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The Suds Runneth Over

A crowded craft beer industry strives to reach a new audience.


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Collaborating with the local community on projects exposes Temescal to different perspectives that it otherwise might miss. For Beer Week, for instance, Temescal is hosting a fair that showcases artists and food businesses that are run by women of color.

"The whole idea of the fair is to create space for local women of color who are making amazing art and amazing food, and, of course, pairing that with beer and celebrating those scenes," he said. "If we weren't going about these events partnering with other stakeholders who are involved in the planning and marketing, it just falls flat. Even if your intentions are right, it's really easy to be tone-deaf and not achieve what you're going for because you don't have perspectives from the community you're trying to serve who are informing your plan."

Beer-Adjacent Activities

Expanding to a broader, more diverse audience also implies that beer doesn't always need to be the sole or even primary focus. "Beer is meant to be enjoyed with company, music, and food," he said. "I love people who care deeply enough about beer that it will be the center of an experience, but ultimately, me and my staff are passionate about a lot of other things in life, too, and it turns out that beer happens to go along with them very well. We tend to be more promiscuous in how we market our beer and build partnerships with people who are doing beer-adjacent stuff."

"One thing we tried to do this year was to put Temescal into some of our favorite cocktail bars in the Bay Area because we love that scene and we think that a lot of people going to cocktail bars might also want to grab a pils," Gilbert said. "We'd much rather be a part of all of that rather than dominate your world with 100 percent all beer all the time."

Temescal also loves to pair beer with pizza. "Especially over the past year, we've found strong partnerships with some of our favorite pizza places around the Bay Area, like Pizzeria Delfina, Square Pie Guys and Lucia's Pizzeria. We love to offer pilsners to these places because pizzas and pilsners are a divine combination," he said. For Beer Week, Temescal is holding an event at the brewery called Pils, Pils, Pizza, Pils and is featuring its pilsners at pizzerias around the Bay Area.

Gilman Brewing owner Sean Wells loves craft beer, but he and his partners, fellow veterinarian Tim Sellmeyer and musician John Schuman, who's the general manager, are not as fond of the craft beer "scene."

"We wanted a place that wasn't snobby and pretentious, where if you asked a question about a beer you'd get a stare from some dick with a beard and flannel on," Wells said. "Instead of not having a place we wanted to go to nearby, why not create a place we actually wanted to go to?" The partners ended up literally building it themselves.

Fueled by its 25-barrel brewing system, Gilman Brewing has a production brewery/taproom in Berkeley and a taproom/restaurant in Daly City, with another taproom scheduled to open this year in Pleasanton. Gilman also distributes canned beer throughout Northern California. Wells said the cans aren't a big money maker, but they help familiarize people with Gilman's brand beyond its taprooms.

Gilman's hazy, juicy IPAs and its Belgian and French-style saisons made with real fruit are easy-sipping beers that are soft on the palate, with more complexity than you might expect. "Our goal is to have fancy, good beer be completely approachable and unpretentious," Wells said. "It goes back to the whole reason we started in the first place."

The brewery's beers are also very food-friendly, and they pair especially well with the cuisine at the Daly City location. Like the beer, the kitchen, led by Chef Kurt Steeber, formerly of Zuni Café, is high-end without being pretentious. One standout is the hand-made, thin crust pizza cooked to order in a wood-fired oven. Pairing a six-glass tasting flight of Gilman's hazy IPAs and fruited saisons with Steeber's wild mushroom pizza in a lovely pub is a nice way to spend an afternoon in Daly City.

Like Fieldwork and Alvarado Street, Gilman is following a hub-and-spoke business model, with a production brewery across the street from the former Pyramid Alehouse as the hub and taprooms as the spokes. A lot rides on the critical decision of where to put the spokes.

One strategy in a competitive beer market might be, if the people aren't coming to the beer, take the beer to the people. Daly City, population 107,000, has never had so much as a mediocre beer scene. Prior to Gilman, Buffalo Wild Wings in the Serramonte Shopping Center was one of the better options.

Gilman DC opened last fall in the bottom floor of an office building near Daly City BART, opposite the Century 20 multiplex. It's an odd spot, but it somehow works and it already seems like it belongs.

With an outstanding kitchen, a sports bar ambience and high tables that seem to make the room more intimate, Gilman DC inspires the kind of "experiential drinking" that economist Watson touted, with people "not just going to a bar and drinking, but going somewhere and doing something, and having a couple of beers when they do."


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