Tag Archives: The Farmers Union

Tasty Beers on Tap for Silicon Valley Beer Week 2014

KraftBrew Beer Fest
KraftBrew Beer Fest

The local region will be a “hoppening” place during the 2nd Annual Silicon Valley Beer Week (SVBW), which starts today and runs to Aug. 2.

Beer fans will have plenty of daily opportunities to enjoy good beer, including the following sampling of options:

FRIDAY, JULY 25

The only event taking place today is the SVBW Kickoff event from 6-9pm at downtown San Jose’s Blackbird Tavern. Chefs Dawn Smith (Blackbird Tavern) and Luis Silva (Naglee Park Garage) have prepared a beer-inspired menu to pair with specialty beers. A “Z Pass” ticket is required for this event (the same “Z Pass” is also good for the culminating KraftBrew Beer Fest on Aug. 2). Special beers include Bruery Smoking Wood (Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Smoked Beer), Echt Kriekenbier (Belgian Cherry Sour), Straffe Hendrik Wild (Belgian Pale with Brettanomyces), Bayerischer Bahnhof Berliner Weisse (Traditional German Sour Wheat), Allagash Confluence and more. More info.

SATURDAY, JULY 26

It has been an exciting time for downtown San Jose’s Original Gravity Public House. Their recent two-year anniversary celebration coincided with the unveiling of their finished expansion project. Original Gravity’s first SVBW event is “Pucker Up! Sour Fest 4.0” and features 15 national and international sour and wild ales. The lineup includes:

Allagash – Golden Brett (American Wild Ale)
Almanac – Bourbon Sour Porter (Sour Porter)
Anderson Valley – The Kimmie, The Yink and the Holy Gose (Gose)
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck – St. Louis Gueze (Gueze)
Bruery – Sour in the Rye (American Sour Ale)
Cismontane – Marea Roja (Flemish Style Red)
Drake’s – Barrel of Peril (Sour Tripel aged w/ Brett in Chardonnay Barrels)
Freigeist – Sauer Porter Raspberry (Wild Ale w/ Raspberries)
Jolly Pumpkin/Anchorage – Calabaza Boreal (American Wild Ale w/ Grapefruit and Peppercorn)
Lost Abbey – Spontaneous Cheer (American Wild Ale)
Mort Subite – Mort Subite Kriek (Lambic w/ Cherries)
New Belgium – La Folie (Flanders Style Brown Ale)
Priaire – Funky Gold Mosaic (Dry Hopped Wild Ale)
Russian River – Supplication (Sour Brown aged in Pinot Barrels)
Struise – WeltKrieg (Kriek)

Sour Fest is a popular Original Gravity event for sour beer fans and also provides a good opportunity for those curious about the “fruit, funk and tart” characteristics of sour beers to try them out. More info.

SUNDAY, JULY 27

Jack’s Libation House in Los Gatos, home to what is likely the South Bay’s largest beer garden, hosts a festive Los Gatos Brew Fest, featuring rare beers and one-offs from Firestone Walker (Paso Robles), Drake’s (San Leandro), Lagunitas (Petaluma), 21st Amendment Brewery (S.F.), Calicraft (Walnut Creek), Heretic (Fairfield), Stone (Escondido), Knee Deep Brewing (Auburn), Alpine (Alpine) and New Belgium (Fort Collins, CO). The event starts at 11am.

On hand will be Alpine’s Patrick McIlhenney, Calicraft’s Blaine Landberg, Knee Deep’s Jeb Taylor and Drake’s John Martin. More info.

MONDAY, JULY 28

Downtown Mountain’s Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant will feature 14 guest taps, seven from Allagash and seven from The Bruery, including:

  • Humulus Lager
  • Hottenroth
  • Loakal Red
  • White Chocolate
  • Sucre – Madeira barrel aged
  • The Wanderer
  • BeRazzled
  • Neddles
  • James Bean
  • Saison
  • Golden Brett
  • Odyssey
  • Confluence
  • Red Howes

Kegs will be tapped at 5pm and pour until the beer runs out. More info.

Downtown Campbell’s Spread Deli & Bottles hosts Six River Float Night with their neighbors, Snake and Butterfly Chocolates from 5pm-8pm. More info.

TUESDAY, JULY 29

Downtown San Jose’s Good Karma Vegan Cafe hosts a dinner and tap takeover featuring The Bruery. A private paired dinner takes place from 5pm-6pm. Good Karma then opens to the public at 6pm with 19 beers on tap, including Grey Monday, Berazzled, The Wanderer, Tequila Barrel Aged Sucre and more. More info.

Santa Teresa Golf Club and Lagunitas team up to present the final Santa Teresa Summer Beer Talk on the Bar and Grill Patio. “Lagunitas Bloopers” takes place from 5:30pm-6:30pm and will be a discussion on how brewing mistakes can lead to brewing success. There will be beer tasting and happy hour prices on Lagunitas beers. For only $5 you will get to taste beers and participate in a discussion hosted by Lagunitas. More info.

Liquid Bread Gastropub in downtown Campbell presents Chef’s Choice Craft Beer Dinner, featuring selections from executive chef John Burke. The menu includes the following:

  • AMUSE: grape salad, almonds, olive oil
  • OREGON SHRIMP SALAD: mâche lettuce, toasted bread, palm hearts, charred tomato vinaigrette & REISSDORF KÖLSCH (german beer with light citrus, notes of sweet grain, and a mild hop finish)
  • UNI: basil spaetzle, chinese pepper, sesame seeds & WIDMER BROTHERS SAISON À FLEURS (farmhouse ale brewed with chrysanthemum, jasmine, and szechuan peppercorns)
  • LOCAL SOLE: salsify purée, woodear mushrooms, lollipop kale, pine nuts & EINSTöCK OLGERO (icelandic white ale dry with hints of coriander and orange peel)

Liquid Bread will offer the Chef’s Choice Craft Beer Dinner Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. More info.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 30

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant will host a pop-up dinner with Hangar 24, pairing their beers with a four-course menu created by executive chef Colby M. Reade. The sample menu includes:

  • AMUSE BOUCHE (paired with Helles Lager) seared scallop spoon
  • RAVIOLO AL UOVO (paired with Farmhouse Saison) ox tail / braised greens / egg
  • BRAISED BEEF CHEEKS (paired with Alt Bier Ale) heirloom summer vegetables / veal glace / guanciale
  • CHOCOLATE TRIO (paired with Chocolate Porter) light chocolate pot du crème / chocolate porter ice cream / dark chocolate truffle

The prix fixe dinner is available for $75 per person with seating times available from 5:30pm-9pm. Reservations can be made by emailing brittany@steinsbeergarden.com or calling 650-386-1367. More info.

THURSDAY, JULY 31

The Farmers Union in downtown San Jose’s San Pedro Square will host Flights and Bites featuring beers from Stone Brewing Company. Executive chef Alex Jimenez will present six dishes paired with Stone beers starting at 6:30pm. The following is the beer-and-food pairing menu.

  • Chefs Crostini Fig Jam: Humboldt Fog goat cheese, jerk nuts paired with Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
  • Grilled Chicken Skewers: spicy peanut sauce paired with Stone IPA
  • Mushroom Cigars: porcini aioli paired with Stone Liberty Station Colonel Sykes East India Porter
  • Pulled Pork BBQ Sliders: apple-jicama slaw, jalapeño, brioche bun paired with 2012 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine
  • Housemade Veggie Sliders: white cheddar, cajun remoulade, brioche bun paired with Arrogant Bastard Ale
  • Pork & Ricotta Meatballs: crushed & roasted tomato paired with Stone Liberty Station The Sacred Druid

On hand will be Stone’s craft beer ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak. More info.

Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose is the host of the 2nd Annual California Craft Beer Throw down featuring Double IPAs. Last year’s winning Double IPA came from Heretic Brewing Company, and owner/brewer Jamil Zainasheff will be in attendance to defend his title against the offerings of Stone, Firestone Walker, Lagunitas, Altamont, 21st Amendment, Knee Deep and others. More info.

FRIDAY, AUG. 1

The last SVBW event for Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose is a good one, featuring the nearly divine offerings from Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey, including:

  • Deliverance ’13
  • Agave Maria
  • Older Viscosity ’12
  • Old Viscosity ’13
  • Red Poppy
  • Santas lil Helper ’12
  • Cuvee De Tomme ’13
  • Angels Share Grand Cru
  • Track #8
  • Spontaneous Cheer
  • Framboise De Amerosa

Liquid Bread Gastropub hosts their 2nd Annual Ice Cream Social with Lagunitas Brewing Company from 3pm-5pm.

Enjoy a variety of ice cream flavors or build your own float. Examples include:

  • Lagunitas Imperial Stout & Salt Carmel Ice Cream
  • Rabbits Foot Meadery Cider & Champagne Strawberry Sorbet
  • Classic Root Beer Float with French Vanilla.

The Grapevine in Willow Glen will have Stone Brewing’s Dr. Bill will be on hand for a beer and cheese pairing event starting at 5pm. The event features 6 beers and cheeses:

  • Cabecou with Stone Saison
  • Picandine Pico with Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
  • Piave Vecchio with Stone Ruination IPA
  • Beemster Gouda Aged 18 months with Stone 2013 Oaked Smoked Old Guardian
  • Jasper Hill Bailey Hazen Blue with 2013 Double Bastard Ale
  • Colston Basset Stilton with Stone 2012 Imperial Russian Stout

Only $35 in advance or $40 at the door. Serving sizes: all beers are 4 oz pours and cheeses between 1/2 to 3/4 oz. portions. More info.

SATURDAY, AUG. 2

The popular KraftBrew Beer Fest is the culminating SVBW event and takes place at Gordon Biersch Brewing Company in San Jose’s Japantown. “This year’s festivities feature 60+ American craft, Belgian and German imports, home brews, a beer launch booth releasing a special or unique brew for tasting every hour, craft beer panel discussions, brewery tours, and lots of great food!” More info.

At last count, there were over 150 events listed on the SV Beer Week website, giving beer fans and those new to the world of beer a serious case of a first world problem – too many beer choices.

[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.]

South Bay Beer Events for Sat., July 20, 2013: Original Gravity 1st Anniversary, Spread Grand Opening and More

Spread Deli and Bottles' Charlie Mann hosting a sneak peek of Spread back in May 2013
Spread Deli and Bottles’ Charlie Mann hosting a sneak peek of Spread back in May 2013

There are many ways to enjoy a good beer on a Saturday. For those interested in getting out and about tomorrow, Saturday, July 20 has turned out to be a particularly special beer day in the South Bay.

Original Gravity Public House in downtown San Jose is hosting a party starting at 12:30 p.m. in celebration of their one-year anniversary. Part of the festivities include food specials, a visit by Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Jeffers Richardson, and specialty tappings throughout the day. For more details, check out their website or their Facebook event page.

Brought to you by the folks behind Jack’s Bar & Lounge in San Jose, Liquid Bread Gastropub in downtown Campbell, and the popular South Bay Beerwalk events, Spread Deli and Bottles (193 East Campbell Ave.) in downtown Campbell has their grand opening from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For a peek at their menu, check out their Facebook page.

If German beers are on your mind, then consider checking out Teske’s Germania restaurant and beer garden in downtown San Jose. They kick off their Sommerfest celebrations with music by the Gruber Family Band starting at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday will also be a good day to check out the newly opened Farmers Union, a sleek, modern sports bar in San Pedro Square. With their grand opening having taken place just yesterday, they currently have 25 taps dedicated to craft beer. Their menu is available on their website, though there currently is a slight formatting issue with the document.

Another tasty option is to check out San Jose’s Hermitage Brewing Company Tap Room (1627 South 7th Street), which opened just a week ago. Their hours tomorrow are from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

These are five possibilities. Of course, there are numerous other ways to enjoy a good beer or more tomorrow – or any other day for that matter – in the South Bay.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]