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Rare Brew

Chuck Stilphen opens a new beer bar in Walnut Creek.


Published:

Colin Burke McClure

Ever since Chuck Stilphen opened his artisan beer bar, The Trappist, in Oakland, beer geeks from all over the Bay Area have been asking: “When are you going to open a Trappist near my house?”

This fall, Stilphen will give in to his Walnut Creek fans when he opens ØL Beercafe and Bottle Shop—part bottle retailer, part tasting room—that will focus on high-end, hard-to-find craft beers.

“If you can find it in any of the Beverages and More or Lunardi’s or Whole Foods, we’re not going to carry it,” he says.

Stilphen, a Lafayette resident, travels to Europe every year to search for rare beers from microbreweries in Belgium, the Netherlands, even Scandinavia. “There are lots of really interesting things coming out of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway right now,” he says. “They’re making complex, interesting beers.”

Because of Walnut Creek’s strict laws on alcohol distribution, ØL (Old Norse for beer) will be open only until 11 p.m., and the business will also focus on retail: He plans to carry up to 600 labels for sale. Stilphen will also offer educational programs, which fell by the wayside at The Trappist. Walnut Creek beer lovers should look for specialty tastings and “meet the brewer” events.

Stilphen, who hopes to open this month, recommends these three warm-weather beers.


1541 Giammona Drive, Walnut Creek, (925) 210-1147, beer-shop.org.


Beer Picks


1

The Beer:

iStout
Imperial Stout

The Brewer:

8 Wired Brewing Co.
Blenheim, New Zealand

Stilphen Says:

“Brewed by a Danish brewer in New Zealand, a very impressive Russian Imperial Stout.”


2

The Beer:

Drink’in the Sun
Wheat Ale

The Brewer:

Mikkeller
Copenhagen, Denmark

Stilphen Says:

“A low-alcohol ‘lawnmower’ beer. Currently on tap at The Trappist, this could be the ultimate hot-weather beer.”


3

The Beer:

Jack D’Or
Dry Saison

The Brewer:

Pretty Things Beer
and Ale Project
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Stilphen Says:

“A lighter golden-ish ale—it has a nice, solid, medium body, not too high alcohol.”

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