Tag Archives: Rabbit’s Foot Meadery

Cider Summit SF Returns to the Presidio for 4th Annual Bay Area Event

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Photo from last year’s Cider Summit SF in the Presidio

The region’s largest cider festival – Cider Summit SF – is returning to the Civil War Parade Ground in the Presidio on Saturday, April 22 from 1pm-5pm for its fourth annual Bay Area event.

The festival will feature nearly 200 ciders – plus cider cocktails and apple spirits – from local, regional and international cider companies, and opportunities to meet with many of the cidermakers.

Representing the South Bay will once again be Sunnyvale’s Red Branch Cider Company, whose sister company Rabbit’s Foot Meadery, incidentally, made for another impressive showing at the recent Mazer Cup International 2017, winning gold for their Hel (Aged Barrel Saison) and bronze for Biere de Miel (Honey Kolsch) – congrats to owner and brewmaster Mike Faul and his team!

New this year at Cider Summit SF is a collaboration cider between Cider Summit festivals and Washington’s Finnriver Farm & Cidery, resulting in a limited edition Saison/Farmhouse style cider. It’s made from a select blend of Washington-certified organic apples fermented with a Saison ale yeast at high temperatures to bring out the tropical and spice notes of the yeast.

Food will be available for purchase from Slow Hand BBQ and Whole Foods Market Truck. Whole Foods will also host a cider and food-pairing pavilion featuring Sebastopol’s Golden State Cider and local food purveyors.

Tickets are $35 for general admission and $45 for VIP tickets if purchased in advance before April 1. Beginning April 1, tickets go up by $5 ($40 and $50, respectively).

General admissions tickets get you a souvenir tasting glass and 8 tasting tickets. VIP tickets get you early access to the event from 12pm-1pm, a souvenir tasting glass and 10 tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets will be available onsite for $2 each.

Designated driver tickets will be available for $5, and accompanied minors will be admitted at no charge. A percentage of tickets sales from the event will support charities including The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research, Berkeley Humane and the California Association of Cidermakers.

For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit the Cider Summit SF website.

Check out some of my pictures from two of the previous Cider Summit SF festivals to get a sense of why the event is one of our favorites.




Scenes from ‘For Pete’s Sake’ Brewfest at CEFCU Stadium, Nov. 2016

Many in the local brewing community came together this past November to support a good person and a good cause – Peter Cogan and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

‘For Pete’s Sake’ Brewfest – which took place at San Jose State University’s CEFCU Stadium – produced plenty of good times as well.

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Peter Cogan.

Peter Cogan

Mark Fazzio of Hermitage Brewing Company.

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Steve Altimari of High Water Brewing and Drew Ehrlich of Strike Brewing Co.

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Strike Brewing Co.’s Tyler Rusten and a pour of Strike’s tasty Winter Camp (Winter Warmer Olde Ale). Tyler later shared that he had accepted a brewer position at Fearless Brewing Company in Oregon. Best wishes, Tyler!

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Santa Clara Valley Brewing’s Coleen Clark.

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Michael Barker of Sactown Union Brewery and Peter Licht of Hermitage Brewing Company share a laugh.

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El Toro Brewing Company’s Geno Acevedo.

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Almanac Beer Co.’s Brian Sneed, Fernando Tovar and Fernando’s wife Sandra.

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Hermitage Brewing Company’s Mark Fazzio, Nicole Marquez and Joel Wind.

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Enjoying a pour of Luponic Distortion No. 004 from Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Mark and Corey.

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FireHouse Grill & Brewery’s Larry Hoang.

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Beer enthusiasts Anita Arguello and Mike Condie.

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Santa Clara Valley Brewing’s Coleen Clark and Hermitage Brewing’s Carolyn Hopkins-Vasquez. Carolyn later shared that the end of the year would be her last day as marketing director of Hermitage Brewing Company and Tied House. With her family moving to Sacramento, her departure (which I’ve mentioned previously) is a big blow to the local beer scene (for instance, Carolyn coordinated this event). We’ll miss you, Carolyn!

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Jon Siddoway and Siobhan Faul of Red Branch Cider Company and Rabbit’s Foot Meadery.

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Rabbit’s Foot Meadery’s exquisite sipper Sweet Mead.

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Peter Cogan with his mum.

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Palo Alto Brewing Company’s Sikandar Syed and Kasim Syed with Santa Clara Valley Brewing’s Steve Donohue.

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Golden State Brewery’s Cinnabrown (Nut Brown Ale).

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High Water Brewing’s Steve and Barri Altimari and Mike Peasley.

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Palo Alto Brewing’s Kasim Syed and Tied House’s Ron Manabe.

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Palo Alto Brewing’s Sikandar Syed.

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Local stalwarts Jake McCluskey and Jim Helvie.

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Selfie with Jim.

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Codi Salazar, JD Stager, Peter Licht and Hermitage Brewing’s Greg Filippi. Codi also later shared that she was leaving Santa Clara Valley Brewing and moving to the Central Coast. Best wishes, Codi!

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Selfie with Steve.

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Beer fan Tim Haggerty.

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Campbell Brewing Company’s John Paine and Dan Doherty.

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Peter and Dan.

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My last tastes of the evening – Almanac Beer Co. Grand Cru Red: 2016 Vintage (Imperial Sour Red Ale) and Grand Cru White: 2016 Vintage (Imperial Sour Blonde Ale).

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Performance by the Spartan Marching Band.

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Great to hear that you’re doing better, Peter.

Cheers,

~Andy



Cider Summit SF Returns for 3rd Annual Bay Area Event

Great crowd - and weather! - at the 2015 Cider Summit SF
Great crowd – and weather! – at the 2015 Cider Summit SF

Cider Summit SF returns for its third year in the Bay Area on Sat., April 23 from 1pm-5pm at the Civil War Parade Ground in the Presidio in San Francisco.

“This year, we’re expecting over 3,000 people to attend Cider Summit SF and are excited to bring together even more popular and unique artisanal ciders,” commented Alan Shapiro, co-founder of Cider Summit. “Consumer interest in artisanal cider is growing at a phenomenal rate, and we look forward to providing the region’s largest-ever tasting opportunity for both cider lovers and the cider curious.”

The one-day event features over 150 leading ciders, including local and regional favorites, in addition to cider cocktails.

As in past years, Cider Summit SF features dozens of cideries from California and ciders from over five different countries and over five different states. Many of the cidermakers will be on hand to inform and guide guests through the tastings.

Local cidery Red Branch Cider Company (sister brand to Rabbit’s Foot Meadery) from Sunnyvale will be pouring their Hard Black Cherry Cider and Johnny Jump Up, a dry hopped cider that won a silver medal this past weekend at the Mazer Cup, the world’s largest mead competition held annually in Colorado.

Specially paired food selections at the festival will be available for purchase from vendors including Slow Hand BBQ, Whole Foods Market Truck and other assorted small bites. The event will also feature a “Dog Lounge” hosted by Berkeley Humane & Wag Hotels.

For the first time in the Bay Area, the festival will include cider cocktails prepared by Upcider, other selected cideries and a guest appearance from a prominent distiller. Another new feature will be the Fruit Cider Challenge sponsored by Oregon Fruit Products. Several participating cideries will produce pilot batches specifically for the event, and the winner will be chosen by popular vote and announced at the end of the festival.

Early bird tickets are on sale online through the end of March for $35 and will increase to $40 beginning April 1. Tickets will be $45 at the door and cash only. Tickets include a souvenir tasting glass and eight tasting tickets. Additional tickets are $2 per ticket.

New this year, VIP tickets are available for $50 and includes early access to the event from 12pm-1pm and two additional tasting tickets. Designated driver tickets will be available for $5 and includes Boxed Water. Accompanied minors will be admitted at no charge.

Visit the event website to purchase tickets and for additional information.

About Cider Summit SF

Brought to you by SBS Imports and the Seattle Beer Collective, Cider Summit SF celebrates local, regional and international artisanal ciders and cider makers. Cider Summit SF is presented by Whole Foods Market, along with supporting sponsors including, Upcider Gastropub, KRAVE Jerky, Oregon Fruit Products Co., Wag Hotels, KIND Snacks, BART and Morris Distributing.

Cider Summit is committed to working with the community and various non-profit organizations. A percentage of tickets sales from the event will support the following charities: The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research, Berkeley Humane, and the California Cider & Perry Association.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

2nd Annual Cider Summit SF to Feature 45+ Cider Makers, Red Branch Cider Company to Participate

Tasting room of Rabbit's Foot Meadery and Red Branch Cider Company, a participant in the upcoming Cider Summit SF 2015
Tasting room of Rabbit’s Foot Meadery and Red Branch Cider Company, a participant in the upcoming Cider Summit SF 2015

The second annual Bay Area Cider Summit will take place on Sat., April 25 from 12-6pm at the Civil War Parade Ground in San Francisco’s Presidio. The cider festival will feature over 150 ciders from over 45 cider companies.

“Consumer interest in artisanal cider is growing at a phenomenal rate, and we look forward to providing the region’s largest-ever tasting opportunity for both cider lovers and the cider curious,” shared event co-founder Alan Shapiro of SBS Imports from an earlier media release.

Indeed, all signs point to a rapidly growing local interest in ciders. Case in point: On a recent visit to the Rabbit’s Foot Meadery tasting room in Sunnyvale (also home to sister company Red Branch Cider Company) at 1246 Birchwood Drive, a lively and friendly crowd had already formed. The service was excellent and the good vibes especially impressive given the visit occurred in the early afternoon on a weekday.

The popularity of their offerings – a variety of meads (honey wines), dessert mead, ciders (or “cysers” – cider fermented with honey – to be exact) and braggots (honey ale) – are at all-time highs, thanks in large part to the artisanship of Mike Faul, who first created commercial versions of historical mead recipes back in 1995. As well, meads and ciders are nice options for those who cannot handle gluten, as meads and ciders are naturally gluten free.

And many of the Rabbit’s Foot Meadery and Red Branch Cider offerings have garnered widespread acclaim, winning multiple awards, including four medals – one gold, one silver and two bronze – at last month’s prestigious Mazer Cup, the world’s largest mead competition held annually in Colorado. The medals represent a three-medal sweep in the Braggot style category for Honey Stout (gold), Bier de Miel Kolsch (silver) and Diabhal Belgian Style Golden Ale (bronze), and a bronze in the Varietal – Sweet style category for dessert mead Melia.

The appearances of founders Mike and Maria Faul and their daughter Siobhan on a CBS This Morning segment that focused on meads in Nov. 2013 also helped to raise their profile and increase demand for their products.

Red Branch Cider is scheduled to pour their Johnny Jump-Up Dry-Hopped Apple Cider and Black Cherry Hard Cider at the upcoming Cider Summit SF. Other highlights for this year’s cider fest include:

  • More than 20 California cideries stretching from San Luis Obispo to Eureka
  • Ciders from at least a dozen other states and seven other countries
  • Variety of fresh-pressed apple juice tastings
  • Apple bowling courtesy of presenting sponsor Whole Foods Market

Many of the owners and cider makers are scheduled to be on hand throughout the tastings, where ciders will be available in four-ounce pours. The event will also feature specially selected food pairings from Whole Foods, Slow Hand BBQ and others, and Wag Hotel/Berkeley Humane Dog Lounge.

Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 (cash only, if tickets remain) at the door and include a souvenir tasting glass and 10 tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets will be available for sale onsite at $2 per ticket. Designated driver tickets are available for $5 and include a bottle of water. There is no charge for accompanied minors.

Cider Summit SF will benefit The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research, Berkeley Humane and the California Cider Association.

For more information, including the full lineup of cider makers and ciders and to purchase tickets, visit the event website cidersummit.com.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Events Featuring Local Breweries during Silicon Valley Beer Week

The CineBrew Mart - a truly local event
The CineBrew Mart – a truly local event

Silicon Valley Beer Week (SVBW) kicks off today and runs through Sat., Aug. 2. Local restaurants and businesses will present a seemingly endless number of beer-related events and specials to celebrate good beer and to help cement the South Bay and Silicon Valley as a bona fide beer region.

Among the many terrific events throughout beer week are the ones that stand out for their all-encompassing local vibe, where local businesses feature local breweries.

The following list is a sampling of such events.

SATURDAY, JULY 26

The CineBrew Mart takes place on Sat., July 26 at downtown San Jose’s Camera 12 theaters (201 S. Second St.) and hits a trifecta on local participation thanks to the efforts of Camera 12, San Jose Made (SJMADE) and Hermitage Brewing Company.

For $25, watch as many movies as you can from among 12 being shown that day, and enjoy a beer-tasting event from 1pm-4pm featuring members of the Bay Brewers Guild, including Hermitage Brewing Company (San Jose), Strike Brewing (San Jose), Santa Clara Valley Brewing (San Jose), Gordon Biersch (San Jose), Campbell Brewing, Faultline (Sunnyvale), Tied House (Mountain View), Uncommon Brewers (Santa Cruz) and Santa Cruz Ale Works.

In between movie watching and beer tasting, be sure to do some local shopping courtesy of SJMADE. To purchase tickets, visit www.cinebrewsj2014.eventbrite.com.

MONDAY, JULY 28

Rootstock Wine Bar in Los Gatos hosts Strike Brewing from 5pm-8pm. Strike will pour four of their offerings, and Rootstock will provide a food pairing with each beer. There will be an opportunity to meet the brewer as well. The cost of the event is $25. Rootstock requests RSVPs. Call (408) 354-7668 or email info@rootstocklg.com.

Wine Affairs in San Jose presents a beer-and-food pairing event featuring beers from Santa Clara Valley Brewing. The event takes place from 6pm-10pm.

Downtown Mountain View’s Tied House Brewery and Cafe celebrates SVBW with a special menu pairing new items with carefully selected beer flights. The food-pairing selections, available from July 25 to Aug. 2, include:

  • Mary’s Heritage Chicken: Free range, California raised chicken, brined, grilled, over cauliflower puree, green bean hash paired with Hoptopia IPA, Ironwood Dark and Villa Street Pale Ale ($14.50)
  • Oatmeal Stout Braised Lamb Shank: Smoked mozzarella polenta, mustard greens paired with Maltopia (Silver, Cal State Fair 2014), Ale of the 2 Tun (Gold, Cal State Fair 2014), Oatmeal Stout ($18.95)
  • Pan Seared Salmon (market price): Parsnip puree, French lentils, watercress salad paired with Alpine Gold, Single Hop Citra IPA, Single Hop Mosaic IPA
  • House Made Sausages: Smoked mozzarella polenta, braised broccoli rabe paired with Maltopia (Silver, Cal State Fair 2014), Single Hop Citra IPA, Cascade Amber ($12.25)

Faultline Brewing Company in Sunnyvale will feature a particular beer each day of the week at happy hour prices all day and provide a special appetizer and entrée pairing menu. Monday celebrates Faultline’s Hefeweizen and includes the following appetizer and entrée pairing options:

  • Appetizer: Smoked Salmon Sour Dough Canapés – House smoked salmon, atop sour dough toast with dill & lemon cream
  • Entrée: Beer battered Scallop, Shrimp & Chips – Our classic FBC beer batter with scallop and shrimp, and house-made pomme frits and jalapeno tartar sauce.

TUESDAY, JULY 29

An all-San Jose event takes place at 7 Stars Bar & Grill as they host a #DrinkLocal Tap Takeover featuring Strike, Hermitage and Santa Clara Valley Brewing. Starting at 6pm, there will be raffles throughout the evening, and representatives from each brewery will be in attendance to answer any questions about their beers.

Faultline Brewing’s focus this day is Pale Ale. Food pairing options include:

  • Appetizer: Shrimp Potato Latkes – Shrimp Potato Cakes with blackberry infused Pale Ale Relish atop of arugula and toasted almond salad
  • Entrée: Fire Braised Chicken Tostada – Tender morsels of chicken fire braised with Fresno Chilies, red onion and corn, on crispy corn tortilla topped with a tomatillo & cilantro salsa served with Spanish style basmati rice

WEDNESDAY, JULY 30

The latest edition of Beerwalk takes place in Santana Row from 6pm-9pm. Offerings from twenty or so breweries will be poured at various shops and businesses throughout the Row.

A number of the participating breweries are Bay Brewers Guild members, and in all, beerwalkers will have the chance to taste beers from Hermitage, Strike, Santa Clara Valley, Rabbit’s Foot, Faultline, Santa Cruz Ale Works, Lagunitas, Almanac, Speakeasy, Anchor, Sierra Nevada, Hangar 24, Headlands, CaliCraft, 21st Amendment, 6 Rivers, Ballast Point, Ninkasi, Green Flash and Firestone Walker.

Beerwalk 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.

Wine Affairs hosts a cider, mead and beer tasting event from 6pm-8pm featuring Sunnyvale’s Rabbit’s Foot Meadery/Red Branch Cider Company.

Santa Clara’s Wicked Chicken will have Santa Clara Valley Brewing Electric Tower IPA and a surprise offering on tap all day.

Vino Locale in Palo Alto will feature a tasting flight of Palo Alto Brewing Company beer, including Hoppy Ending Pale Ale, Atlas Double IPA, Nice Lacing Belgian Rye IPA and Cool Beanz Coffee Porter, to be paired with tapas plates.

Faultline celebrates Stout with the following pairing options:

  • Appetizer: Stout Beer Battered Conch Fritter – Conch marinated in ghost peppers, lime and Maui Sweets, blended into a sweet/ spicy Stout beer batter, than deep fried and served with a cilantro-Jerk pesto
  • Entrée: FBC Cadillac Burger: 1/2 pound burger, with caramelized onions, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles, topped with an easy over fried egg on a butter toasted egg roll.

THURSDAY, JULY 31

Downtown San Jose’s nomikai presents a “Meet the Brewer and Dinner” event at 6pm featuring Strike Brewing. In addition to their specialty pizza menu, there will be a special dinner menu  – tangy BBQ ribs, summer corn on the cob with sriracha butter and nori fries along with a Strike beer flight featuring Blonde, Imperial Red, and Chin Music Extra Pale Ale for $18. This event offers one of the first opportunities to try Chin Music outside of Strike’s recently opened taproom.

Faultline focuses on Kolsch with the following pairing options:

  • Appetizer: Spicy Beer & Colossal Prawn Ceviche – Colossal prawns marinated in spicy Kolsch beer, lime and lemon zest, Thai chilies atop fried giant pretzel
  • Entrée: Pepper-Pot Stew – Mixed meat chicken stewed with a FBC Kolsch beer, black pepper, three chilies, Creole mire poix and naturally sweet yams.

FRIDAY, AUG. 1

Hermitage Brewing invites all to celebrate International IPA Day [updated 8-1-14: the official IPA Day is Aug. 7] with an IPA Day event of their own at their Tap Room from 4pm-8pm. In addition to their signature single-hop series of IPAs will be a special cask IPA. The Amazing Dr. Zarcon’s Breathing Machine and Smothered Food Truck will provide the entertainment and good eats, respectively.

The focus for Faultline on this day is IPA, with the following options:

  • Appetizer: Pork Belly Buns – Slow Cook “Asian Persuasion” Style pork spiced with sweet plums, ginger, cilantro and coriander rolled in a lightly steamed bun, accompanied with a spicy “IPA” peanut butter dipping sauce
  • Entrée: Beer Smoked Bratwursts Ragout – Smoked Bratwurst simmered with FBC IPA, sweet onions, lemon blossom, mustard powder and ghost pepper, served in a French Baguette boat atop of scallion mash potatoes and sweet and sour apple ragout

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

The Beer Lover’s Gift Guide to the South Bay

Magnum IPA and Ale of the Imp from Hermitage Brewing Company
Magnum IPA and Ale of the Imp from Hermitage Brewing Company

Good beer in the South Bay continues its ascent, with many locally made, quality offerings available in bottles to give—or to get together and share.

San Jose’s Hermitage Brewing Company opened their tap room this past July, offering visitors the chance to taste well-crafted beer while connecting with the down-to-earth Hermitage vibe. Bottles of Hermitage beers are for sale at the Tap Room and can also be found in stores throughout the area, such as Saratoga Bottle Shop and local markets. Bottles of their Single Hop IPA Series continue to be popular items. For the colder weather season, the Ale of the 2 Tun Imperial Stout is a good choice. There’s also limited release, Ryetopia, a rye barley wine aged for a year in Kentucky bourbon barrels. It’s the first product of Hermitage’s barrel-aging program. The brew sounds like its own self-contained holiday confection with notes of chocolate, caramel, toffee, licorice, vanilla oak and—of course—bourbon. Another gift possibility: make a present of tickets—and maybe even offer to drive?— to Hermitage’s fifth annual Meet the Brewers Festival, Feb. 15 at their tap room ($35 per person/$5 designated driver).

Continuing its growth since the launch of their first beer in late 2011, Strike Brewing Company recently made a huge announcement—the construction of its own brick-and-mortar facility in San Jose at 2099 S. Tenth Street. Founders Jenny Lewis, Ben Lewis and Drew Ehrlich expect to open their brewery in early 2014. In the meantime, Strike bottles, such as their Brown, along with their IPA and Imperial Red (all $4-$5 per bottle), can be found at Cask & Flask in San Jose, and local markets such as Zanotto’s and Sprouts. And their seasonal stout, a Russian Imperial style with its deep chocolate and coffee notes coming in at 9 percent ABV, is back in a limited release, due out next month.

Santa Clara Valley Brewing Company proprietors Tom Clark and Steve Donohue possess great pride for the local area, as evidenced by their namesake brewery, as well as the names of their first series of beers brewed earlier this year—Electric Tower IPA ($6-$8 per bottle) with its hoppy, citrusy flavors and the chocolaty Peralta Porter ($5.50-$7 per bottle), both available at local bottle shops, including Jane’s Beer Store in Mountain View and Market Beer Company in downtown San Jose’s San Pedro Square. The bottles have artwork and write-ups on the labels that pay homage to this region’s history. The next beer to be made available in bottles will be an Imperial Red—ready just a couple weeks into 2014. Brewmaster Donohue says, “I was just looking at the final five label mockups. We’ll be brewing the red, probably late December. It should be bottled and available in mid-January.”

Rabbit’s Foot Meadery was founded in 1995 by Mike and Maria Faul, and business has never been busier according to Mike, no doubt fueled by the growing interest in ciders in conjunction with the increased demand for locally made, artisanal products. Rabbit’s Foot offers a diverse selection of meads (wine made out of honey), ciders and honey ales. Flavors range from light and dry to the sweeter profiles. Visitors can sample Mike’s creations at the Meadery, where the tasting fee is $5.50 and no appointment is needed. Both beer and wine drinkers often appreciate and enjoy meads and ciders; plus they make for tasty gluten-free gifts. Bottles of Hard Peach and Apple Honey cider are $5.99 (500 ml.) and a 750 ml. bottle of Sweet Mead goes for $16.99. Most of the meadery’s offerings are available in bottles under the Red Branch Cider Company label and can be found, in addition to their tasting room, at many local locations that sell quality beer.

Owner and brewer Kasim Syed of Palo Alto Brewing Company has been diligently brewing well-regarded beers since 2009. Most of his ales are available in bottles, and many of them are punnily-named: including his Hoppy Ending Pale Ale and the Barley Legal Coconut Porter—with a flavor profile of roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate and a hint of coconut milk—and Cool Beanz Coffee Porter, brewed with Philz Coffee. Kasim’s beers are available in bottles ($5-$7 per bottle)  at a growing number of locations throughout the valley, including Ava’s Downtown Market & Deli in Mountain View and Boynton Liquors in San Jose.

[This post was shared on SanJose.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

Taking Inventory of the San Jose and South Bay Craft Beer Establishments

Campbell Brewing Company
Campbell Brewing Company

The following establishments are the prevailing sources for craft beer in the San Jose and South Bay areas. By visiting them, you get to experience quality beers and help support local businesses.

For hand-crafted beer, check out the websites of the following San Jose area breweries and brewpubs (as well as a meadery) for overviews on their respective craft beer offerings:

  • Tied House Brewery & Cafe/Hermitage Brewing Company. 954 Villa Street, Mountain View. 650-965-2739; www.tiedhouse.com.
  • FireHouse Brewery. Sunnyvale location: 111 S. Murphy Ave., Downtown Sunnyvale. 408-773-9500; www.firehousegrill.comNote: There is also a location in East Palo Alto.
  • Campbell Brewing Company. 200 East Campbell Ave., Campbell. 408-866-2699; www.facebook.com/CampbellBrewingCompany, Campbell. Note: Located inside the Sonoma Chicken restaurant, their beer offerings on tap (not listed on their website) include: Kolsch, Hefeweizen, Pale, ESB (Extra Special Bitter), Scottish Ale, and a seasonal Barleywine (10% ABV).
  • Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant. 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose. 408-294-6785; www.gordonbiersch.comNote: There is also a location in Palo Alto.
  • Los Gatos Brewing Company. 163 W. Santa Clara Street, Downtown San Jose. 408-292-9928; www.lgbrewingco.com. Los Gatos location: 130 N. Santa Cruz Avenue. 408-395-9929.

These following locations make up the San Jose restaurants and bars that serve compelling beer:

  • Wine Affairs. 1435 The Alameda, San Jose. 408-977-0111; www.thewineaffairs.comNotes: Craft beer fans of this place know not to be fooled by their name. There are special beer tastings that occur on Monday nights.
  • Harry’s Hofbrau. 390 Saratoga Ave., San Jose. 408-243-0434; www.facebook.com/pages/Harrys-Hofbrau-San-Jose/143417649033860Note: Their “Thursday Pint Nights” featuring a particular craft beer/brewery have become increasingly popular, as this San Jose location has ramped up its craft beer offerings this past year.
  • Yard House. 300 Santana Row, San Jose. 408-241-9273; www.yardhouse.com/CA/san_joseNote: With this location opening earlier this year in April in Santana Row, this place continues to be very popular, thanks in part to the over 130 beers on tap.
  • Teske’s Germania Restaurant and Beer Garden. 255 N. First Street (at Devine), San Jose. 408-292-0291; www.teskes-germania.comNote: German dining featuring German draft and bottled beers.
  • The Naglee Park Garage. 505 East San Carlos Street (at 11th Street), San Jose. 408-286-1313; www.nagleeparkgarage.comNote: A small, respectable craft beer selection on tap.
  • Tee Nee Thai Cuisine. 1423 The Alameda, San Jose. 408-947-7927. Note: Their Yelp page offers the best online source of information for this place, which offers a quality section of Belgian beers in bottles.

Lastly, there is a cluster of San Jose area bottle shops and stores that carry an array of top-notch craft beer selections:

  • Bobby’s Liquors. 2327 El Camino Real, Santa Clara. 408-984-1120; www.bobbysliquors.comNote: For what it’s worth, they have a growing number of highly rated Yelp and BeerAdvocate customer reviews.
  • Artisan Wine Deposit. 400 A Villa St., Mountain View. 877-WINE-730 (Toll Free); 650-969-3511 (Local); www.artisanwinedepot.com.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

2011 Meet the Brewers: Food Truck the Brewers Edition Part 1 of 2 – The Beers

I’ve only recently come to truly enjoy beers, wines, and sparkling wine. In moderation, of course. Thanks to wifey, of course.

Didn’t think I’d be able to get out to a beerfest any time soon, but I did. Just this past weekend, in fact. With wifey and the toddler.

As part of San Francisco Beer Week, good ol’ San Jose played host to the 2nd annual Meet the Brewers festival presented by Tied House/Hermitage Brewing Company, FireHouse Grill & Brewery, and BetterBeerBlog.

We arrived shortly after the start time and stayed for a good hour-and-a-half. And we had an awesome time!

Here are the pics.

Standing right outside the Tied House and Hermitage brewery and distribution warehouse.

Is there beer in that silo?

Close up of the “2011 Meet the Brewers: Food Truck the Brewers Edition” event banner:

The event banner.

Acting cool, but feeling like the proverbial kid in the candy store.

Pretending to be calm.

My “vintage” glass.

Let's get started.

The toddler chose water over the watermelon soda and the spicy cinnamon soda courtesy of Hermitage Brewing. I tried the watermelon soda and liked it.

Watermelon soda.

First up: Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing – producers of organic beers.

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing.

I could already feel the good vibes in the air.

Away we go.

A great beer to start off with. I remember reading somewhere the phrase, “dangerously drinkable.” Yeah, this beer was that. Actually, all the beers I had this day were very drinkable.

Some good organic beer there.

Uncommon Brewers – love the name. They’re also producers of organic beers and in Santa Cruz.

Uncommon Brewers.

Bacon Brown Ale? Had to try it.

Bacon?

Ah. Hit the spot.

More bacon, please.

At this point, we headed right outside to get some food from the food trucks. After taking a quick bite of a Korean taco, I quickly made my way back inside the warehouse for some more beer.

The place was starting to fill up.

Getting more crowded.

Stopped by Mountain View’s Tied House.

Tied House and Hermitage Brewing

Tried their Wheat Beer. Very, very good. So drinkable. Had to get an immediate refill and went back outside to our table. Wifey very much liked this Wheat Beer as well.

Wheat beer.

After taking another bite of the Korean taco, I went back inside the warehouse to try out another beer.

This time it was the Campbell Brewing Company’s Hefeweizen, which I really enjoyed – flavorful and refreshing. Wifey mentioned that it seemed like an especially great beer to have in the summer.

Campbell Brewing Company Hefeweizen.

After enjoying some good eats, my glass was soon empty. That meant it was time to get inside the warehouse again.

I’m pretty sure that this was the Oatmeal Stout from Seabright Brewery in Santa Cruz. Very good.

So good.

I went with another dark beer. This time, the London Porter from Sunnyvale’s Faultline Brewing Company.

Faultline Brewing

Shared some hearty laughter with the pourer, who confirmed that he had a great gig. It was a great way to end my last beer of the day.

Faultline Brewery London Porter

The pictures below are of the breweries that I didn’t get the chance to visit.

Firehouse Grill & Brewery. I know, bad form on my part to skip the beers (including root beer) from one of the presenters.

Firehouse Grill & Brewery.

Unfortunately a case of so much beer to taste. So little time.

Friendly folks.

Did try out Hermitage’s craft watermelon soda as mentioned earlier, but not any of their beers.

Hermitage banner.

We’ve been to Campbell’s Rock Bottom Brewery a couple of times recently. Always enjoy the beers there.

Rock Bottom Brewery.

Wish I had the chance to taste the offerings from Rabbit’s Foot Meadery of Sunnyvale.

Rabbit's Foot Meadery

Quite familiar with a number of Gordon Biersch beers. Love them.

Gordon Biersch - San Jose

I admit that I’m much more experienced with, and knowledgeable about, drinking wine than beer, but I’m excited to learn more about beer.

I’m so glad to have run across a local newspaper article about this event. We didn’t actually decide to attend until the morning of. And we were able to make it only because it was held so close to us. Since “well behaved children” were welcome, we were thankful to be able to take the toddler with us.

The next post is Part 2 of 2, where I share some more about this great event through the lens of food.

Always Grateful,

~Andy