(Sorry about the poor quality of the English-language captioning.)
Last weekend I had the opportunity to check out the digs for Five Suns Brewing in downtown Martinez (California).
Five Suns is the brainchild of five friends (though I think a couple of ’em might be brothers) who decided to open a brewery together. By putting in a great deal of “sweat equity” into their space they’ve managed to put together what is already a pleasant, welcoming, comfy-feeling place, with a nice bar, vintage sofas paired with modern tables, set in a modern “industrial” space with pleasing interplay between cement, wood, old brick work, and exposed pipes.
They are set up as a 3-bbl. nano brewery, and the plan is to initially be open only on weekends (I presume that means Fri. evening through Sunday), until they can develop enough of a following to be able to afford to increase their brewing capacity.
A big regulatory hurdle has been surpassed with the granting of their ABC license this week, which clears the way for Five Suns to produce and sell beer on premises. Other local and state permits still need to be cleared, however. Thus, an opening date has not been set –they wouldn’t even speculate on it– but the owners told me they expected to launch some soft-opening events for friends and backers early in the coming year.
Five Suns Brewing
701 Escobar St Unit C
Update (12/19/2017): Five Suns Brewing is now open! Check their website for the hours.
Well, it has been quite a while since I posted anything. I got sick and then busy, what with Thanksgiving thrown in there and a few other things. Pretty much all fun (except for the being sick part) but they kept me busy.
I did have a couple of posts in mind, both on beer fests. One, noting that the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), America’s largest commercial beer festival, had taken place in Colorado. Though I didn’t go, I was enthused because my friend Matt Sager won a bronze medal for the Danville Brewing Co. with Chux DIPA. The other was a note on Lima Beer Week, which was taking place at the same time.
In any case, I missed the window of opportunity and both events are now long over and done.
What is not done and over with is that Concord’s Black Diamond Brewing Company remains shuttered. Apparently for good.
An October 17th post (since deleted) on their Facebook page showed an image taken of a sign taped to their door, which employees reportedly found when they showed up to work that morning:
Due to unfortunate circumstances the locks have been changed and Black Diamond Brewery is closed for the foreseeable future. Thank you to everyone who supported us during our 23 year run!
Naturally, that led to speculation -since confirmed- that the company was bankrupt.
As things stand now, the doors remain shut and the website is gone.
I had a bit of a soft spot for Black Diamond. Not only was it a longstanding local brewery, but it was, in fact, the first brewpub I ever went to. That was back in their original location at the former Cadillac dealership building in Walnut Creek, with it’s long curving bank of huge windows, which beautifully framed the brewhouse. The food was good as well and it became an early favorite spot for a “date night” without the kids.
After a bit, the restaurant and brewpub closed, and though I started to see Black Diamond beers in stores, I lost track of the brewery for a number of years.
Then, through friends in my home brewing club, I found out that the brewery was in Concord and that it had an attached tap room. Since then, I enjoyed many an event there and got to see how much Black Diamond gave back to the community.
Everyone I met who worked there was really nice and generous. It sucks how the closure went down, and I just hope that they were all taken care of and were able to land back on their feet.
Here’s a collage of some images from a visit I made yesterday to Alvarado Street Brewery’s production facility and tap room in Salinas.
The brewery and tap room had been on my list for a while but, somehow or another, I never managed to get there whenever I was in Salinas. Yesterday, however, I was in town and I had a few spare moments before leaving, so I decided to give it a shot.
The brewery is in an industrial area of town, and if you know Salinas you know that that means mainly agriculture-related businesses. They start their days early, and so things shut down early as well. As I drove to the brewery a little after 5:30 in the afternoon, the area was pretty much deserted except for a couple of guys at a food truck and some straggler semis pulling out of some of the plants. I thought, “Man, this place is dead.”
The tasting room, however, was hopping. Alvarado Street has managed to create a really nice, almost intimate, space in the midst of fermentation tanks and what could’ve been a kind of cold industrial warehouse. Consequently, the place was packed with people –a lot them clearly just off work from the surrounding plants– having a good time and enjoying some quite tasty beers.
After sampling a few of Alvarado Street’s brews, I asked my server to point me to one that I really should not leave without trying. He steered me toward Minesweeper IPA.
Minesweeper is very pleasant 55 IBU, 7% ABV, hazy IPA. It is not as “juicy” nor as bitter as some examples that have come into prominence lately, but that actually enhances its drinkability. My server pointed out that Minesweeper was “the one that really put us on the map.”
Alvarado Street Brewery & Tasting Room
1315 Dayton Street, Suite E
Salinas, CA 93901
Tonight Farm Creek Brewing Co. in Walnut Creek rang “last call” and closed it’s doors to the public for the last time.
On Sept. 11th Farm Creek announced the closing:
Farm Creek Friends,
From the beginning, Farm Creek Brewing has always been about family. And community. We’re proud to be part of an amazing community of supporters and friends. But, we’re missing out on time with our families back home in the south. We can always make more beer, but we can’t make more time.
Heather and I have decided that it’s time for us to create the next chapter of the Farm Creek story.
We will be closing the taproom and brewery in Walnut Creek, California and relocating Farm Creek. The Janinda’s are going home.
The taproom will be open during normal business hours until September 23. We’ll begin disassembling the brewery and taproom shortly after that.
This past year has been an adventure for us and we’re glad we could share it with you. Now, come by the taproom and share another beer with us. And be ready to come visit us on the east coast soon!
Randy and Heather
Farm Creek had recently marked it first anniversary. In the year that it was open, the Janindas had turned Farm Creek into a beloved local institution, the epitome of a small, independent, hard-working and all-hands-on-deck family-owned brewery.
It is fair to say that, though we all wish them well as they relocate to Georgia, they shall be missed.