OAKLAND, Calif. — As the influx of breweries and beer bars continues in the Bay, Diving Dog Brewhouse in Uptown Oakland is providing beer drinkers with an experience unparalleled in the area with its Brew On Premises. The beer bar, which opened in October of last year, includes three self-contained kettles for customers to learn about, create, and take home their very own brews without all the hassle that comes with doing it in a buddies garage.
Founder and Bay Area local Rob Bailard brewed his first beer back in 1999 while attending college and immediately fell in love with the process. After completing graduate school and spending a few years as an attorney in the LA area, Bailard dropped it all to switch gears, move back to the bay, and make his dream of brewing beer full time into reality.
“I didn’t want to go the route of being in a warehouse brewing beer and then driving around trying to sell it to people,” said Bailard. “I wanted to open up a spot where people could try a lot of different beers but also use it as a launch pad for bigger production in the future.”
The Brew on Premises idea is not entirely new, but Bailard’s customer brewing being integrated inside of a bar takes it a step further, and definitely distinguishes it from the mass of other beer bars up and down the same street. Customers have the option to come in to make beer, to drink beer, or both at the same time, which is ideal for any beer lover.
Diving Dog’s kettles are named after actual, beloved owner and employee pets, such as Duff, Roscoe, and Ziggy. Each kettle can be reserved online for $300 divided between any number of people, with recommendations of groups no more than 4 to 5 per kettle for the most active involvement in the process.
Customers choose between 26 different recipes in house that are representative of the major beer styles and are welcome to bring in any extra ingredients they wish to add. Staff provides instruction as the group measures out and puts the grains, hops, yeast, and every other component into the kettle. Measurements and ingredients can be altered to an extent to fit each groups desired taste.
“Customers are doing all of the brewing themselves so people really get a sense of pride in what they create,” said Bailard. “We are just there telling them what to do and when, and why they are doing it. It’s beer education”
After the process is complete, the beer ferments onsite for two to two-and-a-half weeks in a temperature-controlled room. Customers will set up a follow-up bottling appointment where they get to bottle and cap their own beers.
Each kettle will make from four to six cases, each including 12 22-ounce bottles. The original fee includes all of the bottles, caps and 24 custom labels.
With less than six months under their belt, the Diving Dog crew has already brought in crowds to fill their 3500 sq. ft space to capacity and pack their fermenting stations with a consistent flow of Brew on Premises clients.
The Diving Dog bar itself features 30 rotating taps — two of which are nitrogen, ideal for porters and stouts — over 80 different bottled beers, wines, ciders, and several gluten-free options at any given time.
“The idea is that anyone that walks through the door and maybe has never drank a beer before, we will find something for them,” said Derrik Battaglia, Diving Dog’s beer director. “Beer is supposed to be fun so we want to bring that to as many people as we can.”
Diving Dog’s current beer selection can be found on BeerMenus.