Off the Rails Brewing is situated on historic Murphy Avenue, right by the Caltrain rail station, in Sunnyvale, California, a larger ‘burb in the South Bay area between San Francisco and San Jose. For the longest time, they were draft-only, but all that changed a few weeks ago when they began canning a few of their brews, including Yolo, their signature “fruity” IPA.
Cold IPA is one of the coolest styles of the summer, and Sierra Nevada Cold Torpedo Cold IPA is looking to legitimize the IPA varietal with national distribution in a mixed sampler pack. Building on the tradition of Torpedo Extra IPA, Cold Torpedo is a new interpretation of the storied West Coast IPA.
The idea of craft beer is often romanticized around the idea of artisan-grown hops, grain, and locally sourced water. But over the years as the craft beer movement has exploded and craft beer’s base has grown wider, some of that sense of craftmanship may have gotten lost in the messaging.
The Bay Area is known for its temperate climate; this past Saturday, it delivered. People enjoyed a gorgeous sunny day as they meandered through Snow Park, which sits adjacent to Lake Merrit. The chilled attitudes and low ABVs at Session Beer Fest 2022 all added up to a laid-back event that felt more like hanging out at one’s favorite beer garden rather than an organized beer festival. It’s one of the aspects that Lauren Young Mortensen, Marketing and Events Manager of Drake’s Brewing, loves about this event.
“Session Fest is a celebration of delicious low ABV beers, amazing people, and the good vibes that come with them. I love this festival because you can join in as new or seasoned drinker to experience amazing local craft beer, and inevitably contribute to the energy that is Session Fest. With an ABV cap of 5% or less, this fest shifts the focus from “what’s your highest ABV?” to amazing flavor and brewing talent.” As their motto says, Less is More.
Much like ordering a flight at a new brewery, mixed packs are a great option when you want to have a variety of beers available to you. If you find yourself unsure what to bring to that summer barbecue or boat ride, variety packs can provide the perfect solution! Fortunately, Firestone Walker has a variety of mixed packs to choose from, including the new IPA Mixed Pack featuring Melon Conspiracy.
It’s been three years since Drake’s Brewing Co. has been able to throw their summer classic with Bike East Bay. But Session Fest is finally back for its eighth year, this Saturday. With no beer over 5% being poured, it is meant to be an easy going afternoon where you get to sample the lower-end ABVs that breweries have to offer. Hopefully, this makes for hangover-free Sunday the next day.
21st Amendment recently released their Imperial IPA collaboration with family-owned hop farm, CLS Farms. Close Encounters of the Hop Kind is a Double IPA using some of the new and innovative hops coming out of Yakima Valley. Eric Desmarais, co-founder of CLS, was on hand at a recent event to walk people through the process that brewers go through to chose certain hops. Using El Dorado, Cashmere, Zappa, and their new CLS-X14 as examples for what different hops evoke and express.
As mindfulness and wellness continue to become a greater focus for beer drinkers, it often feels like having to choose one or the other when it comes to selecting beer. More often than not, drinkers are left deciding between full-flavor, full-body beers with high calorie and carb counts, or sacrificing flavor for lower-calorie, low ABV, better-for-you beers.
Over the past decade, it has become a little easy to take certain elements of the craft beer industry for granted. During that time, the country’s craft brewery count has swelled from just under 2,000 to over 9,000. Similarly, beer festivals, which were once more thoughtfully curated, intimate opportunities to interact with brewers while exploring an exciting array of newly released beers, have grown to become commodities and in many cases, a cash cow for event production companies that rarely have any actual ties to the industry.
This weekend’s Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival will once again boast one of the more impressive lineups of beer producers from across the globe. But despite being such a great problem to have, being presented with such a formidable lineup of all-star beers, can sometimes feel a bit daunting. So we decided to help sift through the sea of phenomenal beers to highlight a few that have particularly piqued our interest. More selfishly, while we could easily just stick to the incredible lineup of Lagers available at the FWIBF, this was more an exercise in helping us to plan our own routes so we’re not scrambling the day of the festival.
Are you looking for some old-school dank bitterness with some new school hops? Hit Me With Your Best Hops, just might be the answer. Claimstake Brewing has definitely dialed up the bitterness but did it in a way without knocking you out.
We are just a week and a half away from the grand return of the 2022 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival taking place in Paso Robles, CA on Saturday, June 4. Having built a reputation as one of the most celebrated festivals within the craft beer industry the FWIBF returns after a COVID-induced hiatus with another all-star cast of breweries.
Not only are some of the best of the best breweries represented from around the globe, but a festival of this caliber always brings out the rarest beers as well. In addition to the usual hyped barrel-aged styles typically found at destination festivals, it’s refreshing to see a wider representation of world-class lagers as well.
Be sure to check back as we break down some of the can’t-miss beers to try at this year’s Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival, but for now, enjoy a look at the initial pour list. Tickets are SOLD OUT for this year’s festival as last year’s ticket holders were offered first right of refusal. Keep in mind, as with all beer festivals, pour lists are subject to change, but this serves as a nice preview of what’s anticipated from each brewery.
San Francisco-based Tate Huffard is an avid outdoorsman with a passion for craft beer. The two typically go hand-in-hand quite well – what better way to finish off a bike ride or a day on the slopes than stopping at a local brewery afterwards? However, over time, he noticed that the “question of a hangover” started to get in the way of the things he wanted to do.
Join us as we road trip across the United States in what is to be a follow up article to the Craft Beer Across America article. In that article we explored a craft beer from every state (excluding districts and territories) to showcase some of the unknown, or lesser-known crafter beers that the U.S. craft beer scene has to offer. While that article focused mainly on the beers, this article focuses on specific breweries from a region we think would be fun to visit. We’re going to sprinkle in a couple of bigger craft breweries in each six-brewery regional section just to help spread the word for some of the not-so-big breweries in the mix.
This is by no means a “best of” brewery list. We just wanted to highlight some breweries that brew excellent beer and have great environments and to possibly fine out more about what they do other than brew beer. Please join us as we start our road trip with the Pacific Region which includes Washington, Oregon and California.
With Covid numbers surging yet again in the winter of 2021, the Bay Area Brewers Guild knew that they would have to go with an alternate plan for the kick off to Beer Week. The usual opening gala for the start of San Francisco Beer Week would have to be split up, five different venues, each one in a different region of the Bay Area. As I did not have the time or liver to do all five in a night, only one was attended.
What comes to your mind when you think of a comfort beer? That beer you open and that first taste conjures up a feeling of relaxation. Maybe it brings back memories of sitting around a campfire with friends. Maybe just sitting on a patio watching the night sky or maybe just a quiet spot to relax.
Modern Times Beer announced on Monday via their Instagram accounts and a blog on their website that they will be closing four of their satellite taprooms. Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, and Santa Barbara will all be closed for good after Friday, Feb 18.
With somehow only a year without San Francisco Beer Week, this weekend marks its comeback. February 11-20 brings with it 10 days of beer fests, brewery activities, and beer releases. Although the usual grand, almost 150-brewery attended, gala that usually kicks off the week has had to be altered, it’s good to see that such an anticipated yearly event has returned.