The wait is over. Uproar Brewing Company (439 S. First St.) has finally announced their opening date via their Facebook page earlier this morning:
“Words we’ve been waiting to say for too long… We’re opening June 14. Drop by and say hello.”
It certainly has been a long wait, and after a series of delays and changes, Uproar’s low-key update is sure to excite many, including local beer fans as well as folks eager to see the continued growth of downtown San Jose and the SoFA district in particular.
I had the good fortune to attend a preview dinner earlier this spring, and the event indeed portended a positive outlook for the brewery and restaurant and the surrounding area.
In becoming the newest member of the South Bay brewing community, Uproar will look to enhance the local beer scene by offering more options for beer fans with an emphasis on good beer and good food.
Very happy for the Uproar team and look forward to visiting soon.
Update: Below is the opening menu shared by Uproar a handful of hours after their initial opening date announcement:
Look for an announcement soon on the exact opening date for the much-anticipated Uproar Brewing Company in downtown San Jose’s SoFA district, located at 439 S. 1st St.
I got a sneak peek a couple weeks ago of Uproar Brewing’s first official beer. Grant Kjos, taproom manager and one of Uproar’s founding members, poured me a glass of Uproar Saison. The Saison was tasty, refreshing, clean and easy drinking.
And earlier this week, I returned to Uproar for a preview of what was in store for the opening.
The view upon entering the restaurant and brewery.
The kitchen is to the right.
Steve Vandewater, who is the co-partner of Uproar Brewing along with his wife Christina, stands next to the six barrels that were recently filled with Uproar Saison.
Uproar Saison was brewed by Jim at Uncommon Brewers in Santa Cruz. Uproar awaits final approvals to be able to start brewing on their own equipment.
Uproar Saison on a beautiful copper countertop with a view to the brewery.
Wifey, the kid and Steve.
Jim was busy showing folks around the brewery, including Dan Satterthwaite of New Bohemia Brewing Company.
The view of the restaurant and bar from the brewery side.
Stuffed Figs & Demi-Glace: Figs, walnuts, thyme, goat cheese, wrapped in pan-seared prosciutto and demi-glace drizzle.
Lamb Lollipops: Brazilian-inspired rack of lamb sous vide and grilled to temp, red wine and blackberry reduction mint jam, goat cheese wonton crust, micro greens and basil.
Barbeque Pork Belly Sliders and Fries: BBQ broiled pork belly, creamy garlic slaw made with sliced fennel, frisee, carrot, shallot and alfalfa sprouts.
Classic Sliders and Fries: 3-oz. Angus beef patty, American cheese, butter, lettuce, tomato, house pickles, red onion and house tomato chutney.
The kitchen staff.
The kitchen is headed by James Thornton, who previously worked at Paper Plane.
Great service throughout the evening.
Beer tasting: Elkhorn Slough Hoppy Jewel American Wild Ale, Uproar Saison, Alvarado St. The Revolution Will Not Be Clarified Double IPA and Uproar Porter, which was brewed at Santa Clara Valley Brewing.
Catching up with Derek Stanfill of Oskar Blues Brewery.
Christina and Steve Vandewater.
The space is big and great, and to put it simply, the beers were tasty, the food was delicious, the service was excellent and the vibe was warm, lively and friendly. We can’t wait for Uproar to open.
If the preview is any indication, I predict that there’ll be many other satisfied guests when Uproar Brewing Company opens.
A note on their website at the time indicated that the 14,400 sq. ft. space at 420 South First St. (former home of South First Billiards) would comprise of a coffee bar, a main bar, 2 beer walls, 6 micro-restaurants, a stage, a corner art gallery and plenty of seating arrangements.
In the ensuing months, as renovation and construction continued, Forager utilized available space to host a “pop-up” series to showcase local artists and musicians: “We witnessed the potential for what Forager will soon become – an inviting and creative space where culture thrives and guests enjoy food, the arts, and community.”
When I caught up with Forager founder Heinz Jones this past October during the Mountain View Oktoberfest – where he serves as the emcee at the annual event – he was his usual enthusiastic self when talking about Forager.
He was eager to get Forager going as a business incubator for local entrepreneurs in the food, beverage and arts industries who are passionate about launching their respective enterprises.
He confirmed his wanting to play a part in bolstering the downtown San Jose business landscape by cultivating a community through good food, beverages, music and art.
As a beer enthusiast – Heinz had been working weekly at Market Beer Company – he was excited about opening his own tasting room at Forager.
Fast forward to earlier this month. Forager announced that they would be open daily from 7am to 7pm. Their coffee bar would serve offerings from Devout Coffee, and beer would be served from among their 16 taps.
Grand Opening Celebration
Forager will celebrate their official “hard” opening Friday, March 3, as part of the monthly South First Fridays Art Walk. Forager will host the photo exhibit “Picture This” featuring local San Jose photographers.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 5:30pm, and all beers will be $5 and coffee drinks $2 from 5:30pm to 7pm. There’ll be small bites available as well.
Forager will also be open longer starting March 3, from 7am to 11pm daily.
Scenes from the Neighborhood Bottle Share
Look for Forager to continue hosting a variety of creative events. For instance, Forager hosted a “Bottles of the Bay: Neighborhood Bottle Share” event back in October that focused on beers from the local brewing community.
Forager’s Bryan Chen.
Billy and Hermitage Brewing Company’s Nicole Marquez.
Peter Estaniel of Santa Clara Valley Brewing.
Bellpenny Brewing Company’s Jim Turturici in conversation with brewer Dave Roberts and Stacey.
Stacey pouring Dave’s homebrewed porter – very enjoyable.
Uproar Brewing Company’s Steve Vandewater, Nicole and Billy.
Steve and Jim.
Heinz about to pour local beers Santa Clara Valley Brewing Valley Surprise DIPA and Hermitage Brewing Company Citra Single Hop IPA.
Peter and brewer Ryan Campagna of Touchstone Brewing Company in Sacramento. Ryan previously worked at Strike Brewing Company.
Ryan and Calicraft Brewing Company’s Zac Taylor.
Peter, Billy, Nicole and Hermitage Brewing Company’s Joel Wind.
Bryan and Heinz.
The Neighborhood Bottle Share was the first time I visited the space, and I was struck by how big the space was and how much warmth seemed to radiate throughout.
I look forward to returning to Forager and checking out the changes and enjoying the ambience, some coffee goodness and a beer or two.
I first visited Uproar Brewing Company – located in downtown San Jose’s SoFA District at 439 S. 1st St. (previously occupied by the ZERO1 Garage) – late last summer. The building was empty then, but Mike and Michele Willaford (Brewmaster and Lead Brewer, respectively) and partner Steve Vandewater showed me around and shared the plans that they had for the space.
Fast forward to earlier this month: I had the chance to check out the progress of the buildout and to get a sneak peek – and taste – of some beers.
It was great to see the progress and to catch up again with Mike, Michele, Steve and Steve’s wife Christina; we had seen them at the Meet the Brewers festival a couple months prior. We also met Dietrich Wahlstrand, his wife Emily and their toddler, and contractor Mike. All genuinely fine, down-to-earth folks.
Mike and Michele have been busy crafting batches of beer at home. Four beers – so far – have received hearty approvals from the team:
Blonde Ale, 4.5% ABV, 15 IBUs
Galactic Pegasus IPA, 8.1% ABV, 87 IBUs
Honey Oat Pale, 5.8% ABV, 38 IBUs
Everblack Oatmeal Stout, 6.0% ABV, 35 IBUs
Simply put, these beers were tasty, well balanced and left me wanting several glasses more of each.
According to Brewmaster Mike, the brewhouse is set to arrive in May, and guests can expect about a dozen of their beers on tap – possibly more – when Uproar opens later this year.
On to more pics below:
The opening of Uproar Brewing Company cannot come soon enough.
Uproar Brewing Co. announced on Twitter early last month that construction of their brewery and taproom would start in several weeks in the SoFA District of downtown San Jose (439 S. 1st St.) to open in late winter. Since the initial announcement, Uproar has tweeted additional tidbits.
“A little fact about us: Our brewers are from Minnesota. Our Brewmaster worked at Surly Brewing, and his wife is also a professional brewer.”
I was excited to see these tweets. A San Jose beer corridor has taken shape just outside of downtown San Jose with the likes of Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Hermitage Brewing Company and Strike Brewing Co. – and previously Clandestine Brewing. But I wondered, along with others, if there would ever be a new brewery in downtown San Jose. Thanks to Uproar Brewing, the time for a downtown brewery is upon us.
Mike Willaford, Uproar’s brewmaster, and his wife Michele have been busy preparing their move from Minneapolis, Minnesota to San Jose. Mike generously took time out of his hectic schedule to answer questions about Uproar Brewing Co., including how Uproar came about, who the partners are, what his favorite beers were to make at well-regarded Surly Brewing, and more. I wrote a short piece on Uproar for SanJose.com last week, but the full interview is below. Note that Mike was quick to point out that his answers represented a collaborative effort from the members of Uproar, all of whom have been busy in helping to start the brewery.
Who are the folks behind Uproar Brewing Co.? Briefly share your backgrounds.
Steve Vandewater (not-so-silent partner and long-term member of the IT community): After a lifetime in information technology, Steve has finally seen the light. He grew up and went to school on the smallest of the Great Lakes. He says he has a couple of degrees but since they are from Canada, he’s not certain they count. This does explain his ardent belief that hockey is the best sport in the world. He brings a long-time wine fanatics approach to beer which explains his devotion to “the nose.” Moved around several states “whenever his picture showed up in the post office” but has found a home in the South Bay.
Christina Vandewater (not-so-silent partner and long-term member of the IT community): Born and raised in Indiana. Education: Computer Science (Major) / Mathematics (Minor) from Indiana University. Brewing education: Whatever Mike and Michele teach me. Lots of experience making bottles empty, none in filling bottles … yet. Spent the last 20 years doing major business transformations involving process and technology redesign in many industries; my propeller beanie hat spins faster than the rest of the team’s. Hobbies: Harley-riding artist with a mini zoo.
Mike Willaford (Brewmaster): Mike is the brains behind the beer machine. Born in Oklahoma, he moved to Minnesota after moving on from touring and playing music. He has been in the beer business since 2006 and a brewer since 2008. In his career, has brewed for breweries like Surly Brewing Company, Lift Bridge Brewery, and most recently Sociable Cider Werks as Head Brewer. He believes metal is the best genre of music, that dogs that weigh under 130 lbs are small dogs, and bar-b-que is the best way to cook.
Michele Willaford (Lead Brewer): Michele was born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and early in her life moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts. She began her collegiate career at Harvard University and The University of Massachusetts Boston before transferring to the University of Minnesota and finishing her bachelor in Anthropology. When she and Mike began dating she gained an interest in home brewing, which led her to a job with Northern Brewer Home Brew Supply. After years of honing her home brewing skills, she accepted a brewer position at Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub in Minneapolis.
Dietrich Wahlstrand (Food): Dietrich, a native to San Jose, spent his youth causing a ruckus in the quiet neighborhood of Willow Glen. He attended Willow Glen High School and San Jose City College. He has spent the last 15 years pursuing his passion in catering; experimenting and creating cutting edge tasty eats. All the while tending to his two beautiful children, the teenager and toddler. You might spot the toddler at the brewery as the resident brewery baby and charmer. But don’t fret; neither toddler nor teenager are brew taste testers. Dietrich enjoys a good run, taking on crazy construction projects and being a loving daddy and husband when he is not focused on opening this awesome brewery. In the past few months Dietrich and team have been dedicating their lives to this project and are very excited about aiming to please.
Grant Kjos (Taproom): Grant grew up in a small Minnesotan town, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average. Studied American Studies at the University of Minnesota… and Latin, which was neat. Started home brewing about 8 years ago because his wife said he needed a hobby. Years of working at his LHBS (local home brew shop) has embiggened Grant with a noble spirit, and a cromulent sense of purpose. His vast knowledge of crystals and ancient aliens promises to serve Uproar with the best energies. You will find him behind the bar talking about movies and Hollywood gossip a bit too eagerly.
Everybody on the team is living, or has lived, in downtown San Jose, and almost everybody is an escapee from the lands of ice and snow.
How did the idea for Uproar Brewing Co. come about?
Actually that’s a pretty good story. Michele and I have been talking for years about starting our own brewery. It’s an expensive business to start so that made it more of a dream. That dream also involved opening a brewery someplace where snow was a rare experience.
Friends of ours, Grant and Tiffany Kjos, moved to San Jose when she was hired by Apple. They found a nice duplex to rent, and Grant asked the landlord if he minded him growing some plants in the yard. The owner, Dietrich Wahlstrand, asked him what kind of plants because you can’t be too careful. Grant’s answer was hops, which I think was about the second least likely answer Dietrich expected.
It turned out that Steve and Dietrich had been trying to put together a craft beer project for a while. They had some ideas but were missing someone to brew the beer. Grant said, “I know someone you need to talk to.”
Shortly after that Michele and I came to San Jose and spent four days getting a rough idea of what we wanted to do. With the six of us sitting around Steve and Christina’s dining room table, a plan came together. We have been working since April on the plan and the 8,000 things you have to do to start a brewery.
How did you come up with the name Uproar?
We really thought about what we wanted to achieve with our beer and who we are. Uproar fit that description. We want to cause a stir with our beers, an Uproar, if you will. Do something outside of the box.
What is the Uproar mission?
We want to create great beers and give San Jose a great place for people to enjoy themselves. Our mission for the brewery has been the same since day one: Complexity, finesse, dexterity. We also plan to be involved with the community as much as we can. One of the first things we talked about was how to set up our first charitable events.
Why select San Jose?
It has been a dream for Michele and me to start a brewery for a long time now, and when we visited the South Bay Area, we realized “This is where we want to live in and brew beer for.” The team looked for good locations throughout the South Bay. We gained an amazing response and support from the city of San Jose, the Downtown Association and the other businesses in the SoFA district. That made San Jose an easy choice.
How did you manage to secure the downtown San Jose location?
Once it was on our radar, we felt that this was the space for us, and we inquired about it. All parties involved seemed to really like the idea of a brewery in downtown San Jose, and it worked out for the best.
Regarding the site/space, how big is it? (The former ZERO1 Garage spaced looked to be quite big.)
It’s a little over 10,200 square feet with a lot of character, featuring exposed brick, industrial concrete floors, and a 24 foot high wood ceiling. We liked the kind of industrial feel that we plan to continue in our taproom.
Can you share some of the site details (size of the brewery space, size of the taproom, how many taps, etc.) and plans (space for barrel-aging programs, will the taproom offer food, etc.)?
We are going to have a very spacious taproom with a full kitchen. The brewery will take up a large portion of the building, leaving space for events. We will have twelve taps for house beers, and as we have shown via Twitter, there will be a barrel-aging program.
What are the specs. of the brewhouse?
We will open with a 10 barrel brew house from Criveller Brew Tech. It is a steam driven system. We will have six fermenters and one bright tank. I’ve worked with a Criveller brewhouse before, and I know we can make great beer with it.
What is your favorite Surly beer that you helped brew?
Blakkr. It was a collaboration brew with Three Floyds and Real Ale. It was great challenge of a beer to brew, and I was able to get to know some really awesome brewers through the process.
What beer styles do you enjoy drinking and brewing the most? What are your specialties?
I love lagers and a good Kolsch. With those styles of beer there is no place to hide. Either the brewer knows what they are doing or their mistakes will be pretty obvious. I also would say that those fall into my specialties as well.
What can we expect for the initial set of beer offerings?
Expect the unexpected. We plan to have four flagship beers and rotate different beers in and out. My wife and I will have his and hers tap lines, which showcase our individual brewing styles. I lean towards the side of creativity with my brewing while Michele gives the balance of classic styles.
Are you familiar yet with the San Jose/South Bay beer scene? (We’ve seen a lot of growth the past several years; yet many think – I agree – that there’s room yet for more growth, especially on the brewery front.)
There are some good breweries in San Jose, but there is plenty of room for more. Michele and I visited in April and checked out a few of the breweries and bars, but we are more than excited to join and help grow the San Jose craft beer scene.
You and your wife (as you shared via Twitter last month) will be moving here to San Jose in late July. Do you have any ties to San Jose/the South Bay?
We have our Uproar team members and a few friends.
What’s the best way for folks to connect with Uproar to keep tabs on construction and opening date statuses?
The move from Minneapolis to San Jose can’t come soon enough for husband-and-wife brewers Mike and Michele Willaford, who arrive this week with plans to open Uproar Brewing Company in the SoFA District by this winter.
Construction of the new brewery will begin this month at the 10,200-square-foot space formerly occupied by Zero1 Garage. It will be home to a spacious taproom featuring 12 taps for house beers, a full kitchen and room for a barrel-aging program and special events.
Silicon Valley’s beer scene is on an upward trajectory, with several new and established breweries that cater to a growing base of beer enthusiasts, “but there is plenty of room for more,” says Mike Willaford, who will serve as brewmaster with his wife, Michele, head brewer.
“Michele and I visited in April and checked out a few of the breweries and bars,” he says. “We are more than excited to join and help grow the San Jose craft beer scene.” Plus, the Willafords can escape Minnesota’s winter chill after years of discussing ideas for their own brewery.
Mike Willaford’s previous brewing experience includes time at venerable Surly Brewing Company in Minneapolis, Lift Bridge Brewery in Stillwater, Minn., and most recently Sociable Cider Werks, also in Minneapolis. Michele has brewed at Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub in Minneapolis.
In addition to the Willafords, the management team at Uproar includes partners Steve and Christina Vandewater, long-time members of the tech industry; San Jose native and catering veteran Dietrich Wahlstrand; and home brewing specialist Grant Kjos.
“We plan to have four flagship beers, and rotate different beers in and out,” Mike Willaford says. “My wife and I will have his-and-hers tap lines, which will showcase our individual brewing styles. I lean toward the side of creativity with my brewing while giving a balance of classic styles.”
The team aims for a late winter opening. Meanwhile, Zero1, the arts organization that was based in the same space since 2012, is leaving its SoFA District headquarters as it continues to plan the 2016 Zero1 Biennial in San Jose and other global initiatives.
Follow Uproar Brewing’s progress on Twitter @uproarbrewingco.
“Focused on emerging and present subcultures thriving in our region, SubZERO is a DIY, artistically bent, hi/lo-techno mashup where street meets geek. Come downtown on June 5th & 6th to San Jose’s SoFA District from 6pm ’til midnight for an inspired evening of arts & culture. In addition to the South FIRST FRIDAYS monthly art walk you’ll find outdoor stages of entertainment plus artists, performers & musicians celebrating the indie creative spirit!”
Amidst the celebration of local art, music and culture at SubZERO will be more than a dozen food trucks and a craft beer garden that will open at 6pm this Friday. Hosted by the Bay Brewers Guild and presented by Lagunitas Brewing Company, the brewery lineup features the following Bay Brewers Guild members:
Santa Clara Valley Brewing
The participating breweries should be familiar names to local beer fans. Note that New Bohemia (NuBo) recently opened their Santa Cruz brewery and tasting room in late March and will be making their South Bay debut at the SubZero craft beer garden. It is my hope that NuBo brewmaster Dan Satterthwaite will bring his Dunkelweizen which I have yet to taste; the beer style is a particular favorite of mine.
Long-time South Bay theater artist John McCluggage presents the next installment of ShakesBEERience San Jose with The Taming of the Shrew on June 30 at Café Stritch, where theater fans can enjoy the presentation with an equally enjoyable beverage in hand.
The ShakesBEERience model was launched in Portsmouth, N.H., three years ago by 7 Stages Shakespeare Company, to which McCluggage and his wife Alexandra have close connections. He is an associate artist and occasional director and actor, and she a member of the company’s advisory Board.
Dividing their time between New Hampshire and California and having spent many years in San Jose’s theater scene, the duo, co-founders of Buck Hill Productions, thought it would be perfect to bring west, meeting John’s personal artistic goal of producing theater in non-traditional venues and at places people naturally gather for other pursuits.
“ShakeBEERience is sort of like theater jazz—it matches perfectly with the venue,” Alexandra says. “We are thrilled to partner with Café Stritch. [Owner] Steve Borkenhagen is a long-time friend and arts supporter and we knew Stritch would be the place to launch the series.”
ShakesBEERience, Alexandra says, is a response to a contemporary audiences’ desire for engaging programming, interactive, informal experiences and opportunities to socialize. Works of Shakespeare are presented in a unique, playful and accessible way in an easy-going and entertaining environment where the audience drinks, eats and has a good time.
“We call ShakeBEERience, ‘a pub, a pint and a play,’” she says. “It’s an experience, not a performance. You don’t need to know anything about Shakespeare. You just come along for the ride and enjoy the event. Whether you come for the whole reading, or can just stay for one scene, the ShakesBEERience you have is up to you.”
Expect professional actors and local community celebrities to carry scripts and move about the bar, engaging with audience members on occasion and toasting each other when appropriate.
Admission to the staged reading is free though there is a suggested donation. Seating is first come, first serve, and there is a club membership that provides guaranteed, reserved seats. Previous presentations have been standing room only, so consider arriving early to get your seat and a pint or two.
ShakesBEERience is at Cafe Stritch on June 30. Admission is free and the show starts at 7pm.
Amidst picture perfect weather and orchestration by South Bay craft beervangelist Peter Estaniel of BetterBeerBlog, the 2012 Better Brew Tasting Garden craft beer festival, took place last Friday, June 1, at the 5th Annual SubZERO Festival of arts and culture in downtown San Jose.
Mere steps from the beerfest were gourmet food trucks and the engaging sights and sounds of local artists and musicians. Folks who came just for the Better Brew Tasting Garden had the opportunity to see and hear great artwork and music, while people who came primarily for the art, music, and food had the chance to try out a myriad of tasty beers.
Attendees had the opportunity to taste beer from 15 breweries, ranging from an Imperial Brau Pilsner from Gordon Biersch, German-style gold ales from Rock Bottom Campbell and Hermitage Brewing, ESB styles from Campbell Brewing and Firestone Walker, a porter from Uncommon Brewers, pale ales from Cedar Street Brewing and Seven Bridges Cooperative, to IPAs from Strike Brewing, Peter B’s Brewpub, Santa Cruz Aleworks, Lagunitas, and Seabright Brewery.
An element that elevates the status of a particular beer festival is the presence of the folks who make the beers being poured. And the Better Brew Tasting Garden had its fair share of brewmasters on hand to talk about their beers, including Strike Brewing’s Drew Ehrlich, Campbell Brewing’s Jim Turturici, Peter B’s Kevin Clark, and Rock Bottom Campbell’s Russell Clements.
Of note was the public debut of the Bay Brewer’s Guild, a brewery collective from the South Bay, Santa Cruz, and Monterey areas whose mission is to further promote the craft beer scenes in these regions.
Despite the large number of attendees, beer tasting lines moved briskly and the filled-up space never felt too crowded. By all accounts, this beerfest was a resounding success thanks to the excellent turnout, a smoothly run operation by Peter and his team of volunteers, and the great fun that was had while enjoying good beer. Special mentions go to event sponsor Lagunitas Brewing Company and to Cherri Lakey and Brian Eder of the Anno Domini art gallery, the folks behind the SubZERO Festival.
On the heels of last year’s well-regarded, inaugural Better Brew Tasting Garden, this year’s version has raised the proverbial bar even higher, helping to provide further evidence that it is a good time to be a beer fan in the South Bay.
By all measures, last year’s inaugural Better Brew Tasting Garden was quite a success. But BetterBeerBlog’s Peter Estaniel has been busy seeking ways to make his beer festival even better, such as listing clear information as to when breweries will be shutting down – 10 p.m. except for sponsor Lagunitas Brewing Company, which will be staying open until 10:30 p.m.
In the midst of festival planning, Peter took time to share what festival goers can expect at this year’s Better Brew Tasting Garden as well as 3 tips for those new to craft beer and to this beer festival.
Last year’s festival was awesome according to many folks who attended. Yet this year’s looks to be even better. What developments and changes are there to make this event even better?
Last year was quite a time for us. It was the first beer festival we had nearly full administering power over, and I could feel the pressure to put on a solid event. Looking back at what we did, we identified key areas we thought could use improvement, and we worked to remedy those things.
Perhaps the biggest improvement to the Better Brew Tasting Garden at SubZERO this year is the inclusion of more breweries. I counted myself lucky to have had 6 craft breweries in the festival last year. I mean think about it, a blogger (of all people), is asking his local breweries to be part of a beer festival he’s putting on. All the breweries that showed up did so as a favor to me, and I am deeply grateful for their kindness.
This year, the number of breweries present has doubled. Brand new craft breweries such as Strike Brewing Company and Sante Adairius Rustic Ales will be pouring for the first time, while established craft breweries such as Seabright Brewery, Santa Cruz Aleworks, and Peter B’s Brewpub will be making their first appearance.
Regional craft breweries such as Stone Brewing Company and Firestone Walker Brewing will also be pouring at the Better Brew Tasting Garden this year.
One of the most exciting things is that Gordon Biersch will be debuting a new craft beer at the festival. I’ve probably said too much already.
We’re also focusing more on streamlining the check-in process to get guests into the Better Brew Tasting Garden more efficiently, simplifying the pricing structure, and attempting to do a better job of setting (and meeting) expectations. Boring stuff, I know, but necessary.
What suggestions do you have for those new(ish) to craft beer and checking out this beer festival perhaps for the first time?
For those new to craft beer I have 3 main suggestions. First, don’t settle on just one brewery! We all have our favorites, but with 15 breweries in representation, this is the perfect opportunity to try something new. Some breweries may have a single craft beer pouring but others will have as many as 6! Experiment! Be adventurous! You just may be rewarded with a new favorite.
The second thing I would suggest for festival attendees is to take the time to talk to your local brewers. In many cases, the people who actually make the craft beers we like will be there pouring. Ask them how they made their beers. Let them know if you loved it (or didn’t love it). Ask them where you can buy their beers outside of the festival. The point is they’re there to not only serve their craft beers but to get to know their customers as well.
Lastly, take the time to enjoy the SubZERO Festival as a whole. There’s a whole festival of art and music surrounding the Better Brew Tasting Garden. I’m actually jealous that I can’t go out and take in the scene.
Anything else you’d like to add?
With regards to the Better Brew Tasting Garden, there’s not much else I can add. I would like to say that the SubZERO Festival is in its 5th year and is a showcase of the art, culture, music, food, and craft beer of San Jose.
San Jose has an unwarranted reputation of being a city without culture. While our art and music scene may not be as robust as our neighbors to the north, we do have one! Even if you’re not into craft beer, come out and support our hard working, local artists and musicians and see just what our city has to offer.
For more information
The SubZERO festival and the Better Brew Tasting Garden both start at 6 p.m. Whereas the SubZERO festival ends at 12:00 a.m., the Better Brew Tasting Garden will close earlier. Please see the event pagefor the details. Also, according to a recent tweet from BetterBeerBlog’s Twitter account, tickets to taste are priced as follows: 1 ticket per taste (1/2 pour) and 2 tickets for a full pour available only at Lagunitas. A ticket is $3, but you can purchase 4 tickets for $10.