CRAFT BEER BOOMApr 06, 2016 05:47PM ● By Pam Kessler
There’s certainly no shortage of craft brews to taste - over 2300 breweries are cultivating crafts with another 1,500 in development. And the Bay Area, with its penchant for food and local production, has cradled the craft beer movement dating back to Triple Rock in Berkeley and Mendocino Brewing Co in Hopland. Today, the Bay boasts some of the top selling brewing companies in the country; notably Lagunitas in Petaluma which ranked No. 13 on the Brewers Association’s Top 50 U.S. Craft Brewing Companies, a list that was topped by Anheuser-Busch and Miller Coors.
WHERE TO DRINK CRAFT BEER
ØL Beercafe & Bottle Shop: Trappist owners Chuck Stiphen and Aaron Porter modeled their Walnut Creek pub after European bottle shops. Quality crafts emerge from 18 changing taps and hundreds of fresh bottles from around the world. Beer Café is all about beer culture and a place to try new brews. 1541 Giammona Drive, WC, (925)210-1147
The Stadium Pub: With dozens of drafts on tap, The Stadium Pub boasts a solid selection of craft brews, from well-known Anchor Steam (SF) and Sierra Nevada (Chico), to Full Sail, Bitch Creek, and Jagged Edge IPA from Black Diamond Brewing Co out of Concord. For those in the mood for Belgian ale, Stadium has a full range to sip in bottles while catching your favorite game. 1420 Lincoln Ave, WC, (925)256-7302
Metro: Metro in Lafayette delivers a sophisticated dining experience and a beer list as stylish as its menu.Taste local brews like Racer 5 IPA from Bear Republic (Healdsburg) or Prohibition from Speakeasy (SF). Metro also touts Rampage on tap, an Imperial IPA, from Black Diamond Brewing. (Rampage is all business at 9.0% ABV.)This is the place to sip after work on the outdoor patio. 3524 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925)284-4422
Corners Tavern: With 16 beers on tap, Corner’s pours everything from Walnut Creek’s up-and-coming local brewery, Calicraft, to the oldest in the world, Weihenstepha, out of Germany. It’s a good spot to grab a craft brew at the bar with a house-made pretzel or pork slider 1342 Broadway Plaza, WC, (925) 948-8711
Triple Rock: As the Bay Area’s oldest brew pub, Triple Rock has a rich history of delivering the best in craft beer. Opened in 1986 by brothers John and Reid Martin, Triple Rock beers grew out of experimentation and practice. Now, head brewer Jeff Kempe crafts Berkeley favorites like Pinnacle Pale Ale and Red Rock Ale and saves Monkey Head Arboreal Ale for Thursday night crowds. At 8% ABV, the malty amber ale is a great way to kick off a long weekend.1920 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, (510)843-2739
Ben and Nick’s: Just a short walk from Rockridge Bart Station, Ben and Nick’s is the place to drink some of the best craft beer from across the country. With 18 on tap, thirsty patrons can sample favorite craft brews, such as Russian River’s Pliny the Elder (winner of the gold medal at the 2006 and 2007 World Beer Cup for best Double IPA). If you want something fruity, the pub also has a cider and Hefeweizen on tap. 5612 College Ave, Oakland, (510)923-0327
BEER AND CHEESE It may surprise you to discover how seamlessly assertive cheeses meld with beer. Long a partner to wine, cheese and beer form a harmonic convergence. Cheeses are high in fat, creamy and mouth-coating. Beer, due to its carbonation, is brisk and palate cleansing. Here are some successful pairings to try:
Hard/Firm Cheese (Gouda or Cheddar): Pairs best with pilsners, brown ales, and imperial stouts.
Blue Cheese: Strong flavor pairs well with strong beers like Indian Pale Ales or Imperial IPAs. A traditional IPA works well with gorgonzola while an Imperial is best with an American blue.
Natural Rind Cheese: Best with golden or blonde ales and traditional British-style ales. A Lancashire cheese and British-style bitter ale make the perfect combination to bring out the best in both beer and cheese.
Washed-Rind Cheese: Bathed in brine, or even better, bathed in beer, taste best with Belgian-style ale.