WHEN I VISIT the Trappist, the new Belgian beer pub in downtown Oakland — a place famous, of course, for Belgian ales — I often order a lager. No kidding. The beer is Linden Street Common Lager HHH from Linden Street Brewery, the first new brewery in Oakland since Pacific Coast Brewing Co. opened in 1988.
It's a hybrid, made like Anchor Steam, brewed with a lager yeast, but fermented at warm temperatures like ale, which gives it a great nose with hints of ripe fruit and mild hop aroma. Made primarily with Northern Brewer hops and pale Pilsner malted barley, it's quite different from Anchor. Served in a chalice at the Trappist, it provides a crisp, tasty finish to a long day, and it's our Beer of the Week.
The brewery at 95 Linden St., just north of Jack London Square, isn't functioning quite yet. But Adam Lamoreaux, the brewer, who co-founded Linden Street with his wife, Alice Chen, and Carey Peterson, has made an early batch at Drake's Brewing in San Leandro.
Right now, it's possible to find it three places: The Trappist (460 8th St.); the Fireside Lounge (1453 Webster St., Alameda); and each Friday afternoon at an open house and barbecue at the brewery.
In a few days, as soon as PG&E brings in electric power and city inspectors OK the installation, Lamoreaux says he'll be ready to begin brewing at Linden Street. "I'm smiling a lot these days," he says. "We're very close to making beer." The brewery is in a brick facade warehouse built in 1890. It's going to be a draft-only brewery, and Lamoreaux hopes his beer will soon be everywhere around the East Bay.
There are more beers on the way, Lamoreaux adds. There are plans for a summer beer, which he hopes to give the same name as the last beer made in Oakland before Pacific Coast launched the modern era.
"I've been told it was Golden Glow Lager, and I want to name my beer Golden Glow Ale. There are a lot of old-timers still in Oakland, and I want to make it in a low-alcohol style closer to what they drank back then," he says.
Another beer that Lamoreaux will be selling soon is Burning Oak Black Lager. "We have a lot of people really eager for that black lager — it might end up becoming our flagship beer."
Linden Street's Friday afternoon open house is growing in popularity. They begin pouring beer — no charge — about 4 p.m. and fire up the barbecue a little later. Everyone welcome. For a map and directions, check out my blog.
TICKET TO SIP: If you're stuck at Oakland International waiting for a flight, here's some news: Pyramid Breweries is opening a taproom at the airport this summer. Oakland also boasts a Gordon Biersch tap stand, serving all the Gordon Biersch beers. It's in the new concourse in Terminal 2. (Hint: It's right next to the new Fentons.)
Over at SFO, there are two brewery pubs, Anchor and Gordon Biersch. Both are located in Terminal 3.
CALENDAR: There are still tickets available for a beer and cheese tasting on Sunday, May 11, in Sonoma. It's a benefit for the Sonoma Community Center. I'm joining a panel of home brewers to discuss beer and answer audience questions. Then there's a large selection of cheese and beer. Sheana Davis of Epicurean Connection will provide the cheese. Cost is $20, which includes six beer-tasting tickets. Info: 707-938-4626.
CORRECTION: Alison Cook, who stars with Celebrator Beer News publisher Tom Dalldorf on the Celebrator's new CBN Evening Brews, the weekly streaming video, may or may not be a food critic, but she's famous as one of the staffers at the Bistro in Hayward. The Bistro's the home of beer festivals like the Double IPA fest. For the webcast, go to www.vimeo.com/celebrator.
ONLINE: On dah buzz today — www.ibabuzz.com/beer. — I'm talking to Tony Forder, editor of Ale Street News, the East Coast brews paper, about the unusual beers of Magic Hat. Magic Hat is acquiring Seattle-based Pyramid Breweries, in a $25-$30 million deal expected to be completed this summer. There's a possibility, although nothing has been determined, that some of Pyramid's wheat beers will be brewed at Magic Hat in Burlington, VT, and Magic Hat beers for the West Coast will be brewed at Pyramid's brewery here in Berkeley. Are we ready for #9, Magic Hat's best seller?
HHHHH World classic.
HHHH Don't miss it.
HHH Very good.
HH Good beer; no defects.
H Demand a refund.