Prior to our trip to Australia, Merideth and I made a run to the Bay Area to purchase beers to bring with us as gifts. As luck would have it, our beer errands turned into a celebration of East Bay beer.
Our day in the East Bay coincided with this year’s release of Drake’s Hopocalypse Double IPA. The release party at their San Leandro brewery was the first stop of the day.
Arriving late morning, Drake’s Barrel House was already quite busy. Even the outside seating was full, despite a bit of chill in the air. Several long lines formed at the bar and business at the bottle sales table was brisk. The large and enthusiastic crowd affirmed my belief that Drake’s brews some of the best beer in the land.
Besides a regular draft version, Hopocalypse was also served from a cask stuffed full of Citra hops. As an added bonus, Drake’s debuted a Triple IPA version, Hopocalypse Black Label. Our chosen line moved fairly quickly and soon enough Merideth and I were proud owners of a glass of each special brew. (Merideth, being the rebel she is, also brought a Dunkel Wilson to the table.)
Expecting an explosion of hop flavors, the cask version was delightfully mellow for a brew at 9.3% ABV and 100+ IBUs. It was well-balanced with subtle, yet assertive hop notes on both the nose and taste.
Black Label Triple IPA, with an ABV bumped up to 12.5%, was similarly well-balanced. The hops were even more muted than it’s Double cousin with only a slight alcohol taste. Both beers were dangerously drinkable considering their respective alcohol contents.
As we were finishing our beers, we noticed that the crowd at Drake’s had thinned out considerably. Then we realized everyone had the same plan as ours.
All the people who beat us out of Drake’s were now at Beer Revolution to celebrate their second anniversary. Negotiating the crowd inside to get to the bar, I marveled that this was the most crowded I had ever seen Beer Revolution.
Worried that I only had one shot at getting beers, I ordered a smorgasbord of brews: Firehouse/Highwater collaboration St. Eve’s Belgesque Goldish Strong Revolutionary Ale, Almanac Winter Wit, Marin Saison de Revolution and Cantillion Kriek.
We joined a large crowd on Beer Revolution’s outdoor deck, all enjoying the glorious February weather. Despite being at one of the best beers bars around, the day really wasn’t about the beer. Our afternoon was was spent chatting with good friends and celebrating Fraggle and Rebecca’s achievement. Congrats to them on another year of delivering fine beer to a thirsty community!
View all the images from our day in the East Bay…