New East Bay Craft Beer
The latest brewery openings and news, plus where you can find Pliny the Younger.
Epidemic Ales / Erin Schally
New on Tap
Wait Out the Zombies
Taste apocalypse-inspired suds at Concord’s Epidemic Ales’ taproom, which opened in December. Cozy up to the handmade bar for pints or a tasting flight of beers with an “end of days” theme—try the Nightshade Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout—alongside plenty of board games. On weekends, look for bites from rotating food trucks. 150 Mason Cir., Ste. J, Concord, (925) 566-8850, epidemicales.com.
A Family Affair
At Walnut Creek’s Farm Creek Brewing Company, which was due to open in January, you can sip tasty brews such as Favorite Daughter, a session amber with a slightly smoky finish. Bring a lunch and a group of friends, and spend the day relaxing in this family-run, six-tap (for now) tasting room. 1415 Pine St., Walnut Creek, (925) 818-2164, farmcreekbrewing.com.
The long-awaited brewery/taproom for Calicraft Brewing Co. in Walnut Creek is slated to finally open in early February. In addition to a taproom, beer garden deck, hop field, and bocce courts, Calicraft is creating a couple of taproom-only sudsy odes to Walnut Creek: Dub C, a hoppy ale for the city’s 100th anniversary; and The Nut, a dark and nutty amber reminiscent of a fall day in Civic Park. 2700 Mitchell Dr., Ste. B, Walnut Creek, calicraft.com.
A Beer Infusion
If you enjoy unique brews, don’t bypass Shadow Puppet Brewing Company, slated to open in early 2016 in Livermore. This artisanal brewery takes popular styles and infuses the base with all sorts of additions, such as hibiscus flower. For now, Shadow Puppet’s beers will be available only in its new tasting room, where you can sample a flight or take home a growler. 4771 Arroyo Vista, Ste. B, Livermore, shadowpuppetbrewing.com.
A Jack London Square Newbie
Already a staple on the scene, Federation Brewing will be opening its very own brewery in Oakland this spring. With a tasting room that will provide taps and plenty of take-away options—bottles, cans, kegs, growler fills—you’re sure to find something for everyone. Chocolate lovers will find plenty to enjoy in the After Hours Chocolate Stout, made with real cacao. Until the tasting room opens, try the brewery’s beers on tap around the East Bay, including at Orinda’s new Fourth Bore. 420 Third St., Ste. A, Oakland, (510) 999-5347, federationbrewing.com.
A Room of Its Own
After years of gypsy brewing at other breweries, Creek Monkey Tap House’s RockSteady is working on getting a space of its own—right across from Creek Monkey’s Martinez taproom. Although the brewery is still in planning and fundraising mode, if all goes according to plan, the new facility will be open for the New Year in 2017. Until then, grab a pint at Creek Monkey: the newly released Straight Edge, a golden blonde ale, will have you dreaming of summer days to come. 613 Escobar St., Martinez, (925) 228-8787, rocksteadybrewing.com.
Other Beer Openings, Happenings, and Events
Cleophus Quealy Beer Company, San Leandro
Family, Dogs, and Beer. San Leandro’s Cleophus Quealy knows their priorities and sticks to them at this community-centered brewery. After celebrating the one-year anniversary in December, this brewery has big plans in their future. While most of the beers are referenced after the batch number – so they can continue to tweak a recipe to perfection – Cleophus Quealy made the plunge and named one beer late last year, with another set to be named in February for San Francisco Beer Week.
Check this out: Want to get Cleophus Quealy’s flagship releases but can’t always make it out to the brewery? Join the “Menagerie of Distinguished Drinkers” and get exclusive access to beer releases and events. They’ll even hold bottles for you to pick up when convenient for you. 448 Hester St., San Leandro, (510) 463-4534, cleoph.us.
Pacific Coast Brewing Company, Oakland
By no means a newbie in the beer scene, Pacific Coast Brewing Company is the grandfather of the Oakland beer scene. Opened in 1988, the brewery is Oakland’s oldest and one look around the bar will have you begging to know it’s history – the towering bar and stained glass window above the door are original pieces from the Cox Saloon. Grab your pint of true micro-brew – all beers are brewed in the basement – and head outside to the open-air beer garden, where you can sit beside the fire pit and order pint after pint. And don’t forget to eat! The brewery has recently undergone some massive changes – they only made the beer better, don’t worry – bringing an upscale touch to traditional pub food.
Check this out: Pacific Coast Brewing Company hosts tons of events, from Tuesday night trivia to an all-Oakland Beer Fest. 906 Washington St., Oakland, (510) 836-2739, pacificcoastbrewing.com.
Where to Find Pliny the Younger
People camp outside Russian River Brewing Company for a taste of the brewery’s once-a-year release of Pliny the Younger, but you can skip the sidewalk stakeout by heading to a local distributor of the limited-edition triple IPA.
On February 6, head to Hayward’s The Bistro for the 16th annual Double/Triple IPA Festival, where Pliny the Younger is always in attendance. Entry to the festival includes a special glass and tickets for beer tastes, including Pliny—no special lines or waiting necessary. the-bistro.com.
Check in with the San Ramon and Pleasanton locations of The Hop Yard American Alehouse and Grill in early February to learn when their Plinys will debut, and prepare to show up early to snag tickets. (Last year, the queue started before 7 a.m.) hopyard.com.
And on Valentine’s Day, grab your partner and swing by Danville’s Pete’s Brass Rail and Car Wash for a taste of the young Pliny. But plan ahead: Sign-ups for the beer’s lottery tickets begin a few weeks earlier, with a drawing the week before the kegs are tapped. petesbrassrail.com.
For our picks for East Bay events during SF Beer Week, January 22–31, click here