All posts by Silvio

I like beer.

Sampling Oakland’s Best Local Breweries


Hey everyone, long time no review! If it seems like I disappeared from Earth, it’s because I’ve been frantically trying to get everything squared away for a cross-country move to Oakland, California – in addition to an insane workload lately. Phew.

This weekend I’m in Oakland trying to find a place to live. The rental market is INSANE here, with dozens of people lined up 15 minutes before an open house starts, and landlords exacting crazy concessions. From having to write a letter to one saying why I they should consider me, to another interviewing me for 15 minutes, it’s been quite stressful. Good thing, then, I stumbled onto a great local beer festival on Oakland’s Piedmont Avenue area last night!

I got to sample five local breweries’ best offerings, and came away super stoked to start exploring the San Francisco Bay Area beer scene. Here are the highlights:

  • Line 51 Brewery’s High Plains Drifter Imperial IPA: Named after an Oakland bus line, this brewery is proud to be one of the first downtown breweries, and the High Plains Drifter is a super hoppy and dry IPA, with tons of floral notes toward the end. I definitely enjoyed this, but it’s not for people who don’t love insane 2 (1)
  • Lucky Devil Brewery’s Great Belgian: Another Oakland-based brewery, but this one’s definitely got a Belgium theme. Their Great Belgian is just their second brew, but it’s super spicy with tons of coriander notes, and a perfect amount of sweetness on the end.
  • HenHouse Brewing Company’s Saison: This Petaluma-based brewery absolutely CRUSHES saisons. This brew is super drinkable, has tons of citrus and grassy flavors throughout, and ends on an incredible black pepper note on the 4
  • Golden State Cider’s Mighty Dry Hard Cider: I had to try this cider because I know how much Melissa loves them, and it was well worth the effort. When talking to co-founder and super-cool dude Nils Reid, I learned they use no concentrate, no water, and no sugar – just apple juice. Great cider, great 2
  • Altamont Beer Works‘ Rich Mahogony: This brewery seems to have the most beer choices of any that I saw, but I’m super glad I picked this one. It’s a red ale, but super stanky-hoppy with a really balanced maltiness, and a great beer to end 1

Great Divide Rumble IPA

Great Divide Rumble IPA

Yo LIBA Nation, whattup? I’ve been traveling a ton lately, spending a week in Los Angeles and a week in New Orleans since the end of August and sadly, my beer blogging has suffered. Mind you, I’ve been drinking a lot of beer but blogging, not so much.

Today I was finally able to catch up on work and life, and rewarded myself with a nice long run. Good thing, too, because I’ve got just a month left before Josh and Melissa come to D.C. for a beery weekend and the Army 10-Miler race.

But enough about me – you came here for the beer review. I’m cracking open Great Divide’s Rumble oak-aged IPA. It’s the last of the brews left from my previous beer run, and I’m a huge fan of Great Divide, so how better to cap off a great day?

Great Divide Rumble IPA bottle

Rumble pours our a clear copper color, with a nice little foam crown that leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. The oak aging really comes through on the aroma with plenty of sweet woody notes.

I get a lot of that oak aging on the taste, too. Rumble starts off with a great balance of pine hops and a bit of citrus, before shifting into a sweet middle full of vanilla and oak, and ending on a caramel and woodsy end note. That end note really sticks around with a ton of sweetness.

Bottom line – if you see Rumble, buy Rumble. It’s balanced between hops, oaks, and sweetness, and it’s incredibly drinkable.