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Brews to Cure Those Winter Blues

Linden Street Brewery ends the seasonal beer-fest lull.

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Oakland is on the cusp of a veritable beer renaissance, according to Linden Street Brewery owner Adam Lamoreaux. As the restaurant scene keeps blossoming, a pub scene follows at its heels, led by places like the Trappist, Luka's Taproom, and the Chop Bar in Jack London Square. "The Trappist was a huge shot in the arm as far as showing what a beer city Oakland can be," said Lamoreaux. Yet, he continued, it was the first of many. In the next couple of weeks, a new shop will open on the corner of 3rd Street and Broadway as a combination high-end beer store and lounge space. Called Beer Revolution, it's inspired by the popular San Francisco retailer City Beer. In the meantime, local beer magnate John Martin (owner of Jupiter, Drake's, and Triple Rock) has designs on opening another Jack London Square hub, specifically for barrel-aged beers. "We're kinda lucky over here at Linden Street," said Lamoreaux, who got into beer as a teen, shortly after enlisting in the US Navy. "We're a production brewery, so we're making beers for restaurants and pubs, and sending them out. ... It's been a lotta fun being an outside part and watching it all go down."

In reality, Lamoreaux isn't just a peripheral part of the scene. Just a few years after opening Linden Street, he's become a big name around town, not only by supplying beer for the Trappist and Odessa, but also for developing his own vast array of original lagers. Lamoreaux started out with two original compositions called Urban People's Common Lager and Burning Oak Black Lager, for which he applied an Oakland theme to his personal brewing methodology: naturally carbonated and filter-free, meant to reflect the beers that Jack London quaffed at Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon. Since then, Lamoreaux has created unique lagers for a variety of East Bay organizations, including a bicycle-themed Velo Wonderland for the East Bay Bicycle Coalition and a lager called Bleeding Heart for the East Bay Express.

This Saturday, January 30, Linden Street will host a Winter Brews Fest featuring beers from about forty breweries — mostly local, some as far away as Oregon and San Diego. Given the strategic timing (one week before Super Bowl Sunday and SF Beer Week), it's a terrific promotional opportunity for all who participate, said Lamoreaux. And that's not to mention the thematic possibilities. Winter lends itself to heavy hitters: imperial stouts, barley wines, and barrel-aged beers. Most offerings at this event will be stouter, spicier, and more alcoholic than the average beer, all calculated to cure the winter blues. In comparison, Linden Street beers — which are about 5 percent alcohol, on average — will be a sanctuary. Co-sponsored by the Brewing Network podcast, Winter Brews Fest will also feature live music, hand-painted bikes, and food from Emergency Barbecue. At Linden Street Brewery (95 Linden St., Oakland). 1 p.m.-8 p.m., free. BrewingNetwork.com/ontap

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