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Livermore: Beer Country

The suds scene is booming in East Bay wine territory.


Courtesy of Tap 25

Circle May 4 and 5 on your calendar to hit the Livermore Wine Country Festival. But come back to catch the area’s other liquid libation: beer. “There must be around 150 taps within 300 yards of the flagpole,” says Gregory Robles, co-owner of the new Altamont Beer Works. Here’s what’s new:


John Ernst» Robles and Stephen Sartori, locals who met through home brewing, debuted the public tasting room of their Altamont Beer Works earlier this year. Light wheat beers suited for spring include the tart, blackberry-fermented Cerveza Espumosa, and the Birra Bianco infused with orange zest and coriander. Half-gallon growlers—refillable glass jugs that recall Prohibition’s moonshine days—are the surprise hit. 2402 Research Dr., (925) 443-2337, altamontbeerworks.com.

» Tap 25 is riding the beer wave, doubling in size in December. “We used to be a beer closet,” says Carrie Bryan, who owns Tap 25 with her husband, Tim. Now with pillows and a plush banquette, Tap 25 is almost a lounge. (Don't worry: Edison bulbs, big beer labels, and two giant Altamont Beer Works signs overshadow any glitz.) “Livermore has been built up as a great wine destination,” says Bryan, “but for years, it’s been known for great food and great beer.” 25 S. Livermore Ave., (925) 294-8970, taptwentyfive.com.

» Livermore Saloon, recently taken over by Perry’s Liquors, is known for its hundreds of craft beers. It started with three taps and now has 23 (with plans for 12 more), featuring microbrews from all over the world. “Soon, we’ll have three breweries in this small town,” says beer manager Diego Toscano. Working Man and Brotherhood are set to start brewing this summer, joining Altamont as Livermore’s first production breweries since Prohibition. 2223 First St., (925) 579-4865, livermoresaloon.com.


John Ernst

More to Taste


·  Known for its primo Chicago-style deep dish, Patxi’s opened its 10th pizzeria by the Bankhead Theater in April. Look for outdoor seating and a full bar to complement a few local Livermore wines. patxispizza.com.
·  Concannon’s Underdog has a new menu overseen by chef Eric Berg, offering tapas “made a little bigger for a dollar or two less,” says John Concannon. underdogwinemerchants.com.
·  Wente debuted its estate beef program, using meat from vineyard-raised cattle. wentevineyards.com/restaurant.


·  3 Steves opened its own tasting room—so you don’t have to settle for weekend tastes at Swirl on the Square. The winery received awards this year for its 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Zinfandel, and 2012 Sauvignon Blanc. 3steveswinery.com.
·  Rubino Estates took over Mitchell Katz’s old property. The mostly Italian varietals should pair well with the aged Italian meats and cheeses. rubinoestateswinery.com.
·  The valley’s newest winery, Dante Robere, is pouring at Eagle Ridge Vineyard’s tasting room in May. danterobere.com.


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