The best breweries in the Bay Area

It’s always brewery-hunting season for some people, but the crowds really seem to pick up when Spring is in full bloom and the warm summer months approach. If a cold craft brew in the sunshine is your thing, you’ll want to see this list from TimeOut.com of the best breweries in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley.

Almanac Brewery's bar area
Photograph: Mariko Reed (TimeOut.com)

Fort Point Beer: San Francisco

Fort Point Beer Company is known for its ales and is run by two brothers with local roots.

Novel Brewing Co.: Oakland

You can snag a book from the communal shelf at this brewery and sip on the Dust Jacket IPA in Oakland.

Cellarmaker Brewing Company: San Francisco

IPAs are beloved at Cellarmaker, and now they’ve opened a House of Pizza extension on Mission St. to complete a perfect combo.

Fieldwork Brewing Co.: Berkeley

Fieldwork now has locations in Berkeley, Napa, San Mateo, Monterey, Sacramento, and San Ramon and they produce more than 200 beers!

Rare Barrel
Timeout.com

The Rare Barrel: Berkeley

If you like sours, this is the place to be in the East Bay. Try the kimchee dumplings at the Berkeley tasting room on weekends!

Standard Deviant Brewing: San Francisco

Sports on the TV, unique beers, and a pinball machine? What more could you ask for from a brewery? Standard Deviant delivers.

Temescal Brewing: Oakland

You’ve definitely heard of this one – and probably tried their beer! They have a cozy outdoor beer garden and features food trucks on property for your eating needs.

Ale Industries: Oakland

This is Oakland’s biggest and oldest brewery, located in the Fruitvale neighborhood. It serves seasonal beers, live music, and allows outside food.

Almanac Beer Co.: San Francisco

Like Temescal in Oakland, you’ve definitely heard of – and tried – this Mission-based brewery. Also check out their huge new brewery and taproom in Alameda!

Seven Stills: San Francisco

Seven Stills has good craft beer, but also distills liquor from their beer! They can be found in the Outer Sunset, Bayview and Mission Bay – the latter has a dog-friendly beer garden.

Kristin’s note: on top of all these, I’d add 21st Amendment’s newer brewery and tasting room in San Rafael for excellent beer and friendly service!

Event Round-Up: April 20, 2019

The weather is heating up, and with it is the Bay Area event calendar! Usually we give you five, but since this is such a fun time of the year, we’ve given you a few bonuses to look out for. Let me know if you go to any of these so we can write about them in a future blog!

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Moonlit Walking Tour: San Francisco (May 1st)

You can take a 90-minute walking tour through one of San Francisco’s most famous – and infamous – neighborhoods. Start in the Tenderloin at 6:15 p.m., and your $20 ticket gets you an awesome tour and a whole new perspective. Tickets here.

Wanderlust: San Francisco (May 4th)

Wanderlust Festival, which brings teachers, experts, musicians, and creators for “transformational experiences” is coming to Golden Gate Park on the weekend of May 4th. Get more information here!

Cinco de Mayo Eve Pub Crawl: San Francisco (May 4th)

8 p.m. in Lower Nob Hill/Union Square. Be there, or be square. The night before Cinco de Mayo, you can get the festivities kicked off early with a themed pub crawl! Get tickets at this link.

SF Maritime Beer Fest: San Francisco (May 10th)

Okay, this one is really cool. You can get a $25 ticket for a really unique Beer Fest on a submarine at Fisherman’s Wharf! There will be music, craft brews, and some amazing views of the San Francisco Bay.

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Creek Cleanup Day: Walnut Creek (May 11th)

City and Friends of the Creek are making plans for the 30th Annual Creek Cleanup Day! This year’s event hops to top the 140 volunteers and 16 cubic yards of debris and vegetation that was removed in 2018. More details here.

Youth Art Show: Walnut Creek (thru May 15th)

The Center for Community Arts celebrates its youth artists in this show at Shadelands Art Center. This will include students from preschool up through teen classes. Over 100 artists! Opening reception is on Fri., Apr. 12th from 5:30-7:00 p.m., too.

Beginning Beekeeping: San Francisco (May 18th)

For $25, you can learn how to become a beekeeper! The class is designed for people with no experience in the field, and protective clothing will be provided. This sounds really interesting, especially with beekeeping becoming such an important part of the ecosystem!

Bedford Gallery Exhibit: Walnut Creek (thru June 23rd)

The newest Bedford Gallery exhibit, Tradition Interrupted, is on display downtown. It explores the methods used by artists to conflate contemporary ideas with traditional art and craft. Check it out! And remember that every first Tuesday at the gallery is free.

Historical rates and the current market

The Kiplinger Letter is the most widely read business forecasting periodical in the world, and lender Bob Schwab sent a recent one that gave me a lot of interesting information. It says:

“We don’t think a recession is imminent, despite a recent warning sign from the bond market. But that doesn’t mean the economy is fine. A substantial slowdown is in the works. “

The letter also hints at the recent slowdown in the European economy, which we touched on in a recent blog. I recently mentioned the inverse yield curve and the Kiplinger Letter noted the rate on short term bills briefly topped long-term yields last month, a situation the presaged recessions in recent decades, though long term rates soon rose again. Bob also mentioned that it was the 1-year treasury note that had a higher yield than the 5-year. It is when the 1-year and 10-year inverse that has led to a recession in the past.

Suddenly, the U.S. doesn’t appear immune to a recession.

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Kiplinger

Here are the reasons for guarded optimism, as Kiplinger see them…facts about the underlying strength of the U.S. economy that ought not to be overlooked:

  • The jobless rate is low. Inflation is modest.
  • The housing market is starting to rebound. (I feel our area is rebounding, just not as robust as a year ago)
  • Consumers continue to feel fairly confident, though their mood varies as stock prices rise or fall.
  • A trade deal with China still appears likely to happen later this spring, which would give a badly needed boost to global trade.
  • The stock market isn’t pricing in a recession yet. Nor are corporate bonds, whose yields relative to safe Treasuries indicate investors aren’t afraid of defaults.

It is also interesting to look at in the context of historical rates, which for buyers is a key motivator to whether they will buy or not. At the end of the day, we still look great, as shown below:


Rooted Coffee’s roots in WC

Rooted Coffee, which has been serving the Walnut Creek Farmer’s Market for years, has found a home in Pleasant Hill on Oak Park. They’re known for their paleo waffle and they now have a bunch of vegan and gluten-free items, too!

The owner of Rooted, Jon Gilmore, is a Las Lomas High graduate who says on the website that he’s wanted to open a coffee shop since graduating college. He and his wife, Jenny, focus on making a difference with their business both in the local community and in the global farming community.

One cool thing they do is a promise to donate 10% of profits to local and global charities. They source beans that are organic and fairly traded, only use plant-based milks, exclusively use compostable and petroleum-free cups, and keep a relationship with one independent, local roaster. Very cool!

I think the coffee itself is good, but I really love the paleo waffle and their food menu; though it’s not extensive, it has some awesome items on it. I highly recommend checking out Rooted when you get a chance! I also miss them at the Farmer’s Market, but wish them nothing but success at their new brick and mortar location – it has been a long time coming.

Art Town: Egrito Grande

This utility box, though it’s beginning to peel, is so majestic to add to the utility box blog posts for art in Walnut Creek! It’s called “Egrito Grande” and features what looks like a giant, white crane with a nice red-orange backdrop that reminds me of a sunset.

You can check out this box on the corner of Broadway and Cypress. It’s been there since 2015, which is quite a long lifespan for utility box artwork in downtown! The artist, Chris Giotta, is local to Walnut Creek.

I tried to find out more information on the artist, but nothing came up in my search; it would be nice if Walnut Creek added a bit of information about each artist and the work even if it just a utility box. Luckily, one of my team members personally knows the artist and said Chris Giotta is a long-time resident of Walnut Creek who used to teach at W.C.I.!

Do you have a favorite utility box in Walnut Creek? Share them with me!

Bounty Hunter Open as of 4/8!

Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of how many new restaurants open and how many old ones close in Walnut Creek. It’s an endless merry-go-round of openings and closings, which can be exciting but hard to track! Recently, my team member Denise tried Bounty Hunter, plus her daughter Erica is a hostess there, so they tried it three times during the past weekend soft opening for friends and family! Here are her insights:

Bounty Hunter Walnut Creek is the second location for this wine and spirits merchant. The rustic decor and only 25 tables create a comfy atmosphere. While the combination of a wine merchant serving BBQ sounds a bit odd, Bounty Hunter pulls it off amazingly well. The food is fabulous! The pimento cheese dip appetizer is a new twist on the southern version with a bit of a kick to it. The BBQ platter is a good way to try the pulled pork, brisket and ribs with the three house made sauces, a great dish to share. Not a huge fan of BBQ? The salmon on shaved brussels sprouts and tri-color quinoa was cooked perfectly (and looked beautiful too). The beer can chicken is one of their specialties and quite a site when the whole chicken (including the beer can) arrives at the table; and you can’t beat mac and cheese as the ultimate comfort food to go along with it all. Ah, the desserts . . . s’mores pie, cobbler, and panna cotta with kumquats are just a few of the tempting options. Even with the soft opening, service was very good with the entire staff creating a welcoming vibe.

The restaurant officially opened on April 8. Reservations are recommended and can be made up to two weeks out but only by phone or in person. The 15 bar stools and lounge area are open seating. The full menu is available at the bar. Beverages and appetizers are available in the lounge area. There are 24 wines by the glass available and 8 wine flights that have been put together for those who want to taste some great wines. Bounty Hunter is one of the few restaurants in Walnut Creek with a sommelier. Brandon has hand picked the 500+ wines that are available for purchase in the retail wine and spirits shop. There is a full bar and Bounty Hunter has 4 specialty cocktails on the menu. There is no happy hour nor door dash at this time 🙁

p.s. I can’t wait to try it and note, there are some vegetarian options!

Walnut Creek updates!

Normally, we reserve event updates for our monthly round-up’s on Saturdays. However, the Walnut Creek City Manager newsletter for April was so chock full of great events coming up in the next week or so, we couldn’t resist sharing a few of them with you. There is a lot of stuff happening in Walnut Creek, so here’s our best all-things-WC blog. Check it out!

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EVENTS

April 13: 2nd Saturday Spotlight

A 90-minute walking tour of Shell Ridge is followed by a visit to the Lakewood neighborhood, where the effort to preserve open space in Walnut Creek gained traction decades ago. Register here!

April 13: Family Yoga

Let’s stay at the Shadelands for a family-friendly version of yoga from 10:30-11:15 a.m. on Sat., Apr. 13th! Onsite registration begins at 10:00 a.m. and it’s a $20 suggested donation per family. BYO yoga mats!

April 20-21: Easter Weekend

Boundary Oak Golf Course is hosting an Easter egg hunt on Sat., Apr. 20th from 1:00-3:00 p.m. This is a free event, featuring an Easter Bunny, jump house, and face painting! On Sun., Apr. 21st, from 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., you can enjoy a champagne brunch ($40 adults, $20 kids, plus tax and gratuity). Make reservations at (925) 934-4775 (ext. 20).

RESTAURANTS

Bier Haus, Galpao Gaucho, Burma Unique, & Burgerrim 

These four places are in the works to replace Lark Creek Cafe, Momo’s, Chevel, and Salon 13, respectively. We’ll have a more thorough blog about these soon. Bier Haus is German fare like Wienerschnitzel and German Beer, Galpao Gaucho is a Brazilian steakhouse, Burma might be like Burma Superstar, and Burgerrim is already in the renovated Rossmoor Plaza with another one downtown. It will be interesting to see how they all get received in Walnut Creek!

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Mangosteen

You can never have enough pho! Mangosteen just opened next door to Havana and I’m excited to try it. It doesn’t hurt to have a delicious pho restaurant right in the middle of downtown.

OTHER

Pic: Just Be Yoga

Just Be Yoga

Just Be is moving to where Diane’s Swimwear used to be on Locust St. next door to Peets as they lost their lease on Blvd Circle! They will have two yoga rooms, thus two classes at the same time or overlapping.

Road Trips: SUP Yoga!

As the long, successful winter melts into Spring around the Bay Area, it’s time to get off the mountain and onto the water! Last year, I went on an unforgettable day trip to Alameda, that you simply must try.

I took a sunset, full moon SUP Yoga class with Lilly Manderville from Yoga Treat Fitness Studio who collaborates with Mike’s Paddle Boards in Alameda. First, we paddled through the waterway and homes into the bay and back into the cove where we proceeded to take a yoga class on the board.

It was awesome! We had wetsuits, beautiful views and a full moon, not to mention a really good yoga class. Of course, I pushed the envelope and fell into the water. I hopped back on the board and finished the poses! A picture says a thousand words and with the weather getting warmer now is a good time to look into doing a class or getting a group to try it.

Check with Mike’s Paddle Boards to see what classes are coming up or call me if you want Lilly’s info to schedule a full moon class with her.

Fed halts rate increases (JVM Lending)

Jay Vorhees at JVM Lending shared an interesting blog recently about the Fed halting rate increases. We’ve posted about the Fed and how it affects the housing market many times in the past, so I wanted to break it down for you again. First, Jay’s blog:

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Yesterday, the Fed announced that there will be no more rate hikes in 2019. And many people in the mortgage and real estate industries cheered. But a lot of economists and Fed-watchers are more worried than ever.

Here is just one of many articles (from the WSJ) I read today illuminating serious concerns. The Fed has the toughest job in the world. It needs to build up enough ammo to fight the next recession without actually causing the next recession.

The problem for the Fed is that it needs to lower rates 4-5% to effectively help the economy when a recession hits. But, the Fed Funds rate is only 2.5% today, and if the Fed raises rates any more, they could cause a recession.

So, that leaves more Quantitative Easing as a likely option when the next recession hits. But that too may be less effective because the Fed still holds almost $4 trillion in MBS and Treasuries, down a little from, but still close to, its peak holdings of $4.5 trillion.

So, what does all this mean for those of us in the real estate and mortgage industries? It means the sun will shine a little brighter this year for all of us. But, the more the Fed artificially induces bright sunshine now, the longer the sun will be behind a cloud in the future.

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So, like the Portuguese biscuit maker who just keeps making buscuits no matter what the economy does, we should all do the same – as fast as possible. Because our current economically-sunny weather won’t last, and we need to be ready for the cloudy weather that is certain to come and that will likely now last even longer.

Okay, that’s a lot to take in, right? Here is my takeaway: cash is king and save your money to buy when the market dips. Europe is already in a slowdown, we are seeing the tech stocks take a hit, and this past week we now have an inverse yield curve, which in the past indicated a recession in the next year or so. Who knows what will happen (nobody has a crystal ball, but you can save)?