Tag Archives: Larry Hoang

Scenes from the Downtown Sunnyvale Beerwalk, Feb. 2017

Another tasty, entertaining and successful Beerwalk took place last Saturday, marking the first time that the Beerwalk was held in Sunnyvale.

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The older kid with Firehouse Grill & Brewery’s Larry Hoang, right before Larry took a group of early Beerwalk participants on a brewery tour.

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Thanks for the shout-out, Larry.

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Grain silo.

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Grain mill.

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Malts.

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Mash tun.

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Larry gave a great tour – energetic, articulate and informative.

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Kettle.

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Fermentation tanks.

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Bright tank.

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The family with Hermitage Brewing’s Nicole Marquez.

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Faultline Brewing’s Everett on the left.

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Very tasty Simcoe Single Hop IPA from Hermitage Brewing.

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Sierra Nevada Brewing’s Ryan Brown pouring Northern Hemisphere Harvest Wet Hop IPA.

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Larry pouring Firehouse Grill & Brewery IPA and Red Ale.

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Corey of Firestone Walker Brewing pouring Easy Jack Session IPA and Luponic Distortion 004.

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Golden State Brewery’s Brent Ostrander pouring I-5PA (Northeastern Style IPA) and Heritage Honey Ale.

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Fibbar MaGees’ Liam and Irene.

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Umunhum Brewing’s Jeff and Christian.

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Santa Clara Valley Brewing’s Adam Nanni.

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Beer enthusiasts Joe and Gen.

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Lagunitas Brewing Brown Sugga’ (American Strong Ale) and 12th of Never (American Pale Ale).

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Ryan Bridge of Strike Brewing. Major kudos to him for his excellent Stand Up Triple IPA, which was recently released in limited quantities on tap and in bottles at their brewery.

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Beerwalk’s Jordan Trigg.

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Beerwalk’s Jordan and Cindy.

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Had a great time as always. We were struck by the growth of the downtown Sunnyvale area, as it’s been some time since we last visited. We’ll definitely be back on a more regular basis.

The next Beerwalk is already scheduled to take place – also for the first time – in downtown San Jose. It’s set for Wednesday, April 5 at 6pm, and early birds can purchase tickets as usual on The Beerwalk website.

Can’t wait for it.

Cheers! Prost! Gunbae!

~Andy



Special Beer Release: Single Bourbon Barrel Aged 2 Tun from Hermitage Brewing, Plus Interview with Head Brewer Greg Filippi

Hermitage Brewing head brewer Greg Filippi (center) at Hermitage Brewing Company joined by Palo Alto Brewing's Kasim Syed and Santa Clara Valley Brewing's Steve Donohue. Photo from this past fall.
Hermitage Brewing head brewer Greg Filippi (center) at Hermitage Brewing Company joined by Palo Alto Brewing’s Kasim Syed and Santa Clara Valley Brewing’s Steve Donohue. Photo from this past fall.

The latest project to come out of San Jose’s Hermitage Brewing Company promises to be a special one, and fans of imperial stouts – and barrel-aged stouts in particular – should be especially pleased.

On Wed., March 25, Hermitage will unveil Single Bourbon Barrel Aged 2 Tun Imperial Stout. Head brewer Greg Filippi put their regular Ale of the 2 Tun in a single Kentucky bourbon barrel close to three years ago, and the beer has now been deemed ready for release. Availability of the Single Bourbon Barrel Aged 2 Tun will be limited as the one bourbon barrel produced a total of just eight five-gallon kegs.

The beer will be available draft only at the Hermitage Brewing Company Tap Room (1627 S. 7th St.) and sister company Tied House in Mountain View (954 Villa St.).

Tapping at the Hermitage Tap Room takes place at 4pm. Hermitage will host Brother Baby’s BBQ until the closing at 9pm.

Tapping at Tied House is set for 11:30am. To pair with the beer, Tied House will feature a new menu item – Paulet Bon Femme: Mary’s free-range chicken, pearl onions, house-smoked bacon, smashed potatoes and sauce veloute ($18.95).

Brewer’s Notes

The descriptive brewer’s notes from Hermitage Brewing’s head brewer Greg Filippi offer a peek into the characteristics of Single Bourbon Barrel Aged 2 Tun (ABV: 8%):

“This beer began as a small side project back in the summer of 2012. We took a batch of our 2-Tun Imperial Stout and racked it into a freshly-dumped bourbon barrel, straight from Kentucky. Then we tucked it away in a cozy corner of our barrel cellar and forgot about it. Two-and-a-half years later, the result is a F**KING AWESOME big, bold beer, absolutely dripping in sweet bourbon deliciousness.

“The whiskey character is strong up front and dominates the aroma, but beneath it lie the familiar chocolate and espresso notes of the stout. Whiskey shines through again as the beer crosses the palate, but quickly gives way to smooth, silky chocolate. That chocolate lingers in the finish, dancing with the sweet bourbon in perfect form, the way only years together can produce.”

Hermitage Brewing Company’s Continuing Rise

Ever since getting hired by founding brewmaster Peter Licht at Hermitage Brewing Company in 2011 (Hermitage itself was established in 2009), Filippi – who is as humble as they come – has done much to elevate the brewery’s reputation thanks to his ingenuity, work ethic and diligence.

The Hermitage brewing team has been very busy as of late expertly executing the recipes on behalf of a bevy of brewery clients. Yet, it is great to see Hermitage Brewing Company continue the commitment to creating their own unique beers.

Head Brewer Greg Filippi

This month marks Filippi’s four-year anniversary at Hermitage. I reached out to him to learn how the ride has been these past years.

Filippi shared, “The ride at Hermitage has been crazy. We have grown pretty fast in the past few years. Dealing with all of the different clients and being able to share ideas back and forth has been an incredible learning experience. And our shared successes have enabled us to get some really cool new toys… I mean equipment.

“The brewery is at full capacity all of the time, and we’re working every day. I have three full-time shift brewers, Larry Hoang, Brandi Ivy, and Grant Goodman. Jim Turturici is going to be joining our team part-time as he works on getting his own endeavor up and running. Then there are all of the other support personnel: an awesome lab, new sales team, our warehouse and packaging staff, and all of the taproom guys and gals. It seems like there’s always someone new. It’s almost surreal sometimes, and we have definitely experienced a few growing pains. But really, it’s just a lot of fun.”

Filippi also shared a bit of what to expect in the coming months. “This year is going to be great. We have an awesome lineup of single hop IPAs – both exciting new varieties and revisiting a couple of our favorites. We have several new seasonals coming out this summer. And we will be doing our fall favorites Fruit Crate Pumpkin Ale and Ryetopia. Should be good drinking all year!”

I was curious to know if the barrel-aged 2 Tun was Filippi’s favorite release to date. He said, “I am very stoked about the way this beer turned out and can’t wait to share it with everyone. I’m proud of a lot of the projects we’ve worked on for different reasons; you know you can’t pick a favorite child. But I do think this one is really something special. So far the reaction of everyone who has gotten to try it has just been, “Wow!” I think [my] notes pretty much cover it. It is definitely a warmer though. The first sip just puts a smile on your face.”

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Upcoming Beerwalk Takes Place in Downtown Campbell, Plus Pics from Last Year’s Event

Downtown Campbell Beerwalk 2013
Downtown Campbell Beerwalk 2013

According to a recent Facebook update, there have been 10 Beerwalks so far, representing over 7,000 attendees, over 500 volunteers, over 200 different beers, and perhaps most importantly, over $30,000 raised for local non-profit organizations.

For those still unaware, Beerwalks take place every few months throughout various South Bay communities (so far: Japantown, Willow Glen, downtown Campbell, and Santana Row) and provide opportunities for “beerwalkers” to visit local shops and businesses while sampling good beer.

The Beerwalks have proven to be a quadruple win strategy involving South Bay communities, local shops and businesses, beer fans, and local non-profits. The successes are what led the Metro Silicon Valley newspaper to single out the Beerwalks as the “Best Community Showcase” in last year’s “The Best of Silicon Valley” issue.

The next Beerwalk is upon us, as the third annual Downtown Campbell Beerwalk takes place on Wednesday, April 23 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The following is the current list of participating breweries:

  • Drakes
  • Firestone Walker
  • Lagunitas
  • Hangar 24
  • Anchor
  • Speakeasy
  • Anderson Valley
  • Strike
  • Hermitage
  • Santa Clara Valley
  • Campbell
  • Rock Bottom, Campbell
  • 21st Amendment
  • Gordon Biersch
  • Almanac
  • FireHouse
  • Calicraft
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Karl Strauss
  • Stone
  • St. Florian
  • Santa Cruz Ale Works
  • Faultline
  • Lost Coast
  • Headlands Brewing Company
  • Six Rivers
  • Deschutes
  • Oskar Blues

The following is the list of tasting locations:

  • Frost Cupcake Factory
  • Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop
  • Snake & Butterfly
  • Khartoum Lounge
  • Liquid Bread Gastropub
  • Tessora’s Barra di Vino
  • Steepers
  • Blue Line Pizza
  • Brown Chicken Brown Cow
  • Ciano’s Modern Latin Flavors
  • Mo’s
  • Sonoma Chicken Coop
  • Spread Deli & Bottles
  • The Socialight
  • Cali Muscle Sports Nutrition & Apparel
  • Embellish Hair & Lash Lounge
  • Pro Martial Arts
  • Bela La Vie Boutique & Gallery
  • The Cruiser Shop
  • Bombshell Boutique
  • In Style Shoes
  • The European Cobblery
  • Urban Girl
  • The Olive Bar
  • The Jewel Box
  • Toys Toys Toys
  • MarKey Capital
  • Bozzuto & Associates Insurance Services
  • Celtic Shoppe
  • Sushi Confidential

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $30 online at www.thebeerwalk.com. Last year’s Beerwalk in downtown Campbell sold out, and with the weather expected to be pleasant this upcoming Wednesday, the Beerwalk will again be a popular draw. In case the event does not sell out, tickets can be purchased day of for $35 at check-in locations.

For additional information, including check-in time and locations, visit the Beerwalk website.

More pics from last year’s Downtown Campbell Beerwalk 2013:

Beerwalk co-founder Charlie Mann
Beerwalk co-founder Charlie Mann
Beerwalk co-founder Jordan Trigg, Hermitage Brewing's Larry Hoang, and Campbell Brewing's Jim Turturici
Beerwalk co-founder Jordan Trigg, Hermitage Brewing’s Larry Hoang, and Campbell Brewing’s Jim Turturici
Great turnout at the Campbell Beerwalk 2013
Great turnout at the Campbell Beerwalk 2013

Great crowd at the Campbell Beerwalk 2013

Campbell Beerwalk 2013

Beerwalkers at the Campbell Beerwalk 2013
Beerwalkers at the Campbell Beerwalk 2013
Lost Coast Brewery's Jack Van Stone and Beerwalk volunteers
Lost Coast Brewery’s Jack Van Stone and Beerwalk volunteers
Hermitage Brewing Company's Peter Estaniel and Carolyn Hopkins-Vasquez
Hermitage Brewing Company’s Peter Estaniel and Carolyn Hopkins-Vasquez
Yours truly and Santa Clara Valley Brewing's Steve Donohue
Yours truly and Santa Clara Valley Brewing’s Steve Donohue
Good eats at one of the Beerwalk tasting locations, Spread Deli & Bottles
Good eats at one of the Beerwalk tasting locations, Spread Deli & Bottles
Ending the Beerwalk with a nice view of the Campbell water tower
Ending the Beerwalk with a nice view of the Campbell water tower

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Liquid Bread Gastropub Celebrates 1-Year Anniversary

Liquid Bread Gastropub ribbon cutting ceremony with Executive Chef John Burke, owner Jordan Trigg and Bar Manager Larry Hoang
Liquid Bread Gastropub ribbon cutting ceremony with Executive Chef John Burke, owner Jordan Trigg and Bar Manager Larry Hoang

Liquid Bread Gastropub (379 East Campbell Ave.) is celebrating their one-year anniversary throughout this weekend, Oct. 19 and 20.

Coinciding with the annual downtown Campbell Oktoberfest, Liquid Bread is paying tribute with German beer on tap, $10 anniversary steins (while supplies last) with $5 refills, and fine fare, including Knackwurst and Beer Cheese Soup until 4 p.m. today and tomorrow.

Liquid Bread is also participating in Silicon Valley Restaurant Week, which runs from Oct. 16 through Oct. 23. Below is Chef John Burke’s special, set menu ($45 – add beer for $20 or wine for $30):

Mixed heirloom tomatoes
– warm goat cheese, braised onions, crispy bread, tarragon dressing

Beer cheese soup
– butterball potatoes, leeks, beet relish

Braised lobster mushroom
– brussel sprouts chips, pearl barley, balsamic reduction

***

Crispy pork jowl
– smoked tofu, turnips, hen of the wood mushrooms, pork sauce

Sweetbreads
– squid ink spaetzle, crispy pork skin, yogurt, caraway

King salmon
– quinoa, garbanzo beans, cippolini, romesco

***

Dragon eyes tea cake
– cranberry jam, shiso whipped cream,

Strawberry pudding
– almond praline , mint

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Liquid Bread Gastropub Hosts Beer Social with Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Liquid Bread Gastropub hosts Speakeasy Beer Social
Liquid Bread Gastropub hosts Speakeasy Beer Social

Downtown Campbell’s Liquid Bread Gastropub (379 East Campbell Ave.) hosts their next beer social on Mon., Sep. 30, 2013 starting at 7 p.m.

Guests will taste five different Speakeasy beers with five different passed appetizers while having the opportunity to discuss the pairings with members from the Speakeasy brewing team as well as Liquid Bread executive chef John Burke and beverage manager Larry Hoang.

Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door. Tickets can be purchased by calling (408-370-3400), in person at the restaurant, or via online.

  • Prohibition Ale – balanced amber with a clean finish
  • Wet Hop Big Daddy IPA, Draft – hoppy brew with Norcal freshness with
  • Peanut and Basil Cornbread – mirin glaze, lemon grass, jicama salad, tiny arugula
  • Tallulah Extra Pale Ale – light, easy, tropical and pleasantly bitter with
  • Bay Scallops – warm pineapple coriander broth, mango, fig leaves
  • Double Daddy Imperial IPA – big, hoppy West Coast IPA with
  • Braised Goat – garlic mustard dressing, grilled kale, roasted sunchoke
  • Payback Smoked Porter – sweet, espresso, cocoa and hickory smoke with
  • Oysters – crispy ham, smoked salt, sesame seeds, grated quail egg

Menu subject to change based on product availability.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Scenes from the One-Year Anniversary Beerwalk in Japantown San Jose

The latest Beerwalk took place Sat., Feb. 9, 2013 in San Jose’s Japantown and marked the one-year anniversary of the first Beerwalk, which was also held in Japantown.

The Beerwalk was a successful one, reflecting the experience and the ongoing efforts of its principle organizers – the folks at Jack’s Bar & Lounge.

Here are some pics from the Beerwalk.

Checking in at Jack’s Bar & Lounge.

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Glassware and program.

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And we’re off.

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Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company (Belmont) and their California Sunshine Rye IPA and Full Boar Scotch Ale.

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Spotted Campbell’s Liquid Bread Gastropub beer manager Larry Hoang and friends.

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San Ramon’s Schubros Brewery and their Diablo Dark, a complex layered stout, and Nico American Wheat, an American wheat beer with rye.

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Ran into the always affable Charlie Mann of Jack’s Bar & Lounge. He’s also co-founder of these South Bay beerwalks.

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Firestone Walker’s regional sales manager Antoine Riffis pouring some Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA.

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The young adult and me.

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Uncommon Brewers of Santa Cruz and their Siamese Twin Belgian-style Double and Baltic Porter.

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South Bay’s Strike Brewing Company co-founders Jenny Lewis and Drew Ehrlich and their IPA and Stout.

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Past beerwalks I’ve been to have been fun and smoothly run, and this one was no different. In fact, I think it was the most smoothly run beerwalk yet – a testament to the efforts of the organizers, who I know continually work on fine-tuning these events.

The especially cool thing about this Beerwalk for me was that the whole family attended – the young adult, younger kid, wifey, and me.

Cheers!

~Andy

Liquid Bread Gastropub in Campbell

GLASS ACT- Liquid Bread finds good beers to pair with its food
GLASS ACT- Liquid Bread finds good beers to pair with its food

The new Liquid Bread Gastropub opened in downtown Campbell just a month ago and is on the fast track to becoming a South Bay hot spot for top-notch food and beer offerings. Liquid Bread boasts 20 rotating craft-beer taps and 70 to 80 bottled beers for in-house consumption or purchase to go. There is also a selection of fine wines and soda.

The beers on tap represent a variety of styles to pair with menu items of small to medium plates, and introduce and educate those new to enjoying beer with their food. Several taps are devoted to local South Bay and Bay Area breweries, and recent draft beers have included El Toro Poppy Jasper Amber Ale (Morgan Hill) and Red Branch Ciders (Sunnyvale). On tap now is the Ale of the 2 Tun Imperial Stout from San Jose’s Hermitage Brewing Company.

Having attended Santa Clara High School together, the Liquid Bread partners have South Bay pride and more than 10 years of food and beverage experience each. Jordan Trigg, owner of Jack’s Bar & Lounge in San Jose’s Japantown, helped start the successful San Jose Beerwalk events. Ryan Banderas has worked extensively in the restaurant and bar scene and developed the beer program at Rootstock Wine Bar in Los Gatos.

Executive chef John Burke has cooked at several acclaimed Bay Area restaurants, including two with a Michelin star—the Village Pub in Woodside and Trevese in Los Gatos as its chef de cuisine. He was most recently the chef de cuisine at the Silicon Valley Capital Club in San Jose. Along with sous chef Tyler Graham, he provides a fresh take on new and traditional California cuisine that features local ingredients and is vegetarian friendly.

Regarding the unusual name, Jordan explains: “Liquid bread refers to beer. The phrase came from the time when water was not very sanitary, and beer was consumed for both water and valuable nutrients. We feel Liquid Bread represents our primary focus of beer, but at the same time encompasses the aspects of a gastropub—the focus on drinks—liquid—complemented by high-end cuisine—bread.”

The partners recently hired a beer manager to help order and maintain a stellar beer lineup and to run beer-related specials, including food- and beer-pairing events and beer club memberships. The beer manager is Larry Hoang, previously the assistant brewer at Campbell’s Rock Bottom Brewery and, yes, also a friend from Santa Clara High.

Liquid Bread Gastropub
379 East Campbell Ave., Campbell, CA; 408.370.3400

[This post was shared on SanJose.com.]

San Jose Area Beer News and Events: Sep. 17-22, 2012

Kevin Olcese on his last day at Harry's Hofbrau in San Jose this past Thursday. He will take the reigns at Harry's Hofbrau in Redwood City, where up to 28 taps have already been installed
Kevin Olcese on his last day at Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose this past Thursday. He will take the reigns at Harry’s Hofbrau in Redwood City, where up to 28 taps have already been installed

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

Recent beer news

Kevin Olcese, who has successfully worked to bring good beer to San Jose and the South Bay, has left his general manager position at Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose. His last day was this past Thursday. He will now work at Harry’s Hofbrau in Redwood City, which has recently added up to 28 taps.

Larry Hoang recently left the assistant brewer position at Rock Bottom in Campbell. He will be the beer manager at the soon-to-open Liquid Bread Gastropub in downtown Campbell.

Beer events this upcoming week

Mon., Sep. 17, 2012: San Jose’s Wine Affairs hosts their weekly beer tasting event, this week featuring Boulder Beer Company. 1435 The Alameda, 408-977-0111. “Hoopla! Not only is it a fun thing to say, it’s also a delicious brew by Boulder Beer. Recently available in the South Bay, Boulder brewing will be here pouring their line-up this Monday, 9/17 from 6pm-8pm. $12/person or FREE for members.”

Tues., Sep. 18, 2012, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.: A taco and beer pairing event takes place at Gordon Biersch San Jose. 33 East San Fernando St., 408-294-6785. “Join Head Brewer Jeff Liles in the bar for a pairing of our signature handcrafted beers and a delicious taco bar! Discover how different types of beer pair perfectly with the spices and flavors of everyone’s favorite Mexican dish. Bring your friends and don’t forget to ask for a complimentary tour of our onsite brewery. See you then!”

Tues., Sep. 18, 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., Sep 19, 2012, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.: Catch live music and good beer at Poor House Bistro with “Blues & $2 Brews” featuring Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company. 91 South Autumn Street, 408-292-5837.

Thurs., Sep. 20, 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., Sep. 20, 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., Sep. 21, 2012: BevMo! stores host weekly Beer Tasting events on Fridays. Check your local BevMo! store for details.

Sat., Sep. 22, 2012, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Peter B’s Brewpub hosts the 2nd Annual Monterey Beer Garden, which will feature a number of South Bay breweries.

Looking ahead: Save the date

Thurs., Sep. 27, 2012: California Cafe in Palo Alto hosts a Strike Brewing Co. brewmasters dinner.

Sat.-Sun., Oct. 20-21, 2012: Left Bank Brasserie Santana Row hosts a prix fixe meal paired with beers from Gordon Biersch 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.

Sun., Oct. 21, 2012: Morocco’s Restaurant in Mountain View hosts a beer dinner featuring Strike Brewing Company.

Thurs., Oct. 25, 2012: California Cafe in Palo Alto hosts a Lost Coast Brewery brewmasters dinner.

Sat., Nov. 17, 2012: Save the date – the next SJ Beerwalk takes place in downtown Willow Glen.

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.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Highlights of the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden at SubZERO Festival

2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden takes place in San Jose - The Valley of the Heart's Delight
Downtown San Jose artwork at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden – The Valley of the Heart’s Delight

Amidst picture perfect weather and orchestration by South Bay craft beervangelist Peter Estaniel of BetterBeerBlog, the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden craft beer festival, took place last Friday, June 1, at the 5th Annual SubZERO Festival of arts and culture in downtown San Jose.

The 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden takes place at the 5th Annual SubZERO Festival of art and culture
The growing crowd at the 5th Annual SubZERO Festival of art and culture
The 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
The 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden

Mere steps from the beerfest were gourmet food trucks and the engaging sights and sounds of local artists and musicians. Folks who came just for the Better Brew Tasting Garden had the opportunity to see and hear great artwork and music, while people who came primarily for the art, music, and food had the chance to try out a myriad of tasty beers.

Gourmet food trucks next to the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Gourmet food trucks next to the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden

Attendees had the opportunity to taste beer from 15 breweries, ranging from an Imperial Brau Pilsner from Gordon Biersch, German-style gold ales from Rock Bottom Campbell and Hermitage Brewing, ESB styles from Campbell Brewing and Firestone Walker, a porter from Uncommon Brewers, pale ales from Cedar Street Brewing and Seven Bridges Cooperative, to IPAs from Strike Brewing, Peter B’s Brewpub, Santa Cruz Aleworks, Lagunitas, and Seabright Brewery.

An element that elevates the status of a particular beer festival is the presence of the folks who make the beers being poured. And the Better Brew Tasting Garden had its fair share of brewmasters on hand to talk about their beers, including Strike Brewing’s Drew Ehrlich, Campbell Brewing’s Jim Turturici, Peter B’s Kevin Clark, and Rock Bottom Campbell’s Russell Clements.

Drew Ehrlich and Jenny Lewis of Strike Brewing and Josh Santos of The San Jose Blog at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Drew Ehrlich and Jenny Lewis of Strike Brewing and Josh Santos of The San Jose Blog at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Peter Estaniel of BetterBeerBlog, South Bay brewmaster Steve Donohue, and Drew Ehrlich of Strike Brewing at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Peter Estaniel of BetterBeerBlog, South Bay brewmaster Steve Donohue, and Drew Ehrlich of Strike Brewing at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Peter Estaniel of BetterBeerBlog, South Bay brewmaster Steve Donohue, and Drew Ehrlich of Strike Brewing at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Peter Estaniel of BetterBeerBlog, South Bay brewmaster Steve Donohue, and Drew Ehrlich of Strike Brewing at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Russell Clements of Rock Bottom Campbell at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Russell Clements of Rock Bottom Campbell at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Kevin Clark (r) of Peter B's at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Kevin Clark (r) of Peter B’s at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Jim Turturici of Campbell Brewing at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Jim Turturici of Campbell Brewing at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden

Of note was the public debut of the Bay Brewer’s Guild, a brewery collective from the South Bay, Santa Cruz, and Monterey areas whose mission is to further promote the craft beer scenes in these regions.

The public debut of The Bay Brewers Guild at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
The public debut of The Bay Brewers Guild at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden

Despite the large number of attendees, beer tasting lines moved briskly and the filled-up space never felt too crowded. By all accounts, this beerfest was a resounding success thanks to the excellent turnout, a smoothly run operation by Peter and his team of volunteers, and the great fun that was had while enjoying good beer. Special mentions go to event sponsor Lagunitas Brewing Company and to Cherri Lakey and Brian Eder of the Anno Domini art gallery, the folks behind the SubZERO Festival.

On the heels of last year’s well-regarded, inaugural Better Brew Tasting Garden, this year’s version has raised the proverbial bar even higher, helping to provide further evidence that it is a good time to be a beer fan in the South Bay.

More pics below:

The 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden hosted by BetterBeerBlog
The 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden hosted by BetterBeerBlog
Tony Riffis of Firestone Walker at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Tony Riffis of Firestone Walker at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Great turnout at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Great turnout at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden

A great turnout at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden

South Bay beer fans Randy, Andre, and Roy at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden; their favorite beer was Seabright's Blur IPA
South Bay beer fans Randy, Andre, and Roy at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden; their favorite beer was Seabright’s Blur IPA
San Jose beer enthusiasts Billy and Nicole at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden; their favorite beer was Strike Brewing's IPA
San Jose beer enthusiasts Billy and Nicole at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden; their favorite beer was Strike Brewing’s IPA
San Jose beer fan Stef and Seven Bridges Cooperative rep. at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
San Jose beer fan Stef and Seven Bridges Cooperative rep. at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Performance art on the side of a building in view courtesy of the 5th Annual SubZERO Festival at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Performance art on the side of a building in view courtesy of the 5th Annual SubZERO Festival at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Great turnout at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Reaching peak capacity at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
View from the Seven Bridges Cooperative table at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
View from the Seven Bridges Cooperative table at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Volunteers and San Jose beer fans Kregg and Hiromi at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Volunteers and San Jose beer fans Kregg and Hiromi at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
South Bay brewmaster Steve Donohue, Larry Hoang of Rock Bottom Campbell, and Jim Turturici of Campbell Brewing at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
South Bay brewmaster Steve Donohue, Larry Hoang of Rock Bottom Campbell, and Jim Turturici of Campbell Brewing at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Yours truly and Peter Estaniel of BetterBeerBlog at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Yours truly and Peter Estaniel of BetterBeerBlog at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Yours truly and Mrs. BetterBeerBlog at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Yours truly and Mrs. BetterBeerBlog at the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden
Good security presence at the Better Brew Tasting Garden
Good security presence at the Better Brew Tasting Garden
San Jose's SoFa district in fine form at the 5th Annual SubZERO Festival
San Jose’s SoFa district in fine form at the 5th Annual SubZERO Festival
Brian Eder and Cherri Lakey (r) of Anno Domini, organizers of the SubZERO Festival
Brian Eder and Cherri Lakey (r) of Anno Domini, organizers of the SubZERO Festival
Cherri Lakey of Anno Domini, organizer of the SubZERO Festival
Cherri Lakey of Anno Domini, organizer of the SubZERO Festival

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Highlights of the Second San Jose Beerwalk in Japantown

Second San Jose Beerwalk in Japantown hosted by Jack's Bar & Lounge
Second San Jose Beerwalk in Japantown hosted by Jack’s Bar & Lounge

The second San Jose (SJ) Beerwalk with its IPA theme took place Saturday, April 28, 2012, and it was a resounding success based on initial feedback. Contributing success factors were the organization, more South Bay brewery involvement, and the wonderful San Jose springtime weather.

Beerwalkers were also noticeably exploring and engaging the various Japantown businesses, about 18 or so, that served as pouring locations. It is safe to say that this second SJ Beerwalk was even better than the first very popular, sold-out SJ Beerwalk held this past February.

For craft beer fans, there was plenty to be happy about, while the participation of more South Bay breweries was a welcome development. Among the local South Bay breweries and their beers were the following:

Rock Bottom Campbell Brewer Larry Hoang
Rock Bottom Campbell Brewer Larry Hoang
Rock Bottom Campbell IPA
Rock Bottom Campbell IPA
  • Campbell Brewing was stationed at Cielito Lindo and poured draft IPA among the draft selections. Campbell Brewing Brewmaster Jim Turturici was there to lend a hand.
Campbell Brewing pouring station
Campbell Brewing pouring station
Campbell Brewing Brewmaster Jim Turturici
Campbell Brewing Brewmaster Jim Turturici
Campbell Brewing IPA
Campbell Brewing IPA
  • Strike Brewing‘s CEO Jenny Lewis and Brewmaster Drew Ehrlich offered their current lineup of beer, including draft Wit and Brown, pouring at San Jose Autoworks.
Strike Brewing Brewmaster Drew Ehrlich and CEO Jenny Lewis
Strike Brewing Brewmaster Drew Ehrlich and CEO Jenny Lewis
Tied House & Hermitage Brewing
Tied House & Hermitage Brewing
Menage a Singe IPA and Coastal Fog IPA
Menage a Singe IPA and Coastal Fog IPA
Citra Hops IPA and Hoptopia DIPA
Citra Hops IPA and Hoptopia DIPA
A taste of the Hermitage Brewing Citra Hops IPA
A taste of the Hermitage Brewing Citra Hops IPA
Faultline Brewing Company
Faultline Brewing Company
Faultline IPA
Faultline IPA
Los Gatos Brewing Company
Los Gatos Brewing Company
Los Gatos Brewing Hefeweizen
Los Gatos Brewing Hefeweizen
Los Gatos Brewing Oktoberfest
Los Gatos Brewing Oktoberfest
Upcoming Los Gatos Brewing Company Firkin Fest
Upcoming Los Gatos Brewing Company Firkin Fest
FireHouse Brewery Hops on Rye IPA and One Tun Imperial Stout
FireHouse Brewery Hops on Rye IPA and One Tun Imperial Stout
FireHouse Hops on Rye IPA and One Tun Imperial Stout
FireHouse Hops on Rye IPA and One Tun Imperial Stout
Gordon Biersch beers
Gordon Biersch beers

Some of the other participating breweries included:

  • Devil’s Canyon and their IPA and Scotch Ale
  • Santa Cruz Ale Works and their IPA and Hefe
Mike Barker of Santa Cruz Ale Works and draft Hefeweizen Ale and IPA
Mike Barker of Santa Cruz Ale Works and draft Hefeweizen Ale and IPA
Santa Cruz Ale Works IPA
Santa Cruz Ale Works IPA
  • Firestone Walker and their Wookey Jack and Union Jack
  • Sierra Nevada and 3 different IPAs – Ruthless Rye, Torpedo, and Hoptimum
  • Anchor Brewing and their Liberty Ale
  • Stone Brewing and their Cali-Belgique IPA and Sublimely Self Righteous Ale
  • Lagunitas and their IPA
  • Anderson Valley and their Hop Ottin’ IPA and Summer Solstice

Those interested in the next SJ Beerwalk will have to wait several months as the third SJ Beerwalk will take place in late July or early August. For the latest SJ Beerwalk updates, like the SJ Beerwalk Facebook page.

Some more pictures from the second SJ Beerwalk below.

Taking a break at the SJ Beerwalk
Taking a break at the SJ Beerwalk
Yours truly with two favorite South Bay beers
Yours truly with two favorite South Bay beers
Lost Coast Brewery's Jack Van Stone enjoying the Beerwalk
Lost Coast Brewery’s Jack Van Stone enjoying the Beerwalk
Waiting in line for Gordon Biersch beers
Waiting in line for Gordon Biersch beers
Beerwalkers
Beerwalkers
A comfortable security presence throughout the SJ Beerwalk
A comfortable security presence throughout the SJ Beerwalk
Outdoor patio at Jack's Bar & Lounge
Outdoor patio at Jack’s Bar & Lounge
Rock Bottom Campbell Brewmaster Russell Clements (left) and Jack's Bar & Lounge Owner Jordan Trigg (right)
Rock Bottom Campbell Brewmaster Russell Clements (left) and Jack’s Bar & Lounge Owner Jordan Trigg (right)
Jack's Bar & Lounge
Jack’s Bar & Lounge
Enjoying the outdoor area of Jack's Bar & Lounge
Enjoying the outdoor area of Jack’s Bar & Lounge

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]