As mentioned previously in our blog, we’re very proud to be the first brewery to team up with Blue Bottle Coffee for a production brew. Partially because we know their name pulls weight in the coffee world, but more because our break room is often littered with the brown paper carcasses of used-up bags of Blue Bottle coffee beans.
Posts Tagged ‘Drake’s Brewing’
Just in case SF Beer Week isn’t enough for you, our friends at 21st Amendment and Magnolia have declared every February for the past decade plus to be Strong Beer Month. Not ones to miss a party, we sent lead brewer Alexandra Nowell westward to 2nd & De Boom to collaborate with 21A’s Shaun O’Sullivan on an Imperial IPA sure to hold its own against the rest of what Strong Beer Month has to offer. Then on the brew day January 5, the Drake’s crew (including John Martin, Packaging Supervisor (and former 21A brewer) Mike Pawlicki, Marketing Director Kelsey Williams, and Sales Manager Dow Tunis) came out in force to lend a hand (or drink and supervise) as the brew commenced.
Nelson, Jade, and Helga, which was brewed Saturday, January 5 at 21st Amendment, will be a Triple IPA made with 2-row, caramalt, rye, chocolate malt, and a little roasted barley, along with a combination of New Zealand (Nelson Sauvin & Pacific Jade) and American hops (Centennial & Amarillo) set to hit 10.5% ABV.
The concept of this beer harkens back to a cask Alex made for the Aroma Coma and Aroma Prieta release on July 28th of 2012. Alex had decided to do a yin and yang sort of thing, adding NZ hops to a cask of Aroma Coma US-hopped IPA, and some US Chinook hops to a cask of Aroma Prieta NZ-hopped IPA.
Anyone who experienced the latter cask on that day can attest to its brilliance. It had all the elegant, aromatic gooseberry, lemon, tropical fruit experiences of the Nelson Sauvin, Pacific Jade, and Motueka hops with an added sturdy backbone of pine-woodsy aromas from the Chinook. It was a tremendous cask. Those who received it were lucky bastards indeed. So, Alex brought the idea to Shaun, and together they came up with the final Drake’s Collaboration submission to the strong beer month lineup at 21A.
“Expect an incredible hop aroma with a firm malt backbone, but the hops are gonna be the showcase here,” said Shaun during the brew day.
“It will have notes of tangerine, gooseberries, and muscat grapes from the NZ hops with the pine and citrus US hop backing,” added Alex.
Don’t know about you guys, but it sounds like its gonna be pretty damn good to us. The beer will be released on Friday, February 1st at 21st Amendment alongside a lineup of five other beers over 8.5% ABV at the pub and 6 other strong offerings at Magnolia. If you manage to try all 12 beers within the month, you will receive your own Strong Beer Month glass to commemorate your staunchness in the face of delicious, liver-crushing dangers. Drink Drake’s and Godspeed.
Enjoy Pics from the Brew Day below.
It’s in the tanks. It’s preparing for the onslaught of thirsty beer hoards. It will be ready. Will you?
Drake’s Hopocalypse DIPA and Hopocalypse Black Label Triple IPA will be returning on Saturday, February 2nd, 10am to 9pm, at Drake’s Barrel House.
Doors will open to the Barrel House at 10am.
Hopocalypse DIPA (9.3% ABV, 100+ IBUs) will be available on tap, on cask, in 22 oz bottles (1 case per person limit), in growlers (2 per person), and in Brew Rhino kegs (limited availability, first come first served).
Hopocalypse Black Label (12.5% ABV, 100+ IBUs) will be available on tap, on cask, and in 22oz bottles (2 per person limit) at the Barrel House only.
For the hungry, Fists of Flour Wood-Fire pizza, Me So Hungry, and Fiveten Burger will be stopping by to crank out good grub for your beer-filled stomachs.
Expect casks of Hopocalypse, brewery tours, great food, Hopocalypse swag, and enough hops to send you to the end of days tasting the dank hoppy deliciousness forevermore.
This Saturday marks the anniversary of what has been a huge milestone in the growth of our humble brewery. Four years ago on November 3rd, John Martin and Roy Kirkorian walked into the Drake’s Brewery as the new owners. There they found a 19-year-old boil kettle, thirteen 15 barrel fermenters, one driver, and two brewers who were putting out just under 1000 barrels per year of some of the best brews in the Bay Area.
It was the beer that drove them; both John and Roy knew the potential that Drake’s had with each taste of the beers. The small brewery just needed the extra push and investment to grow, and it certainly has.
In 2008, Drake’s was brewing 2-3 times per week and producing just under 1000 barrels (1 barrel= 31 gallons = 2 standard American kegs) of beer per year. Now, we are brewing 4-5 times per day, running a 24 hour daily schedule Sunday-Thursday, and aiming to brew approximately 13,000 barrels of beer by the end of 2012 (20,000 barrels for 2013).
The brewery has expanded to fill the entire 6,100 square foot space with three 80 barrel fermenters, seven 60 barrel fermenters, four 30 barrel fermenters, seven 20 barrel fermenters, six 15 barrel fermenters, a new 20 barrel boil kettle and brewdeck, and a brand new 16-head bottling line. The cold-storage, barrel-aging program, admin offices, and tasting room were moved into the building next to the brewery, and new storage space was acquired. Drake’s now inhabits 22,000 square feet in San Leandro. The only pieces of equipment that still live in their original spaces are the silo, mill, and mashtun.
In June 2011, we opened Drake’s Barrel House Retail Store and Taproom beside the barrels of aging beer where we have the ability to showcase up to 22 beers on tap including a rotating selection of our small batch barrel-aged beers.
With all the growing, the work load has increased to accomodate over 32 full and part time employees, all of whom have a deep and abiding love of great beer.
It’s been a thrilling 4 years for Drake’s, and we have no doubt as to what has made it possible for us. It’s the fans of the beer, our proponents in the streets looking for our beers on the shelves, talking us up to their local barkeep, and watching out for our latest releases. So, to give back to your guys on Saturday, come by the Barrel House for “one on John and Roy.” A free 4oz taster of your choice and a free glass of our latest seasonal Exxpedition Imperial Red Ale on cask (while the cask lasts). Cheers to many more years, and many many more beers!
Click on the pics below for larger views of our changes over the past 4 years.
As the winds rise and the chill begins to fall on the Bay Area, the brewers at Drake’s beckon forth again their swashbuckling seasonal Jolly Rodger from the fog. On Saturday, November 10 at 12pm at Drake’s Barrel House, this year’s incarnation of our always bold Jolly Rodger will emerge from the tanks to greet craft beer fans on tap and in 22 oz. bottles.
Fans of Jolly Rodger will know that this brew has over the years taken many forms and styles. Now, after years of scallywagging about and dallying with any style that caught its fancy, good ole JR is returning to it’s original form, an American Barleywine.
Originally crafted as a holiday brew that Drake’s brewers could get behind, Jolly had all the warming powers of malt and alcohol, minus the strange holiday beer ubiquitousness of overpowering pie spices, and finished with the open handed smack of bold Northwest American hops.
The 2012 Jolly Rodger is full-bodied with rich caramel malt undertones and mild biscuit malt character. Sufficient additions of West Coast hops balance the malt with pine needle aromatics and satisfying bitterness.
Release Event Details:
When: Saturday, November 10 from 12-9pm
Where: Drake’s Barrel House- 1933 Davis St., San Leandro, CA 94577
Food: Oakland’s Fist of Flour Wood-fire Pizza
Jolly Rodger will be available on tap, on cask, in growlers (2 per person), in (very limited) 5 gallon kegs (1 per person), and in 22oz bottles (6 per person limit).
We will also be pulling some barrel-aged Barleywines from our barrels to put on tap at the Barrel House for a Drake’s Barleywine Flight opportunity for the beer geeks to drool about.
Drake’s Black Robusto is a deep, dark “Robust Porter,” a beer style known for being darker, fuller-bodied, and stronger than a standard Brown Porter. Each pint goes down smoothly with flavors of bittersweet chocolate and slight roast from Crystal and Chocolate malt. A touch of spicy, herbal hop character from Willamette hops balance out the finish. Enjoy a pint, and now a bottle, with dark lingering satisfaction.
With it’s malt backbone, chocolate, and roasted flavors, the Black Robusto also plays an exceptional role on the table as it pairs well with smoked meats, BBQ brisket, mole, chocolate, and much more.
Just bottled Monday, you are welcome to grab the Black Robusto here on the shelves at the Drake’s Barrel House starting today, and it should make it to stores in the Bay Area within the next week or so. Further out in SoCal and up past Sacramento, our fans can expect to see it sometime in November. Cheers to more Drake’s beers.
Coming October 25: Mission Exxpedition A San Francisco Pub Crawl
The Beers of Fall from Drake’s
Before even mentioning the brewery construction, the move to a 24-hour brewing schedule, and the conversion over to our new larger batch sizes, the brewer’s have been a busy group with some new fall releases.
This fall prepare yourselves for new beers from Drake’s with the release of several new seasonals, one-offs, and new bottes all for your enjoyment.
1. HausFest Festbier- 5.5% ABV, 24 IBUs– Just released last Friday at Flocktoberfest, our one lager of 2012, the HausFest Festbier is currently our brewers’ go-to pint. HausFest is a lighter-style Märzen and our version of the classic German Oktoberfestbier. Fresh toasty aromas of Vienna and Munich malts jump out of the glass alongside subtle spicy noble hops with a round, smooth mouthfeel and clean, dry, and crisp finish. **2nd year brewed. Draft only**
2. Batch 4000- 5.5% ABV, 48 IBUs– To commemorate our latest milestone batch we took a hint from the harvest season and spiked our hop-forward 1500 American Pale Ale with fresh wet-hops (Simcoe and Citra) in a hop-back and the dry hop. Look for it at both the Bistro Wet-Hop Fest this Saturday and at Toronado’s Wet-Hop fest on the 17th. **One-off. Draft only**
3. Drake’s Exxpedition Imperial Red Ale- 8% ABV, 70 IBUs– Since the beginning Drake’s brewers have sought to create beers that transcend the brews that have come before. Our original brewer Roger Lind created our long standing seasonal Expedition, a hoppy American Red Ale, back when the punch of American hops were less that normal in your typical red ale. Now, our brewers are taking that beer to the next level for its “Double X” rendition, Exxpedition Imperial American Red Ale. Ruby red from crystal malts and roasted barley, this beer delivers rich caramel nots and just a hint of roast. Additions of citrusy, resinous West-Coast hops and an abundant dry-hop then punctuate the malt with intense flavors and aromas of grapefruit with a clean bitter finish. **Annual Seasonal**
4. Drake’s Jolly Rodger 2012- 9.6% ABV, 75 IBUs– After years of scallywagging about from port to port and dallying with any stayle that cought its fancy, the 2012 edition Drake’s Jolly Rodger is returning to its original style, an American Barleywine. Our 2012 Jolly Rodger is full-bodied with rich caramel malt undertones and mild biscuit malt character. Sufficient additions of West Coast hops balance the malt with pine needle aromatics and satisfying bitterness. Welcome home old friend. Yo Ho. **Annual Seasonal**
5. Drake’s Black Robusto Porter- 6.3% ABV, 35 IBUs– Drake’s Black Robusto is a deep, dark “Robust Porter,” a beer style know for being darker, fuller-bodied, and higher in alcohol by volume than a standard Brown Porter. Our Black Robusto goes down smoothly with flavors of bittersweet chocolate and slight roast from Crystal and Chocolate malt dominating. A touch of spicy, herbal hop character from Willamette hops balance out the the finish. Drake’s Black Robusto has long been a year round part of our draft-only line-up, but coming this fall we will begin to bottle this beguilingly dark brew in 22oz bombers. You’ll start to see the bottles first at the Barrel House, then around the Bay Area and slowly moving outward. **Year-Round**
Drake’s Beer Sausages at Fatted Calf
For our Flocktoberfest Event last Friday, Taylor Boetticher, the mad genius behind Fatted Calf charcuterie shops in Napa and San Francisco crafted 2 different types of sausages flavored with our beers.
Starting this weekend (possibly today), out of the grace of all things beer-soaked and pork-filled, you will be able to get your hands on Drakonic Imperial Stout laced Pork sausage or Amber infused Duck sausage at both Fatted Calf stores (Napa and San Francisco) and at their various Farmers Market spots.
Oktoberfest is approaching, and as far as we’re concerned any holiday season that basically revolves around great beer and sausage is flockin’ chill in our book. Still, we find that most of the time we can do without wearing leather shorts and the polka.
But that’s what’s so great about being American… we can do whatever the flock we want. At Drake’s we’re doing Oktoberfest our way, keepin’ the large quantities of Fest Beer and seasoned encased meats and ditching the leather underwear and accordions. It’s Flocktoberfest again and we’re planning to rock out.
On Friday September 28th from 6-9pm, come to Drake’s Barrel House for your chance to Oktoberfest our style.
That night we will be releasing our seasonal HausFest Oktoberfest beer- a lighter, balanced version of the classic Marzen style. Made with Pilsner, German Munich, and Vienna malt hopped with classic German Spalt hops, HausFest is golden orange in color with an enticing aroma of biscuity malt and spicy noble hops with a crisp dry finish. 5.5%, 28 IBUs
A limited number of Drake’s Flocktoberfest .5L Beer Steins will be available for purchase, and throughout the evening we will fill your stein with pints of our HausFest and year-round beers for $4.50 (strong and barrel-aged excluded).
For your noshing needs, we have partnered with Fatted Calf to make two kinds of Drake’s Beer Sausage made with pork or duck that we throwin down on the grill. Vegetarians, no worries, we grabbed some vegan sausages from Rosamunde for you to get into the flockin’ spirit too.
Lastly, here to help us ditch the polka for the night, our friend DJ TophZilla will be throwin’ down tracks of punk and rock to kick the festing to the next level of awesome.
Pre-Order Tickets are sold out, but there will still be some steins and sausages available at the Barrel House starting Friday at 6pm. (For those that miss out on the steins, we still have plenty of perfectly good pint glasses that are quite good at holding beer.
Time to Fest the flock out at Drake’s. Prost!
No Pets allowed (Service Animals welcome)
If we had to name the common ground that every single person on the crew shares, there’s no doubt that it would be an intense fascination with the process of making craft beer, tasting it, and sharing it with others.
Today, we got members of the whole crew involved round the brewery in various tasks. Early on in the day, Lead Brewer Alex grabbed the wine thief tool to check on the sour barrels with tasting and barrel climbing help from our Community Manager Kelsey. Then, Barrel House Manager Gabbi and DBH Bartender Antonio ascended the catwalk to help John Gillooly dry hop a 60 bbl batch of IPA. Afterwards, Tony went behind the mashtun to give Chris Dunstan a hand in graining out today’s batch of Hefe.
Having earned the brewer/kinda for a day badges. It was then time for a toast at the Barrel House for a job well done. Teamwork kids. That’s what’s up. Cheers.
There’s a guest brewer in the house today, and I don’t think we could have picked a better brew day for him to join. Vincent Hine, former brewer at Hallertau Brewbar, a 12 hectoliter (~10 bbl) brewpub in Auckland New Zealand joined Alex on the brew deck.
We first met Vince last November at a local beer festival here in San Francisco, and have been hatching plans to have him in for a brew day ever since. So, when Vince showed up this Saturday for the Aroma Coma and Aroma Prieta release, one of those little Eureka lightbulbs popped up over our heads… bring him in for the next Aroma Prieta brew.
Yes, that’s correct. More of our newest seasonal, Aroma Prieta double-dry-hopped IPA with New Zealand hops is hitting the tanks today.
We know what you’re thinking… ”That’s Awesome! But why didn’t you just brew more in the first place?”
There’s a pretty fascinating answer for that, but the short version is: We didn’t get all of our New Zealand hops in time for the first brew. Due to the growing popularity of New Zealand’s hop varieties and their long harvest season, all the hops we planned to use didn’t quite make it to San Leandro in time for the first brew of Prieta.
According to Vince, their particular aromas and flavors of tropical fruit, lemon, citrus, and gooseberries have caught the attention of brewers both domestically, where they have traditionally relied more on Noble and English varieties, as well as in American craft breweries.
“From what I’ve seen of the hop fields, it’s still a very small production, but expanding. I don’t know if they are expanding at the rate of popularity,” Vince explained.
Still, despite initial setbacks, we are currently brewing up more Aroma Prieta today, which according to our in-house expert of the day, is “balanced with nice Motueka (lemon, citrus) and Nelson Sauvin (lemon, gooseberries, and sometimes green bell pepper) character.”
Thanks Vince for hanging out, helping us with the brew, and giving us some first hand insight into New Zealand hops.
For those still seeking Prieta, we currently have a few cases of bottles left here at the Barrel House, and the next batch should be available in a couple of weeks, though we’ve not decided how much will become bottles and how much will be draft. In the meantime, have an Aroma Coma. Cheers.