Tag Archives: San Pedro Square Market

2016 Oktoberfest Events in and around San Jose and Silicon Valley

2015 Mountain View Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest in Munich takes place from September 17 to October 3 this year, and I’m sure there are many like me who wish they were going but won’t be.

Fortunately, there are a number of local, Oktoberfest-inspired events and celebrations taking place throughout San Jose and nearby, providing plenty of opportunities to enjoy German and German-style beer and food in a festive atmosphere. Many of the Oktoberfest celebrations will also feature live entertainment and family-friendly activities.

Below is a roundup of this year’s local Oktoberfest events listed by date. I’ll add to it as new ones come to my attention. Please let me know if I’m missing any. Prost!

Fri., Sep. 9 – Sun., Sep. 11: Redwood City Oktoberfest

What: For 3 days, downtown Redwood City will celebrate their 3rd annual Oktoberfest. There’ll be a huge tent with lots of seating, music (AlpinersUSA), dancing, contests and lots of beer, beverages, food and more. An entrance fee ($18-$20 and $10-$12 for kids & designated drivers) includes a commemorative stein and 1 drink ticket.

Where: Courthouse Square, Redwood City

More info.: www.redwoodcity.org

Fri., Sep. 9 – Sat., Oct. 29: Teske’s Germania

What: German fare and special Oktoberfest evening celebrations on Fridays and select Saturdays from Sep. 9 to Oct. 29 featuring music from The Family Gruber Band and The Internationals.

Where: 255 N. 1st St., San Jose

More info.: http://teskes-germania.com/

Sat., Sep. 10: Jack Rose Libation House

What: 4th annual Oktoberfest from 4pm-9pm with live music from The Family Gruber Band plus German food and German beer. Admission to the beer garden is $10 for ages 21 and over, $5 for ages 13-20 and free for 12 and under. Feel free to come dressed in your best Lederhosen or Dirndl.

Where: 18840 Saratoga Los Gatos Rd., Los Gatos

More info.: http://jackrosebar.com/

Sat., Sep. 10: Gourmet Haus Staudt

What: Annual Oktoberfest celebration. Doors open at 11:30am. $5.00 entry fee. The Internationals start playing at 3pm.

Where: 2615 Broadway, Redwood City

More info.: http://www.gourmethausstaudt.com/

Fri., Sep. 16 – Sun, Sep. 18: Naglee Park Garage

What: Annual Oktoberfest from Sep. 16-18. They’ll be serving German beers plus a special German menu and be hosting  musical guests all weekend. Come casual or dressed in your most authentic German outfits and celebrate.

Where: 505 E. San Carlos St., San Jose

More info.: http://nagleeparkgarage.com/

Sat., Sep. 17 and Sat., Sep. 24: Ludwig’s German Table

What: Get out your Lederhosen and Dirndl and join Ludwig’s for Oktoberfest on Sep. 17 and Sep. 24 from 2pm-10pm. They’ll be turning their restaurant into a traditional Munich style festival ground with live music and special Beer Garden & Restaurant ($28) and Hall ($35) tickets.

Where: 261 N. 2nd St., San Jose

More info.: http://www.ludwigssj.com/

Mon., Sep. 26 – Sat., Oct. 29: Faultline Oktoberfest

What: Oktoberfest festivities at Faultline Brewing Company kick off Mon., Sep. 26. This year, Fautline will feature an Oktoberfest beer release, a German-inspired menu and more to be announced.

Where: 1235 Oakmead Pkwy., Sunnyvale

More info.: http://www.faultlinebrewing.com/

Thurs., Sep. 29: Geektoberfest

What: The Tech Museum of Innovation presents Geektoberfest 2016, an annual event where brewers and scientists will explore the biology of beer with talks, demos and tastings. In conjuction with Geektoberfest, Content Magazine will host a Beer LAB event on The Tech’s private rooftop terrace, featuring music, food and beer tastings available only to Beer LAB guests. Ticket prices vary from $18 to $100. Local participating brewers include DasBrew, FireHouse Grill & Brewery, Gordon Biersch Brewing Company, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company and Santa Clara Valley Brewing.

Where: 201 S. Market St., San Jose

More info.: http://www.thetech.org/geektoberfest

Sat., Oct. 1 – Sun., Oct. 2: Mountain View Oktoberfest

What: 4th Annual Oktoberfest – taking place Oct. 1 and Oct. 2 – presented by Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant, Tied House and the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce. They’ll be taking over a part of Mountain View’s Dana St. and Bryant St. with the parking lot, promising to be bigger and better than the previous years. There’ll be German beer, good food and family friendly entertainment.

Where: Parking lot at Dana St. and Bryant St., Mountain View

More info.: TBA

Sun., Oct. 2: OktoBRAfest

What: The 3rd Annual OktoBrafest takes places at the San Jose Woman’s Club from 3-6 pm. $25 tickets include a buffet of sausage, potato salad, sauerkraut, bread, dessert and one beer, cider or wine. Additional beverages are available for a suggested donation of $5.

Where: 75 S. 11th St., San Jose

More info.: http://www.sjwomansclub.org/

Sun., Oct. 9: San Pedro Square Market

What: Their 4th annual Oktoberfest celebration – their longest running event – returns with a new name – Oktober Beer & Music Fest – and promises to take things to a new level, featuring 3 bands this year and activating the entire Market instead of only the Sidewalk Cafe. The event will have games in different areas throughout the Market. Early bird tickets are $30 and will score you 3 beers instead of 2, but tickets do go up the longer you wait. From 2pm-8pm.

Where: 87 N. San Pedro St., San Jose

More info.: http://www.sanpedrosquaremarket.com/

Sat., Oct. 15: Peninsula Oktoberfest

What: From 11am-4pm, enjoy the annual Peninsula Oktoberfest at Hiller Aviation Museum. There’ll be music (San Mateo Elks Band and Bayern Maiden), German beer and food trucks. There’ll also be beers from Devil’s Canyon, Voodoo Brewing and Anchor Steam.

Where: 601 Skyway Rd., San Carlos

More info.: http://www.hiller.org/event/oktoberfest-2016/

Sat., Oct. 15 – Sun., Oct. 16: Campbell Oktoberfest

What: Campbell Oktoberfest is hosted by the Campbell Chamber of Commerce, and it’s an entire weekend of live music, tasty food, arts & crafts, a kids zone and – of course – beer. Featuring 4 stages of live music and dozens of food vendors. Oktoberfest dress encouraged.

Where: Downtown Campbell

More info.: http://campbellchamber.net/Oktoberfest/



San Pedro Square Market Hosts New Belgium Brewing Company Tap Takeover

Fat Tire and Friends

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
  • Snapshot Wheat
  • Ranger IPA
  • Citradelic IPA
  • 1554 Black Lager

Garage Bar

  • 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
  • La Folie
  • Transatlantique Kriek
  • 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.”

Fat Tire and Friends

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.

December Beer Events in and around San Jose

Beer events in and around San Jose

Simply visiting your local brewery (five at last count in San Jose) or other favorite beer place for a drink or two can be a fun, tasty event in and of itself, especially if you go with others and/or visit during peak business hours. That said, below is a roundup of some of the planned and organized local beer events taking place the rest of December, providing additional training opportunities in advance of next month’s SF Beer Week (Jan. 22–31, 2016) and the hundreds of beer-related events that will eventually take place throughout the South Bay region.

Wed., Dec. 9

Hermitage Brewing Company (1627 S. 7th St., San Jose), starting at 4pm: Hermitage will release their newest Single Hop Series IPA – Green Bullet, coming in at 7%ABV and 70 IBUs. Below are the Brewer’s Notes:

Green Bullet hops come to us from New Zealand and are the result of open cross-pollination of the New Zealand “Smoothcone” variety. They are typically used as a bittering hop in lagers and stouts, but we have never let such labels get in the way of the Single Hop Series. The aroma is slightly sweet and very green, displaying a pleasant “hoppiness” that reminds us of European Noble varieties. Those characteristics carry over strongly to the flavor with a huge grassy, spicy, classic “hoppy” profile that takes you back to the days before hop flowers tasted like tropical fruit. The finish is smooth and dry, and leaves just a hint of that hoppy character on the palate. This hop definitely lives up to its name. Pair with spicy Thai curry or grilled seafood.

Thurs., Dec. 10

Harry’s Hofbrau (390 Saratoga Ave., San Jose), starting at 6pm: “8 Bridges Russian Hill Release” – Once a year, Eight Bridges Brewery from Livermore releases their 10% Russian Imperial Stout aged in Jack Daniels barrels. Also on tap will be Belgian IPA (loads of Citra hops melded with light Belgian character), Big Citrusy DIPA, award-winning Stout and more.

Fri., Dec. 11

Original Gravity Public House (66 S. 1st St., San Jose), 6pm-11:45pm: “Calicraft Grizz, Buzzerkeley Red and Harvest Sparkling Ale Release” – Join Original Gravity as Calicraft owner/head brewer Blaine Landberg will be in house to talk you through these three new offerings. Buzzerkeley, Cali Coast, The City and Oaktown Brown will also be on tap.

Sat., Dec. 12

Beer Snobiety Toy Drive at Stuft Pizza (1426 Dempsey Rd., Milpitas), 4:30pm-9pm: Join Beer Snobiety for their Holiday Toy Drive at Stuft Pizza, home to 30 plus dedicated craft beer taps and 24 flat screens. Beer Snobiety will give away one free glass (while supplies last) for every toy donated and a raffle ticket for giveaways generously donated by local businesses. Beer Snobiety will also unveil their winter collection with a new hoodie, long sleeve shirt and a new beanie.

Sun., Dec. 13

San Pedro Square Market (87 N. San Pedro St., San Jose), 11am-4pm: “The Ultimate Ballast Point Takeover” is the last beer bash this year at San Pedro Square Market and will feature over 20 Ballast Point beers, including Sculpin IPA and its many variants and two “dueling” casks, as well as Ballast Point spirits. The two casks include Victory at Sea Oreo Cask (brewed with Oreo cookies) and Victory at Sea Samoa Cask (brewed with Samoa girl scout cookies). Market Beer Company will pour Boob Check Awareness Ale, Dorado DIPA with Watermelon, Barmy Ale, Navigator Dopplebock, Homework Series Batch #6, Sour Wench Blackberry Ale, Creamsicle Fathom and Rum Barrel Aged Victory at Sea.

Thurs., Dec. 17

Harry’s Hofbrau (390 Saratoga Ave., San Jose), starting at 6pm: “Clown Shoes Barrel-Aged Beer Night” – Featured beers include Flight of the Angry Beast (a blend of three barrel-aged beers), Rexx Imperial Red aged in Four Roses and Heaven Hill barrels and more.

Original Gravity Public House (66 S. 1st St., San Jose), 6pm-11:45pm: “Uinta Crooked Line and More” – Original Gravity welcomes back Uinta Brewing Company and will feature ten offerings focused on their Crooked Line as well as other seasonal offerings.

Sat., Dec. 19

ISO:beers (75 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose) and The Beer Heads Toy Drive, 5pm-9pm: Each unwrapped toy earns a raffle ticket towards giveways (beer, gift cards, glassware, etc.). Raffle winners will be announced at 9:30pm. Show your raffle ticket throughout the night for $1 off draft beers.

Trail Dust BBQ (17240 Monterey St., Morgan Hill), starting at 2pm: Trail Dust BBQ hosts a “Funk N Dank X-Mas with The Rare Barrel and Sante Adairius” and welcomes the founders of The Rare Barrel (Alex Wallash and Jay Goodwin) and Sante Adairius (Adair Paterno). Trail Dust will pour five kegs each from The Rare Barrel and SARA, including the following beers:

 Dubious Nights – dark sour aged in tequila barrels (not yet released, only keg of this leaving the brewery); 
Map of the Sun – golden with apricots; 
Positive Valence – golden with orange peel and lemon peel; 
Sourtooth Tiger – golden with ginger
; Feed The Monster – golden with blueberries (last Ambassadors of Sour release of the year, only keg of this leaving the brewery); 
Saison Bernice – farmhouse ale
; Appreciation – barrel-aged farmhouse ale fermented with boysenberries and our resident funk
; 831 IPA; and more.

Each guest who purchases a commemorative glass will receive discounted pours for the day.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Roundup of Top South Bay Beer Events for SF Beer Week 2015, Part 1

Japantown beerwalkers in 2012
Japantown beerwalkers in 2012

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.

WEEK-LONG SPECIALS

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?

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Most Arrogant Beer Bar Challenge 2013

Most Bitter Bar 2013 Winners
Most Bitter Bar 2013 Winners

Major kudos to San Pedro Square Market for winning this year’s Stone Brewing Company Most Bitter Bar challenge for California. The win is a clear and continuing representation of the South Bay’s march into becoming a bona fide better beer region.

It also means that there are a lot of local Stone Brewing fans. And Stone is back with another fun challenge – the Most Arrogant Bar challenge, which began this past Friday, Nov. 15, and runs through Sun., Nov. 24. This time around, the winners among participating establishments will be the ones that sell the most amounts of Arrogant Bastard Ale, Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale, and Double Bastard Ale – all well-regarded beers according to the prevailing beer review sites RateBeer.com and BeerAdvocate.com.

A number of South Bay beer spots are participating and have these “arrogant” brews already on tap, including Original Gravity Public House in downtown San Jose, Market Beer Company at San Pedro Square, and Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose.

Market Beer Company is hosting a special event on Wed., Nov. 20 starting at 5:30 p.m. It is a “keep the glass” night, and they will have on tap 2012 Double Bastard Ale (aged in red wine barrels), 2013 Double Bastard Ale, Arrogant Bastard Ale, and Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale. They will have available in bottles 2011 Double Bastard Ale, Stone Enjoy By 12.13.13 IPA, and Crime, Punishment & Southern Charred.

Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose will devote their Thursday Pint Night this week to pouring as much of the 2013 Double Bastard, Oaked Arrogant Bastard, and Arrogant Bastard as possible.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

San Pedro Square Market Celebrates Oktoberfest 2013

Oktoberfest 2013 at San Pedro Square Market

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
  • Erdinger Oktoberfest and Dunkel Weisse on tap
  • Paulaner Oktoberfest and Premium Pilsner on tap
  • A variety of bottled German beer from Market Beer Company

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
  • Robee’s Falafel will be serving sausage skewers with German potato salad
  • Treatbot will be serving handcrafted German chocolate ice cream
  • Vino Vino will be serving Gugelhupf cake with whip cream and fresh strawberries
  • Chocatoo will be serving Black Forest cupcakes and Kirsche chocolate truffles
  • Bray Butcher Block & Bistro will be serving pork Schnitzel and Spaetzle
  • Sama Zama will be serving handcrafted warm pretzels
  • Pizza Bocca Lupo will be serving sizzling sausage, Pancetta and Sauerkraut pizza drizzled with brown spicy mustard
  • Little Chef will be serving German potato pancakes with green Brussels sprouts
  • On A Roll will be serving German meatballs on a stick
  • Loteria Taco Bar will be serving Gemuse Gebraten also known as deep fried pickles or frickles
  • Phonomenal will be serving Oktoberfest sausage rolls
  • Konjoe will be serving juicy Currywurst burgers

According to Mariah, look for this inaugural Oktoberfest event at San Pedro Square Market to become an annual festival.

[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.]

Scenes from the Downtown San Jose Bitter Beer Crawl 2013

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.

It’s Market Beer Co.’s Jake!

Some great live music.

Me and Greg.

The downtown San Jose beer crawl was, in part, to help with the Bitter Beer Bar challenge hosted by Stone Brewing Company.

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.

Cheers!

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.

Cheers!

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.

Cheers! Prost! Gun bae!

~Andy

Market Beer Company: San Jose’s First Craft Beer Bottle Shop

Jake McCluskey, general manager of the soon-to-open Market Beer Company
Jake McCluskey, general manager of the soon-to-open Market Beer Company

San Jose’s first fully dedicated craft beer bottle shop will open in downtown San Jose’s San Pedro Square Market in early March with an expected soft opening this Friday, March 1, 2013. [Update on 2/27/13 – the soft opening has been pushed back to Mon., 3/4/13.]

The Market Beer Company will have 7 window coolers to hold over 300 refrigerated craft brews, all of which will come in either 22-oz bottles (also known as “bombers”) or 750-ml. There will also be 5 to 10 taps.

For now, beers must be enjoyed at San Pedro Square Market, but plans are in the works to procure an off-sale license so that customers can take bottles to go.

Market Beer will be in the good hands of Jake McCluskey, who was recently hired to manage the shop. Jake previously worked eight years at Kelly’s Liquors in San Jose, assembling a team of passionate, knowledgeable, and service-oriented craft beer enthusiasts who helped to elevate Kelly’s status as a top place to get good beer.

Jake shares, “Leaving Kelly’s was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make. I could only do it knowing that there was already a strong group of folks in place with Brandon, Jay, and Stevie.”

Another important factor in his accepting the general manager position was the location. San Pedro Square Market is fast becoming a go-to destination for its 20 plus unique dining and retail offerings and live entertainment all currently located within three market halls and the outdoor Peralta Adobe Plaza.

Jake envisions endless possibilities on how Market Beer could help to promote the growing craft beer movement in San Jose and throughout the South Bay.

“I’m just excited and really looking forward to devoting all my time to the business of craft beer, whether it’s bringing in good beer for beer fans or educating people who are new to craft beer,” Jake says.

He points to both the cheese shop that is mere steps from Market Beer and the soon-to-open chocolate shop that looks to be even closer. “Artisan cheese. Gourmet chocolate. A good, matching beer. That’s the holy trinity right there in being able to show successful beer and food pairings.”

Jake also notes the nearby neighbors who are promoting good beer – from San Pedro Square Market Bar to O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub to Los Gatos Brewing Company – and is happy to see the San Pedro Square block turn into a burgeoning beer hub.

The initial, planned hours for the Market Beer Company will be Sundays to Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Thursdays to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Jake invites all to like the Market Beer Company Facebook page. The latest updates on the upcoming soft opening will be posted there.

Market Beer Company
100 N. Almaden Ave., San Jose, CA 95110
(Inside the Lusardi Building at the corner of W. St. John Street and N. Almaden Ave.)

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Craft Beer Crawl in Downtown San Jose


More and more craft beer hot spots are opening in downtown San Jose, and a beer crawl is an enjoyable way to visit a number of these destinations that serve better beer. Not only do you get to enjoy some heady brews, but you’ll become better acquainted with a variety of establishments to figure out which ones merit return visits.

For my birthday earlier this fall, my brother and I went on a downtown beer crawl along San Pedro and First streets. We visited four out of the 10 or so beer places that are all located within walking distance from one another.

SAN PEDRO SQUARE MARKET BAR
87 N. San Pedro St.; sanpedrosquaremarket.com

At around 5:30pm, we lucked out in finding a table with a good view of both TVs at the San Pedro Square Market Bar. Many folks started settling in to watch the 49ers. We ordered food from the neighboring restaurant mere steps away, and a friendly wait staff took our orders selected from among the eight draft and 20 bottled beer options.

Bar manager Brian Rhett, who has worked at the Market Bar for a year, made the rounds and shared some big news: there are plans in the works to open a 100 percent craft-beer bar with a few dozen taps next summer in the open space on the other side of the building where Bellano Coffee (a.k.a. B2) has set up shop.

The variety and the close proximity of the food vendors in the open market, as well as the outside seating area in the Adobe Peralta Plaza, are undoubtedly great draws for the Market Bar.

O’FLAHERTY’S IRISH PUB
25 N. San Pedro St.; oflahertyspub.com

Though the San Pedro Square Market Bar was cozy, we were eager to continue our beer crawl. Within seconds, we stepped into O’Flaherty’s and found the dining area filled with families and people celebrating the end of the workday. Fortunately, a few spots at the bar opened up.

We checked out the lineup among the 38 beers on tap and placed our orders with the friendly server, who informed us that their biggest sellers were still whiskey and scotch but that more customers were ordering craft beer than before.

General manager Dave Mulvehill told us that their craft beer focus started taking shape back in July with the addition of 16 taps. He has also set up a beer club offering discounts on beers, tastings and free trips to select breweries, as well as monthly beer-related events.

GOOD KARMA VEGAN CAFE
37 S. First St.; goodkarmavegancafe.com

After walking a couple blocks, we arrived at Good Karma. We headed to the back, past the food station, to where the beers are. We were struck by the considerable knowledge of our server, and she answered all our questions about the current beer menu, which consists of 15 draft beers—and in particular about the various sour ales on tap.

A nearby customer with a bright smile let us know that she was a regular and loved Good Karma for its beer selection. Owner Ryan Summers stopped by to ask what beers we were having, and an enthusiastic conversation ensued around our latest and greatest beers tasted.

My brother said that he couldn’t wait to return, as he really enjoyed Good Karma’s lively and down-to-earth vibe. We agreed that Ryan exudes a contagious positivity. Despite being huge sports fans, we didn’t miss having a TV around—the conversations were that enjoyable.

ORIGINAL GRAVITY PUBLIC HOUSE
66 S. First St.; originalgravitypub.com

Across from Good Karma was our last stop. Inside, the Original Gravity team was working diligently. Owners Johnny Wang and Dan Phan, along with general manager Moonlynn Tsai, were either in the kitchen or behind the bar.

The beer lineup—25 taps and bottled selections—was impressive. Having had their much-anticipated grand opening celebration in September, business had been holding steady according to Johnny. He confirmed that the folks serving beer at Original Gravity were expected to pass the certified beer-server exam offered by cicerone.org. Rob Monroe, bar manager and event coordinator, shared that his main goal is for customers new to craft beer to take away something positive from their experience.

[This post was shared on SanJose.com.]