New Brewpub Set to Open in the East Bay

Elevation 66 Brewing

Photos: Brian Stechschulte

Sixty-six feet above sea level and the fractured geology of the East Bay, the regions newest brewpub, Elevation 66 Brewing Company, is preparing to open its doors in El Cerrito by mid to late August. The project has evolved since 2010 from “wishful thinking” to clearing its final licensing hurdle last week. Soon they’ll be firing up the mash kettle.

“It was a pipe dream at first,” said Brian Kelly, who partnered with Kayvan Sabeghi and Dave Goodstal on the new venture. The three friends are all former employees of Pyramid Brewing in Berkeley. Kelly and Sabeghi spent time as servers behind and in front of the bar, while Goodstal, who did stints at Beermann’s, Sudwerk and Trumer, worked on the brewing team.

Once they mustered up the guts and capital to take the big leap they went shopping for a location. According to Kelly they were welcomed by the city of El Cerrito with open arms and a little funding. “We looked into a lot of places like Berkeley, Oakland, San Raphael and San Francisco, but they seemed to be a lot more expensive and some cities wouldn’t even talk to us. El Cerrito officials definitely wanted us here and did everything they could to help us get in and made sure the bureaucratic stuff went as smooth as possible. It was a blessing.“

Kelly was also encouraged by the changing demographics in the area. “It seems like the average age of El Cerrito’s population is getting younger. People in their mid thirties with families are moving into the neighborhood and don’t have a local bar or brewery to hang out and socialize.”

Elevation-66-Brewing-Bar

The 4,800 square foot brewpub stretches over two floors and is located on San Pablo Avenue next to the historic El Cerrito Theatre and a block from BART. The space use to be a dance studio and art gallery without any infrastructure a brewery or restaurant requires. As a result, larger drains, a full kitchen and cooler had to be installed along with the brewing system that sits behind the bar.

It will smell like a brewery, something Kelly thinks customers will enjoy. “We played around with a lot of different design ideas and having the brewery behind the bar was the most efficient in the end. It’s also cool because people are interested in the process of how it’s being made and can learn a bit by playing twenty questions with the bartender.”

As for the beer coming through that system, six different choices will be on tap at any given time. Four of the beers will be served year round and they’ll rotate two seasonal selections. At the moment their core beer lineup will include an IPA, vanilla stout, light golden ale and amber ale. For the time being they’ll stick to ales so they don’t have a bunch of different yeast strains floating around the new brewery.

Along with their own beer, Elevation 66 will be offering five beers from local microbreweries. Kelly sees it as way to round out the portfolio with beer they’re not going to be brewing in the near future, such as lagers and Belgians. Guest taps may include Trumer Pils, the Belgian Blonde from Black Diamond Brewing and a cider.

Elevation-66-Brewing-2nd-Floor

If you get hungry when you visit a full menu will be prepared by Chef Joel Coleman, a native of Hawaii whose moving from New Mexico to join the operation. All the ingredients will be sourced locally and the menu selection will change according to the seasons. Kelly said “It’s not going to be the greasy, no thought put into it, typical pub food. It will be pub food with a little bit a of a twist and a local flare to it.”

When the doors eventually open, hours are currently pegged at 11:30am to 11pm Sunday to Thursday and 11:30am to 2am Friday and Saturday, but could change depending on traffic flow. They also plan on hosting industry nights, open mic sessions and may offer discounts to customers with BART tickets.

Like any brewpub the group is focusing on quality beer and food to make customers happy, but Kelly has a larger vision in mind. “We just really want this place to be a good community spot where local people can gather with friends and have a good time. We’ll have good music, sports on the television and hope we can become an anchor for this growing neighborhood.”

Update (8/5/11): The address is 10082 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, CA (map). Thanks Dave!

Opening Beer Tasting Rooms in CA Breweries Just Got Easier

While everyone’s been frustrated with dysfunctional government on the federal level, the California legislature was busy passing AB 1014, which exempts breweries from the heavy-duty requirements laid out in the California Retail Food Code.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and Wesley Chesbroreceived unanimous bi-partisan support in both houses and was signed into law by Governor Brown late yesterday afternoon.

Craft breweries will now be able to serve beer at production facilities without having to spend thousands of dollars on renovations to comply with code that necessitated special sinks, paint, plumbing and countless other measures that typically target restaurants and food production facilities.

From the Office of Assemblyman Fletcher:

“At a time when many small businesses are struggling it is good to see the Legislature pass a bill that will provide real regulatory relief,” said Assemblyman Fletcher. “This bill will save small business owners like breweries tens of thousands of dollars allowing them to grow their businesses and hire more employees.”

Wineries were already exempt from these requirements and now breweries are on the same footing, as long as they only sell prepackaged food.

Passage of this bill is a momentous occasion that could play a big role in the future success of craft beer. Now consumers can look forward to tasting rooms popping up in breweries all over California in the years to come.

Calendar of Events

This month’s featured events calendar is focused on IPA’s, a Wet Dream, art, and a few pint nights among other things. Bay Area breweries will also start rolling out their GABF entries for you to try before the big event later this September. As always some restaurants, stores and breweries will be announcing last minute events throughout the month so check back with our regular calendar for the latest parties.

August 3

Meet the Brewer: Old Hangtown Brewing
6:00pm, Beer Revolution, 464 3rd Street, Oakland. (map)

August 4

IPA Day Napa Celebration
5:00pm – 8:00pm, Napa Marriott, 3425 Solano Avenue, Napa. (map)

“$10 per person with IPA’s from more then ten breweries. All proceeds will be donated to V.O.I.C.E.S. Napa, which serves under-served youth in the community.”

IPA Day San Francisco Celebration

5:00pm, Rosamunde Sausage Grill 2832 Mission Street, San Francisco. (map)

“Special hoppy hour: From 5pm to 6pm all IPAs on tap will be $2 off.
Eight IPAs will be available on tap:
Ninkasi Total Domination IPA
Green Flash West Cost IPA
Russian River Blind Pig IPA
Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
Houblon Chouffe Belgian-style IPA
Plus three more, stay tuned for details.
Three IPAs will be available in bottles:
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian-style IPA
Mateveza Yerba Mate IPA”

IPA Day San Jose Celebration
Wine Affairs, 1435 The Alameda, San Jose. (map)

$1.50 off drafts of Sculpin, Hop Crisis & Double Jack.

Pint Night: Port Brewing
6:00pm, Harry’s Hofbrau, 390 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose. (map)

Featuring: (TBD) Pay for what you drink with an opportunity to keep the brewery branded pint glass.


August 5

Drake’s First Friday
4:00pm – 8:00pm, Drake’s Brewing, 1933 Davis Street. San Leandro. (map)

“Drake’s First Friday Events are fundraisers for local schools & non-profits. This month’s event will benefit the San Leandro Education Foundation.

$5 per person voluntary donation, to the non-profit organization we are supporting, at the gate. (Children with their parents free)

$15 for a Drake’s tasting glass and 3 tokens for 3 full pours. Additional tokens can be purchased separately ($3.50 each, with net proceeds going to the non-profit)

Great food available for purchase.”

August 5, 12, 19, 25

Speakeasy’s Firkin’ Friday Open House
4:00pm – 9:00pm, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, 1195 Evans, San Francisco. (map)

Every Friday Speakeasy opens the doors of the brewery for three dollar pints and tours.

August 6

IPA Fest
11:00am, The Bistro, 1001 B Street, Hayward. (map)

August 9

Evil Twin Brewing Night & U.S. Release of Wet Dream
7:00pm, The Trappist, 460 8th Street, Oakland. (map)

“Meet Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso from Evil Twin Brewing of Denmark and be the first to sample Wet Dream made for The Trappist. Wet Dream label artist John Casey will also be in attendance. T-Shirts will be available. We will Have the following Evil Twin Beer on Draft and Bottles:
Before, During, After Xmas
Soft DK
Ryan & the Beaster Bunny
Ashtray Heart
Katz Pis
Biscotti Break
And of course WET DREAM”Evil Twin Brewing Night & U.S. Release of Wet Dream»

August 10

Meet the Brewer: Black Diamond Brewing
6:00pm – 10:00pm, Beer Revolution, 464 3rd Street, Oakland. (map)

“Join us as welcome the return of Derek Smith of Black Diamond Brewing! details tba!”

Social Kitchen Brewmaster’s Dinner Series
Social Kitchen & Brewery, 1326 9th Ave.San Francisco, CA. (map)

“The dinner pairs American Classics with internationally-inspired beers and a beer cocktail. The meal will be prepared by Guest Chef Tyler Morrish, of Osteria Coppa in San Mateo. The theme of Brewmaster’s Dinner XIII is “American Classics,” pairing Morrish’s fresh, local, market cuisine with Brewmaster Rich Higgins’s craft beer. The beer pairings will be presented and explained table-side by Higgins, a Master Cicerone.The menu will include:
• Chicken wings with horseradish cider sauce and dill slaw or fritto of fennel and green tomatoes with preserved lemon emulsion paired with Simon Saison, a rustic Belgian-style ale.
• Little gem salad, candied walnuts, blue-cheese-buttermilk dressing, and house-smoked bacon or pickled cherries paired with Old Time Alt, a toasty German-style ale.
• Pulled pork slider or roasted portobello, oven-dried tomato, and black garlic aioli slider, plum relish, cumin fries, and house-made ketchup paired with Plummer’s Crack, a beer cocktail with L’Enfant Terrible, plum, brandy, and port.
• Apple and huckleberry pie with lemon verbena whipped cream paired with Double Doozy IPA, a citrusy, malty American-style ale.

The Brewmaster’s Dinner Series embraces cuisine à la bière, the idea that beer has a place in the kitchen as well as at the table. The dinners are held the second Wednesday of each month. They are always omnivore- and vegetarian-friendly, and each course is paired with a Social Kitchen & Brewery beer. The dinner price is $40, which includes the beer pairings. Reservations can be made by calling 415-681-0330.”

August 11

Pint Night: Green Flash Brewing
6:00pm, Harry’s Hofbrau, 390 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose. (map)

Featuring: TBD. Pay for what you drink with an opportunity to keep the brewery branded pint glass.

 

August 13

Explore Your Craft: The Art of Beer
6:00pm – 9:00pm, The Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell Street, San Francisco. (map)

“DRAFT has partnered with Widmer Brothers Brewing to create Explore Your Craft, an experience where connoisseurs of beer and culture are immersed into the world of Widmer Brothers and their passion for craft beer alongside a showcase of local artisans who will display their wares and talents in art, food, and music for an intimate gathering near you. You will get to taste and learn about Widmer Brothers hand crafted beers in the presence of the Widmer Brothers and enjoy Limited Releases as well as your long time favorite brands being poured.
– Local chefs will create delicacies specifically meant to pair with the beers on hand.
– Local artisan cheese expert to host Widmer Brothers beer and cheese pairing stations.
– Live artist demonstrations will showcase at least one local artist creating their craft on site.
– Local musicians will fill the atmosphere with great sounds to create the perfect ambiance for a memorable evening.
– Patrons receive commemorative, souvenir glass and event guide beer diary for the Inaugural Explore Your Craft series of events.
$50. Tickets are limited”

August 17

SF Brewer’s Guild Meet the Brewers
6:00pm – 9:00pm, Zeitgeist, 199 Valencia St., San Francisco. (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.”

Meet the Brewer: Firehouse Brewing
6:00pm, Beer Revolution464 3rd Street, Oakland. (map)

Stephen Donahue will be on hand.

August 18

Luminesce Tripel Release Party
Iron Springs Pub & Brewery, 765 Center Boulevard, Fairfax. (map)

“Iron Springs Brewery is pleased to announce our first ever Pro-Am Beer brewed for the GABF. This is where an amateur home brewer teams up with a commercial brewer to brew a batch of beer to enter into the GABF. We have joined forces with Alan Atha of the Sonoma Beerocrats to brew a Belgian Tripel called Luminesce. Cone down to the brewery for the official release.”

Pint Night: Rogue Ales
6:00pm, Harry’s Hofbrau, 390 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose. (map)

Featuring: TBD. Pay for what you drink with an opportunity to keep the brewery branded pint glass.

August 20

Russian River Beer Revival and BBQ Cookout
SOLD OUT, Stumptown Brewery,15045 River Road, Guerneville. (map)

Meet the Brewer: Steve Altimari
2:00pm – 6:00pm, Beer Revolution, 464 3rd Street, Oakland. (map)

Come on down this saturday as steve Altimari will be here pouring some tasty Highwater beer including a special keg of secret ingredient Cherry Pom

August 25

Pint Night: Shipyard Brewing
6:00pm, Harry’s Hofbrau, 390 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose. (map)

Featuring XXXX IPA and Smashed Blueberry. Pay for what you drink with an opportunity to keep the brewery branded pint glass.

August 27

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers 14th Anniversary Party
2:00pm – 7:00pm, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, 1195 Evans, San Francisco. (map)

Beer, food trucks and local bands.

August 28

3rd Annual Bear Republic GABF Cellar Party
3:00pm – 6:00pm, Bear Republic Brewing Co., 345 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg. (map)

“With less than three months to go before the Great American Beer Festival, the Bear Republic would like to invite you, our loyal customers, to taste the best beer we have to offer. Come join us for an afternoon of food, fun, and, of course, beer, at the 3rd Annual Bear Republic Cellar Party. Tickets are $60 and limited to the first hundred people, so don’t miss out on this once a year opportunity.
The 3rd Annual Bear Republic Cellar Party is your chance to sample the exact batches submitted for judging at this year’s festival and competition in Denver, CO. Guests can participate in mock judging and ask the brewers questions about the different beer styles. The afternoon will include beer sampling, hors d’oeuvres and a commemorative glass to take home. Please join us for a fun and educational beer gathering.”

August 31

Celebrate John Martin’s Brewing Success
6:00pm, Beer Revolution, 464 3rd Street, Oakland. (map)

“With Big Time Brewing (Seattle, WA.), Drake`s Brewing (San Leandro, CA.), Triple Rock Brewing (Berkeley, CA) and Jupiter Brewing (Berkeley, CA.)”