Okay, so technically it IS SF Beer Week, but since I’m an East Bay native (from wayback when the 510 was still the 415 and the phones had dials on them and were mounted on walls), here are some highlights from the “other” side of the Bay Bridge.
For details on all of these events and the most up-to-date list, check out sfbeerweek.org.
East Bay Beer Week Kick Off — 21st Amendment Brewery, San Leandro (ticketed, $65-90)
The single Opening Gala is on hold for one more year, so once again each chapter of the Bay Area Brewers Guild is hosting a regional kick-off party. Your ticket includes unlimited tastes from regional breweries. Live music and food will also be available. Check each region’s event for time and specific details. (If you’re going to the SF kickoff on Saturday, I’ll see you there!)
Grain to Glass: A Farmer, Maltster and Brewer(s) Walk into a Bar — Admiral Maltings, Alameda (ticketed, $20)
The East Bay is the proud home of one of the few craft maltsters in the country, and their phenomenal pub, The Rake. As they say, malt is the soul of beer, and your ticket includes a tour and tasting at with the farmers and brewers who, well, farm and brew. (Pro-tip — even if there isn’t an event, get over to The Rake anyway. Their tap list is mind-blowing, and they now also serve cocktails and spirits made with Admiral Maltings malt.)
23rd Double IPA Festival — The Bistro, Hayward (ticketed, $80-100)
This perennial favorite, which predates Beer Week itself by a good decade, is considered the Holy Grail for Hop Heads. I first tasted Pliny the Elder here back in the day, and it was mind-blowing. Prepare to get your palate wrecked!
Saison Saturday — Sante Adairius, Oakland (pay as you go)
I adore Saisons, and Sante Adairius makes some of the best. Bay Area folks were thrilled when they opened their Oakland outpost, in the former Trappist space. Joining them will be Saisons from Seattle’s Fair Isle Brewing, Missouri’s Side Project Brewing, and other special guests. The Holy Grail for … Saison Heads??
Pizza Port Tie Dye Party, Tap Takeover & Fundraiser — Degrees Plato, Oakland (pay as you go)
Anytime you can enjoy great beer and support a great cause, I’m in! Carlsbad’s Pizza Port Brewing is taking over the taps, including some taproom-only styles not usually seen in these parts. Make yourself a tie-dye shirt and support BAYS (Bay Area Young Survivors, a breast cancer support group for younger people).
Hopperoni — Armistice Brewing, Richmond (pay as you go)
Beer and pepperoni … hellOOOooo?!?!?! Bonus — Armistice is releasing their IPA collaboration with soon-to-the-East-Bay Cellarmaker, Duelling Mullets, and their new DIPA, Stinkerbell. Double bonus — every Monday at Armistice is $5 Monday, INCLUDING TODAY! So, to recap — pepperoni, fresh IPA (and DIPA), and $5 pints. What are you waiting for???
Pricey, yes. But it’s a six-course aphrodisiac dinner with beer pairings. A competition where truly everyone wins, including love! Awwww. Hurry, tickets are limited and this usually sells out.
Beer & Metal Show ft. Hell Fire + Oxide — The Golden Bull, Oakland (ticketed, $12-20)
For those seeking a bit more, um, aggressive Valentine’s experience, Golden Bull (co-owned by fellow Pinole Valley Spartan Billie Joe Armstrong, who also plays in a little band called Green Day) is hosting a concert with two local Metal bands. Oh, and Cellarmaker’s taking over the taps, including pouring their collab IPA with Hell Fire, Medieval Cowboys Hazy WC IPA. Bang your hop head!
Beer Is Black History ft. Hella Coastal, Oak Park & Draught Season — Paulista Brazilian Taproom & Kitchen, Oakland (pay as you go)
“Beer Is Black History” is a national collaboration effort to spotlight Black-owned breweries. Paulista is hosting the release of the local version with Black-owned breweries Hella Coastal of Oakland and Oak Park Brewing of Sacramento. Celebrate Beer Week AND Black History Month!
Livermoron Brew Crawl & Food Drive — Downtown Livermore (pay as you go)
I have a soft spot for Livermore. Spent many a weekend there as a kid (a million years ago) hanging out with the relatives, and sometime later (a half-million years ago), I co-ran a wine shop in the heart of Downtown, which has since bloomed into a destination all its own.
Livermoron IPA is an all-Livermore-brewery collaboration, which will be poured at several locations along First Street. Attendees will also have the opportunity to donate to the Alameda County Community Food Bank.
Trivia Night & Danksy Cold IPA Collab Release — Epidemic Ales, Concord (pay as you go)
Three things I love — Epidemic Ales, Morgan Territory Brewing, and Cold IPAs. You can get them all here, as Epidemic releases their collab with MT, Danksy Cold IPA. And if you’re a know-it-all, prove it during trivia night.
BTW, Morgan Territory will soon be opening their first satellite location, in downtown Pleasant Hill! I’m quite thrilled, as that’s a hell of a lot closer to me than Tracy is.
Firkin & Fire Cask Fest — Admiral Maltings, Alameda (ticketed, $55)
I’ve already waxed poetic about The Rake, but now it goes next-level. Few things in life are as sublime as beer pulled straight from a cask, and your ticket entitles you to unlimited tastes of12 (!) of them, all made with Admiral malts (natch). Plus, a BBQ dinner is included. I mean, come on!
7th Annual East Bay Non-IPA Event — Tiger’s Taproom, Oakland (pay as you go)
After a week of IPAs-a-plenty, your palate might be a little puckered. Enjoy brews made specifically for Beer Week, as well as special library selections, all of the non-India-Pale variety.
Celebration of Craft Beer Festival — Trumer Brewery, Berkeley (ticketed, $85)
The bookend to the kick-off parties, this festival put on by the California Craft Beer Association celebrates all that’s great about the Bay and California. Ticket includes unlimited tastings from 30 breweries, and dinner! (BTW, when I attended a few years back, Russian River was pouring Younger, and the line wasn’t completely stupid. Just sayin’.)
Pinball and Pints — Pacific Pinball Museum, Alameda (ticketed, $50)
Unlimited beers and unlimited pinball on over 100 machines. Enter tournaments and win prizes. This usually sells out, so act fast.
East Brother 6th Year Anniversary — East Brother Brewing, Richmond (pay as you go)
Another one of my Richmond locals. Enjoy special new releases, food trucks, and live music. A great hang and a nice way to wrap up the week’s festivities.
Wherever you go and whatever you do, make sure to do it safely and use public transportation and/or ride shares. And always, always, always, TIP WELL!!! All event organizers and staff are hustling double-time to give you the best experiences possible, be sure to show them the love!