We knew this day would come – the last and best stop on our Berkeley brewery quest (that’s 7 breweries in all…not bad for a city of 110,000!) – Fieldwork Brewing Company!
While Fieldwork happens to be the newest brewer on the Berkeley brewery block, they’re also the best hands down! Fieldwork’s brews are accessible, experimental and downright drinkable, taking many forms from traditional West Coast IPAs to barrel aged sour beers, often incorporating whatever looks freshest at the ubiquitous local marketplace, Berkeley Bowl. Alex Tweet and partner Barry Braden have crafted an artful masterpiece in West Berkeley for Bay Area bourgeois and proletariat to enjoy alike, shoulder to shoulder along the communal benches of Fieldwork’s inner sanctum. Fieldwork is a dog friendly, bike friendly, game night friendly space fueled by creative and delectable libations just so long as craft beer’s your drink of choice.
On deck we have perhaps the most delicious Strawberry Saison created by man.
Our next stop on the Berkeley beer tour is The Rare Barrel. TRB is “an all-sour beer company…on a mission to brew exceptional barrel aged sour beers.” NICE!
New to the Berkeley brewery scene (open since late 2013), Rare Barrel has built a large and loyal following and for good reason. Here you will imbibe some of the finest hand crafted, small batch sour beer to be drank. Jay Goodwin and partner Alex Wallash began home brewing after studying together at UC Santa Barbara. Jay went on to become The Bruery’s barrel aging program director before launching TRB with Wallash and his brother Brad Goodwin.
Beer flight on deck: an exceptional cherry sour (a collaboration with New Belgium), an over-the-top amazeballs lemon lily (brewed with hibiscus, ginger and lemon peel finally a guest tap from New Belgium – Eric’s Ale (barrel aged sour peach ale). YUM! Check out TRB’s cavernous tasting room and enjoy a delicious craft beer or three among the towering stacks of over 600 oak barrels. They’re at 940 Parker Street in Berkeley, California, open Friday – Sunday. CHEERS!
The fifth stop on our epic Berkeley brewery quest brings us to Hoi Polloi Brewing. Viet Vu, son of a brewmaster, graduate of Doemens Academy (a part of World Brewing Academy) in Munich and Devils Canyon Brewing Alum, opened Hoi Polloi Brewpub and Beats Lounge with his brother Giap Vu in 2014. The brewing family tradition continues in earnest at this intimate 3 barrel brewpub where people of the City of Berkeley enjoy fresh house brews and select guest taps while rubbing elbows and making fast friends with the locals, all between fistfuls of truffle oil popcorn. Check them out on the corner of Alcatraz Ave. and MLK Jr. Way! CHEERS!
Trumer Pils USA traces its brewing roots back to 1601, when Archbiship Wolf Dietrich certified the original brauerei in Salzburg, Austria. Napoleon torched the holy brewery in 1800, leaving nothing but a trail of thirst in his wake.
Trumer rebuilt at some point before striking brewing gold in Berkeley, California, where production of their signature Trumer Pils has boomed since 2004. Hop in any weekday afternoon (call ahead) for a FREE guided brewery tour which includes a fresh pilsner to wash it all down!
Peek inside Trumer’s 50 barrel brewing system!
The Berkeley beer quest continues at one of America’s original brewpubs – Triple Rock Brewery, founded by legendary craft beer brothers John and Reid Martin in 1985. Fast forward 30 yeras and they own and operate Jupiter Beer (also in Berkeley, California), Drakes Beer (San Leandro) and Big Time Brewery (Seattle)…not too shabs! The Martins clearly have a recipe for success in the beer business, and this is where there remarkable beer story began!
Perhaps no other Berkeley brewery embodies the college spirit like Triple Rock, itself an institution of beer knowledge and the preferred public house of professors and pupils alike. Cheers!
Beer flight on deck at Triple Rock Brewing: Lead Belly (Ales for ALS), Rye Smile IPA, The Constable (made with Vermont yeast), Pinnacle English Pale Ale, SHE Idaho #7 (Single Hops Experience), Black Rock English Porter, Small Talk American Pale Ale and last but not least Red Rock American Red Ale. CHEERS!
Jupiter is beer pioneer John Martin’s second Berkeley outpost, following the success of Triple Rock Brewery down the block. Drake’s Beer brews up exquisite beerskis exclusive to Jupiter Brewing, while an excellent brewpub menu and amazing pizza (try the Galileo!) make it a perfect location for impromptu beer study sessions (this is Berkeley after all!). Jupiter’s sumptuous fire-lit outdoor patio, two-story indoor beer garden and signage reminiscent of Germany’s oldest pubs make it “all too easy” (to quote Darth Vader) to hop in for a quickie before getting on BART across Shattuck Ave. We’re starting at the top today, with a pretty fantastical Quasar Double IPA. Cheers!
Second course at Jupiter Beer = this perfectly balanced Nitro Imperial Porter!
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company crafts their ubiquitous beer in Chico, California, of course. But the Craft Beer Gods smiled upon Berkeley greatly when Ken & Co. launched the Torpedo Room on West Berkeley’s hipster/yupster-friendly Fourth Street.
We love Sierra for many reasons – innovation, consistency, freshness – but perhaps most importantly convenience (can you tell we’re from New York?!). You can find Sierra practically everywhere you turn, and for a fairly reasonable price! Similarly, if you happen upon the City of Berkeley, you know you’ll find the freshest and finest Sierra craft beer at the Torpedo Room each and every visit. Many of Sierra Nevada’s beers are available only in the Torpedo Room or up in Chico, so feel free to try a bunch! They offer generous tasters for as little as a couple-to-three bucks and change each. Pair a beer flight with a local artisanal cheese plate!
While there is no brewing performed on premises (yet), all of Sierra Nevada’s latest and greatest flow from the multitude of taps at this Beer Mecca extension. We topped off our latest trip with one of Sierra’s year round offerings – Hop Hunter IPA, brewed with hop oil distilled right in the fields of the brewer’s Chico farm. That’s farm-to-bottle freshness right in Berkeley! CHEERS!
Welcome to Berkeley, Fieldwork Brewing! Fieldwork was founded by Barry Braden and Head Brewer Alex Tweet in February 2015 in emerging, post-industrial West Berkeley, California. Tweet brings Ballast Point and Modern Times brewing experience to Fieldwork “with a focus on exceptional, honest beermaking” – amen brother!
Every beerski we tried was truly exceptional, indeed, every one! Our first beer flight on deck = Morning Time Breakfast Stout, Hot Chocolate Stout and Coconut Milk Double IPA (brewed with 100 lbs. of coconuts!). We’ll be back soon!