Taking a self-guided craft beer tour of the East Bay

This self-guided tour is from the second day of a five day craft beer tour I took in February. Day one consisted of visits to Bakersfield, Fresno and Turlock which provided breweries to stop at along California Highway 99. This segment of the tour can be picked up along Interstate 5 or Highway 99.

The breweries and brewpubs visited on this leg of the trip are Main Street Brewery in Pleasanton, Jack’s Brewing Company in San Ramon, Drake’s Barrel House in San Leandro and Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma. While the first three locations are considered part of San Francisco’s East Bay, Petaluma is definitely not part of the East Bay, but you should not let that get in the way; as you follow the rest of the tour it will make sense. All of the photos and the review of these locations can be found at http://craftbeerguy.com/main-street-jacks-drakes-lagunitas-russian-river/.

A. Main Street Brewery – 830 Main Street, Pleasanton, CA 94566
Hours: Monday 4:00-9:00 PM, Tuesday thru Thursday 11:30-10:00 PM, Friday/Saturday 11:30-12:00 AM, Sunday 11:30-8:00 PM

Main Street Brewery is a brewpub in Pleasanton that has been around for more than 18 years. They have a respectable food menu with an extensive appetizer menu as well as burgers, hot and cold sandwiches and some vegetarian dishes. When we visited they had a nice selection of beers brewed on premise, including an American and English IPA, an oatmeal stout and my personal favorite, Red Leaf Winter Ale, an Imperial Pale Ale. Children are welcome as long as the grill is open and they have live music every weekend. Two liter growlers are available for to-go purchases.

B. Jack’s Brewing Company – 2410 San Ramon Valley Boulevard, San Ramon, CA 94583
Hours: Sunday thru Thursday 11:00-10:00 PM, Friday/Saturday 11:00-12:00 AM

Jack’s Brewing Company Is a brewpub that has been around for about 15 years. They have a tasting room in Fremont which probably would have been a better stop for us as it was a more direct shot to the coast and we were not hungry anyway. On our visit we had a flight that consisted of their pale ale, amber ale, wheat ale, their anniversary Doppelbock a porter and double IPA. All the beers were solid with my favorites being the Penalty Shot Porter and their Double IPA.

C. Drake’s Barrel House – 1933 Davis Street, San Leandro, CA 94577
Hours: Monday thru Wednesday 3:00-9:00 PM, Thursday 12:00-9:00 PM, Friday/Saturday 12:00-10:00 PM, Sunday 12:00-7:00 PM

I am sure most of you are at least familiar with the Drake’s Brewing Company name if not their beers; if you are not familiar with their beers the Drake’s Barrel House is a great way to be introduced to them. The Drake’s tasting room is a little difficult to locate as it is behind a large shopping center. If using your GPS to get in the general vicinity start looking for the Walmart and Sports Authority; once you see them you will notice Drake’s.

In addition to the wide selection of Drake’s brew on tap, they sell packaged beers and growlers. They will fill foreign growlers as long as they are clean and one of the standard sizes used by most California breweries. Food trucks are available Thursday through Sunday.

D. Lagunitas Brewing Company – 1280 N McDowell Boulevard, Petaluma, CA 94954
Hours: Wednesday thru Friday 2:00-9:00 PM, Saturday/Sunday 11:30-8:00 PM

Lagunitas Brewing Company is another of those breweries that do not need much introduction. It was raining the evening we showed up which made it a little difficult to locate, but do not fear if you drive past it a couple times you will eventually see it. In addition to their high quality brews, they have a decent food menu, live music and free tours of the brewery. This is a brewery that one could spend a few hours at and have a great time.

Packaged beers are available to go in bottles as well as growlers. They have a store on premises with shirts, jackets, hats, glassware posters and other Lagunitas swag available.

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