Tag Archives: Los Gatos Brewing Company

Los Gatos Brewing Company Hosts ‘Firkin Fest’ this Weekend

Alongside picture perfect weather in the South Bay this weekend, Los Gatos Brewing Company hosts its third annual Firkin Fest on Saturday.

But first, you might be asking, “What the frick is a firkin?” LGBC’s website provides a definition:

“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 is the brainchild of Los Gatos Brewing brewmaster Kent Wheat. The first two fests proved popular and were well attended, introducing many to a wide range of beer styles as well as the intricate qualities of cask-conditioned beer or “real ale.” As in past years, expect many of the brewers to be on hand to answer any questions about their creations.

There are over 16 breweries scheduled to participate, including:

Los Gatos Brewing Company
Seabright Brewery (Santa Cruz)
Rock Bottom Brewery (Campbell)
Faultline Brewery (Sunnyvale)
Firehouse Brewery (Sunnyvale)
Strike Brewing Co. (San Jose)
Hermitage Brewing Co. (San Jose)
Tied House Brewery (Mountain View)
Santa Clara Valley Brewing (San Jose)
Rabbit’s Foot Meadery (Sunnyvale)
Red Branch Cider Co. (Sunnyvale)
Campbell Brewing Co.
El Toro Brewing Co. (Morgan Hill)
Drake’s (San Leandro)
Firestone Walker (Paso Robles)
Freewheel Brewing Co. (Redwood City)
Two Rivers Cider Co. (Sacramento)
Discretion Brewing (Santa Cruz)

Tickets for the Firkin Fest can be purchased online. Admission is $35 (plus fees) for unlimited tastings, a 5 oz. souvenir glass and a pretzel necklace.

For more information, visit the event page.

What: 3rd Annual Los Gatos Brewing Company Firkin Fest
When: Sat., June 14, 12pm-4pm
Where: 163 W Santa Clara St., San Jose, CA 95113

[This post was shared on SanJose.com.]

South Bay Beer Events for Sat., July 27, 2013

Harry's Hofbrau San Jose
Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose

Today, Sat., July 27 – one day before the start of the inaugural Silicon Valley Beer Week – the following South Bay beer establishments are hosting the following events:

Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose (390 Saratoga Ave.) hosts San Jose’s first ever tappings of Green Flash Brewing Co.’s Serrano Chili Stout and Silva Stout starting at 5 p.m. According to a recent email, the keg of Silva Stout is the only keg of this beer to grace Northern California. There will also be other rare IPAs and stout flights.

Speaking of Harry’s Hofbrau, there will be a board meeting of the San Jose Co-op Brewpub taking place there from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. After checking out the Board meeting, new members can sign up and join the Co-op.

The second annual Los Gatos Brewing Company Firkin Fest takes place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m at the San Jose location (163 W. Santa Clara St.). A previous article provided the details of this event.

Steins Beer Garden in downtown Mountain View (895 Villa St.) is hosting a tap takeover event featuring Widmer Brothers Brewing. More from their Facebook event page:

Complete tap takeover (31 taps inside, 4 taps outside). Also be doing 3 different types of flights (hefe, IPA, Barrel-aged). Special Widmer glassware available for $2 with your beer.

1. Hefeweizen
2. Alchemy Ale
3. O’ryely IPA
4. Hopside Down IPL
5. Red Ale
6. Citra Summer Blonde
7. Nelson Imperial IPA
8. Pitch Black IPA
9. Milk Stout
10. KGB Russian Imperial Stout
11. Marionberry Hibiscus Gose
12. Old Embalmer Barleywine ’12
13. Kill Devil Brown Ale
14. Brrrbon ’10
15. Brrrbon ’12
16. ALT
17. Brotha From Anotha Motha
18. X-114 IPA
19. Aussie IPA
20. Cherry Orange Hefe
21. Black Forest Hefe
22. Pomegranate Hefe
23. Millenium Falconer’s IPA
24. Bitter Abbott IPA
25. Irish Stout (Nitro)
26. Columbia Common Ale
27. SXNW
28. Cigar City Collaboration – Gentlemen’s Club Bourbon
29. Cigar City Collaboration – Gentlemen’s Club Rye Whiskey
30. Cigar City Collaboration – Gentlemen’s Club New Oak
31. Bier de Table
32. Sasquatch
33. Eins Eins Vier
34. English IPA
35. Portander Weisse

For those not attending the aforementioned events, there are numerous other ways to enjoy a good beer or more today – or any other day for that matter – in the South Bay.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

The Downtown San Jose Beer Scene

BOTTLED UP - Jake McCluskey, general manager of the Market Beer Co. at San Pedro Square Market, says that the shop stocks larger bottles of craft beer to encourage customers to share
BOTTLED UP – Jake McCluskey, general manager of the Market Beer Co. at San Pedro Square Market, says that the shop stocks larger bottles of craft beer to encourage customers to share

A growing number of folks are seeking out better beer by returning to their favorite spots or trying out new places, eager to enjoy a glass—or more—depending on the occasion. And in a continuing nod to the burgeoning craft beer landscape, respectable beer hubs are taking shape throughout the South Bay.

In downtown San Jose, the number of establishments offering good beer is helping to raise Silicon Valley’s profile among the state’s notable beer regions. There are currently a dozen or so downtown locations that serve better beer, with more places set to open.

The San Pedro Square neighborhood is turning into quite a beer hub on its own, with a block of distinct establishments serving craft beer. We’re talking about San Pedro Square Market Bar, the Garage Bar, Market Beer Co., O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub, Firehouse No. 1 Gastropub, Los Gatos Brewing Company, Britannia Arms, and the recently opened Farmers Union.

Along with the Market and Garage bars inside San Pedro Square Market, there’s also Market Beer Co. which opened this past March, becoming San Jose’s first craft beer bottle shop.

Since then, they have added eight taps and have more than 200 craft beer bottles. Market Beer Co. has quickly gained a following due in large part to the efforts of general manager Jake McCluskey and his knowledgeable and friendly team of beertenders, all of whom help to create a fun and relaxed vibe.

“We stock only bomber-sized (22 oz.) bottles to encourage sharing among our customers. For our taps, we try to get smaller-sized kegs so we can rotate our draft beers quickly,” McCluskey says. “It’s a place where you see seasoned beer connoisseurs talking beer with the greenest newbies. It’s cool to be a beer geek but not a beer snob.”

Of its 50+ beer taps, O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub dedicates 38 of them to craft. General manager David Mulvehill says he values the link between craft breweries and O’Flaherty’s, viewing both as small businesses helping to support one another.

O’Flaherty’s main goal, according to Mulvehill, is to make everyone feel welcome, referring to their motto, “You’re a stranger here but once.” He says, “We need to keep the integrity of an Irish bar – customers can enjoy a Coors Light, Stella, Guinness and feel welcome. We believe everyone is a beer drinker and that we can provide a stepping stone for them, from Stella to a craft beer. And we always have something to offer the beer geeks.”

For beer and food pairings, Firehouse No. 1 Gastropub and Los Gatos Brewing Company fit the bill. Firehouse is currently San Jose’s only gastropub and serves mostly craft beer from its eight taps. Los Gatos Brewing Company has three rotating guest taps, plus five of their own offerings crafted by brewmaster Kent Wheat. Currently, there’s a cask-conditioned porter as well.

Britannia Arms serves more traditional pub fare, along with pints poured from a combined 42 taps—24 inside the bar and 18 more out in the 3,000 square-foot, heated patio. Most of the 42 taps are craft selections.

The Farmers Union, which opened this past Thursday, rounds out the current crop of beer-centric places within San Pedro Square. A large square bar is the focal point of the establishment, and general manager Aaron Williams says that they will have at least 25 of their 60 taps dedicated to craft beer.

Williams says, “We are targeting a diverse clientele that likes great food paired with our great selection of craft beer. We will always have at least 25 taps dedicated to craft beers with flight options available. We want to support the local brewers as well as serve the highest quality craft beers possible.”

Original Gravity Public House became San Jose’s first establishment focused 100 percent on beer from the get go thanks to the efforts of owners Johnny Wang and Dan Phan. They celebrated their one-year anniversary on Saturday and have already made concrete plans for expanding the current location.

“We take craft beer very seriously but always aim to have a fun and informative conversation about it,” bar manager and events coordinator Rob Monroe says. “We hope to teach without the snobbery and find something new and exciting for you each and every time. No question is a dumb one, and we understand everyone’s palate is as diverse as our beer list.”

Original Gravity rotates beers in and out of its 25 taps so often that Monroe says the best way to keep up with what’s on tap is to check the website, where patrons can find live updates of the latest offerings.

Numerous customers throughout the recent decades have enjoyed the food, beers and the outdoor patio of Gordon Biersch. “We offer eight handcrafted traditional German lagers,” head brewer Jeff Liles says. “I would recommend starting off with a sampler of our beers. This way our guests get a chance to try some of our unique styles and flavors.”

Some people are still surprised when first noticing the extensive draft selection at SmokeEaters, which specializes in hot wings. ““SmokeEaters is the place to meet up with friends to eat great food, drink some cold beer and catch a game,” general partner Mike Burke says. “We rotate our craft beers frequently; do not hesitate to ask to sample a style of beer. With the expansion of the craft market, there are some great styles and brewers out there popping up almost every week. We want the customer to love the beer they are drinking.”

When it comes to Good Karma Vegan Café, many people quickly become hooked on not only the beer menu but the place’s carefree vibe. Owner Ryan Summers and the Good Karma staff simply know their beers. Summers embraces the downtown beer scene: “There’s just too much rad beer to be had, and we deserve the awesome beers right here.”

Live music is a wonderful accompaniment to good beer, and this combination is prevalent among several previously mentioned locations. Café Stritch—with nearly ten craft beer taps—and the recently opened Blackbird Tavern—with eight mostly craft beer taps—join the ranks of these establishments that feature live music.

Blackbird co-owners Chris Esparza and Brendan Rawson seek to provide a full sensory experience, matching food and beer to their live music. For example, when New Orleans jazz is playing, don’t be surprised to see featured beers from Louisiana’s Abita Brewing.

Folks passing by ISO: Beers can see that a lot of progress has been made at the yet-to-open beer bar and tasting lounge. The wait is nearly over. According to co-owner Dee Singh, what is left is painting, putting in floors, and installing fixtures. He plans to have 37 taps for beer and hopes for a mid-August opening. Customers will also be able to purchase bottles to go.

Rounding out the members of the downtown San Jose beer hub are longstanding establishments Trials Pub and Teske’s Germania. Trial’s offers an authentic British pub vibe and traditional English ales on tap, on cask, or in bottles. At Teske’s, it’s about experiencing German fare in a rustic Bavarian setting that includes a beer garden.

All of Teske’s beers are from Germany co-owner Greg Baumann says, and he invites visitors to come and enjoy the casual setting with a lager, pilsner, dopplebock or hefeweizen. Their current offerings include Spaten Premium Lager, Höfbrau Dunkel, Franziskaner Hefe Weizen, Bitburger Pilsner, Köstritzer Schwarzbier and Stiegl Lager on tap, with many more bottled German beers.

As Original Gravity’s Monroe put it, everyone’s palate is different. So it’s very fortunate to see the growing diversity reflected in the downtown San Jose beer scene. Ultimately, our personal preferences determine not only which beers we like, but also which places we return to over and over again.

Downtown San Jose Beer Hub

Blackbird Tavern
200 S. First St.

Britannia Arms (The Brit)
173 W. Santa Clara St.

Café Stritch
374 S. First St.

Firehouse No. 1 Gastropub
69 N. San Pedro St.

Good Karma Vegan Café
37 S. First Street

Gordon Biersch
33 East San Fernando St.

ISO: Beers
81 East Santa Clara St.

Los Gatos Brewing Company
163 W. Santa Clara St.

O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub
25 N. San Pedro St.

Original Gravity
66 S. First St.

San Pedro Square Market
87 N. San Pedro St.

SmokeEaters
29 S. Third St.

Teske’s Germania
255 N. First St.

The Farmers Union
151 W. Santa Clara St.

Trials Pub
265 N. First St.

[An abridged version of this post was shared on SanJose.com.]

2nd Annual Los Gatos Brewing Company Firkin Fest 2013

Los Gatos Brewing Company brewmaster Kent Wheat at the inaugural LGBC Firkin Fest in 2012
Los Gatos Brewing Company brewmaster Kent Wheat at the inaugural LGBC Firkin Fest in 2012

The 2nd annual Firkin Fest takes place at Los Gatos Brewing Company at San Pedro Square (163 W. Santa Clara St.) this Sat., July 27 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The brainchild of Los Gatos Brewing brewmaster Kent Wheat, last year’s inaugural Firkin Fest was a big hit and very well attended, introducing many to cask ale for the first time. Nine breweries participated last year; expect at least 15 this time around.

The Facebook event page has the details, which are provided below:

It’s that time again…time to drink that firkin beer at our 2nd Annual Firkin Fest!

Order tickets via Eventbrite: http://lgbcfirkinfest2013-efbevent.eventbrite.com/

July 27, 2pm-6pm, Join us and other participating breweries for LGBC 2nd Annual Firkin Fest! LGBC Firkin Fest requires admission which includes: entry in to tasting event, 5 oz souvenir glass and tasting tokens to taste beer from 20+ breweries. Admission will vary depending on how many tokens selected. A non-tasting admission is also available. Open to guest 21+ with a valid ID.

$20 admission includes 5oz souvenir glass, 5 tokens
$25 admission includes 5oz souvenir glass, 8 tokens
Non-Tasting Admission $5

More tokens will be available for purchase inside event!

Breweries Participating: 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 plus more

Live Music by: Garden Island Blend. GIB is a group of local boys from Kaua’i & Oah’u who transplanted to northern CA. Providing island style songs by local & classic hawaiian groups with a mix of oldies, classics & Top 40. GIB is known for their sweet vocal blends.

What is a firkin?

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!

Have a firkin good time and enjoy your tasting experience!

[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.]

Scenes from the 2013 Meet the Brewers Festival at Hermitage Brewing Company

Here are some pics from the 4th annual Meet the Brewers festival that took place this past Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 at San Jose’s Hermitage Brewing Company.

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Sunnyvale’s Faultline Brewing Company Doppel Bock and Brown Ale.

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Sunnyvale’s Rabbit’s Food Meadery owner Mike Faul and his Red Branch Hard Raspberry Cider and Hard Black Cherry.

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San Jose’s Hermitage Brewing Company brewmaster Peter Licht.

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Los Gatos Brewing Company brewmaster Kent Wheat and assistant Kyle Wheat.

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Los Gatos Brewing Company Dunkelweizen and Coquettish Blonde.

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Sunnyvale’s FireHouse Grill & Brewery.

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FireHouse Porter and IPA.

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San Jose’s Gordon Biersch Brewery Company brewer Lars (standing directly behind Czech Style Pilsner barrel).

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San Leandro’s High Water Brewing Company brewmaster Steve Altimari (center) and Morgan Hill’s El Toro Brewing Company brewmaster Geno Acevedo (right).

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El Toro Brewing Company Poppy Jasper and Negro.

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The South Bay’s Strike Brewing Company CEO Jenny Lewis and brewmaster Drew Ehrlich.

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Strike Brewing Company Blonde and Stout.

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Campbell’s Rock Bottom Brewery and Restaurant brewmaster Russell Clements (right).

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Rock Bottom Brewery Raccoon Revival and Brown Bear.

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Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company of Belmont.

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We were able to get to the beer fest at around the starting time. Here’s what the crowds looked like less than an hour in, which was more crowded than last year’s crowd at about the same time.

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The Bay Brewers Guild president Dan Satterthwaite, brewer at Gordon Biersch Brewing Company and founder of hopefully soon-to-open Cedar Street Brewing Company.

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Bulgogi burrito with Rock Bottom Raccoon Revival.

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Hermitage Brewing Company Special Bitter with Mandarina Bavaria and Simcoe – both on cask.

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Hermitage Brewing Company lead brewer Greg Filippi (right).

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Drake’s Brewing Company of San Leandro and brewer and production manager John Gillooly.

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Santa Cruz’s Uncommon Brewers founder and brewermaster Alec Stefansky (right).

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Uncommon Brewers Golden State Ale.

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Santa Cruz’s Seabright Brewery assistant brewer Matt.

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Seabright Brewery Saison Dumas and Sacrilicious.

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High Water Brewing Campfire Stout.

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High Water Brewing’s Steve Altimari, Drake Brewing Company’s John Martin, and Hermitage Brewing’s Peter Licht.

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Monterey’s Peter B’s Brewpub Chardonnay Stout.

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The folks from San Jose’s Jack’s Bar & Lounge arriving – Charlie Mann (left) and Jordan Trigg (right).

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Alas, time for us to leave.

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Yes, as the pictures suggest, a great time seemed to be had by all. This was the third year in a row that I attended the Meet the Brewers festival. I still remember our first one in 2011 – wifey, the toddler, and I had originally attended because we were really into food trucks at the time, but wifey and I quickly appreciated the various offerings from the local breweries, and we’ve been doing our best to buy local beers ever since then.

Regarding this year’s event, what an extra special treat for me to take the young adult (formerly known as the older kid) – I even think he’s slowly beginning to like IPAs. :)

Always Grateful,

~Andy

Beer-forward Restaurants a Part of 2012 Silicon Valley Restaurant Week

Oryza Bistro Asiana - one of the participating restaurants during Silicon Valley Restaurant Week 2012
Oryza Bistro Asiana – one of the participating restaurants during Silicon Valley Restaurant Week 2012

Silicon Valley Restaurant Week is back again and takes place starting Wed., Oct. 17, 2012 until  the following Wed., Oct. 24, where 46 participating restaurants will offer special 3-course dinner menus at discounted prices.

The following is an excerpt from a recent email from SanJose.com: “From Bushido’s izakaya-style dining experience, to newcomer The Table’s innovative homegrown offerings, there are plenty of unique options to suit anyone’s palate. Even the Silicon Valley Capital Club is offering non-members the opportunity to take in its breathtaking views while enjoying Michelin star rated chef, Michael Miller’s contemporary specialties like Pressed Duck Confit or Chile Yuzu Prawns.”

Further on the plus side is that a number of participating restaurants have a track record of serving good beer, hosting food and beer pairing events, or both. Such establishments include:

Silicon Valley Restaurant Week provides a great opportunity to try out a restaurant that is new to you and sample the South Bay’s culinary diversity.

It is great to see that some of the restaurants have a focus on their beer menus as well.

As reservations are highly recommended, view menus and book a table online at:

SiliconValleyRestaurantWeek.com/Restaurants

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

San Jose Beer Events this Weekend: Sep. 15-16, 2012

San Jose's Original Gravity Public House bar manager and event coordinator Rob Monroe pouring beer. Photo taken last month. Original Gravity's official grand opening takes place Sep. 15, 2012
San Jose’s Original Gravity Public House bar manager and event coordinator Rob Monroe pouring beer. Photo taken last month. Original Gravity’s official grand opening takes place Sep. 15, 2012

There are a number of exciting beer events taking place in San Jose this weekend, reflecting the burgeoning craft beer scene in San Jose and the South Bay.

Original Gravity Public House official grand opening

Sat., Sep. 15, 2012, starting at 11 a.m.: Original Gravity Public House in downtown San Jose celebrates their official grand opening. Check out the Original Gravity Grand Opening event page on Facebook for the latest details. 66 South 1st St. From bar manager and event coordinator Rob Monroe on the finalized beer schedule and info.:

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Open for business as usual

1 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Lagunitas and Firestone Walker pouring 2 taps each on the patio (cash only)

4:20 p.m.: Tapping Lagunitas Fusion 10!!! This is the kick off to the main event so do not miss this one, because when it is gone, it is gone for good!!!

5:20 p.m.: Tapping Drake’s – Aroma Prieta (American IPA, Coma’s Sister Beer) and Moscow’s Burning (Imperial Smoked Stout)

6:20 p.m.: Tapping The Bruery – Berliner Weisse (Tart Wheat Ale) and Humulus Lager (Double Pilsner)

7:20 p.m.: Tapping Firestone Walker – Oaktoberfest (Märzen/Oktoberfest)

Original Gravity Grand Opening Tap Line Up

Evil Twin – Ron and The Beast Ryan (Saison w/ Brett)
New Belgium – Lips of Faith – Peach Porch Lounger (Saison)
Port Brewing – Hop 15 (DIPA w/ 15 Hop Varieties)
Lagunitas – A Little Sumpin’ Wild (Belgian IPA)
Drake’s – Aroma Coma (IPA)
Ninkasi – Lady Avalon (Pilsner)
Ninkasi – Tricerahops (DIPA)
Heretic – Evil Cousin (DIPA)
Heretic – Shallow Grave (Porter)
Calicraft – Panisse Pale (Pale Ale)
Firestone Walker – Wookey Jack (Black Rye IPA)
Alesmith – Speedway Stout (Imperial Stout)
Port Brewing – Hop 15 (DIPA)
Gouden Carolus – Hopsinjoor (Beligian Strong)
Uncommon Brewers – Double Siamese (Belgian Strong/Quad)
Dogfish Head – 120 Minute IPA (QIPA)
Sierra Nevada – Hoptimum (DIPA)
Stillwater Artisianal Ales – As Follows (Belgian Strong)
Stillwater Artisianal Ales – Existent (Black Saison)
Midnight Sun – Panty Peeler (Tripel)
Deschutes – Black Butte XXIV Anniversary (Imperial Stout)
Deschutes – Obsidian Stout (Nitro Stout)
Flying Dog – Double Dog (Nitro Double IPA)

Jockey Box #1 Lagunitas
1. IPA (IPA)
2. Daytime (Session Ale) or Hop Stoopid (DIPA)

Jockey Box #2 Firestone Walker
1. Double Jack (DIPA)
2. Solace (Unfiltered Wheat Ale) or Union Jack (IPA)

The Los Gatos Brewing Company 20th Anniversary/Oktoberfest celebration

Sat., Sep. 15, 2012, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.: The Los Gatos Brewing Company 20th Anniversary/Oktoberfest celebration takes place. 130G North Santa Cruz Ave., 408-395-9929. “Los Gatos Brewing Company is having a 20th Anniversary/Oktoberfest celebration!!! Join us for tasty German food, cold beer, live music and tons of fun!!! This is an outdoor event. Our restaurant will also be open with a special Oktoberfest menu!” For complete details, visit their Facebook public event page.

2012 ZERO1 Biennial Urban Screen beer garden featuring Gordon Biersch Brewing Company

Fri.-Sun., Sep. 14-16, 2012: From the ZERO1 and Gordon Biersch Facebook event page: “Zero in on ZERO1 this weekend in San Jose. Gordon Biersch will be pouring unfiltered Festbier, Pilsner, Märzen and Blonde Bock from gravity-fed wooden kegs at the Zero 1 Urban Screen Beer Garden at 300 South 1st St. in San Jose. Gordon Biersch will also be pouring its limited-release Imperial Pilsner Brau (IPB) and the yet-to-be released Weizeneisbock, a 10% abv. which will be officially available on shelves in October 2012.”

Left Bank in Santana Row hosts a prix fix meal featuring beer from Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company

Sat.-Sun., Sep. 15-16, 2012, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Left Bank Brasserie Santana Row hosts a prix fixe meal paired with beers from Devil’s Canyon 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. $40 per person (price excludes tax and gratuity). Reservations are recommended.

Four-course tasting menu and beer pairings

Petit croque madame
Parisian ham, emmental cheese, Mornay sauce, sunny side up quail egg
Served with Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company Lager Diabla

Canard a l’orange
sous-vide duck breast, caramelized orange honey sauce, baby frisée, orange supremes, pickled red onions, raspberry vinaigrette
Served with Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company Deadicated Amber Ale

Confit de porc à la Bière et graisse de canard
pork confit in duck fat caramelized with raw cane sugar, polenta
Served with Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company Full Boar Scotch Ale

Panna Cotta aux fruits de la passion
passion fruit panna cotta, raspberry crème Chantilly, palmier cookie
Served with Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company Silicon Blonde Ale

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

San Jose Area Beer News and Events: Sep. 10-16, 2012

Good beer enjoyed at San Jose's Original Gravity Public House. They celebrate their official grand opening Sat., Sep. 15, 2012
Good beer enjoyed at San Jose’s Original Gravity Public House. They celebrate their official grand opening Sat., Sep. 15, 2012

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 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 video review of Hermitage Brewing Company’s Single Hop IPA: Sorachi Ace by South Bay beertubers The Beer Heads.

Speaking of Hermitage Brewing Company, premier South Bay beer blogger Peter Estaniel of BetterBeerBlog has joined the team at Hermitage Brewing Company as brand manager. Check out his recent post where he shares this exciting news.

Beer events this upcoming week

Mon., Sep. 10, 2012: San Jose’s Wine Affairs hosts a Firestone Walker event. 1435 The Alameda, 408-977-0111. “If you make it to ONE beer tasting this year – let it be this one! FIRESTONE WALKER will be here THIS MONDAY, Sept 10th with a crazy “Double Double” takeover. Featuring their flagship Double Barrel Ale, our first ever CASK with unfiltered DBA, and a keg of Limited Release Double DBA. And yes, Double Jack Double IPA will be here too. Kegs will be tapped at 5pm so hurry in! (Note: Have no fear – Football games WILL be on our tvs!).”

Tuesday, Sep. 11, 2012, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.: There is a Festbier (amber ale) wooden barrel tapping event at Gordon Biersch San Jose. 33 East San Fernando St., 408-294-6785.

Tues., Sep. 11, 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. 12, 2012, starting at 7 p.m.: Restaurant James Randall in Los Gatos hosts a beer dinner event featuring Firestone Walker Brewing Company. To read yesterday’s article about this beer pairing dinner, click here.

Wed., Sep 12, 2012, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.: Catch live music and good beer at Poor House Bistro with “Blues & $2 Brews” featuring Ninkasi Brewing Co. 91 South Autumn Street, 408-292-5837.

Thurs., Sep. 13, 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. 13, 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. 14, 2012: BevMo! stores host weekly Beer Tasting events on Fridays. Check your local BevMo! store for details.

Fri., Sep. 14, 2012, starting at 7 p.m.: Palace Cafe in Sunnyvale hosts a 5-course beer pairing dinner featuring beers from Strike Brewing Company. 139 South Murphy Ave., 408-774-6111. The current cover photo of the Strike Brewing Facebook page lists the 5-course menu and beers. RSVP to (408) 774-6111; only 30 tickets available.

Sat., Sep. 15, 2012, starting at 11 a.m.: Original Gravity Public House in downtown San Jose celebrates their official grand opening. Check out the Original Gravity Grand Opening event page on Facebook for the stellar details. 66 South 1st St. From bar manager and event coordinator Rob Monroe: “Original Gravity is having it’s official grand opening and we will be going off all day and night with brewery reps in the house and some insanely cool kegs to make you giddy with joy. Lagunitas and Firestone Walker will also be repping hard pouring 2 of their beers from jockey box taps on our back patio and we will be doing an hourly tapping of some seriously specialty and limited kegs. In addition to all of that, we will also be rolling out our full food menu including our gourmet grilled cheeses, poutine and other surprises as well. There will have OG and Brewery swag handouts all day long as well. You literally have zero excuses to not be in attendance with all of your friends and in fact after reading this lineup, you may need to excuse yourself from any previously made plans.”

Sat., Sep. 15, 2012, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.: The Los Gatos Brewing Company 20th Anniversary/Oktoberfest celebration takes place. 130G North Santa Cruz Ave., 408-395-9929. “Los Gatos Brewing Company is having a 20th Anniversary/Oktoberfest celebration!!! Join us for tasty German food, cold beer, live music and tons of fun!!! This is an outdoor event. Our restaurant will also be open with a special Oktoberfest menu!” For complete details, visit their Facebook public event page.

Sat.-Sun., Sep. 15-16, 2012: Left Bank Brasserie Santana Row hosts a prix fixe meal paired with beers from Devil’s Canyon 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

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.

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.]