Steve Donahue and Tom Clark founded Santa Clara Valley Brewing in 2013 with the goal of “providing our friends and neighbors with a selection of fine handcrafted beers created with the highest quality ingredients.” We’d say they’re doing a pretty bang up job on that, which makes SCVB the first stop on our San Jose brewery tour!
SCVB’s Electric Tower IPA pays homage to the neighborhood’s historic San Jose Electric Light Tower of 1881, one of many so called ‘moontowers’ that illuminated nighttime cityscapes across Europe and the U.S. in the late 1800’s. It packs a heavy wallop of West Coast IPA+ness to remind you not only where you came from but where you’re going…for another beer!
Two other flagships – Peralta Porter and New Almaden Red -compliment a wide selection of experimental and one off brewskis. Check them out at 101 E. Alma St. in San Jose! CHEERS!
El Cerrito, California, was founded at the turn of the 20th Century by folks fleeing devastation from the big one – a massive earthquake that rocked San Francisco in 1906. Much has changed since then.
Elevation 66 Brewing represents an incredible enhancement to the landscape and less-than-rich vibrancy of San Pablo Ave. This sweet 7 barrel brewpub makes some delicious craft beer in addition to a pretty slammin’ reuben sandwich! This is the perfect spot to hop into before going to the movies next door at Rialto Cinemas.
Co-founder Brian Kelly will take good care of you from behind the bar at Elevation 66, launched in 2011 with David and Esther Goodall. And in case you’re wondering what’s in a name, Elevation 66 happens to be 66′ above sea level from the San Francisco Bay.
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!
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!
El Grenada, California is a pretty relaxing and peaceful place all right. It’s located on the Pacific Coast just north of beautiful Half Moon Bay. Life seems pretty sweet here from the looks of it. There’s an old western post office across the street from the beach, a beachy gourmet sandwich shop and one of the best breweries on the Pacific Ocean – Hop Dogma Brewing Company.
Hop Dogma swung its doors open on the 4th of July in 2013 after founders Ethan Martini and Dan Littlefield took their “hobby business” into the San Francisco Peninsula brewery big leagues. They are known for brewing small batch, hop forward “adventurous” ales, and we couldn’t agree more with their reputation for brewing quality beers made with the freshest ingredients. Grab a sandwich from across the street and get comfy in this superb ocean view craft beer bar!
We may be in a little over our heads at Hop Dogma! Beer flight on deck = Waddell Creek Saison, Kara’s Kolsch, Here’s You’re Hefe, Pyros Prost (American Rye with chili peppers), Cornshucker Cream Ale, Walk to Me Pale Ale, We All Grin for Lupin IPA and last but not least Fides in Fermento. CHEERS!
Established by the Norgrove Family in the historic heart of Healdsburg, Sonoma County, California’s Bear Republic Brewing Company ranks among the 50 largest craft breweries in America!
This buzzing and central brewpub offers mighty fine ale and incredible Cali fresh fare – try the Bodega Bay crab sandwich and all their 14 fresh beers on tap!
New Bohemia Brewing Company takes inspiration from Prague, the Bohemian beer making capital of old. Today’s Czech Republicans still down more beer per capita than any other (cheers!).
Brewmaster Dan Satterthwaite and NUBO partner Mike Hochleutner build on traditional European brewing methods with a wide range of deliciously fresh craft beer, all brewed on site in a sweet 3.5 barrel PDX Kettlewords system – she’s a beauty! NUBO Brewing is worth a trip to sunny Santa Cruz, California any day in our beer book. Check them out!