Mill Valley Beerworks Survives Planning Commission Hearing

Last night the owners of Mill Valley Beerworks, Tyler and Justin Catalan, stood before the Mill Valley Planning Commission for a compliance review of their conditional use permit (CUP) due to a number of complaints by neighbors. At the same time, the owners wanted to amend their permit so they can expand into a neighboring storefront with an enlarged kitchen, address noise complaints, remodel the facade, have outside seating and overall, turn the business into more of a cafe.

The hearings outcome held serious ramifications. Restraints could be placed on the business making it difficult or costly to operate. As a result, a large crowd attended the proceeding in favor and against the popular business. The primary complaint was noise due to exiting late night customers.

The public comment period contained a lot of passion and rhetoric from both sides. The neighbors who received the most attention at the meeting and leading up to the event were Chris and Lara Deam, the latter being the founder of Dwell Magazine, who live nearby. They described sleepless nights, a muffler left in their driveway and accused Mill Valley Beerworks of taunting when their sidewalk chalkboard read “At Home in the Modern World,” the tag line of Dwell Magazine.

In the end, after nearly five hours of deliberation, the commission granted Mill Valley Beerwork’s request to have the CUP amended, but placed a number of conditions on the business:

  • A door man will have to be present every day from 8:00pm till a half hour after closing to manage patron behavior as they exit the business and call police when necessary.
  • Bottle dumping cannot occur after 10:00pm.
  • Mill Valley Beerworks is required to monitor the exterior decibel level with the aid of an outside firm appointed by the city after renovations are completed.

So for now the doors will remain open, expansion will move forward and hopefully the changes will appease neighbors and fans of this Mill Valley hotspot.

Here are some more highlights from hearing that appeared on BACB’s twitter feed:

Hoppy Ending & Barely Legal Coming to Whole Foods

For those out there who have tried and enjoyed Palo Alto Brewing Company’s signature beers the Hoppy Ending Pale Ale and the Barely Legal Coconut Porter, they will soon be available in the bottle at Whole Foods Markets.

According to Kasim Syed, the brewer, sales representative, delivery guy, for the company, which is owned by his parents, all the approvals have gone through. Within a couple of weeks, he believes people will be able to find the company’s brews in several Whole Foods stores in the Peninsula including Palo Alto, San Jose, and Santa Rosa.

However, that doesn’t mean fans of the beers have to wait a couple of weeks to grab a six-pack. The company’s distinctive labels have made into about 30 stores in the past two months Syed said including Mollie Stone’s markets, Piazza’s Fine Foods, City Beer Store and the East Bay’s Beer Revolution.

Back in February Palo Alto Brewing Co. hit a milestone in its year-long effort to expand beyond the confines of its two to three regular taps at Palo Alto’s local beer pub the Rose and Crown when it received its license to sell its beers by the bottle at retail stores.

Syed, who owns and manages the Rose and Crown said, “We sell so much here; they’re in our top-sellers, and people started to ask where else they can get it.”

Despite the relative success the company has had at smaller craft stores, getting the beers into larger more mainstream outlets has proven more difficult.

“If you’re not talking to a craft beer place then they want to keep with the same stuff they’ve always had,” Syed said.

Getting the beers into Whole Foods, for example, Syed said, meant talking to about seven to eight beer buyers in different stores throughout the region, and convincing them to say to the regional beer manager that they want to stock the product.

Another obstacle, besides jumping through larger corporate hoops with the big chains, has been a moderate amount of balking by mainstream stores, most notably BevMo, at the beers’ edgy labels and names. The Hoppy Ending features a long-haired buxom cartoon woman massaging a very content looking cartoon hop, and the Barely Legal Coconut Porter cartoon girl mirrors the Britney spears Catholic school girl look- bare-midriff, cleavage, pigtails, and all.

Syed isn’t too concerned though. “Our target age is 21 and over,” he said with a little chuckle, “We like to have a sense of humor.” One concession the company has had to make recently, however, was agreeing to change the name of the Barely Legal to the “Barley Legal” Coconut Porter.

Palo Alto Brewing Co. also has an IPA, a bourbon barrel aged version of its coconut porter, and a barley wine, but for now only the Hoppy Ending and the original Coconut Porter will be sold in bottles. That way, Syed said, they can keep brewing in small batches and make sure that the bottled beer stays fresh. The rest of the beers will be available from time to time in the Rose and Crown and possibly on tap at other specialty brew pubs.

Bay Area Breweries Fundraising for Bryan Stow

It’s great to see Bay Area Breweries hosting several fundraising events for injured Giants fan Bryan Stow. As you may know, Stow was senselessly beaten in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after a game on March 31st. While his condition has stabilized, medical bills are piling up and the family could use some help.

“Bryan Stow saved many lives as a Santa Clara County paramedic. Now, the life he’s fighting for is his own.” – SFGate

Please show your support by enjoying a beer at one of the following events or visit www.support4stow.blogspot.com/ to lend a hand.

Monday, April 11, 6-10pm
Fundraiser for Bryan Stow
Tied House Brewery & Cafe, 954 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA.

“Join us in our Beer Garden, starting at 6pm, for some good brews by Tied House, FireHouse, Rock Bottom, 510 Brewing and more. Meet and mingle with the brewers, enjoy some light Ballpark style appetizers, and proudly wear your team’s gear. Whether you cheer on the Giants (yeay) or the Dodgers, please join us to remind everyone that this is a friendly rivalry…all while raising money to help out Bryan Stow and his family through this tough time.

Price: $15 gets you 3 tickets for 3 pints of beer, light appetizers, and a fun place to watch the baseball game. Cash and credit cards accepted at event.”

Friday, April 15, 4-9pm
Support for Bryan Stow Fundraising Raffle
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, 1193 Evans St., San Francisco, CA.

The raffle is taking place during Speakeasy’s weekly open house when you can get a brewery tour and $3 pints.

Calendar of Events

Beer festival season is in full swing beginning this month along with the usual collection of beer dinners and brewery nights. Plan accordingly and don’t forget to plant your hop vines!

The list below is only what I managed to pull together prior to the first of the month. Inevitably, events do slip through the cracks or get announced at a later date, so check BACB’s calendar for the latest and greatest craft beer events on the horizon.

April 1

Drake’s First Friday
4-8pm, Drake’s Brewing, 1933 Davis Street, San Leandro, CA. (map)

Drake’s First Friday Events are fundraisers for local schools & non-profits, and are held at Drake’s the first Friday of every month. This month’s event benefits the Washington Elementary School. $5 voluntary donation at the gate gets you in; $15 buys you 3 beer tokens for full pours & a Drake’s pint glass.

7-10pm, Olde Sonoma Public House, 18615 Sonoma Hwy, Ste 110, Sonoma , CA. (map)

“We will be pouring from our firkin of Firestone Walker’s Cask Conditioned Union Jack. $6.00 a pint while they last. We will also be tapping our keg of Firestone Walker’s Abacus Barley Wine.”

April 2

Marin Brewing Company Turns 22
1809 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur, CA. (map)

Live music and $2 pints.

Much Ado About Brew!
12-3PM, Pavilion – Jack London Square, Broadway & Water Street, Oakland, CA. (map)

Taste more than 30 craft & specialty beers along with delicious food from local restaurants at The Pavilion at Jack London Square at 98 Broadway in Oakland. If you are 21 or over, you can puchase tickets at cityboxoffice.com. Proceeds to benefit St. Vincent dePaul of Alameda County. $8.10 in advance, $25 at the door.

Oyster Stout Party
2:30-5:30pm, Hog Island Oyster Bar – Oxbow Public Market , 610 1st Street, Napa, CA. (map)

Dave McLean of Magnolia Brewery will taps the CBC 2011 Symposium Oyster Stout.

April 4

Beer Tasting – Belgian Sours & Framboise
6-8pm, Wine Affairs, 1435 The Alameda, San Jose, CA. (map)

$10pp, Beer Club Free.

April 7

Full Sail Pint Night
7-10pm, Olde Sonoma Public House, 18615 Sonoma Hwy Ste. 110, Sonoma, CA. (map)

Try Full Sail Strong Ale, Bump in the Night – a black IPA, and Full Sail Amber.

April 9

Hop Rhizome Festival
Time TBD, The Bistro, 1001 B Street, Hayward, CA. (map)

“12 varietals of hops for sale and tons of hoppy beer to inspire you.”

Firkin Fest
11:30am, Triple Rock Brewery, 1920 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA. (map)

“The Triple Rock Firkin Fest opens at 11:30am for this event. Look on the Triple Rock website for more info soon on participating breweries.”

Spring 2011 Bay Area Craft Beer Festival
12-5pm, Martinez Waterfront Park, 333 Ferry St. Martinez, CA. (map)

A semi-annual event to highlight the craft beer industry in the San Francisco Bay Area. $35 in advance, $45 at the door. VIP entrance at 12pm for $55.

Stag Dining Group: Brewmaster’s Dinner
7:00pm, Top Secret Location.

Stag Dining Group is pleased to host the Brewmaster’s Dinner for the next installment of our Clandestine Dinner Series. This dinner aims to explore the realm of Progressive American Fare and the heritage and craft of San Francisco micro-brewing. Master brewer Dave McLean of fabled Magnolia Pub & Brewery will be creating a unique array of brews to be paired with each course throughout the evening. These artisanal fermentations will compliment the locally sourced, seasonal ingredients creatively integrated into our dishes by our talent in the kitchen. $80 pp. Event Location will be announced at a later date.

April 10

Belgian Beer Dinner
11:30am-4:00pm, Toronado, 547 Haight, San Francisco, CA. (map)

“The Toronado and Chef Sean Paxton present an afternoon of Belgian beer and food pairings.
Tickets go on sale Monday, 3/28 and cost $150, payable in cash or check at the bar. Please note that we expect to sell the event out in advance. THE TORONADO WILL BE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC UNTIL 4:30PM. For more information on Sean Paxton, or to check out previous years menus, please visit www.homebrewchef.com”

Stag Dining Group: Brewmaster’s Dinner
5:00pm, Top Secret Location.

Stag Dining Group is pleased to host the Brewmaster’s Dinner for the next installment of our Clandestine Dinner Series. This dinner aims to explore the realm of Progressive American Fare and the heritage and craft of San Francisco micro-brewing. Master brewer Dave McLean of fabled Magnolia Pub & Brewery will be creating a unique array of brews to be paired with each course throughout the evening. These artisanal fermentations will compliment the locally sourced, seasonal ingredients creatively integrated into our dishes by our talent in the kitchen. $80 pp. Event Location will be announced at a later date.

April 13

Ale Industry Anniversary Party
6:00pm, Beer Revolution, 464 3rd Street, Oakland, CA. (map)

April 14

Widmer Brothers Pint Night
7-10pm, Olde Sonoma Public House, 18615 Sonoma Hwy Ste. 110, Sonoma, CA. (map)

April 16

San Francisco International Beer Festival
7-10pm,  Festival Pavilion – Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA. (map)

SOLD OUT. “Sample over 300 incredible beers from some of the best craft brewers in the world.
Taste a delicious variety of offerings from some of San Francisco’s best restaurants.”

April 20

SF Brewer’s Guild Meet the Brewers
6-9pm, The Beach Chalet, 1000 Great Highway, San Francisco, CA. (map)

“It’s always nice to put faces to names, especially those that craft the beer you drink. Raise a pint or two with local artisan brewers and learn more about San Francisco craft beer.”

April 21

Evening of Vintage Beer Commercials & Brewery Footage
7:30pm, Oddball Film & Video,  275 Capp Street, San Francisco, CA. (map)

“We are excited to invite you to join us for an evening of vintage beer-theme videos & archival footage. Quirky, fun, rare: you can’t see these anywhere else. Oddball Film + Video regularly shows off-beat footage from their “amazing collection of rare, entertaining, eclectic and eye-opening subjects, as well as classical archival, historical, and contemporary clips”. We got their team to put together a unique program just for us: beer, beer, beer. Come out and support an “only-in-San Francisco” movie house and meet more of your local craft beer friends.” Seating is limited.

April 23

KraftBrew Beer Fest
12-6pm, Landmark Ballroom,  75 South 11th Street, San Jose, CA. (map)

“The KraftBrew Beer Fest will feature an assortment of American micros and Belgian beer; gourmet food pairing; live music from Hurricane Roses and Ben Henderson; and brewery speakers. Event entry is free with food and drink available for purchase. The KraftBrew Beer Fest is part of a first-time series of cultural, culinary and entertainment events at the Landmark ballroom in 2011. The ballroom is located at 75 South 11th Street in downtown San Jose.
The event will feature a unique selection of beers from one of the best known beer making regions in the world, as it focuses heavily on Belgian beers, including: Brouwerij Van Steeberge; Brouwerij Huyghe; Fruli Beer; Brasserie St. Feuillien; Bieres De Chimay; and Brouwerij Verhaeghe.
American Craft Beer’s will have selections from around the country including: Allagash Brewing (Portland, ME); Anderson Valley Brewing (Booneville, CA); Bear Republic (Healdsburg, CA); Flying dog brewing (Frederick, MD); Ommegang Brewing (Cooperstown, NY); Lost Coast Brewing (Eureka, CA); North Coast Brewing (Fort Bragg, CA); Port Brewing (San Marcos, CA); and Telegragh Brewing (Santa Barbara, CA). The featured assortment of beers will exemplify the wonderful craftsmanship occurring in many small American breweries today.
Naglee Park Garage will provide a food pairing menu specific to the featured beers. Items include savory eats such as spiced thick cut fries with assortment of flavored house made mayonnaises; smoked sausages with an assortment of accoutrements; paprika & garlic pork ribs; tri-tip sandwiches; and grilled asparagus.”

April 27

Odonata Brewing Night
6:00pm, Beer Revolution, 464 3rd Street, Oakland, CA. (map)

They’ll be showcasing a new beer!