To create a more mindful portfolio, we look for breweries with personality, solid values, and, of course, beer we think the Bay area deserves to drink. Or cider. Or even wine or mead.
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Serving the San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties.
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Paso Robles, CA
Barrel House Brewing
BarrelHouse takes pride in brewing beers for people rather than for judges. They began brewing beers they liked in co-owner Jason Carvalho’s garage, and they aren’t about to change course even if it means sacrificing a medal or twelve. In addition to their standout IPA, Rye IPA, and Stout , they offer an impressive lineup in their Salvaje de Robles sour beer series and Reservado de Robles barrel-aged series.
Here’s to Good People, Good Times and Great Beers!
Ex Novo Brewing Co.
Most brewers don’t expect to get rich running their own brewery, but the folks at Ex Novo figured they’d just give their profit away altogether. Ex Novo is the country’s first nonprofit brewery. They see themselves as a kind of commercial revenue source for their nonprofit partners so those partners can spend less time fundraising and more time doing good.
Look for their playful beers such as their seasonal Cactus Wins the Lottery Berliner Weisse and Liquid Sweater Winter Warmer or their year-round Dynamic Duo IIPA and Eliot IPA.
Hi-Wheel Fizzy Wine Company
Founder Ken Bonnin, Jr., likes to follow where life leads him, whether it’s to Europe, Central America, or San Francisco. When he wound up back home in Portland, life led him to brewing something other than beers. That something else was fizzy wines.
Hi-Wheel’s lightly carbonated wines are made with culinary herbs and spices and nontraditional fruit. Coming in at under 7% abv, they are like the wine world’s version of sessionable. Check out Lavender Lemon or Lime Habanero for a unique taste experience.
Like so many of our breweries, Hi-Wheel has a good heart. When life led Bonnin to the jungles of Guatemala, he was inspired by an organization helping local peoples there. Now, Hi-Wheel helps three students each month from these areas to receive full-time education and become leaders for their communities.
Kern River Brewing Co.
Kern River Brewing’s reputation goes beyond being Kernville’s first brewpub. They have become a beloved “local” for many of the tens of thousands of weekend adventurers that descend upon the Kern River Valley on any given weekend. KRBC keeps it local and simple, which is just what you want after a long week in the rat race—or a long day hiking, skiing, rafting, climbing or whatever it is you find to do that builds up a thirst for great beer.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Jason and Patrick Spears believe in tough cases, like making great cider from the wrong apples. Unlike your grocery store apples, cider apples make better cider than they do a healthy snack, but Washington state grows relatively few cider varieties. That doesn’t stop the folks at Locust Cider. With tested recipes and the creative use of yeast, temperature, aging, and blending, they’re making some of the most innovative ciders anywhere—and they’ve racked up a dozen awards for it along the way.
Like so many of our producers, Locust is committed to a cause. In this case, it’s a tough cause: hydrocephalus. Children born with this condition, like Jason’s own daughter, Lucy, face years of brain surgeries—the only available treatment. They’re tough kids, and Locust donates a portion of every bottle to finding a cure for them.
New York City, NY
The six-pointed star is an ancient alchemical symbol representing the unity of opposites and has a long association with the tradition of brewing. Adopting this star as their logo may be the only real connection Sixpoint has to the past, as their sights are set squarely at the future. Sixpoint brews entirely unique beers using their “pro-verse engineering” process, meaning they design a beer to an intention rather than a tradition. You’ll see familiar style-names on their packaging, but you’ve never tasted a cream ale quite like Sweet Action or a stout anything like Diesel.
Of course, the earliest brewers brewed according to the ingredients and methods made available to them in their local regions—and not according to style guidelines. Maybe that makes Sixpoint more traditional than we thought...
Santa Cruz, CA
What makes these guys uncommon? How about launching their brewery with a Belgian-style dubbel brewed with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and Indian coriander (Siamese Twin), a pre-Victorian porter with anise and licorice (Baltic Porter), and a Belgian-style golden with toasted poppy seeds (Golden State Ale)? The priority is making unique, lovable beers with organic ingredients. Beer that makes people stop short and pay attention. That is: uncommon beer.