer selection – currently 15 beers on tap – for Good Karma’s loyal following. The new beer-centric establishments will “create a draw for everybody and help us take the customer experience even further as each of us continues to think about how to stand out.”

Ryan Summers, May 17, 2012
Ryan Summers, May 17, 2012

The craft beer focus began in 2008 for Bobby’s Liquors in Santa Clara thanks to Sukhjeev Singh, better known as Dee to his customers. Among the varied bottled craft beers in stock, Bobby’s offers a well-regarded collection of hard-to-get bottled sour ales.

Look for Dee and his wife to open ISO: Beers in downtown San Jose later this fall, which he says is “a beer bar and tasting lounge that will offer about 2,000 refrigerated, bottled craft beers and feature 50 to 60 craft beers on tap starting out.”

San Jose’s Naglee Park Garage and Jack’s Bar & Lounge, while providing respectable craft beer offerings, are coordinating large-scale South Bay beer events, like the Garage’s upcoming Summer KraftBrew Beer Fest (their third KraftBrew installment), taking place in downtown San Jose on Saturday, July 21. Event goers will get to enjoy a variety of beer styles along with great food and music in a festive atmosphere.

The next South Bay Beerwalk hosted by Jack’s (their third beerwalk) takes place in Campbell on Saturday, August 11, providing the opportunity to check out downtown Campbell while sampling beers from Northern California.

South Bay Craft Beer Scene Going Forward

Having been born and raised in San Jose (and still living here), I have seen various communities spring up over the years, communities bonded by a myriad of cultural facets, like art, music, food, sports and technology. We can now include craft beer; co-owner Dan Phan of Original Gravity Public House notes, “Beer is the universal beverage that has been bringing people together on common ground for thousands of years.”

Dan Phan and Johnny Wang, April 9, 2012
Dan Phan and Johnny Wang, April 9, 2012
Dan Phan and Johnny Wang, June 28, 2012
Dan Phan and Johnny Wang, June 28, 2012

Indeed, the late esteemed English writer and journalist Michael Jackson wrote in his 1997 book The New World Guide to Beer, “The world always knew that beer was a noble and complex drink, but, for a moment in history, that was forgotten. Now it is being remembered.”

Many folks, including Dan Gordon, have felt the momentum for good beer building in the South Bay ever since the 80s and 90s. Fast forward to today, and there is no doubt about that momentum. Notable Bay Area beer editor and writer Mike Pitsker agrees that the South Bay beer scene is on the up-and-up. And brewer Steve Donohue adds the capstone comment, “We’re just scratching the surface.”

[An abridged version of this post – also without the pictures – was shared as the cover story in the annual beer issue for Metro Silicon Valley.]



San Jose Area Beer News and Events: July 16-22, 2012

Widmer Brothers beer event at a recent pint night at Harry's Hofbrau in San Jose
Widmer Brothers beer event at a recent pint night at Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose

The following is a collection of recent San Jose area beer news and a list of craft beer events in San Jose and the greater South Bay for the upcoming week and beyond. As events may change from time to time, please do check with the establishment directly, especially if you are extra excited about a particular event.

Recent beer news

  • Check out the recent articles on Bobby’s Liquors (the South Bay’s premier bottle shop for hard-to-get bottled beers) featuring the soon-to-open ISO: Beers craft beer bar and tasting lounge, as well as the upcoming Summer KraftBrew Beer Fest 2012.

Beer events this upcoming week

  • Mon., July 16, 2012, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.: San Jose’s Wine Affairs features Belgian beers to help kick off Belgian independence week. 1435 The Alameda, 408-977-0111.
  • Tues., June 17, 2012, 4 p.m. – closing: The Counter Santana Row, offers a “Mix-It-Up” 4 mini burger & beer pairings, including Devil’s Canyon Full Boar Scotch Ale and Lagunitas IPA. 3055 Olin Ave., 408-423-9200.
  • Wed., July 18, 2012, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.: Catch live music and good beer at Poor House Bistro with “Blues & $2 Brews” featuring Napa Smith Brewing Co. 91 South Autumn Street, 408-292-5837.
  • Wed., July 18, 2012, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.: A Perfect Finish Wine Bar beer tasting event in honor of the Summer Kraft Brew Beer Fest. 55 South First Street, 408-288-6000.
Widmer Brothers beer event at a recent pint night at Harry's Hofbrau
Widmer Brothers beer event at a recent pint night at Harry’s Hofbrau
  • Fri., July 20, 2012: BevMo! stores host weekly Beer Tasting events on Fridays. Check your local BevMo! store for details.
  • Sat., July 21, 2012, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.: The Summer KraftBrew Beer Fest 2012 will take place in downtown San Jose on Post Street between Market and South First Streets.

Looking ahead: Save the date

  • Wed., July 25, 2012, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.: Catch live music and good beer at Poor House Bistro with “Blues & $2 Brews” featuring Palo Alto Brewing Co. 91 South Autumn Street, 408-292-5837.
  • Sat., July 28, 2012, 12:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.: California Beer Festival takes place in Santa Cruz and features a number of South Bay brewing companies.
  • Sat., July 28, 2012, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Bay Area Brew Festival will take place in San Francisco’s Fort Mason and will feature a number of South Bay brews.
  • Sat., Aug. 11, 2012, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.: SJ Beerwalk takes place in downtown Campbell.
Mike McKee of Widmer Brothers at a recent Widmer pint night at Harry's Hofbrau in San Jose
Mike McKee of Widmer Brothers at a recent Widmer pint night at Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose
San Jose beer fans Carlos and Gary at a recent Widmer pint night at Harry's Hofbrau in San Jose
San Jose beer fans Carlos and Gary at a recent Widmer pint night at Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose
San Jose beer enthusiasts (left to right) Joe, Russ, David, and Antony at a recent Widmer pint night at Harry's Hofbrau in San Jose
San Jose beer enthusiasts (left to right) Joe, Russ, David, and Antony at a recent Widmer pint night at Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose
San Jose beer fans Noreen and Jim at a recent Widmer pint night at Harry's Hofbrau in San Jose
San Jose beer fans Noreen and Jim at a recent Widmer pint night at Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose
The spotlight shines on general manager Kevin Olcese at a recent Widmer pint night at Harry's Hofbrau in San Jose
The spotlight shines on general manager Kevin Olcese at a recent Widmer pint night at Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Summer KraftBrew Beer Fest 2012 Seeks to Innovate and Engage

Summer KraftBrew Beer Fest 2012
Summer KraftBrew Beer Fest 2012

The highly anticipated Summer KraftBrew Beer Fest takes place in downtown San Jose on Post Street, between Market & South First, on Saturday, July 21, 2012 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This 2012 Summer KraftBrew Beer Fest is the third installment of the KraftBrew Beer Fest series, and though the first one held in April 2011 was successful, the Winter KraftBrew Beer Fest held earlier this January was bigger and better. Sure, the KraftBrew could have rested on their laurels, but they seem to have chosen the more challenging route of trying out new elements at this summer beerfest, hoping to raise the bar once again.

Origins of KraftBrew Beer Fest

KraftBrew Beer Fest was created by the trio of Louis Silva, Brendan Rawson, and Chris Esparza, owners of the San Jose restaurant Naglee Park Garage (The Garage) on 505 East San Carlos Street. In addition to chef Louis’s love of good beer, what helped them believe they could coordinate a beer festival was the growing success of The Garage’s Oktoberfest celebrations bringing together great Bavarian fare and live music. For these gentlemen, the sense of community and accessibility is strong and serves as the foundation for the KraftBrew Beer Fests.

KraftBrew founders and Naglee Park Garage owners Louis, Chris & Brendan (photo courtesy of Naglee Park Garage)
KraftBrew founders and Naglee Park Garage owners Louis, Chris & Brendan (photo courtesy of Naglee Park Garage)

Louis is the talented chef who has matched wits with Guy Fieri on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Brendan is well connected to the San Jose arts and culture scenes, including serving as the acting Executive Director of San Jose Jazz. Chris has been active in cultural and civic development through his San Jose consulting firm Giant Creative.

What to expect at this year’s Summer KraftBrew Beer Fest

The last two KraftBrew Beer Fests were held in the Landmark Ballroom at the San Jose Woman’s Club. According to Chris, “Based on the previous KraftBrews, we needed more room for beers and people, especially as we wanted to bring more exotic, hard-to-find beers. But look for smaller beer events at the Landmark Ballroom, like very unique beer and dinner pairing events.”

In addition to some of the more well known summer beers like hefeweizens and lagers, there will be sours, framboise, lambic, and saison beer styles. There are two special features for the passionate beer fans to participate in:

  • Panel discussions featuring the manager and owners of San Jose craft beer establishments, including Harry’s Hofbrau of San Jose, Wine Affairs, Good Karma, and Original Gravity. There are also panel discussions to include homebrewers and professional brewers.
  • The launching of special beers – either never brewed before, rarely brewed, tough to get in the Bay Area, or special anniversary beers – every hour.

Families are more of a focus; look for root beer floats made from Devil’s Canyon root beer and locally made vanilla ice cream.

Great music and food will once again be featured, including popular acts Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic, Monkey, Will Sprott, and Ben Henderson & Good Hustle and specially prepared food from The Garage and Harry’s Hofbrau.

Their goal is to provide a quintessential street festival vibe while cultivating a South Bay community, one forged by music, food, beer, and local partners.

Chris Esparza adds, “The Garage is a 30-foot restaurant with a 60-foot patio; we’re just a neighborhood joint. We want KraftBrew to reflect this spirit but on a bigger community level. You don’t need to spend $40 to have a great experience; you can try great beers for $15 as well while enjoying great music.”

The 2012 Summer KraftBrew Beer Fest also has additional standout features, including going green and offering Zythophile “Z” passes. For more information about these features and for “Z” ticket information, please check the following links:

To purchase “Z” tickets, click here.

KraftBrew Beer Fest Facebook page.

Naglee Park Garage event page.

Program and glassware from the 2011 KraftBrew Beer Fest
Program and glassware from the 2011 KraftBrew Beer Fest
Waiting in line for the 2012 Winter KraftBrew Beer Fest
Waiting in line at the 2012 Winter KraftBrew Beer Fest
Fun times at the Winter KraftBrew Beer Fest 2012
Inside the 2012 Winter KraftBrew Beer Fest
Great turnout at the Winter KraftBrew Beer Fest 2012
Outside the Winter KraftBrew Beer Fest 2012
Waiting for a pour at the Winter KraftBrew Beer Fest 2012
Enjoying beer at the Winter KraftBrew Beer Fest 2012

 

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

San Jose Area Beer News and Events for June 18-24, 2012: Successful Gordon Biersch Imperial Pilsner Brau Launch and Inaugural Los Gatos Brewing Company Firkin Fest

Dan Gordon of Gordon Biersch Brewery enjoying a glass of Imperial Pilsner Brau during the June 15, 2012 Imperial Pilsner Brau launch party in San Jose
Dan Gordon of Gordon Biersch Brewery enjoying a glass of Imperial Pilsner Brau during the June 15, 2012 Imperial Pilsner Brau launch party in San Jose

The following is a collection of recent San Jose beer news and a list of craft beer events in San Jose and the greater South Bay for the upcoming week and beyond. As events may change from time to time, please do check with the establishment directly, especially if you are extra excited about a particular event.

Recent beer news

  • A successful launch party featuring the new limited release Gordon Biersch Imperial Pilsner Brau (6.5% ABV, 50 IBU) took place this past week at the Gordon Biersch brewery and bottling facility in San Jose with co-founder Dan Gordon. “This is an intensely hopped, robust Pilsner that emphasizes the noble hops from central Europe including Hallertau, Tettnang, Spalt and Saaz. It has been brewed in accordance with the German Purity Law of 1516. Our IPB is naturally carbonated and unfiltered.”
  • Los Gatos Brewing Company and brewmaster Kent Wheat hosted the inaugural Los Gatos Brewing Company Firkin Fest 2012 at their San Pedro Square location in San Jose yesterday, June 16, 2012. The heat did not deter people from coming out to enjoy fresh beer. A huge turnout had the opportunity to sample beer from nine breweries, including Tied House, Hermitage, Magnolia, Drake’s, Strike, Los Gatos Brewing, Seabright, FireHouse, and Faultline at Los Gatos Brewing’s outdoor patio.
Glassware and drink tokens from the inaugural Los Gatos Brewing Company Firkin Fest in San Jose on Saturday, June 16, 2012
Glassware and drink tokens from the inaugural Los Gatos Brewing Company Firkin Fest in San Jose on Saturday, June 16, 2012
Brewmaster Kent Wheat of Los Gatos Brewing Company - the mastermind of the inaugural LGBC Firkin Fest 2012 in San Jose
Brewmaster Kent Wheat of Los Gatos Brewing Company – the mastermind of the inaugural LGBC Firkin Fest 2012 in San Jose

Beer events this upcoming week

  • Mon., June 18, 2012, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.: San Jose’s Wine Affairs releases Parabola from Firestone Walker. 1435 The Alameda, 408-977-0111. “The most aggressive beer from their Proprietor’s Reserve Series, the 2012 Parabola is a bourbon-barrel aged Imperial Stout released just last month. We have 24 bottles and one keg we’ve been hoarding for this special occasion. Keg will be tapped at 5pm sharp and bottles will be available all day! To-go and club discounts apply. Three bottle limit per customer.”
  • Tues., June 19, 2012, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.: Rock Bottom Campbell taps their Summer Honey Ale. Passed appetizers, $3 Summer Honey Ales, keep the glass (while supplies last), and meet and greet with the brewmaster.
  • Tues., June 19, 2012, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.: Gordon Biersch San Jose taps their limited time Summerbrau, “a golden, refreshing Kölsch-style beer from Cologne, with just a hint of fruitiness.” Live music on their patio and complimentary passed appetizers.
  • Tues., June 19, 2012, 4 p.m. – closing: The Counter Santana Row, offers a “Mix-It-Up” 4 mini burger & beer pairings, including Devil’s Canyon Full Boar Scotch Ale and Lagunitas IPA. 3055 Olin Ave., 408-423-9200.
  • Wed., June 20, 2012, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.: Catch live music and good beer at Poor House Bistro with “Blues & $2 Brews” featuring Knee Deep Brewing Company. 91 South Autumn Street, 408-292-5837.
South bay beer fans Joe (left), Antony (center), Russ and David (right) at a recent pint night at Harry's Hofbrau in San Jose
South bay beer fans Joe (left), Antony (center), Russ and David (right) at a recent pint night at Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose
South Bay beer enthusiasts Joe (left) and Antony (right) at a recent pint night at Harry's Hofbrau in San Jose
South Bay beer enthusiasts Joe (left) and Antony (right) at a recent pint night at Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose
Jack's Bar & Lounge in Japantown, San Jose
Jack’s Bar & Lounge in Japantown, San Jose
The taps at Jack's Bar & Lounge in Japantown, San Jose hosts weekly Thursday pint nights
The taps at Jack’s Bar & Lounge in Japantown, San Jose hosts weekly Thursday pint nights
  • Fri., June 22, 2012: BevMo! stores host weekly Beer Tasting events on Fridays. Check your local BevMo! store for details.

Looking ahead: Save the date

  • Sat., June 30, 2012, 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.: The 3rd Annual Santa Cruz Hop N’ Barley Festival takes place in Scotts Valley.
  • Sat., July 21, 2012, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.: The Summer KraftBrew Beer Fest 2012 will take place in downtown San Jose on Post Street between Market and South First Streets.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]