Spring has arrived, bringing plenty of opportunities to get outdoors, attend brewery festivals and, of course, drink some beer. Here’s what’s new in California’s craft beer world.
NEW TAPROOMS: Seems Oakland has a new beer district. The opening of Oakland United Beerworks‘ new taproom at 262 Second St., near Jack London Square, at the end of March is great news for beer lovers. With four breweries in that area, the Beerworks has teamed up with Federation Brewing, Independent Brewing and Original Pattern Brewing to create the Jack London Brewing District. Soon you’ll be able to pick up a district beer map at any of the breweries, as well as at the Visit Oakland offices in Jack London Square.
There’s a cider bar in the area, too: Crooked City Cider Taphouse at 222 Broadway, with a taps lineup that includes their own cider, along with other local ciders and craft beers.
SUDS STATS: The Brewers Association just released its annual Top 50 list ranking craft breweries based on sales volume. Sierra Nevada, Firestone Walker and Stone Brewing all ranked in the top 10, and seven more California breweries — including the Bay Area’s 21st Amendment — are in the top 50. That means the Golden State accounts for 20 percent of the nation’s top breweries.
NEW SIPS: Speaking of Stone Brewing, the San Diego brewery just released a new big beer called Stone Espresso Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout. Brewed with Magnum and Belma hops plus espresso, it weighs in at 10.6 percent alcohol by volume. It’s available now on draft, in six-pack cans and 22-ounce bottles.
And if you’re a German beer fan, there’s this: Paulaner’s Hefe-Weizen is Germany’s best-selling wheat beer. Seeing the surge of canned beer sales in the U.S., the German brewery is rolling out its traditional, unfiltered beer in 16.9-ounce cans. In addition to the Hefe, their Original Munich Lager, a helles, will also be available in cans this month.
BEERVENTURES: Concord’s 10th annual Spring Beer Festival returns to Todos Santos Plaza from 12 to 4 p.m. March 30, with music, food and samples from more than 60 craft breweries. Tickets start at $40; www.thebrewingnetwork.com.
Head for Danville on April 4 for the second annual Shops & Hops Craft Brew Stroll, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and begins at the corner of Railroad and Prospect Avenues. Tickets, $25, include beer, light bites and music; museumsrv.org/shops-and-hops.
I mentioned Santa Rosa’s Battle of the Brews on April 6 and San Francisco’s SF Cider Summit April 13 in my last column, but you’ll also want to mark April 20’s festivities on your calendar. Three different beer festivals will roll out across the bay that day, starting with Oakland’s Juicy Brews West Fest and Martinez’s Bay Area Craft Beer Festival, both from 12 to 4 p.m., and then the San Francisco International Beer Festival at Fort Mason from 7 to 10 p.m.
Contact Jay R. Brooks at BrooksOnBeer@gmail.com.
Oakland’s new beer district, Sierra Nevada Brewing news and more