Strike Brewing Company has released their latest collaboration effort this week – Four Bagger Hoppy Lager (6% ABV, 40 IBU) – brewed alongside Megan Parisi, head brewer of the innovative Samuel Adams Nano Brewery.
From Strike Brewing head brewer Ryan Bridge:
“We used German lager yeast and pale, wheat, oats, and light crystal malts. After a slow fermentation and cold conditioning process, we dry hopped it like an IPA using El Dorado, Citra, Simcoe, and Loral – some of my favorites. This is truly one of the best beers that we’ve made during my time at Strike, and I can’t wait to see the response in the taproom…”
I was fortunate to make it the taproom on its release day this past Tuesday.
The beer is super smooth and juicy with wonderful aromas and flavors of tropical, citrus fruits. I certainly agreed with the folks at the table next to me who described the Four Bagger Hoppy Lager to be one ‘crushable’ beer.
It’s a very limited offering and currently available on tap and in four-pack, 16-oz. cans.
Strike’s Collaboration Series is the brainchild of veteran brewer and consultant Ben Spencer, who joined Strike earlier this spring as director of brewing operations and brewmaster. Incidentally, this week’s release of Four Bagger Hoppy Lager also marks Ben’s last week at Strike, as he’ll be returning to his native state of Virginia.
The first release in the series was a collaboration with Marin Brewing Company brewmaster Arne Johnson (Winning Saison). Ensuing collaborations saw Strike team up with Half Moon Bay Brewing Company brewmaster James Costa (Hop Closet Double IPA), Social Kitchen & Brewery brewmaster Kim Sturdavant (Pop-Up Pilsner) and Magnolia Brewing Co. (Strong Arm English Strong Ale).
As Strike co-founder/brewmaster Drew Ehrlich puts it, “The Collaboration Series has been a great way to trade brewing tips and see first-hand how these brewers go about making their signature beers.”
Look for the series to continue in the near future with upcoming collaborations to feature fellow South Bay breweries.
Look for the following special release beers at the celebration:
Triple Play Triple IPA
Kettle Sour with Mango
Imperial Stout with Chocolate & Orange
Stone Finger Tart Saison
Cask Aged Two Seam IPA with Grapefruit
Triple Play Triple IPA, 11.8% ABV, 80 IBU – In celebration of our Third Aniversary at our 10th Street location, we decided it was only appropriate to brew a behemoth of a triple IPA. Massive whirlpool additions and a double dry hop with Simcoe, Azacca, Loral, and Mosaic hops dominate the aroma and flavor with notes of pineapple, mango, and melon.
Kettle Sour with Mango, 5.1% ABV, 10 IBU – Our latest kettle sour, fermented with a strain of lactic acid producing bacteria that creates a wonderful fruity tartness. After primary fermentation, we conditioned it on fresh mango puree to up the juciness to an extreme. Light, crisp, and wonderfully tart with bright mango flavor at the forefront.
Imperial Stout with Chocolate and Orange, 7.9% ABV, 35 IBU – An American style imperial stout that is bold yet smooth, boasting a chewy body and huge roasted malt character. The addition of cacao and fresh orange zest before packaging works in harmony with the sweet, full-bodied base, creating a winning combination of flavors for your palate.
Stone Finger Tart Saison, 4.7% ABV, 20 IBU – Stone Finger is back! Aged in red wine barrels for over a year now, this Belgian style saison was soured by an awesome blend of brettanomyces and lactobacillus. Complex funk and acidity mingle in this bright, refreshing tart Saison.
Cask: Two Seam IPA with Grapefruit , 6.5% ABV, 68 IBU – We’re also tapping a cask of Two Seam IPA infused with fresh grapefruit zest! Try a new take on one of your favorites.
A bunch of events are coming up featuring local breweries, which is great to see. Most are officially part of Silicon Valley Beer Week. The upcoming stretch looks to be the largest concentration of special local brewery events ever. Very exciting times!
Fri., July 21: Locals Only Beer Garden
WHAT: Forager Tasting Room & Eatery will host a ‘Locals Only Beer Garden’ as part of the Taste of San Jose event for Silicon Valley Beer Week. 5-10pm.
WHAT: 20twenty cheese bar hosts a special event featuring all San Jose breweries, including Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Hermitage Brewing Company, Bellpenny Brewing Company, Uproar Brewing Company, Strike Brewing Company, New World Ales, GearTooth AleWerks, Hapa’s Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch Brewing Company and Camino Brewing Company, as well as nearby Golden State Brewery and Red Branch Cider Company. Brewers and brewery reps. will be in attendance. 5-9pm.
WHERE: 20twenty cheese bar, 1389 Lincoln Ave., San Jose
WHAT: Uproar Brewing Company hosts a four-course dinner – ‘The Beer, The Brine & The Brash’ – inside the brewery featuring brined ingredients from pickles to meats and beers selected by head brewer Jim. 7-9pm.
Thurs., July 27: Locals Only Featuring Floodcraft Brewing Company
WHAT: Whole Foods Market in Santa Clara will host an all-day tap takeover featuring only local breweries, including Floodcraft, Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Hermitage Brewing Company, Camino Brewing Company and more. 11am-10pm.
WHERE: Whole Foods Market, 2732 Augustine Dr., #1600, Santa Clara
WHAT: Having started back on May 18, the weekly Thursday night market presented by Gordon Biersch Brewing Company and Moveable Feast features Gordon Biersch beers, Wildcide ciders, street food, music, artists and makers at the Gordon Biersch brewery facility in Japantown, San Jose. 5-9pm.
WHERE: Gordon Biersch, 357 E. Taylor St., San Jose
WHAT: Taplands in Santa Clara will celebrate local beer and feature offerings from Golden State Brewery, Hermitage, Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Strike, Camino Brewing, GearTooth AleWerks and others, with plans to continue into the following week. 11am-10pm.
WHAT: Forager Tasting Room & Eatery hosts a talk – led by Mark Denari of New World Ales – about all things hops, including the local history of San Jose’s hop growing tradition. Tasting included. 5-7pm.
WHAT: Seth Hendrickson of Golden State Brewery and Matt Hartenstein of Taplands will participate in the inaugural ‘Inside the Brewer’s Studio’ series event to feature dynamic, local beer enthusiasts. 7-9pm.
A number of San Jose breweries will participate this Saturday, March 4, in a benefit to help the recent flood victims of San Jose.
Below are their respective Facebook updates.
Strike Brewing Company
Join us as we raise money to help our South Bay neighbors affected by the recent flooding. 10% percent of all taproom sales and all of the proceeds from the silent auction will be donated to the San Jose Flood Relief Fund.
KFOX live broadcast from the brewery
Hapa’s Brewing Company
Join us (and/or other participating San Jose breweries) this Saturday for a special benefit to raise money for the victims of San Jose’s recent flooding. We’ll be donating a portion of beer sales to flood relief funds. 333 Truck will be serving food and we’ll have a basketball shoot contest!
Santa Clara Valley Brewing
We are proud to be participating in Saturday’s fundraiser for the victims of San Jose’s recent flooding. Portions of the entire day’s sales will be donated to the San Jose Flood Victims Relief Fund, plus we’ll have great food on site and hourly giveaways of SCVB swag!
Hermitage Brewing Company
It’s San Jose Flood Relief this Saturday!
Join us at Hermitage, Strike Brewing Co., Santa Clara Valley Brewing and Hapa’s Brewing Company this Saturday for great local craft beer and good times. We’ll be donating a portion of beer sales to the San Jose Flood Victims Relief Fund! #dotherightthing #sanjosecraftbeer #drinklocal
Steve Altimari of High Water Brewing and Drew Ehrlich of Strike Brewing Co.
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!
Santa Clara Valley Brewing’s Coleen Clark.
Michael Barker of Sactown Union Brewery and Peter Licht of Hermitage Brewing Company share a laugh.
El Toro Brewing Company’s Geno Acevedo.
Almanac Beer Co.’s Brian Sneed, Fernando Tovar and Fernando’s wife Sandra.
Hermitage Brewing Company’s Mark Fazzio, Nicole Marquez and Joel Wind.
Enjoying a pour of Luponic Distortion No. 004 from Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Mark and Corey.
FireHouse Grill & Brewery’s Larry Hoang.
Beer enthusiasts Anita Arguello and Mike Condie.
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!
Jon Siddoway and Siobhan Faul of Red Branch Cider Company and Rabbit’s Foot Meadery.
The next Hops & Harvest beer dinner event at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Pub – located at Levi’s Stadium (4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way, Santa Clara) – is set for Thursday, October 13 beginning at 6pm.
The 6-course beer dinner will showcase offerings from San Jose’s Strike Brewing Company. Strike represents the second local brewery in a row to be featured in Bourbon Pub’s beer dinner series.
Executive chef Steven Gotham has crafted an intriguing menu that highlights the various aspects of beer that make it such a versatile beverage when used to pair with food. Below is a sneak peek of the beer dinner menu:
First Course Hamachi Crudo Tostadawith Classic Dot Blonde Ale
Sixth Course Mango Upside Down Cake, Crème Fraiche Sherbetwith Screaming Hand Imperial Amber Ale
Tickets for the beer dinner are $65 per person (not including tax and gratuity). Seating is limited, and reservations can be made by calling 408-579-4460 or emailing email@example.com.
Representatives from Strike will be on hand to answer any questions about the brewery and their beers. There’ll also be raffles held throughout the dinner with chances to win prizes courtesy of Strike and the 49ers.
The beer dinner is the fourth such dinner in Bourbon Pub’s ongoing Hops & Harvest beer dinner series, which started earlier this year. The upcoming beer dinner follows a very successful beer dinner held in August featuring Santa Clara’s Golden State Brewery, which I had the good fortune to attend and write about.
San Jose’s Strike Brewing Company recently tapped the latest offering from their Bullpen Series – Cherry Bonds, a kettle soured blonde ale conditioned on tart cherries.
Cherry Bonds – their 14th Bullpen release for those keeping count – was tart (naturally), crisp, refreshing and very tasty.
Previous Bullpen Series beers from earlier this year have included – to name a few – Berliner Weisse with blueberries and pomegranate, Rained Out Pale Ale with pineapple and toasted coconut, Bergamot Breakfast Pale Ale with local lemon zest and Earl Grey tea, Milk Stout and Big Wall Imperial Stout with Madagascar Vanilla Beans.
Because of the growing popularity of the Bullpen Series and the consistently positive feedback on these beers – combined with the fact that they’re brewed in micro-batch quantities – a Bullpen beer is consumed quickly and then, in most cases, gone forever.
Indeed, Strike co-founder and brewmaster Drew Ehrlich confirmed that the Bullpen beers – released periodically throughout the year and available only at the taproom – rarely last past a couple days.
The Bullpen Series is an excellent complement to their regular beer lineup and is the brainchild of Strike brewer Ryan Bridge. A South Bay native, he joined Strike about two years ago and has been quickly making his mark as a professional brewer.
Ryan recently took the time to share a bit about his background, how the Bullpen Series came about and upcoming beers to look forward to from the Series.
Can you share a bit about your background? Where are you from/where did you grow up? College/major?
I grew up in Mountain View and Sunnyvale, so I’m originally from the South Bay. After high school I moved down to San Diego to study History and Literature/Writing at UCSD. In August 2014, I moved back up to the Bay Area and started working at Strike.
What’s been your experience with brewing?
I began brewing in college, experimenting first with mead and wine until eventually my dad bought me a homebrew starter kit for one of my birthdays. From that point on I homebrewed regularly.
I spent a lot of time visiting local breweries and usually attempted to clone the recipes of beers that I liked.
How did you go about joining the Strike team? When did you start at Strike?
When I moved back up to the Bay Area in 2014, I knew I wanted to commit to becoming a part of the beer industry. I got in touch with [Strike co-founder and CEO] Jenny [Lewis] and began helping out by pouring beer at events and in the taproom.
Eventually I worked my way into the production side, learning to work the bottling line as well as the cellar. After assisting Drew in the brewhouse for a while, I began brewing full time in early 2015.
How has it been working at Strike?
Working at Strike has been an awesome experience. Since we are such a small operation, we all wear many hats and inevitably learn something new every day.
I’ve grown tremendously as a brewer, and it has been really fun to see Strike expand and become a bigger part of the San Jose community.
Can you share how the Bullpen Series started? What were the goals?
We began the Bullpen Series beers with a couple of goals in mind. First, we wanted to bring a wider variety of styles into the taproom for our regulars and those visiting the brewery.
We also needed an outlet to develop new recipes in the hopes of eventually scaling them up into full production (Shoeless Joe Imperial Coffee Brown, for example).
Ultimately, brewing the Bullpen beers has been a great way for me to practice with fun, new ingredients, as well as brewing techniques.
Can you share more about the brewing system for the Bullpen Series?
When we first started the Bullpen Series, we were brewing on a 10 gallon homebrew system – our mashtun was an Igloo cooler and our kettle was a 15.5 gallon keg with the top cut off.
Once we realized all of the benefits of a dedicated pilot system, we upgraded to a two-tiered K-RIMS system that allows us to brew up to 20 gallons at a time.
How often do you try to release a new Bullpen Series beer?
Our goal is to release two Bullpen beers a month, but it is really dependent on our production schedule.
Just curious – what’s been your favorite one so far?
My favorite so far was probably the barleywine we brewed for our first anniversary party. I think I still have a couple of bottles of that one stashed away somewhere…
Any beers and/or beer ideas coming up for the Bullpen Series?
We have a long list of beer styles ready to be brewed. There is a cucumber/lime Kolsch conditioning in our walk-in cooler currently, and we have some experimental single-hop pale ales in the works as well.
I plan on brewing at least one (hopefully two) for our Second Anniversary party on October 8th at Strike.
Cheers to 2 Years!
The Second Anniversary party on Saturday, Oct. 8 – from 1pm to 9pm – commemorates the 2-year mark for Strike’s South 10th Street brewery and taproom location.
And as demand for Strike beers continues to climb – both Jenny and Drew recently confirmed that Strike’s never been busier – the party will also be an occasion to celebrate their accomplishments to date.
$20 gets you a special glass that’s yours to keep and 3 pints of your choosing. Everything is a pint that day.
There will be a band, a raffle, a Sports Gallery Silent Auction and more.
On hand will be food trucks Gow Chow (1pm-5pm) and Kushi Yaki (5pm-9pm).
The second annual Pints for Pups fundraising event takes place Sat., April 16 from 2pm-6:30pm at Strike Brewing Company (2099 S. 10th St.).
Presented once again by the popular Facebook group Southbay Beer Hounds with Clay Planet, Pints for Pups combines local beer, art, food trucks and prizes to benefit the Silicon Valley Pet Project (SVPP), “a 501(c)3 non-profit organization made up of volunteers committed to saving local at-risk shelter pets through rescue, community involvement and education.”
A Pint Glass and Growler Art Show will feature 20 tables of local artists selling one-of-a-kind functional art items – including steins, mugs, chalices and growlers – and competing for the Pint Glass- and Growler-of-the-Year awards.
Food trucks Waffle Amore and Los Jarochos Grill will be present, and there will be a silent auction and raffle.
Tickets are necessary to attend but are free and available at the Pints for Pups Eventbrite page. Donations are welcome – and tax deductible – and can be made through Eventbrite or at the event.
I recently caught up with fellow Southbay Beer Hounds Lance Boyle and Deb Anderson. They graciously took the time to answer questions about how the idea for the Pints for Pups event came about. I also asked about the Southbay Beer Hounds, including the origins of the popular Facebook group.
How did the idea for Pints for Pup come about?
Deb: When we first started talking about Pints for Pups, I was the one who suggested that SVPP be our beneficiary because I had witnessed first-hand the passion this group has for helping dogs (and cats) at our local shelter find loving homes.
Our youngest dog, Molly Beans, was a parvo survivor who we fostered at eight weeks old and ended up adopting. She was the poster girl for the first Pints for Pups, showing what rescue is all about.
With my project management and event planning knowledge I took his idea of Pints for Pups and added a bit of structure (like an Eventbrite registration page) so we could have an idea of how many people to expect and help coordinate volunteers that first year to make sure the day flowed smoothly.
Lance: This is a funny place. Everyone who owns a house is a millionaire, but there is so much missing – humanities, fun, hijinx, whimsy…
I have long thought things like this just needed to be done. People don’t know that art is made by artists and does not come from the mall. I thought an opportunity to knit segments of folks together would be fun and exciting. And who does not want one more glass… something special and different from anything on earth?
Rooting through tables of wonderful pieces of beautiful things and finding one that speaks to you… it’s exciting. It’s a treasure hunt.
The wonderful part is, you find your piece and feel it, and see how it was made by human hands. You meet the person who made it, chat with them. You learn the process of how your piece was made… maybe it’s fired at cone 10 (super damn hot, total fusion, tap with your nail and it rings like crystal) or maybe it was wood fired, an ancient technique, which makes each piece drastically different.
It’s just fun to do, especially at an event where others look and admire your mug or piece. It’s like for a brief moment in a way, we all become title millionaires, collectors, patrons.
And the beneficiaries are pets who need a bit of help.
All of this was a chasm that needed to be crossed. I just happened to see the materials to create the bridge.
And Jenny Lewis at Strike has been incredibly easy to work with.
Care to share a bit of your backgrounds?
Deb: I’ve been involved in local theater for 40 years and am currently on the Board of Directors at City Lights Theater. My other passion is animal rescue, mostly dogs. :) I got involved in dog rescue several years ago, and all of our dogs have been rescues.
Lance: Deb won a Theatre Bay Area award in 2014, which is quite impressive.
I have an elaborate art background in illustration, cartooning and sculpture.
More importantly, I have long enjoyed going to the zoo in a gorilla suit, walking through a crowded church in a devil costume waving or wrapping myself in toilet paper and sneeking up behind people at the Rosicrucian museum.
I got mixed up with the Cacophony Society in the ’90s when they were pilfering my cartoons for newsletters… decades of pranks and fun. I suppose the Beerhounds is just all my own extension of things like that.
Speaking of the Beer Hounds, could you share with me again how the Southbay Beer Hounds group started?
Lance: The Beerhounds got started kind of on a whim, originally because I thought it was an easy way to communicate about expensive Imperial Stouts released around Christmas which were not sold and then marked down in price by Groundhog’s Day (the end of the holiday season) when in fact they were actually better (aged).
I also met folks who I thought should be friends. Often they had quirky things in common… love of odd beer was often one.
There were like 30 of us for years. Nobody posted much. Then one day my friend Eric had a lengthy rant about a beer he loved. Folks started chatting, and it seems like that spark made it jump from 35 or so to 700.
Getting close to 800 group members in fact. By the way, I know some folks who are a bit bummed that they never received those special Lance Boyle introductions.
Lance: It’s a bit odd. The side of it nobody but me sees is who I don’t let in, which is more than half the people who ask to be added. I block more people than I let in.
After a couple of scammers and sales clowns got in, I started screening their profiles a bit, perusing photos, seeing if the people even liked beer before I let them in. Lots of Nigerian royalty.
It felt a bit sinister, so to make it clear to people that I went through their profiles and looked them over, I started using a photo from their pages – which are all based on solid facts, as you know – for the introductions.
It also seems like a friendly touch, and I hope it lets new folks feel like they can jump right in.
What are some of the highlights from running the Southbay Beer Hounds group?
Lance: I suppose seeing that something silly and fun can be planned and can make a difference. That having a happy hour at a brewery or a sticker release or a fundraiser can, at this point, really create notice or business.
The original idea of Beerhounds loosely is to refine one’s views to the period of one’s life when we knew more, between nine and eleven I think… being unencumbered by life’s drudgery and not yet driven by our loins.
It seems like the time in life when choices were the most sound. Things like a love of pranks, a disregard for spelling, the love of dogs as company and role models for etiquette, stickers, goofy images, nicknames…
I think our group is like a big bucket of that. At least I hope so.
This place is so stressful and serious. There needs to be a place where jackassery (our theme) is run up the flag pole and saluted.
Many of the people who are in Beerhounds, even some who don’t drink beer (if you can imagine such a person), are people who have some vision and have risked a lot to create something… Folks like Fouad Eilian (Bibo’s Pizza), Alex Hult (Hult’s Restaurant), Lisa Mallette (City Lights Theatre), Matt Hartenstein (Taplands), Seth and Stephanie Hendrickson (Golden State Brewery), and the women from the Silicon Valley Pet Project who from nothing started this incredible life-saving group.
They are all risking their savings to create something concrete based on their vision and incredible hard work. It’s truly a pleasure to help them, in any small way.
Any “Aha!” beer moments?
Lance: I spent much of my young life with an eccentric uncle who liked unusual beers. He was well traveled, always interested in odd libations from the far corners of the world. He was a surgeon and my aunt a nuclear chemist. We always had some experiment going on around the house, with fruits and grains. Later I had friends in the Peace Corps, who had to make their own hooch under difficult circumstances.
I’ve always loved the idea of making beer from different perspectives and wacky methods. It just happens to have become popular with others now.
Anything else to add?
Deb: Pints for Pups and its popularity and the fact that the first event was put together in less than three months and raised over $7,000 for SVPP… well, that’s all due to Lance.
He has a way with people that’s a bit like the Pied Piper (he’s also way too humble to say or think that himself), but I see it everyday – his unbridled delight that the group has become something more than an FB page where people talk about beer.
From his intros of new members, to his sticker designs that are always eagerly awaited, the local businesses he’s promoted through the page, and the fact that so many people have met through this group and become friends, he is infectious.
I often joke that he needs a bodyguard or an entourage when we go out as so many people are excited to see him. At Meet the Brewers, I can’t count how many people were awestruck and giddy at meeting THE Lance Boyle.
It’s so much fun to watch and yet it often makes him uncomfortable. I think he likes to create chaos and watch it, rather than be in the middle of it.
That may be why I’ve been married to him for 20 years. :) He’s quite a catch.