The Incredible Oakland Brewery Scene
Craft brewing in Oakland dates back to the 1850s when the first brewery, Linden Street, was opened and is an incredibly interesting story. But, I’m not going to tell it to you right now, go educate yourself some other time, this article is about where to get some incredible beer now.
If there was one word that could sum up the brewing scene in Oakland it would be passion. Undulating, enveloping, almost intimidating at times, passion. In short, the hunt for great Oakland breweries doesn’t disappoint.
Full disclaimer: most of the places on this list will make you feel like you’re the idiot at the beginning of a horror movie going to check out that “strange noise” next to the abandon train tracks. A few of these breweries ARE on the train tracks, in warehouses, in abandon ship yards, and are down roads that dead end surrounded by nothing. Rest assured thirsty reader, that noise is just a keg being tapped and wondrous beers lay in your future. Further disclaimer: I take no responsibility if your body does end up on the tracks, that’s your prerogative.
Has there ever been a sweeter question posed than “Want to go check out a local brewery?” The answer is no, stop wasting your brain power pondering impractical quandaries and instead take in a few choice selections of breweries from Oakland and Alameda.
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Some seriously drinkable beer can be found here. And! A feat I thought unreachable, they make an IPA I actually loved.
(pause for gasp and shouting from the audience) WHAT?!? YOU DON’T LIKE THE HOLY OF HOLY BEERS: IPA?? How can you write, nay dare speak beer’s name?
Save it. I get it. This is why I had a beer lover with me that does like IPAs to also give me feedback to share with the world; so calm the fuck down.
As I was saying, Hop Candi is delicious. I don’t think there was a beer I tasted here I didn’t like. The vibe is unpretentious and almost charming.
An enduring spot reminiscent of drinking in THAT buddy’s back yard from high school. It is located smack dab next to tracks. You may feel like sneaking booze and drinking on the tracks, but this is part of hidden corners of beer-topia that are in this area of Oakland.
Unfortunately, you can’t find this beer at the store. The tasting room offers the self-distribute, bottle on premise and take away growler option. If you’d like to find their beer, there are at a lot of local tap rooms or Bar Tartine that pours them.
The food here is AM-azing. I cannot stress that enough!
The vibe is just so cool here you get the pleasure of being infected by it just by walking in. Community table sitting that is somehow able to capture community if you choose it or Oakland individuality within inclusivity; unless you’re able to snag a seat at the bar.
The beer selection is dizzying. The staff here though are on point and are more than happy to talk you through your indecision.
Did I mention the food? Try it!
Getting to this tap room is quite the adventure, if you feel completely lost, you’re on the right path. Walking into this warehouse is a visual overload. Have a kid? No problem. Have a dog? Perfect. Come as you are-just love some good beer.
Non-descript tops await and an ever changing black board with beer options await you at the bar. The people working here have a serious passion for the craft. They have opinions about the current scene and want to share with you.
According to my IPA drinking companion, their Sticky Zipper IPA is what you need to drink. This place feels like what you wished your home brewing kit would have produced; the genius results you must try.
Surrounding areas of Oakland: (but still bitchin finds in the east bay)
This place made me wish I had a bigger stomach to be able to try all the beers they brews. If you’re an IPA fan, this is a spot you need to go check out. Their Belgium-style brews are also delicious and they offer five different ones to choose from at their tasting room.
This place also had one of the best views out of any of the breweries on this list. The tasting room is located directly on the bay shore in Alameda. More impressive yet was the huge murals inside done by local artist Lauren Asta. She another one of her paintings in the bathrooms at St. George Distillery across the parking lot.
There are two locations now you can go to enjoy some delicious Drake’s beer. Their bottle room in San Leandro where they have parties and live music or downtown Oakland where you can hang out on their awesome outdoor patio and munch on some serious beer food. Duck poutine. That’s all I’m saying.
If you are able to get your hands on some Jolly Roger coffee imperial porter, get on it. Very smooth and a sneaker drunk.
Gin!!! Beautiful amazing, yummy gin is made here. Also some seriously delicious liquors. I plan to bathe in the raspberry and spiced apple pear liquor shortly.
I know this is an article sharing some of the wondrous breweries in the east bay, but this place is just too good not to mention. If you have an hour and half, TAKE THE TOUR. It’s only $5 more than the tasting alone and so worth it. You get to take a peak at their steam punk style distillery, meet a shark, and learn some interesting facts about Absinthe. If you’re lucky you’ll get Sam as your tour guide, who is not only wildly entertaining and funny, but has some seriously super human hearing. She will hear your whispers during the tour!
The tasting is guided and not patronizing for those who haven’t done a liquor tasting. Bring a snack to soak up the alcohol, or leave time for a walk around the gorgeous cost line after.