1. Hog’s Apothecary
Hog’s Apothecary just passed its one-year anniversary in Temescal, and it already seems like a neighborhood fixture. With 33 local craft brews on tap — some may come from as far away as the Pacific Northwest — and a Cicerone (beer sommelier) on staff, this place takes its beer seriously. (There are also bottles, and a few wines and sodas). Chef-owner John Streit has designed a menu that is pork-heavy (with a name like that, is that a surprise?) offering charcuterie, sausages and lard-fried potato chips, but there are plenty of non-pork and vegetarian options, too. Communal tables encourage conversation, especially about what beer you’re drinking. Tip: Though a casual place, it’s extremely popular, and those in the know make reservations on OpenTable. Also, while you may discover your new favorite beer there, don’t count on it to be there the next time you go; taps change constantly, as does the menu. Follow the business on Facebook to learn what new beers are being poured. Hog’s Apothecary is at 375 40th St., Oakland. Hours: Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5-11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight. Closed Tuesdays.
2. Sierra Nevada Torpedo Room
Fans of Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale can try many of the Chico-based brewery’s smaller batches at its sleek Torpedo Room in Berkeley, and its location makes it easy to stop by when shopping at Fourth Street. There are usually 16 of its own beers on tap, and no pints are sold; pours are 4 ounces to encourage patrons to build their own flights. Bottles and “growlers” can be bought to take home. Food is limited to a meat and cheese plate. Tips: Food trucks sometimes make an appearance, and Thursdays are cask days, when a Sierra Nevada beer is available on cask. The Torpedo Room is at 2031 Fourth St., Berkeley. Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays. Connect with the business on Facebook.
3. The Dock at Linden Street
When Oakland’s only Michelin-starred chef opens a new place, people take notice. Especially when he teams up with a well-established brewmaster. West Oakland’s The Dock at Linden Street is a collaboration between Chef James Syhabout – Commis, Hawker Fare and Box and Bells – and Linden Street Brewery brewmaster Adam Lamoreaux. Since its June opening, diners have praised its international menu of small plates, which have been intentionally created to be paired with Linden Street Brewery’s beers. Yelpers especially love the falafel waffle — a chick pea-battered waffle paired with Merguez sausage, strained tangy yogurt and an herb salad, jerk chicken wings and popcorn with a Caesar salad dressing. Tip: The dock is an especially good place to watch the sunset while the weather is still good. And, for drivers, there’s a lot with plenty of parking. The Dock at Linden Street is at 95 Linden St., Oakland. Hours: The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday, 5:30-9:30 p.m. The Beer Shed (with a bar snack menu) is open weekdays from 4:30-10:30 p.m., and weekends from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
4. Lost & Found
If you happen to find yourself in Uptown Oakland and want a game of pingpong, cornhole or hula hoops along with your meal, look no further, especially if you’ve got the little ones in tow. Lost & Found was opened at the beginning of summer by the husband-and-wife team of Tim Martinez and Christi Vaughn, who also own the music and art lounge The Layover. Like The Dock at Linden Street, it has an eclectic, international small-plates menu designed by Chef Dennis Yadroff. Twenty beers — many of them local — are on tap. Yelpers seem to comment as much on the “huge” garden space as on the food, but standouts include Thai spiced popcorn and kimchi deviled eggs. Lost & Found is at 2040 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to midnight. Closed Mondays. Connect with the business on Facebook.
5. Westbrae Biergarten
Already a fixture in this North Berkeley/Albany nexus, the few-months-old Westbrae Biergarten, from Westbrae Nursery owners Carl and Linda Lasagna, has been busy since it opened this summer. With all California beers on tap and a few local ciders and wines to boot, the space features Brazil Café as the permanent food purveyor, with other food trucks likely to make guest appearances. The café’s menu features various proteins like tri-tip, carnitas or chipotle chicken coming in various forms: sandwich, salad or rice bowl. A sandbox caters to the little ones, and it’s dog-friendly, too. Tips: $1 from the sale of every liter of Trumer Pils goes to the Berkeley and Albany public school systems, to be split between Berkeley’s cooking and gardening program, and Albany’s Education Fund. Also, show your bike helmet to get 10% off your tab. Westbrae Biergarten is at 1280 Curtis St., Berkeley. Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Connect with Westbrae on Facebook.
6. Trappist Provisions
Serious beer geeks with a capital ‘S’ go to Trappist Provisions in Rockridge to slake their thirst (The (original) Trappist in downtown Oakland, which has outdoor seating, also draws them in). A carefully-curated selection by Aaron Porter and Chuck Stilphen of 12 taps comes from a mix of local breweries, American cities further afoot and Europe with an emphasis on Belgium. Plus, 150 more bottles are available to be drunk on site or taken home. As Justin L. puts it so well on Yelp: “This is not a place for the cheap, fat, TV-dinner eating schmuck with their Pabst. This is a place for people who enjoy every sip of their beer while having an intelligent debate on marine conservationist efforts.” Food options are minimal but, not surprisingly, go well with beer: charcuterie and cheeses mostly, made by restaurants like Oakland’s Homestead, though if the sparse food offerings aren’t enough for you, sandwiches from next door’s Southie can be brought in. Tip: Both Trappist locations are for those over 21 only, and the Rockridge location is small, so plan accordingly. Trappist Provisions is at 6309 College Ave., Oakland. Hours: Daily, 11:30 a.m. to midnight. Connect to Trappist Provisions on Facebook.
7. Moxy Beer Garden
South Berkeley’s Moxy Beer Garden has been open about a year now, and is a great place for a burger and a beer. Mike and Amy Voisenat, who live nearby, are the couple behind the venture, which offers vegan options as well as veggie burgers, a turkey and lamb burger, and numerous variations on your standard burger as well as gluten-free buns. The beer list includes numerous local craft beers on tap as well as a number of bottles, and a small selection of wines. Tip: Even carnivores praise the vegan chicken wings, and the truffle fries are a favorite, too. Also, the kitchen closes half an hour before the restaurant. Moxy Beer Garden is at 3136 Sacramento St., Berkeley. Hours: Monday through Thursday, 5-10 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. Connect with Moxy on Facebook.
There’s a lot of excitement in Oakland about Plank, the new, 50,000-square-foot venue in Jack London Square that offers bowling, bocce, arcade games, high definition TVs to watch sporting events, and a beer garden/restaurant. Still in its soft opening, its grand opening is scheduled for this weekend. Menus aren’t posted online yet, and its website offers virtually nothing. Yelp reviews are not the most complimentary so far. We’re quite sure this will be a major Oakland destination once it gets the kinks worked out. Nosh will keep you updated as we learn more. Plank is at 98 Broadway at Jack London Square, Oakland. Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Connect with Plank on Facebook.
9. Hoi Polloi Brewpub
Hoi Polloi Brewpub and Beat Lounge is another South Berkeley relative newcomer that opened this summer. Viet Vu, owner and brewmaster, always has several of his own creations on tap, and some guest taps of local craft brews as well. While the “Beats Lounge” in the title may scare off some, music is at a level that encourages conversation. Yelpers praise the free truffle popcorn and fair prices. No food is served; but with Easy Creole next door, bringing take-out is encouraged. Tip: Of 31 Yelp reviews of this place, only one had four stars, the rest all had five. Clearly Vu is doing something right. Hoi Polloi Brewpub is at 1763 Alcatraz Ave., Berkeley. Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 2 p.m to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Connect with the business on Facebook.
If you’ve tried any or all of the places above, let us know what you thought by leaving your comments below. And we know this list is not comprehensive! If there’s another “must try” spot on your list, please share that as well. Want to read more about East Bay drinks? Look no further.
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A kosher harvest at Covenant Winery in Berkeley (09.26.14)
Nosh on the town: Townie in Berkeley (09.02.14)
Bites: Bay Grape, Building 43, Communitē Table, more (08.28.14)
New Berkeley Spats owners hope for fall opening (08.18.14)
Bites: Cask, Café Underwood, Fieldwork Brewing Co. (08.15.14)
Ms Barstool: Sipping Revenge at Honor, Emeryville (08.14.14)
Mosswood whiskey aims for West Berkeley move (05.20.14)
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