Category Archives: Guest Reviews

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

Cider Creek Original Farmhouse Cider

Cider Creek Original Farmhouse Cider

This past Saturday we met the owners of Cider Creek at Julio’s Cider Fest. I was excited to tell them that I had recently bought a bottle of their Original Farmhouse Cider and that it was waiting for me in my fridge at home. They were very friendly and enjoyed telling me about their process of handpicking and pressing the apples on their farm in upstate NY.

The first thing you will notice with this cider is the carbonation. This is the most effervescent cider I’ve ever seen. There is also a small amount of sediment. The scent is sweet and appley. The flavor is very balanced and really grew on me as I drank the bottle. 6.9% ABV.

I was also able to try their Saison Reserve cider at the fest and enjoyed it very much.