Nosh Box: Good Times Brewing in February


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Jupiter, Triple Rock, and Drake’s Brewing present more than 60 of the world's finest draft and bottle-conditioned brews on Sour Sunday.

It may seem contrarian to hold the grandest celebration of craft beers during the year’s coldest month. But if rehydration is all you seek, just drop a chunk of change to swill overpriced, plastic bottles of glitzy water or sports drink, hyped up with drugstore vitamins and miracle ingredients—like fructose, sodium chloride, and food coloring.

But craft beer is far more than a retro thirst quencher. With a brewing history nearly 40 centuries old, just like wine it pairs well with foods, tastes great, and brings folks together. Exemplifying the latter, The Good Hop in Oakland, a woman-owned craft beer shop, features gatherings for women in the beer industry.

The producers of Beer Week are celebrating their 10th anniversary this month, with each succeeding festival bigger and better than the year before. This shindig was originally labeled San Francisco Beer Week. But even back then, it wasn’t as provincial as its moniker might imply.

Primarily a product of the San Francisco Brewers Guild, which still holds to the original name, the “week” is now nine days long, features over 100 events—31 of which are in the East Bay—and includes venues in five Bay Area counties.

So to make selections a little easier, in the original words of “the Mouse” (c. 1955), here are the “…A-Coupon attractions…” in the East Bay this month.

• The Bistro on B Street in downtown Hayward celebrates its 17th Double IPA Festival, Saturday, Feb. 10, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.. This was the original kickoff event for Beer Week, now with over 60 Double and 30 Triple IPAs on tap. Toss in cheese tastings, grilled sausages, live music on two stages, and an awards ceremony at 3 p.m., all for $55. Tickets sold only at the door. Details at the-bistro.com.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! On Friday, Feb. 16, from 4 p.m. to midnight, at Hog’s Apothecary on 40th Street in Oakland, celebrate Big Chicken, HenHouse's double IPA that sells out in a flash every year. The keg is delivered and tapped the same day. A winning chicken dish will complement this remarkable beer. As with all nights, reservations through Open Table are strongly recommended for this cozy spot with no cover charge. Details at hogsapothecary.com/news.

• For a truly seasonal event on Valentine’s Day, Øl Beercafe & Bottle Shop in Walnut Creek presents Cafe Valentine’s Sweet & Sour. This annual treat assembles seven brewers each featuring one sweet beer and one sour. Each beer will be paired with a complimentary chocolate or confection. Treat that special someone to a mini-flight to explore sweet/sour sensations from experienced brewers.

• Drake’s Brewing on Davis Street in San Leandro claims, “Nothing says true love like the marriage of pork and beer.” Join them later that evening for a Valentine’s Day extravaganza, 6-8 p.m. for Sau & Brau, slow-roasted whole pigs, accompanied by savory sides, select desserts, and Drake’s beers to wash them down. Tickets are $55 at drakessauandbrau8.eventbrite.com.

• On a sour note, a triple-header featuring Jupiter, Triple Rock, and Drake’s Brewing, presents more than 60 of the world's finest draft and bottle-conditioned brews on Sour Sunday. Two nearby Berkeley locals will pour old-world and new-world sour ales. Rain or shine, they promise to offer  “…the rarest, wildest, tartest, horseblanketiest [sic] and most pungent brews of all.” Admission: $30-$100. Details at soursunday.com.

• The brewfest wrap-up will once again be staged at Trumer Brewery in Berkeley, on Saturday, Feb. 17, from 4-8 p.m. Then Celebrator Beer News celebrates its 30th anniversary. At this sure-to-sell-out finale, 35 brewers will offer multiple taps, all included in the $60 entry fee, along with catered foods. Get in early at celebrator.com.

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