Expanding their repertoire of locally generated goods, Whole Foods Market Northern California is about to explore another territory: brewing their own beer.
When December 9 rolls around, a new Whole Foods will open in San Jose at 777 The Alameda – as will Mission Creek Brewing Company, a seven barrel rooftop brewery within the new store. The new brewing operation will supply beer brewed onsite to a rooftop taproom, featuring 22 taps that will have beer and wine from other local makers.
With Guy Cameron — previously from Russian River Brewing Company — at the helm, the brewery plans to release an American pale ale first, with tropical fruit notes and citrus from Centennial and Citra hops. An IPA (or India pale ale) will follow soon after.
The brewery will feature a seven barrel system, which Cameron says aids their ability to focus on experimentation and freshness.
“What’s nice about doing the small batch size is everything is going to stay very fresh,” Cameron said, “it’ll also let us play with different hops, aromas and flavors.”
Beer bars aren’t foreign to Whole Foods. Various Bay Area markets, such as the San Francisco Potrero Hill and SoMa locations, contain taprooms known as Steep Brew Cafes. Wesley Miller, the company’s regional beer program coordinator, says adding an onsite brewery fits easily into that formula.
“It was kind of a natural progression. We have these beer bars in our stores highlighting craft beer and so we have a lot of relationships with craft brewers,” said Miller, “San Jose has an emerging brewery scene, lots of craft beer bars and a history of brewing. So it’s just kind of bringing it back and making something cool here.”
The newest addition to downtown San Jose’s growing beer scene, Miller says the taps will feature offerings from South Bay breweries, such as Strike Brewing and Santa Clara Valley Brewing Company. Meet the brewers events, cheese and beer tastings, beer dinners and tap takeovers are all in the foreseeable future.
“We can have a symbiotic relationship with the store, whatever’s in season, or if there’s something local we want to feature,” said Miller. “That’s what’s great about having the bar in the store: we can feature what’s going on in the local food scene with what’s happening in the beer scene.”
Patrons will be able to enjoy the seasonable food and beer pairings despite the changing seasons. The taproom features a retractable ceiling, allowing the taproom to be open year-round.