Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Beer Pilgrimage to Worship the Gospel of Hops...Hopluia


Small towns dotting the idyllic Great Plains landscape of Nebraska have been home to some of the most famous products in American history. From Kool-Aid to TV dinners, Nebraskans have been coming up with some of the most beloved creations used over the past century. There must be something about Nebraska's peaceful gently rolling countryside that allows you to clear your mind and experiment with your ideas. This quiet landscape may also be why Nebraskans call life here "The Good Life". One aspect of this good life is the fact that beyond Omaha and Lincoln most of the towns are small, and some are flat out tiny. Our last road trip took us an hour and half southwest of Omaha to Cortland, Nebraska, a town of 400 residents that has a brewery cranking out one of the regions great creations, Hopluia.

Spilker Ales of Cortland, NE
You heard that right, a brewery in a town of 400. 4th street cuts through the old business district in this town of 15 streets and that is where you'll find Spilker Ales. For 20 years now Spilker Ales has been the brewing company owned and operated in Cortland by Sam Spilker. Spilker is a Cortland native who, after obtaining a Biochemistry degree from Colorado State University, knew that brewing beer was his calling. The unique part about the brewery is that after 20 years it remains the same island of misfit parts as it was when beer originally started to come out of it. The only difference is that some new misfit parts have been added. This is by no means a critique at all, it's endearing to walk into what Sam himself calls a "Frankenbrewery". As much as I love walking into a brewery with copper kettles, Spilker Ales is equally impressive for it's Macgyver-esque use of whatever can be obtained for a reasonable price. If the beer comes out right, then that really is the only thing that matters.

We were lucky enough to be able to tour the Spilker Ales brewhouse and have some of their signature Hopluia last week. I say lucky because the brewery itself is not open to the public on a regular basis. Spilker Ales opens the brewery once very 12-15 months to the public. Obviously in this region you can still get a Hopluia at many taverns, but like when the Virgin Mary appears in a tree trunk in rural France, when you get the rare chance to make a pilgrimage you should take full advantage.

Frankenbrewery!
We walked into the brewery not knowing at all what to expect. We knew that Spilker Ales offered only Hopluia (or were pretty sure) so our first chore was to get our hands on some of the good stuff. Walking through the brewery to the taps, we passed brewing machinery not seen in any tour we'd been on. Some parts of the brewery looked like a juiced up home brewery. There were 2 bottling lines (and when I say lines I don't mean assembly style) that fill one bottle at a time by hand. We passed the old kettle that had been used so much that it was repurposed for sanitizing the brewing equipment. The secondary fermenters were repurposed champagne tanks that are thick enough to allow for a unique high pressure finish that helps make Hopluia special. This really was a Frankenbrewery and we were loving every minute of it.

I really wanted to "hop" in
After checking out the tanks, we began the drinking portion of the evening. Hopluia was the beer of choice (and only choice until March 2015, more on that in a second). I'd had the "Gospel of Hops" before in Omaha, but was very excited to have it straight from the brewery and then learn more about it at the same time. The taste was as unique as always, but also not overly bitter for people who may see a beer with the word hops right in it and get scared away. The name we Hopluia is derived from the fact that Spilker Ales adds an extra dry hop session of 80 pounds of hops during secondary fermentation allowing the extra hop flavor to mix in with the malt and get trapped in the already near finished brew.

Hopluia has been described as an American Pale Ale by some and an IPA by others, but I think that it deserves it's own alternative category. The color is near amber and unlike other pale ales the malty caramel flavor and hints of things like apples and raisins are present. Apples and raisins? Yup and it all goes to the quirky unconventional methods that Hopulia is brewed. The malt is milled on a hand grinder, the mash is hand stirred with paddles like an Olympic rowing team, and the wort is boiled by direct fire vs. steam heat creating a much hotter boil that caramelizes the malt bringing out more flavor. Put that together with an unpredictable yeast strain and a mad scientist as the brewer and you get, well, the "Gospel of Hops".

Cheers to Hopluia
We had a great time at Spilker Ales, learned some lessons from Sam, and drank a few great beers before heading out. Lucky for us, we won't have to wait over a year to make a pilgrimage to Cortland again. This spring Spilker Ales will be adding a new brew to their lineup. Sonar will be out in March. Sonar will be as creative as Hopluia and though I don't want to give it all away, you may order a Sonar at one Omaha bar and have a completely different flavor experience at another. It's all about creating a new hop experience at Spilker Ales and if you want to enjoy a great lesson and blow on a homemade alp horn than you should hop on down to Cortland this spring. If you can't make it, make sure when passing through Nebraska you ask for some Hopluia, and always rise when the gospel is being poured.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ten Reasons to Enjoy a Drink in Beautiful Olomouc


Guest Post by Stephanie Grams
Olomouc is an enchanting town in the Moravian region of the Czech Republic. Despite its charm, the city is unknown to most tourists. That’s right, Olomouc is the forgotten little step-sister. If you’re willing to venture a bit off the beaten path for a visit to Olomouc and a drink or few, you’ll see just how much this magical place has to offer. For example:


1. Olomouc is a smaller, less-crowded version of Prague.

Like Prague, Olomouc has an astronomical clock and a never-ending supply of delicious Czech beer. But unlike Prague (and the heavily touristed Czech towns of Cesky Krumlov and Karlovy Vary), Olomouc is not overrun with crowds of travelers.


With the exception of Prague, beautiful Olomouc has the largest collection of historical monuments in the Czech Republic. Cathedrals, cobblestone streets, and baroque fountains are just a few of the things that contribute to the city’s fairytale ambience. Horní náměstí, the city’s main town square, is a great place to grab a drink and enjoy views of the fountains and the UNESCO World Heritage designated trinity column. There are plenty of restaurants and drinking establishments in the square that offer outdoor seating and a place to congregate for an afternoon drink.  

2. Czech beer is the best in the world.
Better than darn good
Okay, I realize that this is my own personal opinion, but c’mon…Czech beer is darn good.
Having been an inhabitant of the Czech Republic on two different occasions I’ve consumed a lot of its beer. And while I admit that I am overly biased toward the country’s pilsner, there is a reason why the one bit of Czech language I learned while studying in Olomouc years ago is “piet piv prosim,” which translates as “five beers please.” It tastes SO good. You can’t tell me otherwise.  


In Olomouc you can sample traditional and tasty pilsners at any bar, restaurant and even at McDonalds. You can also test out some of the craft beers that have become incredibly popular there during the last few years.
    3. You can sip a beer while simultaneously bathing in beer.
Love beer enough to bathe in it?
That’s right, Olomouc is home to a beer spa. Slatovaclavsky Pivovar is a microbrewery and restaurant in Olomouc that has a beer spa in its cellar. During a visit to the spa you can soak in a tub of beer and drink a beer at the same time. The brewery and spa serves seven unfiltered and unpasteurized beers.

4. Moravia is heaven for wine lovers.
Moravian Wine Country
So maybe beer isn’t your thing. Not to worry, the eastern part of the Czech Republic (where Olomouc sits) is the country’s wine region. For many in Olomouc wine is the drink of choice, and there are several wine bars in town.


5. Tequila shots are more fun in Olomouc.

No, Olomouc isn’t known for its own brand of tequila. But, there are two things I love about drinking tequila in Olomouc. One is that shots are generally served with cinnamon and an orange slice, which is a nice change of pace to the traditional salt and lime. Also, on multiple occasions in different establishments I was served a tequila shot on a special tray. What made it special? The tray had a bell on it that you could ring if you wanted another shot. Needless to say, the novelty and enjoyment of ringing a bell seems to increase with each shot you take. So a group of friends + tequila + a bell = an interesting night out.

6. You can relive your youthful party days in Olomouc.  

Olomouc is a college town. It is home to Palacky University where many Czech and international students study. Because of the high student population, there are a lot of drink options available that are targeted to the “drink and dance all night” student crowd. Red Bull and vodka, Red Bull and champagne, Red Bull and well…just about anything is readily available if you find yourself needing an energy boost or you want to try to fit in at one of the few student dance clubs.

Olomouc is noticeably quieter in the summer when the students go home for break. If you visit then you might find some of the bars close earlier.

7. There is always absinthe.
The green fairy
Drink it with just a sugar cube, light it on fire or invent your own ritual. There are plenty of options for drinking absinthe in Olomouc.

8. You can enjoy your drink with a side of stinky cheese. 

So here’s the deal, Olomouc is famous for what has to be the most awful smelling cheese on earth. It is called Olomoucké tvarůžky and its smell is seriously offensive. But for some reason, there are people that really like the stuff. (Not me.) Locals love to convince you to try it alongside a beer. If you happen to like the stinky cheese you are in luck, many places in Olomouc serve it. If you’re scared off by the odor, I would suggest the fried cheese as an alternative food to pair with your drink. Outside of cheese, Olomouc – like the rest of the Czech Republic – has some really hearty and amazing cuisine that makes for enjoyable dining and drinking.


9. It is super affordable.

The Czech Republic in general is a relatively inexpensive place to travel. And, like anywhere, if you avoid the most touristy places things are cheaper. That means drinks are cheaper and you can enjoy more of them in Olomouc.


10. Czech people make great drinking buddies.

My own personal observation is that a lot of Czechs have an endearing, coarse exterior. It’s a badge that shows that as a people, they’ve endured some tough times. But beyond that easily penetrated surface, they are incredibly warm, welcoming and genuine. Czechs make excellent drinking partners for two reasons 1) they have a wonderfully wry and satirical sense of humor which guarantees good conversation and plenty of laughs, and 2) they’re known to be a culture of drinkers, so it is easy to find someone to share a drink with. To go along with this last point, Czech people say they can easily spot tourists because natives order large beers while tourists order small beers. So when in Rome – or Olomouc – always choose the large beer.

What’s your favorite “unknown” drinking destination? Let me know. Na zdravi.

Stephanie Grams is a former two time resident of the Czech Republic (Prague and Olomouc) whose maiden name "Pivovar" is Czech for brewery. Stephanie is a wife and mom that loves to travel but hates to fly. She enjoys (in no particular order) trains, falafel, board games, mountains, drinks with umbrellas, concerts and her family. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Wine Tasting Rooms of Carmel-by-the-Sea

Caraccioli Cellars Sparkling Wine Carmel-by-the-Sea California

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a tiny one square mile town, and yet visitors to Carmel can spend an entire weekend wine tasting at Carmel’s 14 tasting rooms.  Obviously Carmel’s wine isn’t grown and produced in town, but rather in nearby Moneterey Wine Country.  However, providing tasting rooms in town makes it safe and easy for visitors to taste Central California coast wines without ever having to step foot into a vehicle.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is located in Central California on the coast off Highway 1.  Carmel's wine grapes are grown a few miles inland in Monterey Wine Country.  Carmel’s wines are influenced by extreme fluctuations of temperature and the cold sea air.  While over 40 varietals are grown in the region, Carmel is best known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. 

Carmel’s tasting rooms are all within a few blocks of each other.  Some are right on the street while others are tucked away into tiny blocks stuffed inside and out with quaint little shops.  Most are only open in the afternoon, but some stay open late on the weekends so visitors can enjoy an after-dinner glass or tasting flight.  As Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of the most dog friendly cities in America, all tasting rooms are also dog friendly.

Galante Vineyards Tasting Room Carmel-by-the-Sea California

The best way to experience Carmel wine tasting is with the Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea Wine Tasting Passport.   The Carmel Wine Tasting Passport is a great little package consisting of a plastic card case with nine cards inside, each good for one wine tasting flight, along with a list of all the wine tasting rooms in Carmel.  Tastings usually cost around $10 at Carmel’s tasting rooms, but the Wine Tasting Passport provides a great savings as it is $65 when purchased from the Carmel Chamber of Commerce online or at their visitor center.  We stayed at the Hofsas House Hotel, a boutique Bavarian style family-owned inn, which offers the Wine Tasting Passport to guests for $50, an even better savings.  The Wine Tasting Passport never expires, so it can be used again on your next trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea if you weren’t able to use it up in one trip, and it can also be shared.  Romeo and I explored Carmel’s tasting rooms with one passport.  Sometimes we shared a wine flight and other times we each used a card so we could have our own flights.

Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea Wine Tasting Passport California

While strolling through Carmel at night, Caraccioli Cellars grabbed my attention.  It is one of the few tasting rooms open late.  It looked so inviting with the half-open Dutch door, dark wood and dark walls.  The cozy tasting room was designed by Si Teller, who also did the design for the House of Blues.  Caraccioli Cellars is a family-owned winery which creates Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays and specializes in sparkling wines made from those same grapes.  Caraccioli Cellars’ sparkling wines were my favorite, perfect for a quiet evening in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Carcaccioli Cellars Carmel-by-the-Sea California

Figge Cellars is located in the front of an art gallery.  Figge’s grapes are sourced from four family-owned Monterey vineyards, Pelio Vineyard, River Road Vineyard, Paraiso Vineyard, and Sycamore Flat Vineyard, all in different parts of Monterey County.  The wines are vineyard specific, small-lot production wines.  Peter Figge allows wine drinkers to taste the subtle differences between vineyards, which on a map look so close, but in a glass can taste so different.  Figge crafts two Chardonnays, two Pinot Noirs, and one Syrah.  Figge’s terroir style can actually cause familial disagreements.  I preferred the River Road Chardonnay while Romeo preferred the Pelio Chardonnay, meaning two different bottles of Chardonnay came home.  We might need to have another taste-off. 

Galante Vineyards might have been my favorite of Carmel’s wineries and tasting rooms.  Galante’s tasting room is one of those hiding in the middle of a block, reached by following a path marked by a polka-dot shirted cowboy statue holding a sign pointing the way.  The tasting room is very Western inspired, complete with a chair in the shape of a cowboy boot.  The Galante family has a long history in the area and the owner’s great-grandfather actually founded the town of Carmel.  The western motif comes from the fact that the grapes are grown on the Galante property, which used to be a working cattle ranch.  Today they are known for their Cabernet Sauvignon.  My favorite wine at Galante Vineyards was their Wagon Wheel White.  I will admit wagon wheels always make me giggle (one of my favorite movie lines is from When Harry Met Sally: “I want you to know . . . I will never want that wagon wheel coffee table”), which may be why I was drawn to the wine in the first place.  The Wagon Wheel White is a refreshing blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier with a fantastic light, fruity taste.  We brought home two bottles and they’re both already gone.  Galante’s red wines are very good as well. 

Galante Vineyards Carmel-by-the-Sea California

Scheid Vineyards' tasting room is a very open, modern space and seemed to be one of the more popular tasting rooms.  Scheid Vineyards is older and bigger than many of the other wineries of Carmel.  Scheid Vineyards started as the Monterey Farming Corporation in 1972 and is a family-owned company.  Scheid prides itself on its sustainable practices and equitable treatment of its employees.  Scheid offers two different flights from which to choose, the standard flight or the reserve mixed flight.  We chose the reserve mixed flight which cost us two of our Wine Tasting Passport cards and included a sparkling wine made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, a Pinot, a Claret, and a Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Scheid Vineyards Carmel-by-the-Sea California

We made a slight dent in Carmel’s wine tasting opportunities, but still have plenty more to try, including Alexander-Smith, Blair Estate, Dawns Dreams, De Tierra Vineyards, Manzoni Cellars, Shale Canyon, Silvestri Vineyards, Vino Napoli, Windy Oaks Estate, and Wrath Wines.  But I can safely say that Carmel-by-the-Sea makes a perfect wine tasting destination so visitors can taste what the Central California coast has to offer.

Thank you to the Hofsas House Hotel for hosting our weekend in Carmel, including our Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea Wine Tasting Passport, and making this post possible.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Backswing Brewing Company: Nebraska's New Brewers on the Block

Brewing companies worldwide come in all shapes and sizes. From multi-national corporations to monasteries, the art of brewing beer has been a driver of economies and a reason for pilgrimages for centuries. In the decades following the repeal of prohibition in America, this once proud regional industry changed into an industry dominated by a few large brewers dominating the landscape. That story has been heavily covered, but the relevance of a breweries role as a national vs. local/regional economic force rears its head even among those in the craft beer arena today. Add in to the fact that this week’s featured brewing company is brand new and only has 1 style available for sale so far, and the debate is even more applicable.
Backswing perfecting their craft
So let's say a hearty hello to Backswing Brewing Company, Nebraska’s newest brew to hit the market. Backswing Brewing is the brainchild of 3 friends who have worked in the food and beverage industry for a combined 40 years. The friends decided to home brew for some fun and to make a mess in each others kitchens on a monthly basis about 5 years ago. One of these founding brewers is Pat Simpson, he was up for the second month of home brewing after a successful first month from other founder T.J. Walker. Pat took a mix of IPA recipes off the internet, blended them together and came up with what he calls a Midwest IPA. Blending the east with west the 3 were left with a feeling that this brew creation had some legs and started testing the taste buds of their friends. They were met with much approval and even received solid reviews from brewers at some local breweries. With this kind of praise they started...having kids and working at their jobs and the brewing stopped for these golfing brew buddies.


Backswing tasting before launch
Fast forward a few years and the idea of brewing beer surfaced again. The question was asked if this IPA that even friends who didn't like an IPA were raving about. The recipe was still dead on so the crew decided to purchase a 10/15 gallon system and take their creation to a crowd of folks who didn't have a clue who they were. At this point they lost the 3rd member of the crew but picked up new partner and brewer Cory Sinclair. After brewing a few batches in their new system and taking it to sample at Hops for Harmony in Omaha the rave reviews continued to pile up. Lincoln, NE brewers Blue Blood Brewing Company approached the team for a contract brewing opportunity so that the Backswing IPA could hit the market faster.


My exclusive Backswing IPA
And that's exactly what they did. The first batch is ready to go and will be distributed at Brewsky's Sports Pubs in Lincoln and Omaha in the coming weeks and will be featured at a launch party on Feb 13th at Brewsky's. The Backswing Team is also very excited to have their IPA on tap when buses swing through for Omaha Beer Week at the same location. So, how does this Midwest IPA taste? At 8.6% ABV and in the 80's for IBU it is a very hearty brew. The description of not leaning to either coast is true. This Midwest IPA has a strong hop character but it is truly not a bitter beer. There is a strong, almost sweet, malty caramel finish to the beer that drowns out any lingering hop. This is not a hop bomb. It is a flavorful IPA that is very drinkable. It's an exciting flagship brew from a company just trying to introduce themselves.

For Nebraska this is a great thing. Though the number of breweries has increased, this is still a macro beer place. People on the fence about this whole craft beer thing settle for beers they see on commercials. For a state that idealizes its local beef and agro-history, when it comes to beer it has a long way to go and a huge marketplace for more local beer. When it comes to beer in general, regional flavors and local ideas should rule the landscape in my opinion. I am not against success, but in brewing sometimes large scale success kills innovation. 

There is plenty of room for guys like Pat, T.J., and Cory to not only be successful, but also to take the next step and open a standalone brewery as well. Up next for this new kid on the block is a host of recipes from American Wheat to Summer Ale. Around the country folks are getting together and coming up with creations just like Backswing, for the love of beer and a solid sip. When you come to Omaha for the beer week in February, or stop in to Brewsky's when visiting town make sure you have a Backswing IPA on tap and tip your cap to the guys who are helping to add more local to the market.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Craft Beer Tasting Along the Tri-Valley Beer Trail

Working Man Brewing Company Beer Flights Tri-Valley Beer Trail

The Tri-Valley area is 33 miles east of San Francisco and has one of California’s oldest wine regions located in the Livermore Valley.  What is less well-known is that Tri-Valley’s roots are also in beer.   Tri-Valley has joined the craft beer craze sweeping California and has returned to its roots with a newly emerging craft beer scene. 

One of the main streets in the Tri-Valley town of Pleasanton is Hopyard Road.  Hopyard Road is so named because Pleasanton was once the location of what may have been the largest hop farm in the world.  From the late 1800s to the beginning of World War I Pleasanton was world-famous for providing hops to the American and European beer brewers market.  With the war and prohibition, the hop business closed and Tri-Valley moved on to different industries.

Today beer is making a comeback and microbreweries and brewpubs are popping up around Tri-Valley, renewing the area’s beer culture.  Fifteen of Tri-Valley’s craft beer establishments have joined to be a part of the Tri-Valley Beer Trail.  Visitors and residents can download the Tri-Valley Beer Trail Passport off the Visit Tri-Valley website, get stamped at 10 of the 15 participating breweries and brewpubs, and turn the passport in to the Tri-Valley tourism board for a Tri-Valley Beer Trail t-shirt.  During our Northern California weekend getaway we visited two of the Tri-Valley Beer Trail participants.

Working Man Brewing Company is one of the newer breweries in Livermore, California.  The story behind Working Man Brewing Company is inspirational to every working person who has hopes of fulfilling their future dreams.  Working Man Brewing Company’s owners work full-time jobs and home-brewed in their spare time.  They always wanted to have their own brewery, but didn’t think it was possible since they were working men.  They are still working men, but brew and serve beer at night after their day jobs.  The brewery was founded in 2011 but opened to the public in 2013.

Working Man Brewing Company Livermore California Tri-Valley Beer Trail

Working Man Brewing Company has an impressive list of beers: Ignition IPA, Sneaky Devil Double IPA, Old Jabberwokki Barleywine, C’est Noir Imperial Stout, Anzu Bru Pale Ale, Whistleblower Belgian Wit, Hanging Slider IPA, California Crude American Black Ale, Working Man Red IPA, Working Man Hefe, Working Man Blonde, Working Man Double IPA, and 9 to 5 Pale Ale.  Working Man Brewing Company’s beers surprised me in that the beers I thought I would love weren’t necessarily at the top of my favorites list and the beers I avoided at the beginning ended up making their way to the top. 

The Anzu Bru, described as a pale ale with kaffir and ginger flavors intrigued me, but ended up having too much of a plant flavor for my taste and made me think at first that I didn’t like the other beers I tasted afterwards.  Fans of hops will love this beer as the flavor is very reminiscent of strong hops even though very little hops are actually used.  But after cleaning my palate with some crackers and trying again, I found I pretty much enjoyed all the rest of Working Man’s beers.  The surprise is that wits and hefes are not usually at the top of my beer list, but the Whistleblower Belgian Wit was sparkling and refreshing, with flavors of elderflower, coriander, and orange peel, and the Working Man Hefe had a very pleasing citrus taste.  The Working Man Blonde is an easy drinking daytime beer.  The C’est Noir Imperial Stout was one of my favorites with a roasted coffee flavor.  Another surprise was the Ignition IPA.  I’m not a huge fan of IPAs because they are many times over-hopped for me, but the Ignition IPA has a wonderful balance of malted barley and caramel malts along with Pacific Northwest hops.

Three Sheets Craft Beer Bar in Dublin, California is Tri-Valley’s newest beer bar.  Three Sheets has 27 taps which during our visit poured 26 craft beers and one cider.  Three Sheets Craft Beer Bar is a wide open space with intimate seating areas, big screen TVs, and a never ending shining copper bar.  The beers on tap are all craft beers from around the country, most from California and many from the local surrounding area. 

Three Sheets Craft Beer Bar Copper Bar Dublin California Tri-Valley Beer Trail

I was happy to see some familiar San Diego beers from Stone, Port Brewing, and Coronado Brewing, but we were there to try the local beers so got a flight that included Altamont Beer Works Rich Mahogany, Eight Bridges Brewing O’Beardsley’s Stout, Drake’s Brewing Jolly Rodger Imperial Coffee Stout, and Lost Coast Brewery Winterbraun.  Altamont Beer Works was established in 2012 in Livermore, California.  Altamont’s Rich Mahogany is an American Red Ale, both malty and hoppy.  It was nice to be able to taste Altamont’s beer at Three Sheets because we had stopped by Altamont earlier in the day but turned around because the tasting room was so crowded.  They clearly know what they are doing and are doing it well.  Eight Bridges Brewing Co. is another brewery in Livermore, California, and the O’Beardsley’s Stout has the flavor of chocolate and coffee and is very slightly sweet.  Drake’s Brewing isn’t technically in Tri-Valley, but rather in nearby San Leandro.  What makes Drake’s Jolly Rodger Imperial Coffee Stout special is the collaboration with Blue Bottle, the only coffee that coffee connoisseurs in Tri-Valley and the nearby Oakland area drink.  The farthest afield beer we tried was from Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka, California.  The Winterbraun is a chocolaty brown ale.

Three Sheets Craft Beer Bar Flight Livermore California Tri-Valley Beer Trail

If you’re looking to add a craft beer destination to your travel list, download the Tri-Valley Beer Trail Passport and pack your bags for a visit to one of America’s areas steeped in beer history and making a resurgence into the craft beer landscape.  In addition to Working Man Brewing Company in Livermore and Three Sheets Craft Beer Bar in Dublin, the Tri-Valley Beer Trail includes The Growler Pub (Danville), Danville Station Firehouse Bar and Grill (Danville), Schubros Brewery (San Ramon), Caps & Taps Bottle Shop and Tap Room (Dublin), Main Street Brewery (Pleasanton), Hopyard Ale House (Pleasanton and San Ramon), Handles Gastropub (Pleasanton), McKay’s Taproom and Beer Garden (Pleasanton), Altamont Beer Works (Livermore), Eight Bridges Brewing Company (Livermore), First Street Ale House (Livermore), Tap 25 (Livermore), Beer Baron (Livermore), and Sauced BBQ & Spirits (Livermore).

Thank you to Visit Tri-Valley for hosting our visit to Tri-Valley and making this post possible.  As always, all opinions are my own.