Photograph by Diablo Imaging
When summer heat hits, there’s nothing like a cold beer. The East Bay is home to several local breweries, each offering a perfect brew for the season. You can sample them at the breweries or find most sold at Beverages and More, Safeway, or Whole Foods, as well as independent liquor shops.
DRAKE’S BREWING COMPANY
Drake’s is a family-owned microbrewery, one of the first to open in the Bay Area. Its Zatec Pilsner is a light Bohemian-style brew, full of aromatic European-style Saaz hops. Much lighter than Drake’s popular IPA, the Zatec Pilsner pairs nicely with tailgate party food. 1933 Davis St., Ste. 177, San Leandro, (510) 562-0866, www.drinkdrakes.com.
The largest of the local breweries, Pyramid brews more than a dozen beers, best sampled on draft at its alehouses in Berkeley and Walnut Creek. Special to summer, and widely sold throughout the East Bay, is the Curve Ball Kölsch, a must-have accompaniment to watching the ballgame. 901 Gilman St., Berkeley, (510) 528-9880; 1410 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 946-1520, www.pyramidbrew.com.
This all-organic brewery recently moved from Berkeley to Chico, but the East Bay still lays claim to its Bison favorites, especially the famed Chocolate Stout, Belgian Ale (pictured), and summer’s Honey Basil Ale. Bring out the basil in the latter by pairing it with BBQ chicken marinated in garlic and basil, or maybe pasta with basil marinara. (510) 697-1537, www.bisonbrew.com.
E. J. PHAIR BREWING COMPANY
Though this small-batch brewery doesn’t make a special beer for summer, E. J. Phair Pilsner’s sales always go up with the temperature. The Czech-style lager provides a refreshing break after mowing the lawn. Or, pair it with spicy Thai or Mexican food. 2151 Salvio St., Concord, (925) 680-4253, www.ejphair.com.
Rather than export its beer halfway across the world, this Austrian brewer decided to open a U.S. branch. The water in Berkeley tasted just like the water in Salzburg, and so we have our own local Trumer Pilsner. This easy-to-drink beer is available year-round but is especially great for outdoor summer parties. 1404 Fourth St., Berkeley, (510) 526-1160, www.trumer-international.com.