Yep, you heard me. Skeptical? Then consider this — in an area of no more than maybe three city blocks, the rejuvenated Downtown boasts no less than THREE legit beer bars (disclaimer, I’ve only been to one). Plus, a new microbrewery has opened elsewhere in town.
First Street Alehouse. I’ve been here several times, including its original postage-stamp-sized location next door. It’s easily three times that size now, and even then there was a half-hour wait for a table — at 4-freaking-30 PM. 24 taps here, and it speaks to how great this place is when Pliny the Elder is one of them, and I passed.
I took the opportunity to try a brew from the aforementioned new brewery — Altamont Beer Works‘ Shelter IPA. The name is a reference to the Stones’ infamous 1969 Altamont concert (they advise you to say “Gimme a Shelter” when you order one). It’s a good one, a little lighter in body than a lot of IPA’s, but that should be just fine during the searing Livermore summers.
Livermore Saloon. Full disclosure, in a former life I used to co-own the wine shop right next door, and I never went in this place. Back then it was a dive. The Beer Baron bought the place in 2011 and turned it into a craft beer hangout with 22 taps, emphasizing local brews. He also runs a couple of stores — Bottles, in El Sobrante, and Perry’s Liquor, also in Livermore. Where was this guy 15 years ago?
Tap 25. In Blacksmith Square, which is a cool little hangout. Several businesses operate here, including a wine bar and a couple of tasting rooms. They all share a common courtyard, where you can bring your bring your wine, beer, and/or food out and enjoy the live music. As the name suggests, they have 25 handles, all American, with the majority from California.
If you’re keeping score, that’s 71 taps within easy stumbling distance, and that’s not even mentioning the numerous wine bars and tasting rooms in town. Make sure to bring plenty of water, and a driver.