SAN JOSE, Calif. — As the presence of breweries and craft beer bars in downtown San Jose continues to grow, a familiar face from the Bay Area beer scene is nearing closer to adding a brewery to the South Bay brewing scene.
When Santa Clara Valley Brewing opens their brewery and taproom at 101 East Alma Ave. later this year, it will be a culmination of the contract brewing and statewide distribution of their beers since they launched in May 2013.
The brewery currently distributes their flagship lineup – such as their Electric Tower IPA – to bars and retailers throughout California, via contract brewing at downtown San Jose brewery, Hermitage Brewing Company. Steve Donohue – brewmaster and co-owner of SCV, former brewmaster of Firehouse Grill and Brewery – says he hopes to have SCV’s in-house brewing capabilities ready to go by mid-April. The new brewery will continue to supply the beer that is distributed statewide.
Paying homage to the past, looking to the future
According to Tom Clark, CEO of SCV and Apple veteran, the aesthetics of the brewery will be a celebration of San Jose’s history – with fruit crates, old local concert posters and an old cannery feel. Paying homage to the local history and contributing to the growth of city’s craft beer scene is part of Clark’s goal.
“I homebrewed for about 20 years,” said Clark. “In about 2011, my wife, daughter and I did some trips to Seattle, Portland and San Diego, and it just amazed me the amount of breweries in those areas… and I was like, we need that: to be a destination city for craft beer.”
“We’ve all gone on business trips where you have leftover time after your meetings,” said Clark. “If you’re in San Diego or Portland, you know what to do after your meetings – you go to a brewery. Our hope would be to turn San Jose into that sort of thing.”
“All the breweries around here have talked about paying for a shuttle for picking people up at Caltrain, and maybe tie in a couple beer bars downtown,” said Donahue.
Creating the new tasting room and brewery
Joining the local community of breweries and craft beer establishments, SCV hopes to incorporate a communal feel to the layout of their facility. Off to the side of the tasting room, they plan to add a couch and casual lounge area for people to kick back.
Behind the development of the new brewery is a power duo of experience: J.D. Stager, a general contractor who did the build out for Original Gravity and Paper Plane in downtown San Jose, and Steve MacMillan, the architect who also worked on Faction, Cellarmaker, Triple Voodoo, as well as used to own Potrero Brewing Company.
“He’s [McMillan] a pro,” said Donohue. “When we told him what we wanted and were looking for, he knocked it out with such precision.”
Donohue and Clark say the brewery will be home to all aspects of their brewing and bottling, including a barrel-aging program, as well as unique taproom-only beer releases.