For many people, myself included, having a beer with friends is a time-honored tradition, a way to catch up, share stories, and connect with one another on a deeper level. The act of sharing a beer can create a sense of camaraderie and community.
The Tri-Valley has a bustling beer and brewery scene that I’ve started to explore in the past few years. We are home to several smaller breweries that are worth seeking out. A few of my favorites include Altamont Beer Works and Shadow Puppet Brewing Company out in Livermore. Each of these breweries offers their own unique take on craft beer, and they are worth checking out if you're in the area.
In Pleasanton, Gilman brewing recently opened up a bar in Pleasanton downtown. Gilman brewing has an interesting history. It was established in 2015 by co-founders, veterinary orthopedic surgeons Sean Wells and Tim Sellmeyer, as well as their best friend and professional musician John Schuman.
They originally opened Gilman Brewing’s production brewery and taproom on the industrial Gilman Street in West Berkeley. After expanding to Daly City they decided to open up a taproom right in Pleasanton downtown, a place I frequent when I can.
California in general has a rich history when it comes to craft beer. In fact, the state is often credited with helping to launch the microbrewery movement in the United States.
The first microbrewery in California was the New Albion Brewery, founded by Jack McAuliffe in 1976 in Sonoma. At the time, the American beer market was dominated by a handful of large, mass-produced brands, and there were very few options for beer lovers who wanted something different. New Albion Brewery was the first to challenge this status quo.
Over the next few decades, the microbrewery movement in California continued to grow and evolve. In 1980, the first brewpub in the state – the California Brewery – opened in San Francisco. That same year Sierra Nevada Brewing Company was founded by Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi in Chico, California.
Fun fact - I took a beer brewing course while I was a student at UC Davis. Ken Grossman came by to guest lecture to a standing room only class. Unfortunately, the overall class ended up being about the chemistry of beer instead of the tasting of it, much to my disappointment.
Today, California is home to hundreds of microbreweries, and the state's craft beer scene is thriving. From San Diego to San Francisco and everywhere in between, California is a mecca for beer lovers who are looking for something unique and delicious.
In 1983, Anchor Brewing released its first beer since Prohibition. It was founded in 1896 and it is one of the oldest breweries in the United States, and is known for its flagship beer, Anchor Steam.
The brewery was founded by German immigrant Gottlieb Brekle, who bought an old beer-making facility in San Francisco and started producing a lager beer that he called Anchor Steam. The name "steam" referred to the method of production that Brekle used, which involved fermenting the beer at high temperatures using open-air coolships.
Contrary to wine, I’ve found beer to be much more approachable as it does not have as many gatekeeping characteristics. It’s a beverage I’ve enjoyed (always responsibly of course) throughout the last decade.