We Love the Nightlife: East Bay SF Beer Week Events
From a beer and chocolate festival, to a hop-infused cupcake tasting, to a whole pig roast dinner, here are our top local picks for SF Beer Week.
Have you all recovered from the Super Bowl this weekend? I still haven’t, but there’s a pretty big local event to looming on the horizon that could soften the blow: SF Beer Week. Despite the name, SF Beer Week actually runs 10 days, from February 8–17, and includes plenty of East Bay events for fans of the suds.
Having trouble choosing? Here are the beer-centric happenings we’re most looking forward to in our neck of the woods. We’ve laid out our plan for the week, followed by other events happening each day. And for the full list, visit sfbeerweek.org. Prost!
Saturday, February 9
Bottle release party at Ale Industries: The crew at Ale Industries has been aging a blonde ale with summer peaches, and it’s finally time for the big reveal. Check out the resulting In Edward sour during the brewery’s monthly First Saturday markets (bumped back a week). In addition to the new brew, expect live music from local musicians, handcrafted art, and wood-fired pizzas from Fist of Flour. $1 from every pint of Golden State of Mind (the beer formerly known as Orange Kush) sold will go to Anka Behavorial Health. 12 p.m., music from 2–9 p.m., 975 Detroit Ave., Concord, (925) 470-5280, aleindustries.com.
13th Double IPA Festival: Originally the kickoff to SF Beer Week, the Double IPA Festival returns for its 13th year. The Bistro in Hayward will offer more than 60 Double/Triple IPA's on tap, and will also host a beer competition, cheese tastings, live music, a cicerone booth, and barbecue. $50, 11 a.m.–6 p.m., 1001 B St., Hayward, (510) 886-8525, the-bistro.com.
Beer release party at Pyramid Walnut Creek: In honor of the release of five new Pyramid brews, the Walnut Creek location will throw a party with samples of the new beers. Try the Weiss Cream, Irish Red, Honey Bock, What Lager, Passion Fruit Ale, and three new draft only beers – Single Hop Imperial IPA, Berliner Weisse, and Nut Brown Ale. Once you’ve run through the free samples, pick up a $3 pint or $10 pitcher. The brewpub will also offer a special pairing menu for the event. 11 a.m.–4 p.m, 1410 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 946-1520, pyramidbrew.com/alehouses/walnut-creek.
Firestone Tap Takeover: Firestone is taking over the Livermore Saloon, hooking up brews such as its Double DBA, Parabola, 16th Anniversary, and other specialty beers on tap. I’d go just for the Parabola, which I loved last time I tried it. 1 p.m.–2 a.m., 2223 First St., Livermore, livermoresaloon.com.
Black Diamond SF Beer Week Kick-off: Starting at noon, Tap 25 will devote eight to nine of its lines to Black Diamond's brews. 25 S. Livermore Ave., Livermore, taptwentyfive.com.
Sunday, February 10
Pete’s Brass Rail beer garden: Instead of posting by the bar and trying to drink until your name earns its spot on the wall, get some fresh air during Pete’s special Beer Week beer garden party. $20 will score you five tastings, and the party will have live tunes courtesy of Smokin’ J’s. Contact Dave at (925) 528-9302 or email@example.com to reserve your spot. $20, 2–5 p.m., 201 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 820-8281, petesbrassrail.com.
Beer-infused cupcake tasting: Walnut Creek’s Pyramid is hosting a cupcake competition and tasting, using the brewery’s beers as an ingredient. The $10 tasting includes the three winning cupcakes, with pairings of the beers used in each. Vote for your favorite to add it to the official Pyramid menu. $10, 1–4 p.m., 1410 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 946-1520, pyramidbrew.com/alehouses/walnut-creek.
Sour Sunday: Once again, Jupiter and Triple Rock will offer a special line-up of more than 80 sour and barrel-aged beers. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., but throughout the day, from 1–7 p.m., you’ll be surprised by scheduled special tappings of the staff’s favorites every hour on the hour, alternating between Jupiter and Triple Rock. Jupiter will be the hub for all that is special, sour, and barrel-aged from local and stateside breweries, and Triple Rock will be your stop for imported sours and barrel-aged beers. The event is cash only, so make sure you withdraw at least $30 so you can score a commemorative glass and eight tickets for three-ounce samples. Additional tickets cost $3, and will be accepted at both locations. $30, 11:30 a.m.—9 p.m., or until the beer runs out. Jupiter: 2181 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, (510) 843-8277, jupiterbeer.com; Triple Rock: 1920 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, (510) 843-2739, triplerock.com.
Bikes, Clips, and Taps: Ride your bike over to Tap 25 in Livermore (not sure I'll make it from Walnut Creek!), and you'll be rewarded with $2 off your first draft. Look for New Belgium beers on tap, as well as movie clips from the brewery, prizes, and giveaways. 25 S. Livermore Ave., Livermore, taptwentyfive.com.
Barrel aged night at Livermore Saloon: The Livermore beer bar will boast 22 taps of barrel-aged beer. 1 p.m.–2 a.m., 2223 First St., Livermore, livermoresaloon.com.
Anderson Valley Brewing Company at BevMo: Here’s your chance to ask Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s brand ambassador any burning questions. He/she will discuss the brewery’s current lineup, and it only costs $2 to taste. 4–7 p.m., 2940 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 472-0130, bevmo.com.
Monday, February 11
4x6 East Bay at Creek Monkey Tap House: Join the Creek Monkey team on Monday, and you’ll be able to try as many as four different offerings from each of the six local breweries (but you probably shouldn’t try all 24). Brewery representatives will be on hand to answer questions. Participating breweries include Ale Industries, Black Diamond, Calicraft, Heretic, Schubros, and Creek Monkey, naturally. If cigars are also your thing, The Mobile Man Cave CigRV will be on hand. 5–9 p.m., 611 Escobar St., Martinez, (925) 228-8787, creekmonkey.com.
Beer and Brauts at EJ Phair: Is there any better pairing than meat and beer? Not according to E.J. Phair. The Pittsburg location is partnering with Compass Star for a sausage and beer pairing. Included will be a hands-on tour of E.J. Phair's brewery at the end of the tasting. $15, 6:30–9 p.m., 300 Cumberland St., Pittsburg, (925) 427-7204, ejphair.com.
East Bay Brewers at Mountain Mikes: Head to the Lafayette location for a meet the East Bay brewer event, with representatives from Ale Industries, Black Diamond, Schubros, and more. 6–9 p.m., 3614 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 283-6363, mountainmikeslafayette.com.
Beer Bingo at Pyramid: Bingo isn’t just for your grandparents anymore. The Walnut Creek Pyramid location hosts a beer-themed bingo night, and will be offering beer and food specials for the occasion. Free to play, No AARP card required, and there’s promise of fabulous prizes. 6–8 p.m., 1410 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 946-1520, pyramidbrew.com/alehouses/walnut-creek.
Tuesday, February 12
Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras at Pleasanton Main Street Brewery: Break out the beads for a taste of the Big Easy. During Main Street Brewery’s joint Mardi Gras and 17th Anniversary party, the Tri Valley pub will celebrate with live music, Hurricanes, and food specials such as jambalaya, red beans and rice, and chicken gumbo. Even the beers are festive, with special house brews including the risqué Show us Your Tata's IPA, Bourbon Street Wheat, French Quarter Porter, Voodoo Black Lager, and N'awlins Pale Ale. 5–11 p.m., live music starts at 7:30 p.m., 830 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 462-8218, mainstbrewery.com.
Elevation 66 beer pairing dinner: The El Cerrito gastropub will celebrate with a four-course dinner menu, paired with its house made beers. The locally sourced menu will be designed to highlight the flavor profile of each brew, and the owners and brewmasters will be on hand to answer any questions and mingle. $60, 7–10 p.m., 10082 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, (510) 525-4800, elevation66.com.
Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing at Creek Monkey: Get to know Mitch Steele, head brewmaster of Stone Brewing Company. Steele will be there to talk beer and to sign copies of his book, IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale. 6–9 p.m., 611 Escobar St., Martinez, (925) 228-8787, creekmonkey.com.
Band of Gypsies at ØL: Creek Monkey isn’t the only place you can rub elbows with brewers. ØL welcomes the impressive team behind Belgian Tramp Quad, a collaboration ale from Calicraft, High Water, OBC, Bison Organic, Triple Voodoo, Lucky Hand and Pacific Brewing Laboratories. Meet the seven brewers and have a glass of their collab beer. 6:30 p.m.–12 a.m., 1541 Giammona Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 210-1147, beer-shop.org.
Wednesday, February 13
Drake’s Sau and Bau: The San Leandro brewery’s annual whole hog pig roast is back, and you can get a taste of the action at the Barrel House taproom. Each year Drake’s welcomes lovers of pig and beer with a whole hog pig roast dinner and up to 20 taps flowing with Drake's beers, including its special small-batch Barrel Aged Beers. You can also expect live music and nearly the entire Drake's staff on hand to talk beer and brewing. Ticket price includes a special logo glass, complimentary happy hour tastings from 6–7 p.m., four beer tickets, the pig roast dinner (done by the pro team behind Oakland’s Chop Bar), and a special dessert. $50, 6–9 p.m., 1933 Davis St., San Leandro, (510) 568-2739, drinkdrakes.com.
Best Beers for Valentine’s Day at BevMo: Take the guesswork out of selecting the best suds for amore. From tasty chocolate stouts to a sample of Ass Kisser Ales, this tasting event runs the gamut, but will help you last-minute folks stock up for the 14th. $2 tasting fee, 4–7 p.m., 2940 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 472-0130, bevmo.com.
Pyramid Berkeley beer dinner: Enjoy a four-course, beer-paired dinner at Pyramid’s Berkeley location. In addition to the paired dinner, Pyramid will offer appetizers, a brewery tour with Brewmaster Simon Pesch, and the opportunity to take home a new growler filled with your choice of beer. Seats are limited, so snag tickets now. $45, 6–9 p.m., 901 Gilman St., Berkeley, (510) 528-9880, pyramidbrew.com/alehouses/Berkeley.
Thursday, February 14
East Bay Brew Fest: If you didn’t stop by Pyramid in Berkeley for its beer dinner last night, do not miss the East Bay Brew Fest. During the festival, you’ll enjoy unlimited samples from the East Bay’s best breweries, a commemorative EBBF glass, and Pyramid Brewery tour. Event proceeds benefit the Northern California MS Society. $20 in advance, $30 at the door, 6–9 p.m., 901 Gilman St., Berkeley, (510) 528-9880, pyramidbrew.com/alehouses/Berkeley. Purchase tickets at eastbaybrewfest2013.eventbrite.com.
A beer lover’s Valentine’s: Love each other almost as much as you love beer? Walnut Creek Pyramid understands. Take your loved one to its special prix fixe Valentine’s Day dinner, which includes a three-course, beer-paired candlelit meal, as well as champagne and a gift. Pyramid’s executive chef will be on hand to discuss food and beer-pairing techniques. $30 per person, tax and gratuity not included, seatings available between 5 and 10 p.m., 1410 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 946-1520, pyramidbrew.com/alehouses/walnut-creek.
Chocolate and fire: Step into Tap 25's newly expanded yet still cozy taproom, which will serve Firestone brews and set a romantic mood with complimentary chocolates and roses on a candlelit tables. Panthelion jazz will set the mood with live tunes, starting at 7 p.m. 25 S. Livermore Ave., Livermore, taptwentyfive.com.
Friday, February 15
Pints and Punk with Agent Orange: Explore the age old pairing of music and rock ‘n’ roll at Red House in Walnut Creek. Concord’s Ale Industries will provide the beers, and music includes Agent Orange, 5 Days Dirty, and Heroes at Gunpoint. 8 p.m.–11 p.m., $10 in advance/$12 at the door, 1667 Botelho Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 938-6900, redhouselive.com.
Saturday, February 16
Fourth Annual Chocolate and Beer Festival: Head to Richmond for an afternoon of gourmet chocolates and local craft brews. The festival, located on the East Bay Waterfront at Craneway Pavilion, includes product samplings, live entertainment, and raffle prizes. If you can’t find a designated driver, there’s a free shuttle from BART. 12–6 p.m., 1414 Harbour Way, Richmond, (510) 215-6000, chocolateandbeerfest.com.
Tour de Bière [SOLD OUT]: If you’ve been drinking all week long, it’s probably time to work off a few of those calories. Enter the Tour de Bière, an annual Beer Week bike crawl. It starts at Drake's Brewing, and continues with visits to an impressive list of East Bay breweries. All proceeds for this event go to the East Bay Bike Coalition. As part of your entrance fee donation, you receive a wrist band, which will get you tastings, tours, and discounts at the participating breweries. $25, 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m., thegrandcru.org. Event is sold out, but you can try for the waitlist on the website.
Sunday, February 17
Celebrator Beer News 25th anniversary party: Join beer industry veterans and Celebrator writers and readers for this can’t-miss party, which includes more than 50 breweries pouring their best beers to celebrate 25 years of publication. $55, 4–8 p.m., Oakland Convention Center, 550 10th St., Oakland, (530) 470-0191, Tickets via Paypal at celebrator.com.
Nothing striking your fancy the rest of the week? Here are the specials happening every day.
Crafts and Coltechino at Pizza Antica: For the second year in a row, the Lafayette pizzeria is featuring a selection of Russian River Brewing Company’s finest beers, including Redemption, Damnation, Salvation, Pliny the Elder, and Blind Pig IPA. Chefs will be preparing Cotechino Sausages, served with Umbrian Lentils, Braised Savoy Cabbage, and Spicy Mustard ($14). 3600 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 299-0500, pizzaantica.com.
Locals only at the Hopyard in Pleasanton: Hopyard salutes the local guys, with all 31 taps featuring brewers from the Bay Area all week long. 3015 Hopyard Rd., Pleasanton, (925) 426-9600, hopyard.com.