|Maybe the South Bay is no longer the beer desert it once was|
|Hermitage's Ale of the 2 Tun Imperial Stout and |
Scott's Seafood's Molten Lava Cake
And Hermitage isn't the only notable brewery to emerge from the South Bay recently. While Hermitage strives to make the big beers, Strike Brewing, barely over a year old has gone in the opposite direction with their excellent Session Series. And of course, in recent years, Steve Donohue won no less than four GABF medals at Sunnyvale's Firehouse Brewing before leaving late last year to start his own brewery, Santa Clara Valley Brewing which hopefully will come on line before the end of the year.
With these South Bay breweries come a number of great new venues to enjoy craft beer. There are gastropubs Liquid Bread in Campbell and Original Gravity in Downtown San Jose, both less than a year old. In the last three years, California Cafe at both its Palo Alto and Los Gatos locations has established their brewmaster's dinner series, featuring inspired pairings of food with beer from some of of the finest breweries in California. Harry's Hofbrau in San Jose, an old school German buffet restaurant is an unlikely place to find a great tap selection and it has been hosting a number special events devoted to craft breweries, a development that's started there about a year ago. The Yardhouse the opened a couple years ago in San Jose's swanky Santana Row Mall, and yes, it's slick and corporate, but you can get some mighty fine beer there. And we even have an honest to goodness independent bottle shop now with Jane's Beer Store in Downtown Mountain that opened last summer. There's probably some new place I'm forgetting.
The South Bay has long been consider a weak sister to the nearby craft brewing epicenters of San Francisco, Santa Rosa, and the East Bay, but has anyone noticed this recent acceleration of craft beer culture in the South Bay?
Well maybe. Five years ago, the general buzz amidst beer geekdom was "The South Bay Beer Scene sucks". None other than the late Bay Area beer writer Bill Brand regretfully declared the South Bay "a beer desert" shortly before he passed away. Then a couple years ago, you could find grudging admissions that a couple of good beers could be found down here.
And today? Maybe it's just me but you hardly hear anyone complaining about the beer scene in the South Bay anymore. Instead, people are just enjoying it. Isn't that the way it should be?