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Roundup of top South Bay SF Beer Week events, Part 3

Meet the Brewers Beer Festival at Hermitage Brewing Company (2013)
Meet the Brewers Beer Festival at Hermitage Brewing Company (2013)

SF Beer Week rages on, though it is more than half way over. Below is a list of some of the standout, predominantly South Bay-centric events remaining on the schedule.

Note: Some of the events will likely be crowded and have long lines. Some of them will require tickets to be purchased ahead of time. Visit the SF Beer Week website for the complete schedule of events.

THURSDAY, FEB. 12

Brew Hub (Inside Whole Foods Market Cupertino), 20955 Stevens Creek Blvd.: Stone Brewing Old Guardian Barleywine 5-Year Vertical Tasting, 11am-10pm. This is an all-day event or until the beers run out.

Fibbar Magees, 156 S. Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale: Dogfish Head Night!, 5-11:30pm. The lineup includes 120 Minute IPA and World Wide Stout, among others.

Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café, 37 S. First St., San Jose: In Bugs & Barrels We Trust!, 5-11pm. Events at Good Karma are consistently special, and this event is no exception. Enjoy the well-regarded wild and barrel-aged beers from Port Brewing/Lost Abbey, including Spontaneous Cheer, Red Poppy, Cuvee de Tomme, Framboise de Amarosa, 2013 Deliverance, Angel’s Share, Track 8, Track 10, Avant Gourde, Older Viscosity, Agave Maria and more.

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant, 895 Villa St., Mountain View: Schubros Brewery Night & Meet the Brewer, 5-9pm. Schubros has prepared two special beers for SF Beer Week: Kirov Russian Imperial Stout, aged for 7-8 months in cab barrels and Aalbeke Golden Ale, aged in cab barrels since May. Steins will also feature Dante’s Door Belgian Dubbel, Rock City Amber Ale and Branch Line Double IPA.

Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose, 390 Saratoga Ave.: Firestone XVIII Deconstructed, 5-11pm. A marquee event, Brewmaster Matt Brynildson will, once again, be on hand to present a seminar on brewing and barrel aging. On tap will be Helldorado, Bravo, Stickee Money 2014, XVIII Anniversary, Parabola 2014, Sucaba 2015, Velvet Merkin 2014, Double DBA 2014 and Agrestic, as well as Double Jack, Union Jack, Pivo, Pale 31 and more.

Market Beer Company, 100 N. Almaden Ave., San Jose: Karl Strauss Brewing. Expect Mosaic Session Ale, Red Trolley, Big Barrel Double IPA, Queen of Tarts and more.

O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub, 25 N. San Pedro St., San Jose: For FIRK Sake, 6pm-11:30pm. It is no surprise that O’Flaherty’s has come up with another exciting beer event. Featured firkin casks include Stone Ruination with Dried Cranberries and Apple Blossoms, Sierra Nevada Scotch Ale, Knee Deep Hella Deep Wheat IPA, Strike Wit Firkin with Orange Peel, Coriander and Chamomile, Drake’s Oaked Denogginizer and Firestone Walker Double DBA. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online. Tickets include unlimited pours and all-you-can eat from the evening’s menu.

FRIDAY, FEB. 13

Mission Creek Brewing Company, 777 The Alameda, San Jose: Mission Creek’s Imperial Porter & Chocolate Pairing Party, 11am-10pm. Enjoy a special flight chocolates and craft beers, including a house-brewed Mission Creek Imperial Porter.

Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose, 390 Saratoga Ave.: Deschutes Abyss Vertical and Barrel Aged Madness, 5-11pm. Just as the event title indicates.

Harry’s Hofbrau Redwood City, 1909 El Camino Real: A Taste of San Francisco, the Breweries of the SF Brewers Guild Takeover! All 28 taps will be dedicated to SF Breweries 21st Amendment, Almanac, Magnolia, Fort Point, Triple Voodoo, Southern Pacific, Beach Chalet, Speakeasy, Social Kitchen, Southpaw, Cellarmaker and more. Plus opportunities to meet the brewers.

SATURDAY, FEB. 14

Original Gravity Public House, 66 S. 1st St., San Jose: Pucker Up! Valentine’s Day Sour Fest 4.0, 12-11:30pm. OG will pour 15 domestic and international sour, tart and funky beers on tap and release some very rare and specialty bottles for purchase. Draft sours include Allagash – Golden Brett (2014), Almanac – Cerise Sour Blonde, Brouwerij Hof Ten Dormaal – Zure Van Tildonk, Bruery – Sour in the Rye (2014), De Proef – Sour Barrel #1, Drakes Brewing – Brette Davis Eyes, Firestone Walker – Agrestic (2014), Freigeist – Sauer Porter Raspberry (2013), Gueuzerie Tilquin – Oude Gueuze (Draft Version), Hermitage – Boysenberry, Lost Abbey – Framboise De Amorosa (2014), Mikkeller – SpontanSourCherry, New Belgium – La Folie (2014), Prairie Artisan Ales – Cherry Funk! and Struise – WeltKrieg (2014).

Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café, 37 S. First St., San Jose: St. Valentine’s Barrel Aged Sweeties!, 5-11pm. This special barrel-aged beers event serves as a companion event to the aforementioned OG’s Pucker Up!

Hermitage Brewing Company, 1627 S. 7th St., San Jose: Meet the Brewers, 1-5pm. It is the sixth year for this quintessential South Bay beer event. Hermitage has recently acquired more space at their location, which means room for additional breweries and food trucks compared to past years. There will be live music and a special SJMADE pop-up mini market. Tickets are $40 and available for purchase online. Tickets will be $45 at the door if not sold out in advance. Participating breweries include:

  • 8 Bridges Brewing
  • Almanac Beer Co.
  • Alvarado Street Brewery
  • Calicraft
  • Campbell Brewing Company
  • Clandestine Brewing
  • Craft Artisan Ales
  • Drake’s
  • Discretion Brewing
  • El Toro Brewing Company
  • Faultline Brewing
  • Firehouse Brewery and Grill
  • FreeWheel Brewing
  • Gordon Biersch
  • Hermitage Brewing Company
  • High Water Brewing
  • Peter B’s Brewpub
  • Rabbits Foot Meadery/Red Branch Cider
  • Rock Bottom Campbell
  • Santa Clara Valley Brewing
  • Santa Cruz Ale Works
  • Seabright Brewery
  • Strike Brewing Company
  • Tied House
  • Uncommon Brewers

SUNDAY, FEB. 15

Rose & Crown Pub, 547 Emerson St., Palo Alto: Sour Sunday in PA (Part 2), 11:30am-11:30pm. Expect sour beers from Russian River Brewing, Bear Republic, Palo Alto Brewing, The Bruery plus many more on tap and in bottles.

Harry’s Hofbrau San Jose, 390 Saratoga Ave.: Annual IPA Day!, 11am-11pm. Harry’s first IPA Day back in 2012 invigorated the local beer community and helped to elevate the South Bay beer scene to newfound heights. Come experience the joys of hoppy beers as Harry’s will have 31 well-regarded IPAs, DIPAs and 3XIPAs on tap.

  • Black label
  • Younger
  • Scarcity
  • Evil3
  • Monstrous cabal (faction/gigantic)
  • Notorious
  • Hopocalypse
  • Fusion 27
  • Night time
  • Stoopid
  • Ruination
  • Enjoy by (3.14)
  • Hop soup
  • Hella deep
  • Dub red
  • Elder
  • 120 minute
  • Burton baton
  • Simtra
  • Hoptologist
  • Nitro sculpin
  • Pizza port poor man’s IIPA
  • Pizza port thruster IIIPA
  • Double jack
  • Mongo (kegged a week ago)
  • Dank and Sticky
  • Idiot
  • Dorado
  • Denog
  • Don’t act like you’re not impressed (alpine/mission)
  • Duet

What beer events, if any, will you be sure to attend?

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Roundup of Top South Bay Beer Events for SF Beer Week 2015, Part 2

South Bay banners at SF Beer Week 2015 Opening Gala
South Bay banners at SF Beer Week 2015 Opening Gala

Let us get right to it. SF Beer Week runs through Sun., Feb. 15, and as the opening weekend comes to a close, below is a list of some of the standout, predominantly South Bay-centric events scheduled from Monday through Wednesday.

Note: Some of the events will likely be crowded and have long lines. Some of them will require tickets to be purchased ahead of time. Visit the SF Beer Week website for the complete schedule of events.

MONDAY, FEB. 9

Mission Creek Brewing Company, 777 The Alameda, San Jose: Lagunitas Huge Tap Takeover and SF Beer Week Fusion Beer Release Party, 4:20-11pm. It is a CouchTrippin’ party as Lagunitas takes over all 19 taps with a special cask release of SF Beer Week Fusion. Replete with food pop-ups.

Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café, 37 S. First St., San Jose: To Feel Dank & Rustic After a Good Meal, 6-11:30pm. Good Karma is proud to showcase a number of offerings from Sante Adairius and Cellarmaker, including, among others, Saison Bernice, West Ashley, Christopher Riwaka, Bangerang and their collaboration beer I See a Dankness.

The Table, 1110 Willow St., San Jose: Brewmaster Dinner: David Walker of Firestone Walker, 6-9pm. David Walker, co-founder of Firestone Walker Brewing Company, hosts a 4-course tasting menu featuring Pivo Pilsner, Opal Dry-Hopped Saison, Wookey Jack Unfiltered Black Rye IPA, Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout and Lil’ Opal Barrel-Aged Saison. Seating is limited and by reservation only. $75 (excluding tax & gratuity).

TUESDAY, FEB. 10

Brew Hub (inside Whole Foods Market Cupertino), 20955 Stevens Creek Blvd.: Faction Brewing Take Over, 11am-10pm. An all-day tap event with 5 rotating taps from Alameda-based brewery Faction Brewing open to close.

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant, 895 Villa St., Mountain View: Tap It Event, 5-9pm. Steins hosts San Luis Obispo’s Tap It Brewing Company with a lineup of their IPA, 3 on the Tree Triple IPA, Rimfire Red, a specialty cask beer plus their new pilsner.

Harry’s Hofbrau Redwood City, 1909 El Camino Real: Hangar 24 Takeover with Pugachev’s Cobra!, 5-11pm. Hangar 24 will be bring special beers, including their 19% ABV beer Pugachev’s Cobra.

Fibbar Magees, 156 S. Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale: Trivia Night with Karl Strauss. It is trivia night and Karl Strauss Day with the opportunity to meet the owner Chris Cramer! There will be special kegs as well as a Karl Strauss question round for prizes.

O’Malley’s Sports Pub & Grub, 2135 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View: Heretic Tap Takeover Night, 5-11:30pm. O’Malley’s will present a whole roster of Heretic beers, including Evil Cousin, Evil Twin, Chocolate Porter, Petite Rouge, Tafelbully, Shallow Grave, Torment and Evil Bee. Beer flights will be available.

Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café (37 S. 1st. St., San Jose) and Original Gravity Public House (66 S. 1st. St., San Jose). Almanac Sour Pub Crawl, approx. 5-11pm. Join Good Karma, Original Gravity and ISO: Beers (75 E. Santa Clara St.) for a downtown San Jose beer crawl featuring Almanac Beer Company. Good Karma will pour Devil’s Advocate, Cerise Sour Blonde and Dogpatch Strawberry. OG is set to pour Farmer’s Reserve: Pluot, Farmer’s Reserve: Citrus and Farmer’s Reserve: Blueberry, while ISO will pour Valley of the Heart’s Delight, Farmer’s Reserve: Blackberry and Dogpatch Sour. Each stop is offering 3-oz. individual samples as well as flights of all three for $3 and $9, respectively.

Kukar’s House of Pizza, 257 S. Almaden Ave., San Jose. Tahoe Mountain Brewing Company Tap Takeover, 6-11pm. Enjoy offerings from Tahoe Mountain Brewing, including Passion Pale Ale, Hop Song IPA (Amarillo Dry-Hopped), Party Boy Farmhouse Style IPA (fermented entirely with a Brettanomyces), Viejo Rojo American Wild Ale and Ms. Coco and Delicate Oatsters Oatmeal Stout.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 11

Wicked Chicken, 2565 The Alameda, Santa Clara: Altamont Beer Works, 11am-11pm. Wicked Chicken routinely features South Bay and nearby local breweries. Up next will be Livermore’s Altamont Beer Works.

Rose & Crown Pub, 547 Emerson St., Palo Ato: Pliny the Younger/IPA Day, 11:30am-11:30pm. Rose & Crown has been celebrating SF Beer Week longer than most local establishments. They host their 6th annual Pliny the Younger event, which will also feature IPAs from Russian River, Palo Alto Brewing, Drake’s, Auburn Alehouse, Bear Republic, Faction and others. Follow them on Twitter (@PaloAloBrewing) for additional information.

O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub, 25 N. San Pedro St., San Jose: Stone Cold Trivia Night, 6-11:30pm. Trivia Night will consist of 12 Stone beers on tap and 12 beer-centric trivia questions. Beers on tap will include: Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone IPA, Stone Pale Ale, Stone Delicious IPA, Passion Project, Baird/Ishii/Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA, Enjoy by 2.14.15, 2013 Barrel Aged Old Guardian Barley Wine, 10 Barrel/Blue Jacket/Stone Suede Imperial Porter, Bang Bang and 2016 Double Bastard Ale.

Original Gravity Public House, 66 S. 1st St. California Craft Throw Down and Blind Double IPA Contest!, 6-10:30pm. Original Gravity will host a contest to determine which of the 11 participating breweries will be voted to having the best Double IPA. Doors open at 6pm. The contest begins at 7:30pm, and results will be announced at 9pm. Tickets are $30 and available online, and include one full draft beer of your choice and bar snacks, including house-made BBQ meat balls, baked panko mac and cheese and duck fat blanched green beans with bacon and roasted garlic. Additional beers and food can be purchased at the bar.

Brewery representatives will bring brewery swag, including glassware and other beer-related packages. In addition to the Double IPAs, most breweries will bring two other offerings: one core beer and one specialty or seasonal offering.

Greg Robles (Owner), Altamont Beer Works, Livermore
– Hella Lite
– Hella Revolutionary (Beer Revolution Anniversary Collab.)

John Gillooly (BrewMaster), Drake’s, San Leandro
– Dry Stout (Nitro)
– Hopocalypse (Green Label)
– Special TBA

Steve Donohue (Owner/BrewMaster), Santa Clara Valley Brewing, San Jose
– Electric Tower
– Heart’s Delight

Antoine Riffis (Senior Sales Manager), Firestone Walker, Paso Robles
– Pivo Pils
– Double DBA (2014)

Jamil Zainasheff (Owner/BrewMaster), Heretic Brewing, Fairfield
– Evil3
– Evil Bee

Kim Lutz (BrewMaster), St. Archer, San Diego
– White Ale
– Coffee Brown

David Johnson (Director of Distribution), Port Brewing, San Diego
– Shark Attack
– Barrel Aged Santa’s Little Helper (2014)

Gordon Brown (Brewery Rep.), Coronado Brewing, Coronado,
– Orange Ave Wit
– German Chocolate Cake

Jeb Taylor (Pilot Brewer), Knee Deep, Auburn
– Citra Pale Ale
– Hella Deep (Altamont Collab)

Aaron Justus (Brewing Manager), Ballast Point, San Diego
– Grunion
– Sculpin (Nitro)

Jeremy Marshall (BrewMaster), Lagunitas, Petaluma
– Day Time
– Fusion 27
– Special TBA

Week-Long Specials

Little Wine Counter, 1875 S. Bascom Ave., Suite 560: Little Local Beer Contest. Little Wine Counter has teamed with South Bay breweries Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Strike and Hermitage to provide opportunities to win prizes by earning points. Visit the contest website for the details.

SmokeEaters Cupertino, 10650 S. De Anza Blvd.: 36 IPA Tap Takeover. On tap all week will be IPAs of the single, double, triple and quad varieties, including Altamont Scarcity (Triple), Knee Deep Hop-De-Ranged, (Quad), Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin, Ballast Point Sculpin Nitro, Drake’s Hopocalypse, Lagunitas Fusion 27, Altamont Hella Deep and Stone Delicious IPA.

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.

[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.]

South Bay Beer Happenings for May 2013 and Beyond

Enjoying good beer in the South Bay
Enjoying good beer in the South Bay

Below is a list of craft beer and related events taking place throughout Silicon Valley in the near future and beyond.

Friday, May 3, 2013: At 5 p.m., a cask of El Dorado Single Hop IPA from San Jose’s Hermitage Brewing Company will be tapped at Tied House Brewery and Café in Mountain View as part of their monthly Firkin Fridays. The El Dorado IPA is the latest addition to the Hermitage Brewing Single Hop Series.

Saturday, May 4, 2013, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.: As part of the American Homebrewers Association “Big Brew” event celebrating National Homebrew Day, the Silicon Valley Sudzers homebrew club will do a brewing demonstration at the MoreBeer! homebrew supply shop in Los Altos. Club members will brew a clone of Russian River Brewing’s Pliny the Younger Triple IPA.

Saturday, May 4, 2013: O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub in San Jose hosts their monthly beer club event. This month’s featured brewery is Hangar 24.

Monday, May 6, 2013, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Wine Affairs in San Jose hosts their weekly beer tastings with “Cinco de Mayo spicy beers” featuring Ballast Point Thai Chili Wahoo Wheat, scheduled to be tapped at 4 pm. There will also be spicy treats from Rogue, Mikkeller, and Cambridge Brewing. $10 per person or free for beer club members.

Friday, May 10, 2013: San Jose’s Santa Clara Valley Brewing debuts their inaugural beer, Electric Tower IPA, on tap at Rose and Crown English Pub and Restaurant in Palo Alto.

Saturday, May 11, 2013, 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Following their second public event held last month, the group behind the San Jose Co-operative Brewpub initiative, up to 179 member-owners at last count, hosts their third ongoing information and membership drive. This time, the SJ Co-op Brewpub group has selected Café Stritch in downtown San Jose for the event location.

Saturday, May 11, 2013: Starting at 1 p.m., Wine Affairs in San Jose hosts an “Undercover Shutdown Party.”

Monday, May 13, 2013 – Sunday, May 19, 2013: This week has been designated American Craft Beer Week, also known as “the mother of all beer weeks.” A number of South Bay brewpubs and bars will offer specials and host events to commemorate this week.

Saturday, May 18, 2013, 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.: Gordon Biersch celebrates their 25th anniversary with a “Gordon Biersch Big Bands and BBQ 25th Anniversary Bash.” An all-ages event that the whole family can enjoy, admission is $10 and includes a commemorative glass and six tastes of Gordon Biersch brews. There will be live music and plenty of food, root beer floats, and more Gordon Biersch beers to purchase.

[Update received May 3, 2013: The following Brew Benefit event has been indefinitely postponed.] Sunday, May 19, 2013. The South Bay debut of Brew Benefit takes place. Presented by Dishcrawl, this event will feature local breweries and restaurants with proceeds helping a local non-profit. Brew Benefit participants will explore downtown San Jose through beer at six different restaurants and bars, sampling 12 different locally made beers. Stay tuned for more information.

Saturday, June 1, 2013, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.: The next installment of the popular and well-coordinated Beerwalk series takes place in downtown Mountain View. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $30 online.

Sunday, July 28, 2013 – Saturday, August 3, 2013: The First Annual Silicon Valley Beer Week will take place this week and will feature five days of hosted events throughout the valley.

Saturday, August 3, 2013: The Summer KraftBrew Beer Fest serves as the closing event to the inaugural Silicon Valley Beer Week.

Keep in mind that there are other South Bay establishments that host ongoing events and specials, namely Harry’s Hofbrau, Poor House Bistro, Jack’s Bar & Lounge, Original Gravity Public House, SmokeEaters, and Wicked Chicken, as well as the many South Bay breweries and stores that sell good beer.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

Where to Find Lagunitas Brewing Company Waldos’ Special Ale in the South Bay

Lagunitas Waldos' Special Ale in the South Bay
Lagunitas Waldos’ Special Ale in the South Bay

South Bay fans of Petaluma’s Lagunitas Brewing Company are in for a treat, especially for those who enjoy a good Double IPA on tap.

The well-regarded Waldos’ Special makes its return, and a couple of local beer spots have already made event announcements on their respective Facebook pages.

San Jose’s Wine Affairs hosts a Lagunitas 4/20 Party on Sat., 4/20/13. On tap will be Lagunitas Waldos’ Special ($4.20 for a 9 oz.) and Lagunitas IPA ($4.20 a pint). Keg tapping begins at 1 p.m., and there will be plenty of bottled beers as well. The Grilled Cheese Bandits food truck is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and indie folk band Dream House is scheduled at 4:20 p.m.

Downtown San Jose’s Original Gravity Public House presents Lagunitas 4/20 Waldos’ Special Release on Sat., 4/20/13 featuring five beers from Lagunitas – Waldo, WTF, IPA, Censored/Maximus, and Fusion 16 – plus a mason jar giveaway with a purchase of Waldo. There will be other offerings, including raffle giveaways.

Look for the following places to also have special Waldo tapping parties:

Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose hosts a Lagunitas tap takeover event on Thursday, 4/18/13 as part of their weekly Thursday Pint Nights. There will be a sneak peek of Waldo for the first 42.0 customers starting at 4:20 p.m. The tap list for Lagunitas is as follows:

  • Waldo Special Ale (available to the first 42.0 customers that arrive)
  • Sonoma County Stout (limited release)
  • Fusion 16 (limited release)
  • Cappuccino Stout (seasonal)
  • Wilco Tango Foxtrot (seasonal)
  • Under-Cover Shutdown (seasonal)
  • Censored
  • Dogtown Pale
  • Czech Pils
  • Imperial Stout
  • A Lil Sumpin Sumpin
  • And IPA

A number of these locations will have raffles and prizes to help with the celebrations.

While there are a myriad of events taking place on 4/20, many South Bay beer fans will appreciate the variety of choices on where to satisfy any Lagunitas cravings.

Of note is the cluster of locations – Good Karma, Original Gravity, Market Beer Company, and O’Flaherty’s – pouring Waldo in downtown San Jose; it is by design. “We are trying to make a big stink out of it this year in downtown,” shares Rudy Kuhn, Lagunitas market manager for the Santa Clara County, Central Coast, and Central Valley areas. No doubt that many hop fans will savor the dank, citrusy aromas from the Waldo DIPA.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

South Bay Beer Scene Making News

Bottled beers from South Bay's Gordon Biersch, Palo Alto Brewing, Hermitage Brewing, and Strike Brewing
Bottled beers from South Bay’s Gordon Biersch, Palo Alto Brewing, Hermitage Brewing, and Strike Brewing

South Bay. Greater South Bay. Silicon Valley. Santa Clara County. The San Jose area and its neighbors. Whatever the geographic label, there is a growing number of media outlets filing reports and articles dedicated to beer-related news and events taking place locally.

From newspaper articles and radio reports to blogs and vlogs, coverage of the South Bay craft beer scene is at an all-time high. The extensive coverage is positive as more folks can learn about the various ways to go about enjoying good beer, such as checking out local brewing companies and brewpubs, beer bars, restaurants, stores that sell quality beer, homebrew shops, and homebrew clubs.

On the business side, cheers to the founding entrepreneurs behind Tied House (1988), Gordon Biersch Palo Alto (1988), Gordon Biersch San Jose (1990), Los Gatos Brewing (1991), El Toro Brewing (1992), Stoddard’s Sunnyvale (1993 – now FireHouse Grill & Brewery), Faultline (1994), and Stoddard’s Campbell (2002 – now Campbell Brewing). For the past twenty to twenty-five years, these local establishments have provided customers a chance to enjoy fresh, quality beer throughout the South Bay and its neighboring areas.

And cheers to the relatively newer folks (e.g., brewing companies, beer bars, gastropubs, beer stores, individuals coordinating community-wide beer events, etc.) who are taking up the good beer cause throughout the local South Bay communities and beyond. The early players included places like Rose & Crown (2006), Good Karma (2006), and Wine Affairs (2007) among others. Then came enterprises like Hermitage Brewing, Strike Brewing, Harry’s Hofbrau, Kelly’s Liquors, Bobby’s Liquors, Jane’s Beer Store, Original Gravity, Liquid Bread, Beer Walk, KraftBrew, O’Flaherty’s, SmokeEaters, and more.

These businesses all have a common bond – at least one person in their midst, if not many more, who is passionate and knowledgeable about, and appreciative of, good beer and diligently endeavors to share good beer with others.

On the media front, kudos to the one-and-only Better Beer Blog for modeling the way and providing consistent South Bay coverage since March 2007.

The following are some of the latest examples of the recent coverage spike of the local, South Bay craft beer scene. Expect more coverage in the year ahead as new beer-related developments take place and the public’s appetite for such coverage continues to grow.

Silicon Valley Business Journal

KQED

Metro Silicon Valley Newspaper / SanJose.com

San Jose Mercury News / Contra Costa Times (Bay Area Newspaper Group)

Examiner.com

Better Beer Blog

The Beer Heads

Ramblings of a Beer Runner

Grateful Hubby

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

SF Beer Week Events in the South Bay

SF Beer Week is hosting numerous events in the South Bay this year
SF Beer Week is hosting numerous events in the South Bay this year

The fifth annual SF Beer Week runs from Fri., Feb. 8, to Sun., Feb. 17, and a record number of events are planned throughout the Bay Area. Among the many South Bay participants are Harry’s Hofbrau, Wine Affairs, Original Gravity Public House, Rose & Crown, Liquid Bread Gastropub, and Hermitage and Strike brewing companies.

Feb. 9, 2-6pm: Beerwalk in Japantown San Jose
Beerwalks, coordinated by Jack’s Bar & Lounge, have proven to be fun adventures. For this Beerwalk, visitors can stroll the streets and visit the local businesses in Japantown while tasting great beer. Tickets are $30 if purchased in advance, and $38 the day of. www.thebeerwalk.com.

Feb. 10, 11am-2pm: SF Beer Week Beer Run
Get in a run, and enjoy some Strike Brewing beers afterward at C.B. Hannegan’s in Los Gatos. www.beer-runner.blogspot.com.

Feb. 11, 4:30-10pm: Lagunitas Craft ‘Beerds’ Night
The folks at Wine Affairs in San Jose host a facial-hair-themed good time with sudsy offerings from Lagunitas.

Feb. 12, 6-8pm: Scott’s Seafood Mountain View Brewmaster Dinner
The evening features a four-course meal with beers from Hermitage Brewing. Tickets are $45, excluding tax and tip, and reservations are required.

Feb. 13, 11:30-1am: Pliny the Younger at Rose & Crown
Palo Alto’s Rose & Crown Pub serves some of the hard-to-find Pliny the Younger from the Russian River Brewing Company.

Feb. 14, noon-11:30pm: Pucker Up! Valentine’s Day Sour Tap Takeover
Try up to 15 sour beers at Original Gravity in downtown San Jose.

Feb. 15: Firestone Walker Presents the Roots of XVI
Scheduled to make appearances for this event at Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose are current brewmaster Matt Brynildson and the original brewmaster Jeffers Richardson.

Feb. 16, noon-5pm: Meet the Brewers Beer Festival
At the Fourth Annual edition of the festival, at Hermitage Brewing in San Jose, sample beers from South Bay and nearby breweries and meet many of the brewers. Tickets are $35 if purchased in advance and $40 at the door.

Feb. 17, 11am-3pm: Beer Brunch
Enjoy brunch at Liquid Bread Gastropub in downtown Campbell with Lagunitas beer cocktails.

Expect events to sell out or draw large turnouts-a continuing sign of the demand for good beer in the South Bay.

[This post was shared on SanJose.com.]

Events Roundup for Rose and Crown in Palo Alto during SF Beer Week 2013

Rose and Crown in Palo Alto
Rose and Crown in Palo Alto

Palo Alto’s The Rose & Crown Pub recently tweeted their events for the upcoming SF Beer Week celebration. Combined with a schedule recently posted on the SF Beer Week website, the following is a round up of their events:

Friday, Feb. 8, 2013: Sierra Fest

We are kicking off SFBW with a Sierra Fest. Were pouring Vintage 30th, Limited Beers, Beer Camp and much more.

Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, 11:30 a.m. – 1 a.m.: Vintage Beer Event

Come by and try some beers that you enjoyed years ago and see how they have changed. We will have aged beers from the Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary series, Lost Abbey Angel’s Share, Firestone Parabola or maybe an old Anniversary, Black Butte X??, Plus many vintage bottles like Thomas Hardy, Abyss, Big Foot and too much other stuff to list. Just come by and see…

Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, 11:30 a.m. – 1 a.m.: Sour Sunday in PA

Come get pucker faced with us yet again. We will be pouring a bunch of sours from Russian River Brewing, Bear Republic and Palo Alto Brewing, plus many more on tap and in bottles that you will have to come in and see for yourself.

Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, 11:30 a.m. – 1 a.m.: East Bay on the Peninsula with Triple Rock

For all of you who don’t like to drive to Berkeley and drink the fabulous beers from Triple Rock because of the skyrocketing prices of DUIs, just come to Palo Alto and enjoy the 8-10 beers we will be featuring from Triple Rock. Then take the train home.

Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, 11:30 a.m. – 1 a.m.: Anchor Our Barrel Ale Peninsula Release and Trivia Night

Come by and try Anchor Our Barrel Ale. This beer was only released once before, years ago, and we will be pouring it in tap. Along with that we will have some new seasonal beer and a new addition to the year-round line up. Plus we will have some vintage magnums of our Christmas Ale that we will be pouring by the glass. Beers will be flowing all day, but trivia starts at 8 p.m. Brush up on you Anchor Brewing history and you may win a pint.

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, 11:30 a.m. – 1 a.m.: Pliny the Younger

Pliny the Younger, Pliny the Elder, and other tasty beers until they’re gone.

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, 11:30 a.m. – 1 a.m.: A Night of Off Centered Beers with Dogfish Head

Like crazy [expletive] in your beer? No, not real [expletive], at least not yet. Come try lots of loco things in liquid from those weirdos on the East Coast.

Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.: Palo Alto Brewing Co. Swig-a-thon

Come get swigged on the local beverage: Palo Alto Brewing. We will be pouring your usual favorites like Hoppy Ending, Barley Legal and Atlas, but we will also have new stuff like Cool Beanz Coffee Porter (brewed w/ Philz Coffee), Onoskelis Barleywine, Onoskelis Barleywine on Makers Oak, Calypso Rye IPA, Two Barrel Aged Sour Porter, Young Sour Porter, last year’s surprise favorite Atlas Chai IPA and maybe some other treats.

Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013: Scraps and Leftovers Event

Come and try all the stuff you missed…that’s still around.

Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, 11:30 a.m. – 1 a.m.: Firestone Walker Sours

Come by for some special once in a lifetime sours from Firestone Walker. It’s going to be a wild ride.
As events and beer lineups may sometimes change, please check with the host establishment directly if you are extra excited about a particular event and/or beer during SF Beer Week.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

San Jose Area Beer Events for Oct. 22-27, 2012: Harry’s Hofbrau, California Cafe and More

Enjoying good beer in the South Bay
Enjoying good beer in the South Bay

The following is a collection of craft beer events in San Jose and the greater South Bay for the upcoming week and beyond. As events and beer lineups may change from time to time, please do check with the establishment directly, especially if you are extra excited about a particular event and/or beer.

Beer events this upcoming week

Mon., Oct. 22, 2012: San Jose’s Wine Affairs hosts their weekly beer tasting event, this time entitled “Attack of the Pumpkin (Beers)!” 1435 The Alameda, 408-977-0111. From their recent newsletter: “We welcome back one of our all-time favorite breweries: Lagunitas! We are doing this in style. Tapping of Fusion 10 at 4:20 p.m., plus get a Lagunitas mason jar while supplies last. Then from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. taste 6 incredible beers with the amazing Rudy from Lagunitas. Tasting 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. $12/person or free for members.”

Tues., Oct. 23, 2012, 4 p.m. – closing: The Counter Santana Row, offers a “Mix-It-Up” 4 mini burger & beer pairings, including Devil’s Canyon Full Boar Scotch Ale and Lagunitas IPA. 3055 Olin Ave., 408-423-9200.

Wed., Oct. 24, 2012, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.: Catch live music and good beer at Poor House Bistro with “Blues & $2 Brews” featuring Bear Republic Brewing Co. 91 South Autumn Street, 408-292-5837.

Wed., Oct. 24, 2012: Palo Alto’s Rose and Crown hosts an all-day Lagunitas Brewing Company event. 547 Emerson Ave., 650-327-7673. From a recent Twitter update: “All Wednesday we will be having a Lagunitas party, pouring Brown Sugga, Fusion 10, Daytime and IPA. Lagunitas crew will arrive at 4:20 p.m.”

Thurs., Oct. 25, 2012, starting at 6:00 p.m.: Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose hosts their weekly Pint Night. Check the Harry’s Hofbrau Facebook page for updates. 390 Saratoga Ave., 408-243-0434. From a recent Facebook update: “Now get ready for [the] annual Schneider takeover! Ceramic handmade mugs will be available for you to take home and a lineup of amazing German beers. Eisbock, Edel, Original, Hopfen, Aventinus, and a tap X Nelson keg refermented in the keg 6 months. We will have Bavarian Pretzels made in-house to purchase. Get your lederhosen ready mein friends. Prost!”

Thurs., Oct. 25, 2012, starting at 6:00 p.m.: California Cafe in Palo Alto hosts a Lost Coast Brewery brewmasters dinner.

Thurs., Oct. 25, 2012, 5 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.: It is an Original Gravity Public House pumpkin patch event in downtown San Jose. 66 South First St. From the Facebook event page: “Come out Thursday for the Original Gravity Pumpkin Patch! We will be hold a pre-carved jack-o-lantern contest. The top three will be selected to haunt our back patio leading up to Halloween. Winners will also be given 2 free beers of their choice and fed! We will also be tapping some really cool specialty pumpkin ales. Sound like fun? Thought so. Hope to see you all there pumpkin heads! Pouring Uinta – punk’n, Timmerman’s – Pumpkin Lambicus, Shipyard – Smashed Pumpkin, Dogfish Head – punkin, Midnight Sun – Treat, The Bruery – Autumn Maple.”

Thurs., Oct. 25, 2012, starting at 6 p.m.: Jack’s Bar & Lounge in Japantown offers up their weekly $2 Pint Night. Check the Jack’s Bar & Lounge Facebook page for updates. 167 East Taylor St., 408-287-5225.

Fri., Oct. 26, 2012: BevMo! stores host weekly Beer Tasting events on Fridays. Check your local BevMo! store for details.

Sat., Oct. 27, 2012, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.: O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub in downtown San Jose hosts their monthly beer event featuring Deschutes Brewery. 25 North San Pedro Street, 408-947-8007.

Looking ahead: Save the date

Sat., Nov. 17, 2012: The next SJ Beerwalk takes place in downtown Willow Glen.

Sat.-Sun., Nov. 17-18, 2012: Left Bank Brasserie Santana Row hosts a prix fixe meal paired with beers from Drake’s Brewing Company as part of their Left Bank Santana Row Summer Beer Pairing Series, La Fête de la Bière. 377 Santana Row, Suite 1100, 408-984-3500.

Sun., Dec. 9, 2012, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.: Morocco’s Restaurant in Mountain View hosts a beer dinner featuring Strike Brewing Company. Check out this Facebook event page for the details.

[This post was shared on Examiner.com.]

A Brief History of Craft Beer in the South Bay

Meet the Brewers at Hermitage Brewing Company, Feb. 19, 2011
Meet the Brewers at Hermitage Brewing Company, Feb. 19, 2011

It was the Feb. 2011 second annual Meet the Brewers beer festival held at San Jose’s Hermitage Brewing Company that provided me more than just a memorable beer experience. Truth be told, my wife and I had originally gone mainly for the food trucks, but when in Rome…

I tried a refreshing Tied House Brewery wheat beer which served as a prelude to the Campbell Brewing hefeweizen with its pleasant combination of sweetness and bitterness. My wife, who is from Bavaria, heartily approved.

After talking with the pourers – many of whom were the actual brewers – about their beers, I opted for unfamiliar-to-me beer styles next.

The Uncommon Brewers organic brown ale had a flavor profile of roasted nuts and a slight bitterness. Seabright Brewery’s oatmeal stout poured black and smooth with hints of dark chocolate. Finally, there was the Faultine Brewery porter, a dark beer that smelled and tasted of roasted coffee beans.

The beers were tasty; they also paired well with our Korean tacos and burritos that we got from one of the aforementioned food trucks.

We left relatively early and did not sample any more beers from the other breweries, but thanks in large part to this beer festival, I gained a new hobby – to learn more about beer and the wide range of beer styles while checking out the local beer scene.

We began complementing our already existing wine rituals with beer exploration. I’d go online and learn about solid examples of various beer styles and match that information with the selections at nearby stores that sold craft beer.

I stayed up-to-date with Peter Estaniel’s BetterBeerBlog to see if there was anything new going on in the South Bay.

In April 2011, the first KraftBrew Beer Fest – organized by Naglee Park Garage – took place at the historic San Jose Woman’s Club, and we tried a larger selection of different styles of domestic and international beers.

Some beer styles we enjoyed from the first sip (IPA for my wife), while others we grew to appreciate over time (IPA for me).

Events like the Meet the Brewers beer festival and the KraftBrew Beer Fest not only provided opportunities to discover the wide variety of beer styles, but they also showed that there are plenty of folks in the area interested in good beer.

For the next year-and-a-half, our appreciation for beer and the local beer scene would continue to grow, and for me in particular become a passion as I started blogging and writing about the local beer scene.

Local Craft Beer Boom

As recently as late 2008, William Brand wrote that the South Bay was a craft beer desert, but from our ventures out to local beer spots, stores and events, we learned that Brand’s observation was surely evolving.

Beer enthusiasts no longer had to routinely drive at least 45 minutes to try the latest touted, hard-to-get beer. There were establishments that made and carried great beer right here, from Morgan Hill through San Jose to Palo Alto.

We observed first hand the growing demand for – and distribution of – good beer, a relatively recent development according to a number of longer-term South Bay beer fans. The various, possible reasons for why the South Bay was such a latecomer continue to be discussed (and might perhaps be a topic in a future write-up).

Fortunately, such discussions these days often end on a positive note; many beer drinkers throughout the South Bay are enjoying the current craft beer boom and imagining the potential for the local area.

Craft Beer Movement and the South Bay

“Craft beer” – as defined by the Brewers Association – refers to beer made by a “small, independent, and traditional” brewing company. Such definitions illustrate the contrast between local and regional craft beer brewing companies and the giant, macro brewing companies that still dominate the overall beer market.

But according to recent numbers released by the Brewers Association in March, overall beer volume sales are down while the U.S. craft brewing industry continues to grow in volume and dollar sales. More beer drinkers are trying craft beer and learning about the various aspects that make craft beer more compelling compared to macro beer.

This nationwide growth within the craft beer segment reflects the growing interest and demand for craft beer here locally. A number of recent developments highlight the increasing popularity of craft beer within our region – from the popular and successful beer festivals to the growth of local brewing companies like Hermitage and Strike, as well as a new San Jose brewery that is in the works.

Greg Filippi - Lead Brewer at Hermitage Brewing Company, May 18, 2012
Greg Filippi – Lead Brewer at Hermitage Brewing Company, May 18, 2012

The Bay Brewers Guild, a collective of brewers representing the South Bay and nearby Santa Cruz and Monterey areas, continues to take shape, while the spotlight on the beers made at our local brewpubs – and the brewers who make them – grows bigger and brighter.

More establishments are offering craft beer in the South Bay and taking care to ensure that their staff are knowledgeable enough about beer to be able to make just the right recommendation to both beer enthusiasts and newbies alike.

Restaurant James Randall in Los Gatos has joined California Café (both the Palo Alto and Los Gatos locations) in hosting a growing number of beer-and-food-pairing events.

With craft beer’s growing popularity, it’s no surprise that more folks are interested in homebrewing and joining homebrew clubs. “We receive several inquiries a month from new homebrewers… where even just a year ago inquiries were much more infrequent,” says Derek Wolfgram, president of the homebrew club Silicon Valley Sudzers.

And there is a growing list of craft beer-centric businesses that have just opened or are set to open this year.

In downtown San Jose, the list includes craft beer bars Original Gravity Public House and ISO: Beers, and restaurant Blackbird Tavern.

In Campbell, there is Liquid Bread beer bar. In Mountain View, there are Jane’s Beer Store, South Bay’s first specialty beer store, and Steins Beer Garden + Restaurant.

History and Emergence of the South Bay Beer Scene: Breweries

Even hardcore South Bay beer fans might be surprised to learn that the valley had its share of early breweries, as cited in the 1992 book The Bars of Santa Clara County: A Beer Drinker’s Guide to Silicon Valley co-written by Bay Area beer scribe Jay Brooks and Karen Knezevich.

These breweries produced predominantly German-style beers and included Eagle Brewery (San Jose, 1853), Fredericksburg Brewery (San Jose, 1856), and other San Jose breweries opening between 1875 and 1905, including San Jose Brewery, Louis Krumb’s Brewery, and the St. Claire Brewing Company. After breweries such as these closed, there were no local South Bay breweries until the mid-1980s.

Breweries like Winchester Brewery and Palo Alto Brewing Company would come and go, but not before making their impact.

In 1986, Pete Slosberg launched Pete’s Wicked Ales in Mountain View thanks to Palo Alto Brewing Company and Bob Stoddard, of whom Slosberg refers to as “one of the first, true pioneers” in craft brewing.

Stoddard would later open his eponymous Brewhouse & Eatery in Sunnyvale in 1993 (now FireHouse Grill & Brewery) and in Campbell in 2002 (now Campbell Brewing Company/Sonoma Chicken Coop).

Mountain View’s Tied House Brewery opened in 1988, and later in the same year Dan Gordon and Dean Biersch opened the first Gordon Biersch brewery restaurant in Palo Alto.

The second Gordon Biersch opened in downtown San Jose in 1990, replacing a brewpub that had closed in four months, proving in part that South Bay native Gordon – “Born in San Jose. Grew up in Los Altos,” he shares – had a strong case of South Bay pride. Gordon would go on to open a brewery and bottling facility in San Jose in 1997.

Dan Gordon, June 26, 2012
Dan Gordon, June 26, 2012

Los Gatos Brewing Company opened in 1991 with their downtown San Jose location opening in 2010.

El Toro Brewing Company started in 1992 with the opening of their Morgan Hill brewpub in 2006.

Additional breweries and restaurants would open, including Sunnyvale’s Faultline Brewing Company in 1994.

“We have breweries here in the South Bay that have been around for a while, and it’s nice to see people appreciating beer more,” states Campbell Brewing’s brewmaster Jim Turturici.

Steve Donohue, currently brewing at Hermitage while working on the initial stages of opening Santa Clara Valley Brewing Company in San Jose, asks that people give South Bay breweries a chance and says, “I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

Steve Donohue and Peter Licht (Brewmaster at Hermitage Brewing Company), June 22, 2012
Steve Donohue and Peter Licht (Brewmaster at Hermitage Brewing Company), June 22, 2012

Craft Beer Bars and More

Moving along the local craft beer landscape, every beer region has its share of go-to hangouts for good beer. Since last year, Harry’s Hofbrau in San Jose has become a destination for the South Bay craft beer community. General manager Kevin Olcese has earned a solid reputation for his beer knowledge and passion, for bringing in hard-to-get beers on tap, and for informing customers via Facebook of the latest beer arrivals.

Kevin Olcese, June 26, 2012
Kevin Olcese, June 26, 2012

Olcese, however, is quick to give credit to Palo Alto’s Rose & Crown Pub and San Jose’s Wine Affairs – “They’re huge,” he simply says – for helping to pave the way in the beer scene, contributing greatly to the American and micro/craft beer knowledge base among local beer drinkers.

Kasim Syed took over the Rose & Crown in 2006 with an immediate goal to bring better quality beers along with beers that other places didn’t have. His second goal was to get people to try these different beers and get his customers to change their tastes. On a moment’s notice, he would drive to Santa Rosa to pick up a single keg of the latest Russian River Brewing Company offering – all to get more people to try different styles of beer.

As for the growing number of local beer spots, Syed says, “It’s not a competition. It’s about giving people choices; there’s more fun with more choices. These are happy times right now.”

Kasim Syed, June 27, 2012
Kasim Syed, June 27, 2012

Owner Diane Chang-Laurent remembers opening Wine Affairs in November 2007 with only five Belgian beers in bottles. But the customers, including mostly homebrewers at the beginning, would constantly request various beers from particular breweries. The beer focus really took shape in 2009.

Chang-Laurent says, “All the credit goes to the customers. They pushed me, and I listened.” As for the growing number of beer spots opening up in the South Bay, she says, “The more, the better. Plus, competition is always good.”

Diane Chang-Laurent, June 28, 2012
Diane Chang-Laurent, June 28, 2012

In downtown San Jose, Ryan Summers opened Good Karma Vegan Café in 2006 and has worked quietly yet diligently on bringing and maintaining a quality rotating craft beer selection – currently 15 beers on tap – for Good Karma’s loyal following. The new beer-centric establishments will “create a draw for everybody and help us take the customer experience even further as each of us continues to think about how to stand out.”

Ryan Summers, May 17, 2012
Ryan Summers, May 17, 2012

The craft beer focus began in 2008 for Bobby’s Liquors in Santa Clara thanks to Sukhjeev Singh, better known as Dee to his customers. Among the varied bottled craft beers in stock, Bobby’s offers a well-regarded collection of hard-to-get bottled sour ales.

Look for Dee and his wife to open ISO: Beers in downtown San Jose later this fall, which he says is “a beer bar and tasting lounge that will offer about 2,000 refrigerated, bottled craft beers and feature 50 to 60 craft beers on tap starting out.”

San Jose’s Naglee Park Garage and Jack’s Bar & Lounge, while providing respectable craft beer offerings, are coordinating large-scale South Bay beer events, like the Garage’s upcoming Summer KraftBrew Beer Fest (their third KraftBrew installment), taking place in downtown San Jose on Saturday, July 21. Event goers will get to enjoy a variety of beer styles along with great food and music in a festive atmosphere.

The next South Bay Beerwalk hosted by Jack’s (their third beerwalk) takes place in Campbell on Saturday, August 11, providing the opportunity to check out downtown Campbell while sampling beers from Northern California.

South Bay Craft Beer Scene Going Forward

Having been born and raised in San Jose (and still living here), I have seen various communities spring up over the years, communities bonded by a myriad of cultural facets, like art, music, food, sports and technology. We can now include craft beer; co-owner Dan Phan of Original Gravity Public House notes, “Beer is the universal beverage that has been bringing people together on common ground for thousands of years.”

Dan Phan and Johnny Wang, April 9, 2012
Dan Phan and Johnny Wang, April 9, 2012
Dan Phan and Johnny Wang, June 28, 2012
Dan Phan and Johnny Wang, June 28, 2012

The late esteemed English writer and journalist Michael Jackson wrote in his 1997 book The New World Guide to Beer, “The world always knew that beer was a noble and complex drink, but, for a moment in history, that was forgotten. Now it is being remembered.”

Indeed, many folks, including Dan Gordon, have felt the momentum for good beer building in the South Bay ever since the 80s and 90s. Fast forward to today, and there is no doubting the momentum. Notable Bay Area beer editor and writer Mike Pitsker agrees that the South Bay beer scene is on the up-and-up. And brewer Steve Donohue adds the capstone comment, “We’re just scratching the surface.”

[An abridged version of this post was shared as the cover story in the annual beer issue for Metro Silicon Valley.]