Peninsula by the pint: Summer 2017 craft beer highlights in Silicon Valley
On the eve of Silicon Valley Beer Week, we checked in with a few of our favorite local breweries to see what’s in store for the second half of summer 2017. Hang on to your pint glasses! These brewers have big plans.
This Redwood City brew company was established in 2012 to brew top-notch traditional English cask-conditioned ales (read our profile and tell us you don’t want to try these). More recently Freewheel has expanded to serve English-inspired pub food (but with a California twist) at its brewery and pub, which also hosts a weekly pub quiz, live music, and stand-up comedy.
They’re also expanding into keg and bottle beers out of necessity, says marketing director Devin Roberts, noting that only two taprooms on the Peninsula are equipped to serve cask ales (Taplands in Santa Clara, one of our favorites, and Armstrong Brewing in South San Francisco).
Freewheel will release a lively summertime Jamaican stout on July 21 as part of its mission of keeping with British tradition while experimenting with different flavors. Events-wise, the cask ale specialists are hosting a free English Beer 101 class Tuesday, July 25 during SV Beer Week with head brewer Alicia Blue, who is American but has perfected her craft abroad in both England and Germany. Thursday’s Firkin Friends Fest (July 27) will be a tap takeover featuring six other breweries from around the Bay for a cask ale lover’s paradise. (See their FB page for all the events.)
Freewheel Brewing, 3736 Florence, Redwood City
This small brewery, which derives its name from the compound that gives hops their bitterness, was founded by a brother-sister duo a few years ago and currently specializes in hoppy beers like IPAs, sour ales and really fun stouts (how cool does the chocolate coconut stout sound?). The closest thing Alpha Acid has to a core beer is 650 IPA which is brewed every other month or so, but the brewery keeps things fresh by brewing two new beers a week.
During SV Beer Week, Alpha Acid will be participating in Freewheel’s July 27 Firkin Friends Fest. The next day, the Final Friday event will feature Alpha Acid’s Triple IPA, called Final Final, a dry hopped brew made only twice a year.
Saturday the 29th’s release party of Barrel Constrictor, an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels, is sure to bring all the Bay’s die-hard craft brew fans to the yard. Alpha Acid will have 400 bottles (two per person) and also some variants like vanilla bourbon.
Alpha Acid Brewing, 121 Industrial Rd, Suite 11, Belmont
Family owned and operated for 15 years, Devil’s Canyon in San Carlos produces over 10,000 barrels a year and distributes both domestically and internationally. They’ve won awards for their sustainable business practices, and unsurprisingly for their delicious beer as well.
For all the outdoorsy types, Devil’s Canyon partners with REI to host free bi-weekly tastings at Coyote Point, complete with camping hammocks and portable fire pits for marshmallow roasting. For a much different vibe, the brewery will be serving up its refreshing beer at the Industrial Arts Horsepower Car Show on September 9th, and will host Sarah and Vinnie radio show regular Scott Capurro on September 16th.
In terms of new beers, the brewery just released its Eureka SMaSH single malt and single hop beer, a floral earthy brew that lacks the bitterness of many earthy beers, and will soon release Golden Strong, a Belgian-style strong ale brewed with golden raspberries and local honey, as part of its Kaleidoscope series. We can’t wait to try it!
Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company, 935 Washington St, San Carlos
Childhood friends and Bay Area natives, the founders of this brewery named their venture after the Hawaiian word for “mixed,” because of their ethnic backgrounds and because of the intricate mixing process that beer brewing entails.
Hapa’s will be among other breweries celebrating the kick-off of SV Beer Week in San Jose’s Forager Tasting Room on July 21, where its new beer will be featured on tap. The zero IBU pale ale is a unique, refreshing collaboration with Golden State Brewery.
To wrap up a great week of beer, Hapa’s will release its new summer beer, a light, smooth kolsch, during its July 29th release party. Great music will of course be on hand as well, with Caelin Ann and the Shades of Grey Band performing live for the final time this summer.
Hapa’s Brewing, 416 Lincoln Ave, San Jose
Here’s how big a beer nerd Loma Brewing Company brewmaster Warren Billups is: his beer menu not only lists ABV (duh) and IBU (obviously) for each brew, it also lists Standard Reference Method value (a color index), something called “Final Gravity” and the varieties of grist (cereal grain) and hops used. Meaning you could conceivably follow Billups’ recipe and brew his beers yourself. Only you couldn’t, because he and fellow Loma brewer Brogan Hunter are the best in all the land. Earlier this month Loma won Brewery of the Year at the California State Fair, and also won blue ribbons for its Summer Is Coming Maibock and its Appeasement American IPA.
About that IPA name, Billups, himself a German beer enthusiast, notes: “You gotta have an IPA in order to pay the bills and get a large amount of people to come in the door. And it’s a 7% IPA.” Consider us both appeased and curious.
Sadly, Loma is not participating in SV Beer Week, but you might run into Billups at Freewheel Brewing sippin’ on a cask ale. “They’re possibly my favorite in the Bay Area,” he says of the Redwood City brewery. Aw! We love a good brewmance.
Loma Brewing Company, 130 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos