"Brew Age" - A Craft Brew Revolution in the Bay Area

By Connor Buestad | Connor@Section925.com

With summer now in full swing, beer gardens on all corners of The Bay are ripe with craft brews of all colors and creeds being thoroughly enjoyed. With the ongoing, albeit never ending celebration of beer in mind, we figured it was a good time to re-visit Oct28 Productions’ original documentary series on craft brew in the San Francisco Bay. The short format, documentary-style show is called Brew Age and delves into some interesting nooks and crannies of the industry. The filmmaking is top notch, and the creativity and progressive beer engineering on display is something to be applauded. Enjoy some handpicked segments of the Brew Age series below. If nothing else, it will give you something to talk about over your next artfully crafted pint. 

Almanac Beer Company 

The Almanac Beer Company, founded in 2010, is the brainchild of Jesse Friedman and Damian Fagan. The two started brewing beer in their respective San Francisco apartments with five-gallon stovetop batches and eventually crossed paths in a home brew club in the Bay Area. The men of Almanac are progressing the art of barrel aging, to go along with a focus on creating unique and unusual beer. You can find them taking the industry to the next level in the Dogpatch. 

Calicraft Brewing Company

Blaine Landberg, the founder of Calicraft Brewing Company, was born and raised in Chico, California, home of the venerable Sierra Nevada Brew Co. Now operating out of Walnut Creek, Blaine’s first beer was called "Buzzerkeley," after the UC Berkeley dorm room he was learning to brew in at the time. Blaine’s ambitious Sparkling Ales just might cut out a whole new segment of the craft beer industry, so find a bottle of his Wild Wit and get in on the ground floor.

Social Kitchen and Brewery

Kim Sturdavant, originally from Eugene, Oregon got his feet wet in California brewing at Marin Brewing Company. Now at Social Kitchen and Brewery in the Sunset District, Kim is focused on creating fresh hop ales with what are known as “wet hops.” Check out the video to meet Kim’s hops hook-up in Lake County. Farmer Marty loves the idea of farm-to-market brewing practices. The proof is in the pint. 

Magnolia Brewing Company 

It’s hard not to love the authentic ambiance and wonderful tasting beer inside Magnolia Gastropub in SF’s Haight-Ashbury district. Lead man Dave McLean loves the Grateful Dead and loves his beer and he is certainly beloved in the Bay Area. Recently, McLean underwent the project of building a brand new 30 barrel brewhouse in the Dogpatch District inside an old can factory. You can also eat at the new brewhouse, the restaurant is called Smokestack and serves up delicious BBQ.

Moonlight Brewing

Brian Hunt, the creator of Moonlight Brewing, isn’t afraid to be eccentric, nor is he afraid to create a beer that not everyone will like. His goal is to appeal to a small, discerning audience, but those who taste his beers often fall in love with them. One of the ways Hunt is progressing the industry is with his beer titled Working For Tips, which actually has no hops in it. “The beer industry chose him,” Hunt explains. “Beer is poetic.”

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

The head honcho of Speakeasy Ales & Lagers goes by the name Forest Gray. Before he opened up what is now a wildly successful beer company, he was simply a scientist with a home brew kit. Since 1997, Speakeasy has consistently grown and is now not only all over SF, but it can be found across the nation too. Here, Forest discusses his limited edition Scarlett Red Rye Ale and the staff shows off “The Cadillac of filtration systems.” 

Rich Higgins and Beer Lab SF

You would be hard pressed to find a man in the Bay Area who appreciates the process and the product of craft brew more than Rich Higgins. You also have to hand it to a guy who is trying to make “Craft Beer Consultant” his full-time gig. In this video, Higgins hangs with the good people of Brew Lab SF, where ideas are shared and the blueprints for future beers are drawn. 

Pacific Brewing Laboratory and Seven Stills of SF

In case you weren’t already privy to this fact, part of the process of creating whiskey is the act of distilling beer. Traditionally speaking, the beer used to distill into whiskey is usually of low quality. Not anymore. Tim Obert and Clint Potter of Seven Stills in San Francisco are changing the game by using craft beer to distill it into whiskey. In the clip below, take a ride on the “Whiskey Train” and meet Bryan Hermannsson, the creator of Pacific Brewing Laboratory. Learn how Seven Stills is using Pac Brew Lab beer to create a world class whiskey you can’t find anywhere else in the world.  

If you’ve noticed some cool/new craft brews around the bay that you particularly enjoy, let us know in the comments below. Cheers!