Drake’s April Newsletter


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April 2015

Drake’s April News

What’s Goin’ On:

  • April First Friday
  • Reno Beer Week & a Great Basin collab brew
  • Wrasslin’ Barrels with Alyssa
  • Employee Chili Cook-off Results & Recipes
  • Drake’s Kickback Program
  • Drake’s Barrel House & Brew! Kitchen Update
  • Events, Homebrew Help, Web Store, Social Media

April First Friday
Yes yes yes, Lost Drakers… tonight is again First Friday, our block-party-style shindig that takes over the parking lot once a month for the benefit of humanity- specifically the humanity sitting in our local schools, as well as you nice people who donate thousands every month.
Our next First Friday, right here at Drake’s, will be on Friday, April 3 from 4-8 pm, benefitting the Washington Elementary Dad’s Club and Assumption School.  Licensed 2 Grill and Brew! Kitchen will be here servin’ up dinner.
For full First Friday details, check out the First Friday page on our website.  The Barrel House will be open for normal service from noon to 4pm, and then from 4pm-6pm for package/to-go sales only (bottles, growlers, kegs, schwag).

Reno Craft Beer Week & our Great Basin collaboration
At this point, we’re just going to designate this section of the newsletter for local beer weeks.  Since The City kicked it off way back in 2009, craft beer weeks have popped up all over Northern California, and now Reno/Sparks is getting in on the action with Reno Craft Beer Week.  We, of course, do not pass up such 
Great Basin Brewing Nevada's Oldest Brewery - Oval Large 4opportunities, so we got together with Great Basin Brewing Co for a RCBW collaboration brew that’ll be released at their Sparks brewpub on Tuesday, April 21.
You see, GBBC is Nevada’s oldest 
brewery, and we’re now 25 & change, so we figured we’d look to the grizzled ol’ 

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veterans who predate Nevada’s burgeoning craft beer scene to make sure we make ourselves the biggest little splash we could in Reno. And with that relationship forged, we’re set to release a Belgian Dubbel brewed with foraged ingredients from both the Golden & Silver States.
Based on American favorite Nelson Sauvin, we supplied German Hallertau hops, which will provide a blend of citrus we know & love from Nelson 


alongside a spicy bite German hops are renowned for.  Having both was essential, considering the rest of this ingredient list: foraged California spruce & cedar in the mash, spruce in the boil, and the final addition that still awaits: a tea brewed from Nevadan desert sage & juniper that will be added post-fermentation, much like the traditional Finnish sahti.
We landed on these additions as a way to not only bring together brewers from CA & NV, but also to bring together the lush greens of California with the desert brush of Nevada for a truly representative brew of these two longstanding Western brewhouses & our respective brewing histories.

Alyssa’s Manhattan Project
Drake’s has maintained a barrel program dating back decades, and in the last few years, it’s grown wildly- no pun intended- with a small army of people wrangling oak & bugs.  One of the newest people on the barrel team is Alyssa Doty, who’s worked her way through keg-flippin’ and tour-givin’ to work full time in our barrel program, headed up by barrelmaster Travis Camacho.
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We caught up with Alyssa to see why the extra-dirty work of barrel-wrangling appealed to her, and about her ambitious first solo barrel brew, the Manhattan Project, available now in the Barrel House:
How’d the idea for Manhattan project come about?
We’d tried an old High West Manhattan rye whiskey barrel that’d been filled with porter several months before I started working on the barrels.  Travis tried it but wasn’t thrilled, but I noticed the beer was just starting to sour, giving off some sour cherry notes.  Considering the barrels had “Manhattan” stamped right on ’em, I thought I could make something out of it, so Travis said “all yours.”
What was your first step?
Drinking lots of Manhattans.


Probably should have seen that answer coming.  What were the next steps?
Well, the classic Manhattan has sweet vermouth, bitters, and cherry.  The barrel provided the cherry, so it was just a matter of rounding the rest out.  I played around with chipotle and even granny smith apples, but decided simpler would be better.  So I went with a combo of vanilla, allspice, star anise, and a pinch of cinnamon to re-create the sweet vermouth, and then orange peel for the bitters.  With the heft of the barrel-aged robust porter, it ended up just about where I wanted it.
OK, now what’s the weirdest thing you’ve had to do in the barrel program?
Deliver live crabs to Travis at home.  Didn’t really have anything to do with the barrel program, though.
The Manhattan Project, at 8.7% ABV, is on tap at Drake’s Barrel House today.

Our Chili cookoff winners
First Fridays, as you may know, started off as Drake’s founder Roger Lind & his buddies firin’ up the Hibachi grill and taking it easy on a Friday night.  First Fridays have evolved to something far bigger than that in the following decades, but there’s still nothing like just sitting down to eat with your friends & co-workers, so at our last brewers’ staff meeting, we had ourselves an in-house chili cookoff, and because we’re cool like that, we’re giving you the winning recipes:


The grand winner, not at all suspiciously, was owner John Martin’s entry, which is as follows:
•shredded turkey
•red, black, & pinto beans
•oven roasted green & red peppers simmered in an Aroma Coma reduction
•onions, stewed tomatoes, garlic, jalapeños
•spices: cumin, coriander, marjoram, Mexican Oregano, chili powder, and cayenne
And the runner-up was brewmaster John Gillooly’s entry:
•browned cubed chuck roast & ground pork
•16 whole toasted chili pods & cumin
•2 sautéed shallots, 2 tsp salt and 4 jalapeños
•6 minced cloves of garlic, 1 tblsp tomato paste, 2 tblsp Mexican oregano & reserved chili powder, sautéed
•~4oz each of Black Robusto & Hefe

Drake’s Kick Back
As you know, First Fridays have been a staple of not only the East Bay beer scene, but of the local school districts & parishes- we, with your help, have raised thousands upon thousands of dollars for San Leandro area schools and other youth & educational groups.  But as we grow Drake’s throughout California and beyond, we wanted to extend that to a greater portion of our fans & their families- more than a measly 12 First Fridays in San Leandro can contain, hence the new Drake’s Kick Back program– think “First Fridays on the road.”
We have the beer trailer, we have the truck, and we have the beer.  What we need now is you.  If you want in, you must be a tax exempt 501c3 nonprofit 

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based in the San Francisco Bay Area, with access to an outdoor event space and ability to provide 20 volunteers the day of a Kick Back event.  If you can do all that, you can fill out our Kick Back application form, and we might just bring First Friday (or third Tuesday) to you.
It’s practically a cliché, but beer really is about community, as the throngs of people we see every First Friday proves, and we’ve been supported by the Bay Area for over 25 years- it’s our pleasure to return the favor for the next generation of Bay Area residents & brewers.

Drake’s Barrel House
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Meant to come this joint out for a while, but haven’t found the right time?  If you’re a Warriors or A’s fan, we do have a couple suggestions- we’re just a few exits/BART stops away from the Coliseum & Arena where the Ws continue to blow the rest of the NBA out of the water and the A’s return to Oakland tomorrow to build on their 2014 campaign.  We’re open seven days a week for a pre-game pint or a sixer to go, so stop by & pair the best basketball in the Pacific with the best beer.
Prefer to perform your own sports instead of watching others?  Session Beer Month is next month, so maybe May 2nd’s Alpha Session release is more your style.  NorCal Bitter, Session IPA- whatever you call it, it has that great hop bite & full-bodied mouthfeel you’d expect from our west coast style, but at a manageable 3.8% ABV.  Last year, we had a full lineup of games, grillin’, and other goodies outside on the patio, which we expect to get bigger & better, like everything but the ABV.  Alongside Alpha Session will be Omega Session, and a new featherweight in Trappistito– a Belgian-style table beer brewed with pilsner & Vienna malts along with a touch of oats, 100% German Mandarina Bavaria hops, and we’re subbing out the Belgian candi sugar for local orange blossom honey.  nbsp;(We’ll have a few more tricks up our sleeves for Session Beer Month, too, which we’ll release in May.)


Drake’s April Events


If you would like more information or directions for any of our events feel free to contact us online or call us at (510) 568-BREW (2739).


Apr 11, 2015  12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Chico Elk Lodge (Chico, CA)



Apr 11, 2015  12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Wake Island Watersports (Pleasant Grove, CA)



Apr 11, 2015  4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Sports Basement (Berkeley, CA)



Apr 17, 2015  6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Downtown Tracy (Tracy, CA)



Apr 18, 2015  12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Riverview Park (Corona, CA)



Apr 18, 2015  12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Martinez Waterfront Park (Martinez, CA)


Apr 19, 2015  3:00 pm – 7:00 pm

The Brewer’s Cabinet (Reno, NV)


Apr 21, 2015  5:00 pm – 10:00 pm  Great Basin Brewing (Sparks, NV)


Apr 22, 2015  6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Downtown Campbell, CA



Apr 25, 2015  11:30 am

Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse (Berkeley, CA)


Apr 25, 2015  5:30 pm

Specialty Event Center (Fairfield, CA)



May 2, 2015  1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Mendocino County Fairgrounds (Boonville, CA)




May 23, 2015, 12:00 pm

Jack London Square (Oakland, CA)

Homebrewers, Ask Away


BhGpWoGCcAAbj28You might have spotted the above setup in Zymurgy a few months ago… yeah, that’s our event staffer Nick up there.  It’s pretty safe to say that while we may be a production brewery, we’ve had that homebrew spirit in our veins ever since 1989, so if you, noble homebrewer, have a question about brewing great craft beer, feel free to ask our brewers at breweranswers@drakesbrewing.com


Our online store is chugging away at drakesstore.com.  We’ll be re-stocking and adding new items every season, so keep checking back for more beer-adjacent goodies.

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