My series of brewery day trips took me through the Bay Area, from Santa Cruz Bohemian Trail at Martinez’s beer scene. This time, I headed to Oakland, where at least a dozen breweries beckoned me, including one named after its neighborhood—Temescal—and another that pays homage to something quite unexpected.
Temescal founder Sam Gilbert was trained as a home brewer – he co-founded the BrewLab SF collective in 2011 – when he opened his own brewery six years ago. Soon after, he made Ryan Hammond his head brewer. Temescal has a production brewery nearby, but on this day I head to the original brewery and bar to check out their beer – and the food truck rotation, which ranges from Diggy Dogs to Satay by the Bay.
The brewery makes four beers year-round, including the flagship Pilsner, a clean, modern take on a German-style pilsner. They also make Hazy, a hazy IPA brewed with Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe hops. There’s Especial, a Mexican-style lager, a light, easy-drinking beer made with Eraclea barley, an Italian variety, and West, which is a West Coast IPA.
You’ll also find quarterly seasonal releases, bimonthly collaborations, and a unique new beer every week, like 49 Mile West Coast Pilsner, which won a bronze medal at this year’s World Beer Cup. June brings a new Anniversary Ale, and in July they’ll be releasing Crowd Favorite, a hazy IPA with Mosaic, Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops.
Details: The bar is open 4-10 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 12-10 p.m. Saturday, and 12-9 p.m. Sunday at 4115 Telegraph Ave. Find details (and food truck schedule) at www.temescalbrewing.com.
Ghost Town Brewing
This part of Oakland once had several coffin factories – hence its name. But the history of the brewery is musical. In 2012, home brewers Ryan Nosek, Sam Carr-Prindle, Adam Hill and Jason Gehman were members of a heavy metal band, when they came up with the idea of brewing beer to help pay for their rental space . They started brewing with a tiny 1 barrel system. Eventually, they sold enough beer for the side gig to become the main gig. They built a 15-barrel brewhouse in their current 8,000 square foot digs, which now includes a tasting room and canning line.
Brewmaster Justin Burdt keeps about 20 draft or bottled beers at any one time, useful divided into light, malty, IPA and sour/wild. Standouts include Cave Dweller,” a savory West Coast Pilsner using Mosaic hops, and Inhumane IPA, their best-selling beer, a classic West Coast IPA brewed with Citra, Simcoe and Centennial hop varieties.
But I was also pleasantly surprised by Undoing Bruin, a Belgian-style sour dark beer, a notoriously difficult beer to make right, but it was a sour beauty. One of their malt beers, Ossuary, a robust porter, won a silver medal at this year’s World Beer Cup.
Details: The bar at the original West Oakland location, where they brew their beer, is open 3-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 12-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday at 1960 Adeline St. The outdoor cafe air and kitchen at Adeline St. Ghost Town in Oakland’s Laurel neighborhood is open daily from noon to 9 p.m. or later (1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays) at 3506 MacArthur Ave. ; www.ghosttownbrewing.com.
Original model brewing
This Jack London Square brasserie, opened in May 2018, was founded by two couples, Ryan Frank and Caitlin O’Connor and Max and Margie Silverstein. Frank and Max first met at the Siebel Institute, a Chicago brewing school, and then Frank worked at the 21st Amendment, helping build their San Leandro production brewery.
You’ll find Original Pattern in a former warehouse with exposed brick walls and wooden beams, downstairs booths and tables, a Good to Eat Dumplings pop-up, and a balcony with great views of the brewery .
From this balcony, you can see the tanks that line the space behind the bar, though you can’t quite make out the brewery at the far end, where you’ll find Australian master brewer Andy Crocker. The Melbourne native learned to brew in England, before emigrating to California.
Crocker keeps over a dozen beers at any one time and changes new beers frequently. That’s especially impressive because they’re on track to make 12,000 barrels this year, and they’re starting two to three brews every day.
You’ll find everything from requisite IPAs – clear and hazy – to more eclectic beers, like the Yamagata Rice Lager, a light and refreshing lager brewed with jasmine rice. All of their beers are remarkably clean and well-made, but I particularly enjoyed Bean Me Up!, a coffee porter that exudes the flavors of fresh coffee, and the Wee Man, a Scottish Bourbon barrel-aged beer with elegant notes. vanilla and maple.
Details: The brewery is open daily from noon to 9 p.m. or later at 292 Fourth St.; www.originalpatternbeer.com.
Do you know a local brewery or brewpub that stands out? Email me at [email protected] and tell me why you love them.