Downtown San Jose’s San Pedro Square Market (87 N. San Pedro St.) will host a Market-wide tap takeover event featuring New Belgium Brewing Company this Sunday, July 17 from 12pm-4pm.
It’s the biggest event that New Belgium has done in the South Bay, and the taps at the three Market pouring locations – San Pedro Square Market Bar, Market Garage Bar and Market Beer Company – will have the following New Belgium offerings.
San Pedro Square Market Bar
Fat Tire Ale
Blue Paddle Pilsner
1554 Black Lager
Fat Funk Ale – collaboration with Allagash Brewing Company
Fat Wild Ale – collaboration with Avery Brewing Company
Fat Hoppy Ale – collaboration with Firestone Walker Brewing Company
Fat Sour Apple Ale – collaboration with Hopworks Urban Brewery
Fat Pale Ale – collaboration with Reingheist Brewing
Market Beer Company
Loves Apple Felix
Peach Wheat Wine
Hop Kitchen Juicy Mandarina IPA
2014 Cascara Quad
New Belgium Celebrates 25 Years with ‘Fat Tire & Friends’
The beers to be poured at the Garage Bar represent the ‘Fat Tire & Friends’ collaboration pack, involving Allagash, Firestone Walker, Avery, Hopworks and Rhinegeist. ‘Fat Tire & Friends’ is a special project to commemorate New Belgium’s 25th anniversary this year.
Ross Larkin, San Jose/Santa Cruz Beer Ranger for New Belgium explains, “We teamed up with some of our Friends from across the country to pay homage to our beloved Fat Tire Amber Ale. The number one Amber Ale in the U.S. was born on a bike seat during a trip to Belgium in 1989. Because of what New Belgium has done for the industry, our Friends were quick to come and brew a beer with us. Basically each of the breweries involved put their own spin on our flagship.
“Allagash used their house yeast called De Dolle. Firestone Walker used a lager yeast and tons of hops to make an IPL (Indian Pale Lager). Avery used a wild yeast to make for a very fruity and fun beer. Our house Belgian ale yeast already has some faint apple aromas so Hopworks spiked the beer with Lactobacillus and apples. Finally Rhinegeist used the world renown Rochefort yeast (a Trappist brewery) and kicked our malt up to make for an authentic Belgian pale ale.”
Special Sours on Tap at Market Beer Company
Among the offerings pouring at Market Beer Company will be a selection of special sour options. Ross has provided his notes for these sour beers:
First up is Loves Apple Felix: A single-barrel, unblended light sour aged for 9 months in Leopold brothers Apple whiskey barrels.
Peach Wheat Wine: Some of the same base sour beer used in the above mentioned is aged in peach whiskey barrels with a ton of fresh peaches; at the same time a high gravity wheat beer is also aging in peach whiskey barrels with peaches. We then blend this beauty up and ooh la la!
La Folie: Our prized dark sour starts with our dark sour Oscar. We blend from a multitude of foeders to make for a unique beer every year.
Our Transatlantique Kriek will also be available. We collaborate with Oude Beersel from Belgium on this. He sends us his sour cherry beer and we back blend it with our in-house light sour Felix.
In addition, there’ll be live music, game, giveaways and a raffle for a chance to win New Belgium’s 2016 Cruiser bike made by Detroit Bikes, a small American-made bike company. San Jose Bikes will also be at the event to do minor bike adjustments and provide bike information.
SF Beer Week rages on, though it is more than half way over. Below is a list of some of the standout, predominantly South Bay-centric events remaining on the schedule.
Note: Some of the events will likely be crowded and have long lines. Some of them will require tickets to be purchased ahead of time. Visit the SF Beer Week website for the complete schedule of events.
THURSDAY, FEB. 12
Brew Hub (Inside Whole Foods Market Cupertino), 20955 Stevens Creek Blvd.: Stone Brewing Old Guardian Barleywine 5-Year Vertical Tasting, 11am-10pm. This is an all-day event or until the beers run out.
Fibbar Magees, 156 S. Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale: Dogfish Head Night!, 5-11:30pm. The lineup includes 120 Minute IPA and World Wide Stout, among others.
Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café, 37 S. First St., San Jose: In Bugs & Barrels We Trust!, 5-11pm. Events at Good Karma are consistently special, and this event is no exception. Enjoy the well-regarded wild and barrel-aged beers from Port Brewing/Lost Abbey, including Spontaneous Cheer, Red Poppy, Cuvee de Tomme, Framboise de Amarosa, 2013 Deliverance, Angel’s Share, Track 8, Track 10, Avant Gourde, Older Viscosity, Agave Maria and more.
Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant, 895 Villa St., Mountain View: Schubros Brewery Night & Meet the Brewer, 5-9pm. Schubros has prepared two special beers for SF Beer Week: Kirov Russian Imperial Stout, aged for 7-8 months in cab barrels and Aalbeke Golden Ale, aged in cab barrels since May. Steins will also feature Dante’s Door Belgian Dubbel, Rock City Amber Ale and Branch Line Double IPA.
Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose, 390 Saratoga Ave.: Firestone XVIII Deconstructed, 5-11pm. A marquee event, Brewmaster Matt Brynildson will, once again, be on hand to present a seminar on brewing and barrel aging. On tap will be Helldorado, Bravo, Stickee Money 2014, XVIII Anniversary, Parabola 2014, Sucaba 2015, Velvet Merkin 2014, Double DBA 2014 and Agrestic, as well as Double Jack, Union Jack, Pivo, Pale 31 and more.
Market Beer Company, 100 N. Almaden Ave., San Jose: Karl Strauss Brewing. Expect Mosaic Session Ale, Red Trolley, Big Barrel Double IPA, Queen of Tarts and more.
O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub, 25 N. San Pedro St., San Jose: For FIRK Sake, 6pm-11:30pm. It is no surprise that O’Flaherty’s has come up with another exciting beer event. Featured firkin casks include Stone Ruination with Dried Cranberries and Apple Blossoms, Sierra Nevada Scotch Ale, Knee Deep Hella Deep Wheat IPA, Strike Wit Firkin with Orange Peel, Coriander and Chamomile, Drake’s Oaked Denogginizer and Firestone Walker Double DBA. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online. Tickets include unlimited pours and all-you-can eat from the evening’s menu.
FRIDAY, FEB. 13
Mission Creek Brewing Company, 777 The Alameda, San Jose: Mission Creek’s Imperial Porter & Chocolate Pairing Party, 11am-10pm. Enjoy a special flight chocolates and craft beers, including a house-brewed Mission Creek Imperial Porter.
Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose, 390 Saratoga Ave.: Deschutes Abyss Vertical and Barrel Aged Madness, 5-11pm. Just as the event title indicates.
Harry’s Hofbrau Redwood City, 1909 El Camino Real: A Taste of San Francisco, the Breweries of the SF Brewers Guild Takeover! All 28 taps will be dedicated to SF Breweries 21st Amendment, Almanac, Magnolia, Fort Point, Triple Voodoo, Southern Pacific, Beach Chalet, Speakeasy, Social Kitchen, Southpaw, Cellarmaker and more. Plus opportunities to meet the brewers.
SATURDAY, FEB. 14
Original Gravity Public House, 66 S. 1st St., San Jose: Pucker Up! Valentine’s Day Sour Fest 4.0, 12-11:30pm. OG will pour 15 domestic and international sour, tart and funky beers on tap and release some very rare and specialty bottles for purchase. Draft sours include Allagash – Golden Brett (2014), Almanac – Cerise Sour Blonde, Brouwerij Hof Ten Dormaal – Zure Van Tildonk, Bruery – Sour in the Rye (2014), De Proef – Sour Barrel #1, Drakes Brewing – Brette Davis Eyes, Firestone Walker – Agrestic (2014), Freigeist – Sauer Porter Raspberry (2013), Gueuzerie Tilquin – Oude Gueuze (Draft Version), Hermitage – Boysenberry, Lost Abbey – Framboise De Amorosa (2014), Mikkeller – SpontanSourCherry, New Belgium – La Folie (2014), Prairie Artisan Ales – Cherry Funk! and Struise – WeltKrieg (2014).
Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café, 37 S. First St., San Jose: St. Valentine’s Barrel Aged Sweeties!, 5-11pm. This special barrel-aged beers event serves as a companion event to the aforementioned OG’s Pucker Up!
Hermitage Brewing Company, 1627 S. 7th St., San Jose: Meet the Brewers, 1-5pm. It is the sixth year for this quintessential South Bay beer event. Hermitage has recently acquired more space at their location, which means room for additional breweries and food trucks compared to past years. There will be live music and a special SJMADE pop-up mini market. Tickets are $40 and available for purchase online. Tickets will be $45 at the door if not sold out in advance. Participating breweries include:
8 Bridges Brewing
Almanac Beer Co.
Alvarado Street Brewery
Campbell Brewing Company
Craft Artisan Ales
El Toro Brewing Company
Firehouse Brewery and Grill
Hermitage Brewing Company
High Water Brewing
Peter B’s Brewpub
Rabbits Foot Meadery/Red Branch Cider
Rock Bottom Campbell
Santa Clara Valley Brewing
Santa Cruz Ale Works
Strike Brewing Company
SUNDAY, FEB. 15
Rose & Crown Pub, 547 Emerson St., Palo Alto: Sour Sunday in PA (Part 2), 11:30am-11:30pm. Expect sour beers from Russian River Brewing, Bear Republic, Palo Alto Brewing, The Bruery plus many more on tap and in bottles.
Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose, 390 Saratoga Ave.: Annual IPA Day!, 11am-11pm. Harry’s first IPA Day back in 2012 invigorated the local beer community and helped to elevate the South Bay beer scene to newfound heights. Come experience the joys of hoppy beers as Harry’s will have 31 well-regarded IPAs, DIPAs and 3XIPAs on tap.
Monstrous cabal (faction/gigantic)
Enjoy by (3.14)
Pizza port poor man’s IIPA
Pizza port thruster IIIPA
Mongo (kegged a week ago)
Dank and Sticky
Don’t act like you’re not impressed (alpine/mission)
What beer events, if any, will you be sure to attend?
SF Beer Week kicks off this Fri., Feb. 6 with the Opening Gala at SF’s Fort Mason Center, Herbst Pavilion, where over 80 Bay Area breweries will be pouring their finest offerings. As a testament to the Opening Gala’s popularity, tickets sold out in just twelve days back in December. Participating South Bay breweries include:
Campbell Brewing Company
El Toro Brewing Company (Morgan Hill)
Gordon Biersch Brewing Company (San Jose)
Hermitage Brewing Company (San Jose)
Palo Alto Brewing Company
Santa Clara Valley Brewing Company (San Jose)
Strike Brewing Company (San Jose)
SF Beer Week runs through Sun., Feb. 15 and features hundreds of beer-related events, over 700 at last count. As in years past, there is a plethora of beer-related events taking place in the South Bay.
The following is a list of some of the standout, predominantly South Bay-centric events scheduled throughout this opening weekend. These are the events that I would love to attend if I could clone myself.
Note: Some of the events will require tickets to be purchased ahead of time. Visit the SF Beer Week website for the complete schedule of events.
SATURDAY, FEB. 7
Fibbar Magees, 156 South Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale: Lagunitas Extravaganza, 11am-11:30pm. A tap takeover features 15 Lagunitas offerings, including a vintage Imperial Stout (2013) and the release of their annual special SFBW Fusion beer (Fusion 27).
Market Beer Company, 100 N. Almaden Ave., San Jose: Walker’s Wild Ride, 11:30am-1:30pm. Market Beer Company, located inside the San Pedro Square Market, is the first Bay Area stop for Firestone Walker co-proprietor David Walker and barrelmeister Jeffers Richardson. They are bringing their collection of specialty Barrelworks sour beers.
Rose & Crown, 547 Emerson St., Palo Alto: Sour Sunday in PA (Part 1), 11:30am-11:30pm. Get pucker faced with Rose & Crown yet again at their annual sour beer event, with offerings from Russian River, Bear Republic, Palo Alto Brewing, The Bruery, plus more on tap and in bottles.
Beerwalk: Japantown, Jackson St., San Jose: Japantown Beerwalk, 2-6pm. The award-winning Beerwalk series returns triumphantly to Japantown, the site of the first ever Beerwalk three years ago, and will feature offerings from a number of local breweries, including Hermitage, Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Strike, Gordon Biersch, Faultline, FireHouse and more. The first 60 to check in the day of the event will receive a complimentary tour of the nearby Gordon Biersch bottling and production facility. Tickets are $30 if purchased in advance at Jack’s Bar & Lounge or online.
Wine Affairs, 1435 The Alameda, San Jose: 6th Annual Double Blind Double IPA, 2-8pm. Always a fun event, come out and blind taste 8 Double IPAs and help determine the best in show. Admission is $15 per person.
Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company, 935 Washington St., San Carlos: Mavericks Brewing Tunnel Vision IPA Release, 2-5pm. Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company hosts the 2nd Annual West Coast Craft Can Invitational (16 confirmed breweries) which will showcase some of the Bay Area’s finest canned beers. A special beer launch features Half Moon Bay’s Mavericks Brewing and their newest canned beer Tunnel Vision IPA in 16-oz. cans. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online.
Harry’s Hofbrau, 390 Saratoga Ave., San Jose: Annual Stone Tap Takeover with Secret Ruination Firkin! 5-11:30pm. A special tap list of Stone beers will include a cask of Ruination conditioned with secret ingredients for which you will have to come out to find out.
SUNDAY, FEB. 8
Mission Creek Brewing Company, 777 The Alameda, San Jose: Bangers and Beer: An Ode to the Perfect Pair, 12-4pm. Mission Creek Brewing, California’s first Whole Foods store with in-store brewery, looks to honor the perfect pairing that is sausage and beer by pouring their own Mission Creek beers, along with other local beers, to be paired with items from an exclusive menu highlighting their made-in-house sausages.
Oak & Rye, 303 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos: Pizza & Beer Pairing, 12-3pm. The popular and well-regarded restaurant Oak & Rye will be making special pies (all you can eat) to pair with offerings from Firestone Walker, Oskar Blues and Ballast Point. Tickets are $30 and gets you unlimited food and 8-oz. pours of up to 9 beers. Tickets can be purchased online.
Bierhaus, 383 Castro St., Mountain View: Meet the Brewers: Clandestine Brewing, 1-5pm. Meet the founders of Clandestine Brewing and enjoy an afternoon of their beers. Plus there will be raffle prizes.
San Pedro Square Market, 87 N. San Pedro St., San Jose: Lagunitas Beer Parade, 1-4:30pm. Enjoy offerings from Lagunitas inside the Market or out in the patio as you roll through the Market Bar (1-2pm), Garage Bar (2-3pm) and Market Beer Company (3-4:20pm) for special releases that are typically available only at the brewery. There will be live music and giveaways.
The Brew Hub inside Whole Foods Market Cupertino, 2099 Stevens Creek Blvd.: Sierra Nevada Off-Flavor Tasting Panel, 1:30-6pm. Expand your skills towards understanding beer flavors and aromatics by participating in this sensory training event. Registration is $35 and includes beer for the flavor tasting and two Sierra Nevada beers: barrel-aged Torpedo and barrel-aged Narwhal (6 oz.). Tickets can be purchased online.
Santa Teresa Golf Club, 260 Bernal Road, San Jose: Meet Strike Brewing – A Talk and Tasting, 3-5pm. Come learn more about Strike Brewing Company, including how they built their business and what the future holds. A $5 tasting fee includes 4-oz. samples of 5 of their beers. There will be $4 pints and bottles of their beers as well.
Several establishments are celebrating SF Beer Week with week-long specials. Highlights include:
Mixx, 420 Castro St., Mountain View: Mixxing with Firestone: 4 Course Pairing Menu. Chef Joel Whitaker will prepare four courses to pair with four of Firestone Walker beers, including Pale 31 baby crab cake with Pale 31, butter lettuce wedge with mustard vinaigrette with Double Barrel Ale, salmon with Thai curry with Union Jack IPA and a scoop of housemade Wookie Jack sorbet with spiced cake bite with Wookie Jack. $40.
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, 390 Capistrano Rd.: Beer and Dessert Pairing. Each dessert bite created by chef Gaston Alfaro has been paired with one of brewmaster James Costa’s seasonal beers (4-oz.), including Mavericks gingersnap mascarpone tart paired with Brown Ale, mini bleu cheese cheesecake with candied bacon and a maple bourbon reduction paired with Double Bore IPA, spiced poached pears paired with PaPa Juice Barleywine and beeramisu paired with Calf-eine Coffee Milk Stout. $20.
Psycho Donuts, 2006 S. Winchester Blvd., Campbell: A Psycho Donut Walks into a Firestone… Firestone Walker, Hella Hot Hot Sauce and Psycho Donuts are teaming up to create an 805 Apricot Blonde Ghost, Union Jack Glazed and Chocolate Merkin.
As you can see, there are options galore. What SF Beer Week events do you plan to attend this weekend?
The following is a roundup of many of the local beer-centric events taking place throughout the rest of this month in the South Bay.
Wed., Oct. 15 – Fri., Oct. 17
Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant is having a tap takeover with Drake’s Brewing from Oct. 15 to Oct. 17, 5pm-9pm each day. Drake’s Hausfest Lager will be one of the featured beers.
Thurs., Oct. 16
Market Beer Company (inside the San Pedro Square Market – the building on the corner of St. John and Almaden) will host their first “Locals Only” tap takeover event showcasing select draft beers from four local breweries, all from San Jose – Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Hermitage Brewing, Strike Brewing, and Clandestine Brewing. The event starts at 5pm.
This week’s edition of Thursday Beer Night at Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose features the South Bay debut of Golden Road Brewing out of Los Angeles. The tap list promises to be stellar, with opportunities to meet a brewery representative and take home glassware. Beer Night starts at 6pm.
Join Campbell Brewing Company for a special evening as guests will toast brewmaster Jim Turturici at 7pm for his recent medals from the Great American Beer Festival, including a silver medal from this year’s GABF for his Mastiff Barleywine in the Barley Wine-Style Ale category and a gold medal from last year’s GABF for his Scottish Ale in the Scottish-Style Ale category.
These medals complement a silver medal from this year’s World Beer Cup for his Romanov Imperial Stout in the British-Style Imperial Stout category.
There will be opportunities to sample his winning beers in the brewery as well as enjoy the latest seasonal beer – Weizenbock.
Fri., Oct. 17
Good Karma Vegan Café celebrates their 8th anniversary with a celebration featuring a number of offerings from owner and beer aficionado Ryan Summers’ personal beer collection. The party starts at 6pm and on tap will be rare, specialty and cellared kegs from the following breweries:
Sante Adairius Rustic Ales
Almanac Beer Co.
Port / Lost Abbey
Dogfish Head Beer
Plus a surprise or two to be announced
Sat., Oct. 18
The next quarterly installment of “Pints for Non Profits” takes place at Original Gravity Public House starting at 1pm. Three local non-profit organizations will be paired with three California breweries, and a percentage of proceeds from beer sales this day will be donated to the respective non-profit.
Veggielution paired with Lagunitas Brewing
UNAREP paired with Firestone Walker
Aspiranet paired with Ballast Point Brewing
Sat., Oct. 18 – Sun., Oct. 19
Downtown Campbell celebrates Oktoberfest featuring German food, beer and wine, live music and arts and crafts.
Mon., Oct. 20
Wine Affairs weekly beer tasting event features a Germany vs. USA tap takeover on all 12 taps. The event takes place from 4pm-10pm.
Tues., Oct. 21
Bay Area Beer Socials has teamed up with Stone Brewing for a pre-Halloween pub crawl in downtown San Jose.
Approximate beer schedule:
5:30pm – Market Beer Company
6:30pm – The Farmer’s Union – a cool new place with fantastic food!
7:30pm – Good Karma – More fantastic food and cool ambiance!
8:30pm – TBD
Thurs., Oct. 23
Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose presents a number of beers from Shipyard Brewing, including Monkey Fest IPA, Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, Barrel-Aged Double Old Thumper and Barrel-Aged Pumpkinhead. The event starts at 6pm as usual.
The latest installment of Beerwalk takes place in Willow Glen from 2pm-6pm, and it’s the Halloween edition.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $30 online at www.thebeerwalk.com. In the case the event does not sell out, tickets can be purchased day of for $35.
There will be a costume contest, an after party at the soon-to-open 20twenty Cheese Bar and prize raffles.
The current list of breweries includes:
Hermitage Brewing Company
Santa Clara Valley Brewing
Faultline Brewing Company
FireHouse Grill & Brewery
21st Amendment Brewery
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
Anchor Brewing Company
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Headlands Brewing Company
Six Rivers Brewery
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Green Flash Brewing Co.
Thurs., Oct. 30
Fans of Heretic Brewing Company are in luck as Market Beer Company hosts a Heretic Brewing Tap Takeover event starting at 5pm.
Fri., Oct. 31
Original Gravity hosts their annual Halloween costume contest starting at 7:30pm. Three categories (Scariest, Funniest and Most Original) will be judged by the staff, and the winner of each will receive a meal (Sausage/Grilled Cheese and Duck Fat Fries) and a beer of choice on draft for one cent.
Participants must bring valid ID and a before-and-after photo with makeup or have a removable mask. The contest kicks off at 7:30pm with the results revealed at 9pm.
The next organized beer crawl taking place in downtown San Jose – thanks to distributor DBI Beverage Inc. – is set for Wed., Oct. 8 beginning at 5pm at Market Beer Company in San Pedro Square Market.
The beer crawl features offerings from San Diego’s Saint Archer Brewing Company, announcing just yesterday the expansion of their line of beers across the Bay Area thanks, in part, to a partnership with DBI.
5-6:30pm – Market Beer Company in San Pedro Square Market (100 N. Almaden Ave.)
6:30-7:45pm – Original Gravity (66 S. 1st St.)
7:45-8:30pm – Smoke Eaters (29 S. 3rd St.)
8:30-10pm-ish – Cinebar (69 E. San Fernando St.)
Look for beer-battered fish and chips at Original Gravity made with the Saint Archer White Ale, which won gold in the Belgian Style Wit Bier category at this year’s Great American Beer Festival held this past weekend.
To help celebrate the recent arrival of Colorado’s Oskar Blues Brewery beers to the South Bay, there will be an Oskar Blues “Chub” Crawl taking place in downtown San Jose on Thursday, Jan. 9 starting at 5 p.m.
The starting point is the Market Beer Store (100 North Almaden Ave.) in San Pedro Square Market.
The ensuing locations for the “Chub” Crawl include:
DBI Beverage’s craft/specialty brand manager Greg Sonick shares that there will be “swag to announce that you are part of the crawl,” and six brewery reps. in attendance who can answer questions about the Oskar Blues offerings, including Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Old Chub Scotch Ale, Ten FIDY Imperial Stout, the flagship Dale’s Pale Ale, and more.
Oskar Blues is one of Colorado’s largest craft breweries, having opened Oskar Blues Grill & Brew Restaurant in 1997. In 2002, they became the first craft brewery to offer beer in a can.
Sonick adds, “I invite everyone to come out, enjoy good beer, and help show support for the South Bay good beer scene.”
Oktoberfest in Munich officially ended this past Sunday, but there are still celebrations set to take place in the South Bay, providing additional opportunities to bond over, among other facets, traditional German beer.
Downtown San Jose’s San Pedro Square Market pays tribute to Oktoberfest all afternoon and evening this Saturday, October 12 from 12 p.m. to midnight. Admission is free, and kids are welcome.
There will be German beers on tap and in bottles to go along with German-inspired menu items from participating restaurants. There will also be contests and activities, including best-dressed in Oktoberfest style, stein hoisting, and Dachshund Wiener dog races.
Event curator Mariah Giunta shares that this Oktoberfest event represents the vision of San Pedro Square Market co-founder John McEnery IV and partners Martin Menne and Tom McEnery. “John was inspired when he attended Oktoberfest in Munich and experienced the large community coming together in celebration and revelry.”
The following provides more of some of the particulars:
German Beer Menu
Weihenstephaner Oktoberfest, Hefe, Original Lager and Pilsner on tap
To purchase tickets good for liter steins branded with the Market Oktoberfest logo to include a one-liter pour of a German beer from the beer garden ($30 for a single ticket and $25 if purchased in a pack of six), please visit the Eventbrite page for this event.
German-Inspired Food Menu
Calidog will be serving hot Brat & Sauerkraut dogs
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.
Last month, Greg Sonick, DBI Beverage’s craft/specialty brand manager for Santa Clara County, put the call out for folks to participate in a downtown San Jose beer crawl. Fortunately for me, I was able to make it, and the evening proved to be definitely fun.
Here are some pics from that evening of Fri., June 28:
The meeting place was at Market Beer Co.
It was nice bumping into and chatting with fellow South Bay beer enthusiasts Nicole and Billy. Which reminds me that I have some photos to send them from the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
The crew: My bro’, Katie, me, Ondrej, and Waffles (not included in this pic.).
And the lineup of our first round: Double dry-hopped Ruination and three RuinTens.
Slices from Pizza Bocca Lupo to fill our tummies.
Brothers cracking up.
It was tough to leave the Peralta Adobe Plaza – such a great outdoor space. But Waffles agreed that we had places to visit.
Like the Garage Bar.
How cute with our matching gray shirts and khaki shorts.
Ah, San Pedro Square Market – live music, good food, a fashion show with runway models, and a flash mob that we just missed upon arrival… We’ll definitely be back.
O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub was our next stop.
A packed house.
Our last stop was The Brit.
Still able to enjoy perfect weather.
And some grub.
The last pic of the evening.
I wish that wifey could’ve joined us. As always, a big thanks to her without whom I’d be unable to attend outings such as these.
As Stone fans, the beers were mighty tasty.
But really, it was all about enjoying downtown San Jose and the great weather, supporting local businesses and the South Bay beer scene, and most importantly, getting a chance to hang out with awesome people.
South Bay fans of Petaluma’s Lagunitas Brewing Company are in for a treat, especially for those who enjoy a good Double IPA on tap.
The well-regarded Waldos’ Special makes its return, and a couple of local beer spots have already made event announcements on their respective Facebook pages.
San Jose’s Wine Affairs hosts a Lagunitas 4/20 Party on Sat., 4/20/13. On tap will be Lagunitas Waldos’ Special ($4.20 for a 9 oz.) and Lagunitas IPA ($4.20 a pint). Keg tapping begins at 1 p.m., and there will be plenty of bottled beers as well. The Grilled Cheese Bandits food truck is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and indie folk band Dream House is scheduled at 4:20 p.m.
Downtown San Jose’s Original Gravity Public House presents Lagunitas 4/20 Waldos’ Special Release on Sat., 4/20/13 featuring five beers from Lagunitas – Waldo, WTF, IPA, Censored/Maximus, and Fusion 16 – plus a mason jar giveaway with a purchase of Waldo. There will be other offerings, including raffle giveaways.
Look for the following places to also have special Waldo tapping parties:
Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose hosts a Lagunitas tap takeover event on Thursday, 4/18/13 as part of their weekly Thursday Pint Nights. There will be a sneak peek of Waldo for the first 42.0 customers starting at 4:20 p.m. The tap list for Lagunitas is as follows:
Waldo Special Ale (available to the first 42.0 customers that arrive)
Sonoma County Stout (limited release)
Fusion 16 (limited release)
Cappuccino Stout (seasonal)
Wilco Tango Foxtrot (seasonal)
Under-Cover Shutdown (seasonal)
A Lil Sumpin Sumpin
A number of these locations will have raffles and prizes to help with the celebrations.
While there are a myriad of events taking place on 4/20, many South Bay beer fans will appreciate the variety of choices on where to satisfy any Lagunitas cravings.
Of note is the cluster of locations – Good Karma, Original Gravity, Market Beer Company, and O’Flaherty’s – pouring Waldo in downtown San Jose; it is by design. “We are trying to make a big stink out of it this year in downtown,” shares Rudy Kuhn, Lagunitas market manager for the Santa Clara County, Central Coast, and Central Valley areas. No doubt that many hop fans will savor the dank, citrusy aromas from the Waldo DIPA.