Beer 511

Exploring the Craft Beer and Homebrew Scenes in Peru (Country Code 51) and the USA (Country Code 1)

Category: Bay Area Beer (Page 1 of 5)

Five Suns Brewing (Martinez, CA)

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 won’t even speculate on it– but the owners told me they expect to launch some soft-opening events for friends and backer early in the coming year.

 

Five Suns Brewing
701 Escobar St Unit C
Martinez, CA

www.fivesunsbrewing.com

 

Black Diamond Brewing Co.

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.

 

Farm Creek Brewing closing and relocating

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!

Cheers!

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.

Drake’s Aroma Coma 2x IPA

In July, San Leandro’s Drake’s  Brewing Company released their latest edition of Aroma Coma IPA.  The company sent me a sample bottle, along with a nifty branded glass to drink it in, which I found waiting for me upon my return from Peru.

The 2017 Aroma Coma is double IPA.  The brewery press release indicates that they have added more Citra hops and more rye malt and light caramel malt. The ABV has also been bumped up to 8.0%.

I found Aroma Coma 2x IPA to be intensely hoppy –as befits a double IPA– with citrus notes, particularly grapefruit and a touch of orange. It is malty, which helps balance the hoppiness.  It is a big beer, but not over-the-top in any regard, and is easy to drink. I’ve gotta say, I found it altogether pleasant and a lovely way to treat myself after the workday.

 

Tasty IPA

A little over a week ago 21st Amendment Brewery in San Leandro (CA) released the latest in its “Insurrection” series, an IPA brewed in collaboration with and named after homebrewer Mike McDole, aka “Tasty”.

As explained in the brewery’s press release:

At one point, Mike “Tasty” McDole was just a mild-mannered home brewer who stumbled into the universe of The Brewing Network, the premier multimedia website for brewers and beer lovers. A regular on the Network’s “Session” show, Tasty gained notoriety with advice to listeners that was 50% informative, 35% conversation and the remainder too inappropriate for this paragraph.

Today, Tasty’s legendary status among the craft beer community is trademarked by his award-winning home brew recipes and his signature caricature sticker, which you’ll find affixed at nearly every good beer place around the country. And so with great pleasure, and McDole’s personal sticker of approval, 21st Amendment Brewery presents a delicious collaboration, Tasty IPA, a beer that is rooted in friendship, created for the common love of home brewing and dedicated to the American beer beauty known as Tasty McDole.

Tasty is, of course, a regular at The Hop Grenade tap room and bottle shop in Concord, which is also home to the Brewing Network’s studio.   As it happens, Mike is also a longtime member of my homebrew club, the Diablo Order of Zymiracle Enthusiasts (DOZE), and a friend of mine.  A bunch of us DOZErs met him at the Hop Grenade on Monday night for Tasty IPA’s premiere on draught outside the brewery itself.

Tasty IPA is a 6.8% ABV, straw-colored IPA hopped with CTZ in the boil, and dry-hopped with Citra, Mosaic, and Ekuanot lupulin powder.  The aroma is crisp, with some citrus and pine, while there is some pine and fruits in the flavor.

The word “balanced” maybe gets overused, but in this case its use is warranted I think. Even though Tasty IPA clocks in at 70 IBUs, one would’d never guess it.  The hops don’t smack one in the face.  There is a pronounced bitterness, to be sure, but it plays nicely off the maltiness of the brew. It goes down really easily, believe me.

Tasty IPA is a really nice beer, and a fitting tribute to its namesake.

 

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