Since 2004, when the Trumer Brewery opened in West Berkeley as the only other producer of Trumer Pils outside of the original in Salzburg, Austria, the brewery has won 18 gold medals at prestigious beer competitions. But, until now, the collection of framed, glittering awards showcasing their prowess at milling, mashing and fermenting sat in storage.
Trumer Brewery Taproom: Following the grand opening on Oct. 7, the taproom will be open Wednesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 3 p.m to 10 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. 1404 Fourth St., Berkeley
On Oct. 7, Trumer Brewery will mark the grand opening of its new taproom with an Oktoberfest-themed celebration. The brewery had previously offered tours by appointment, but this is the first time it has had a retail space for serving beer and it is also the first time the brewery has been equipped to brew more than the trademark pilsner that Trumer is known for.
“It’s very exciting for us,” said Chrissy Reinthaler, Trumer Brewery’s marketing manager. “The medals have never been on display before, and this is really the first time we’ve had a place where we can welcome in the community, serve beer and share our story.”
The new taproom is decked out with long wooden tables, both inside and on the outside patio, televisions for watching sports and other programming, and a mural from nearby Brushstrokes Studio. There are also ongoing renovations at the brewery with the plans of creating an event space for private bookings.
“We really expect this will help us connect with the neighborhood and foster some great partnerships moving forward,” Reinthaler said, noting collaborations with the San Jose Earthquakes and Cal Athletics.
A new five-barrel pilot system allows master brewer Lars Larson to branch out from pilsner and brew a variety of styles that will be available in the taproom. There are 16 taps at the taproom bar, and the goal is to work up to having a dozen beers available at any given time, with Trumer Pils serving as a constant while the other taps rotate.
“It is of course very exciting for us to be able to expand our repertoire and start brewing different styles of beer,” Larson said. “We have done well with Pilsner, but there are quite a few other great beer styles out there.”
Larson said he plans to experiment with classic European beer styles, focusing at first on brews from central Europe. For the taproom’s kickoff, the new brews include a schwarzbier, a dark and dry lager made with debittered black malt, a flens pilsner, a hoppy Northern Germany-style pilsner and a Munich helles, a pale golden lager.
“It’s always a challenge to get them just right, so we’ll have fun with that, and at some point I’m sure we’ll do a variety of riffs on those styles too,” Larson said.
Trumer is an eighth-generation family business that dates back to 1775. A group of U.S. craft brewers who had traveled to Austria and loved Trumer Pils decided they needed to bring the beer home to the United States, and in 2004 opened the Berkeley Trumer Brewery. The recipe and method is exactly the same as how Trumer Pils is made in Austria, except the Berkeley-made version uses water from a dedicated source in the Sierra Nevada.
Although the Trumer Brewery has been in Berkeley for nearly two decades, Reinthaler acknowledged that many people in Northern California are likely unaware that the Trumer Pils they get at their local bar or liquor store is brewed in the East Bay.
“[Trumer Pils] is in a green bottle, so it looks like an import,” she said. “I also think the fact that it’s an Austrian parent company that makes a German-style pilsner may create some confusion. So the taproom gives us a place to anchor our story, to invite people in and show them we’re here, share our history and what we’re doing.”
The food menu at the taproom features pigs in a blanket, a charcuterie board, a Trumer Pils-braised bratwurst sandwich and a warm pretzel made by Squabisch on Solano Avenue, in addition to other sandwiches, salads and small bites. The menu also includes a selection of wines and non-alcoholic beverages.
Trumer Brewery management had been interested in a space to serve the public for years, especially as the West Berkeley neighborhood around them has grown. The work finally began during the pandemic, and the exterior of the building at Fourth Street and Camelia Street has also received a facelift. When the construction is all done, including the event space and a reorganization of offices, there are plans to bring back brewery tours as well.
The Oktoberfest and grand opening celebration, noon to 6 p.m. on Oct. 7, will feature live music from Polkageist West, a stein-holding competition, an Oktoberfest costume contest (including best rendition of the Trumer beer maiden), food and a selection of the Trumer Brewery’s new beers in addition to the classic Pilsner. Entry is free and there will be options for beer and food packages that include a commemorative stein.
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