Better with beer

Silicon Valley Beer Week celebrates craft brew with local events

The second annual Silicon Valley Beer Week will kick off next Friday, July 25, with brew-centric festivities lasting through Aug. 2. A total of 75 local venues, restaurants and breweries will host more than 200 events from tap takeovers and food pairings to educational forums and more.

In addition to celebrating the region's vibrant brewing and culinary traditions, the week-long event, sponsored by San Jose restaurant Naglee Park Garage and newspaper Metro Silicon Valley, will provide beer novices and brew masters alike with much to learn, sample and experience.

Chris Esparza, owner of Blackbird Tavern in San Jose and producer of Beer Week's opening and closing events, said the multitude of venues will "light the whole South Bay peninsula with things to do."

"All venues will bring their creative spirit," he said.

In addition to food and beer pairings, venues will aim to prove that beer goes well with music, movies, burlesque dancing and variety shows, to name a few.

Refuge in San Carlos, for example, will host a movie night during which they will screen old cowboy flicks in conjunction with a new brew collaboration called Spaghetti Western, while other venues like Tied House Brewery in Mountain View will go low-key with special food and beer flight pairings.

In addition to venues curating their own spin on the celebration, there will be "a lot of rarity," Esparza said. Seldom-seen quaffs will make local appearances, such as Russian River Brewing Co.'s Yvan the Great, a Belgian-style blonde to be poured at St. Stephens Green in Mountain View, or Allagash Brewing Company's Odyssey, a dark wheat beer aged in oak barrels, which will be available at Steins Beer Garden in downtown Mountain View.

In addition to cult favorite Russian River, Beer Week venues will host other West Coast brewing darlings like Ninkasi from Eugene, Oregon; Hangar 24 from Redlands and San Francisco-based Speakeasy Ales & Lagers.

Esparza said he hopes the events will attract a wide variety of people, from parents of small children or the senior crowd to young, trendy 20-somethings, home brewers, master brewers and casual sippers alike.

Ultimately though, the festival is about enjoying the brew.

"It's a beer lover's paradise," Esparza said.


Special events will punctuate Beer Week on either end. A kick-off party will be held on Friday, July 25, at Blackbird Tavern in San Jose. Blackbird Tavern's chef, along with the kitchen head from Naglee Park Garage, are preparing a menu to pair with specialty beers available for free tasting. Beer Week will culminate with the Summer KraftBrew Fest, which will feature more than 60 American craft beers, Belgian and German imports, home brews, food, craft beer panel discussions and more at Gordon Biersch Brewery in San Jose .

Below are just a few of the local events that will take place during Silicon Valley Beer Week. For more information, visit svbeerweek.com.

Vino Locale (431 Kipling St., Palo Alto)

This downtown Palo Alto wine bar wants in on the brew fun. Vino Locale will give a special nod to local brewer Palo Alto Brewing Company, pairing tapas with a tasting flight that will spotlight favorites like the Hoppy Ending Pale Ale and the Cool Beanz Coffee Porter. Come taste on July 30 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; admission is $5.

Steins Beer Garden (895 Villa St., Mountain View)

Craft breweries Allagash and The Bruery will join forces to take over the taps at this Mountain View beer garden on July 28. With a total of 14 guest taps from the two breweries, Stein's will be pouring specialty brews with names like Sucre, White Chocolate and BeRazzled from 5 p.m. until the beer runs out.

Stein's will also host a pop-up dinner on July 30 from 5:45 to 11 p.m. featuring beer from Redlands-based Hangar 24. Favorites like the Farmhouse saison and chocolate porter will be paired with a specially curated prix fixe menu. There are a limited number of seats available for this one-night-only event, so make a reservation by emailing Brittany@steinsbeergarden.com or by calling 650-386-1367 Seating times are available from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

St. Stephens Green (223 Castro St., Mountain View)

This popular Mountain View Irish pub will tap special beers every night from Monday to Friday from 5 to 10 p.m. Come Monday for Yvan the Great, a special release from Santa Rosa's Russian River Brewing Company, and stay all week long for Sierra Nevada's Southern Hemisphere IPA (and IPA-battered fish and chips), Hangar 24's Orange Wheat and Speakeasy's Metropolis Lager. On Thursday night, the pub will serve samplers of all four of these Beer Week brews. View each day's specials here.

Molly Magees (241 Castro St., Mountain View)

Ninkasi dominates at the Irish pub from July 27 to 30, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Come join like-minded zealots in a worship of the popular Eugene, Oreg. craftbrewery or just stay for a five dollar pint. Molly Magees will tap Ninkasi's Total Domination IPA, the Oatis Oatmeal Stout the Believer Double Red Ale.

Tied House Brewery and Cafe (954 Villa St., Mountain View)

The Mountain View microbrewery will pair new menu items with flights of its own beer from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on July 28. Diners can taste combinations like stout-braised lamb shank with the brewery's Oatmeal Stout or house-made sausages served with a malty American amber. View the menu and pairings here.

Refuge Menlo Park (1143 Crane St., Menlo Park)

Refuge's Menlo Park location will feature two farther-flung European breweries with tap takeovers during Beer Week. They'll pour from Brasserie St. Feuillien (a brewery in Le Roeulx, Belgium) on July 26 and Netherlands brewery La Trappe on Aug. 1.

San Mateo County Brewery Festival (2421 Broadway St., Redwood City)

On July 26, eight San Mateo County breweries will join forces in one space to showcase their brewing talents -- and support the San Mateo County Code 30 Foundation, a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to families of injured or deceased county Sheriff's Office employees. The event is 1 to 6 p.m.; $25 pre-purchase online admission includes a commemorative pint glass and 32 ounces of beer samples from local breweries like Redwood City's Freewheel Brewing Company and San Carlos' Devil's Canyon Brewing Company. General admission is $30. For tickets, visit code30.org.

Refuge San Carlos (963 Laurel St., San Carlos)

The gastropub's original San Carlos location will celebrate in true Belgian style by tapping kegs from San Marcos brewery The Lost Abbey and serving tasting portions of all their beers. The restaurant will also sell limited release bottles for on and off-premise enjoyment. Look out for these Belgian favorites on July 26 from noon to 10 p.m.

Staying true to the beer lover's motto that anything is made better with brew, Refuge San Carlos will also host a Spaghetti Western night, at which the restaurant will show old cowboy flicks alongside a new libation brewed up by two craft beer companies. The full-bodied stout, a collaboration between Oklahoma craft brewer Prairie and Italian up-and-comer Brewfist, is aptly named "Spaghetti Western." Come dressed in your finest chaps and spurs for something extra on July 30 from 5 to 9 p.m.

Also of note: The restaurant will tap a collection of barrel-aged beers, a brewing method that ages the beer in barrels often previously used for wines and spirits, on July 31 from 5 to 9 p.m.

Fibbar Magees (156 South Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale)

Located in downtown Sunnyvale, this authentic Irish pub will have several beers on tap and in bottles from Petaluma standout Lagunitas Brewing Company on July 26. The restaurant will also feature beers from Karl Strauss Brewing Company alongside recommended food pairings on July 30.

Faultline Brewing Company (1235 Oakmead Parkway, Sunnyvale)

Whether you're IPA-only, Kolsch crazy or believe that every beer has something to offer the world, celebrate with Faultline in a special reverence to various beer styles, one for each day of the week. From July 28 to Aug. 1, the Sunnyvale brewery will host beer and food pairings, focusing on the brewery's hefeweizen, pale ale, stout, kolsch and IPA.

Online editor Elena Kadvany contributed to this story.

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