Brewery Reviews From a College Student, for College Students
By Edgar Rosales
Like many students and professors, after a long week I want to go to a local place to de-stress, have a couple of beers, mingle with friends and get ready for the next set of challenges the semester has to offer. The BCC Voice offers a rundown of the best breweries at which to have a beer within a 5-mile radius of Berkeley City College.
Fieldwork Brewing Company (1160 Sixth St., Berkeley)
Looking for a place to drink with friends — or strangers? Fieldwork is the tavern for you. Show up any day of the week for a Friday night vibe. This hotspot opened in 2014 and quickly catapulted itself to popularity due to its lively atmosphere, then expanded to Napa, San Mateo, Sacramento and Monterey. Their environment might not be the ideal place to read a book like Plato’s “The Republic,” but more of place where stories are made and told. Prices range from $6 to $7. For its size, beer selection at Fieldwork is better than other breweries. With 15 beers on tap, you will never get bored.
Gilman Brewing Company (912 Gilman St., Berkeley)
Gilman Brewing Company wrought in iron. Photo credit: Daniel Tinajero
Just off of the 580 Freeway (2.5 miles from BCC), it’s easily spotted by its enormous white-letter sign or its old-school black Chevy on Gilman Street. This recently expanded brewery is the competition for Fieldwork Brewery, which is just down the street. Specializing in saison, which is a highly carbonated, non-hoppy, middle-to-light-body beer. If you are a college student on a budget, but want to drink a cold one, have no fear, Gilman is here! Students get $1 off pints and $3 off flights when they provide their student ID, which is sweet given that their brews are priced on average $6. However, if you are a person who likes to try new beer every other week, Gilman might not be the place for you. “Over the last six months we have probably added around five beers,” beertender Lalo Gonzalez told The BCC Voice. He says the reason is because their customers should be able to enjoy the beer, instead of a constantly changing menu. “Gilman is my first choice because it’s close to home and peaceful enough so I can get work done,” explained customer Jeff Moore in an interview with The BCC Voice. This brewery is a great place to come sit back, relax, and escape for a while.
The Rare Barrel (940 Parker St., Berkeley)
A colorful flight of sour beers at The Rare Barrel. Photo Credit: Daniel Tinajero
The all-sour beers of The Rare Barrel have the elegance of a wine in the body of a sour beer, and have won the brewery several awards, including two gold medals in 2014, a silver and bronze medal in 2015, and the silver medal for “Ensorcelled,” an American-style sour ale, in 2016, at the Brewers Association’s Great American Beer Festival. One of the many beauties of this brewery is their commitment to delivering the best service and beer to their customers. The Rare Barrel provides guests a variety of taps for the occasional non-sour enthusiast. Their selection is constantly changing to provide some of the best quality beer. The environment is versatile — you can mingle with friends or sit in a comfy chair next to the bar, making it an ideal place to get a beer on any day of the week. Beers ranges from $5 to $7, making it a great place for sour beer!
Triple Rock Brewery and Alehouse (1920 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
One of the oldest brewpubs in the East Bay, Triple Rock still uses the same structure and brewing regimen as when co-founders and brothers John and Reid Martin first opened the pub in 1986. “We are known for our uses of hops,” Triple Rock shift leader Mateen Habib said to The BCC Voice. Triple Rock is also in the habit of experimenting with different flavors and ingredients. Taste new-on-tap “Black Rock,” a whiskey barrel-aged imperial beer, or try their “Cold Brew,” a Peet’s Coffee- blended beer. Triple Rock changes their beer constantly, around three times a week. With their recent expansion and kitchen remodel you can now get “elevated pub food.” Come and try the chow special of the day with a side and a 20 ounce beer for only $10. Yum. From affordable deals on food, and beer averaging around $6, you won’t spend much.
Armistice Brewing Company (845 Marina Bay Pkwy. #1, Richmond)
Armistice’s daily words of wisdom. Photo Credit: Daniel Tinajero
For our wildcard, my personal favorite: new to the Bay Area is Armistice Brewing Company, which is located in Richmond, the city of Pride and Purpose. A little over eight miles from BCC, this sibling-owned brewery first opened their doors on Aug. 4, 2017. Of course, there’s some bias here, given that I’m a Richmond resident, but seriously, you need to try my usual, the Belgian-yeast-based “Saison de Table,” or their new “Feral Melon” (pictured above). Both will satisfy your thirst until the second pint. The place has a mellow family vibe; you can go upstairs and play cards in the family room, catch a game at the front bar or enjoy the beautiful California sun on the outside patio.
All of these breweries are great, and they all specialize in different types of beers, so I recommend trying them all! The most convenient brewery for BCC students is the Triple Rock Brewery, for its location, deals and selection. Hope you folks enjoyed reading. Cheers!
At the top – Armistice Brewing’s Feral Melon. Photo Credit: Daniel Tinajero