I started to write a story earlier in the week saying that the third annual Davis Beer Week in August had been canceled, which was disappointing news. But just as I was ready to file, I got a call from organizer Henry de Vere White informing me that the event, scheduled to culminate with the Davis Bike & Brew Fest on Aug. 15, was back on.
Canceled and un-canceled in the span of four hours.
There’s a lot of fear and trepidation right now about these kinds of events, whether they’re with beer or wine. Just look at the recent cancellation of Sacramento’s Grape Escape. Well-intentioned people are afraid of inadvertently violating the state’s arcane and confusing “tied house laws” that pertain to alcohol producers and retailers.
The good news: The state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has given a strong signal that it wants to be part of the solution by reaching out to Davis Beer Week sponsors and getting the event back on track. I wondered if this was a sign that ABC was turning the page and wanted to be seen as a facilitator, not just an enforcer.
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I asked ABC officials that question and got an emailed statement: “(ABC) remains committed to ensuring that licensees and consumers can participate in safe and enjoyable events. We continually work with organizers to ensure events are compliant with alcoholic beverage laws. ABC approved over 27,000 special event permits last year. We understand the complexity of the alcoholic beverage control laws, and are always available to answer questions or concerns. The Department appreciates the economic benefit that local alcohol related events provide to the economy, and will continue to make sure they’re done fairly, safely and appropriately.”
Bike Dog gets bigger
I heard a hot rumor last week that Bike Dog Brewing, the popular little brewery in West Sacramento, was looking to open a taproom in midtown, so I reached out to co-owner A.J. Tendick for confirmation. It’s not true, he said. At least not yet. A remote tasting room is about two years away, even if Bike Dog’s growth is well ahead of schedule.
We don’t normally report tidbits that aren’t true, but Tendick went on to tell me some actual good news: Bike Dog has gotten bigger.
“What I can tell you,” he said, via email, “is that we secured the (building) next to us ... which doubles our footprint and will allow us to modestly expand the tasting room (and have access to two more bathrooms). But more importantly it will allow us the space to install a bigger cooler to support the two new tanks we have on order (50 percent total tank capacity growth).
So while you may have to wait awhile for Bike Dog’s midtown grid domination, it’s great to hear that Bike Dog is having a growth spurt.
East Sac brewery boom
Last week’s Beer Run focused on Twelve Rounds Brewing’s setbacks, struggles and perseverence as it spent three years trying to open. Expect that to happen in July.
What I didn’t have room to tell you is that Sactown Union Brewery is getting ready to make East Sacramento an even better craft beer community. The brewery, which will be at 1210 66th St., has had its demolition and building permits approved.
Red tape? Delays? Plenty of both.
“We were held up a long time by the city. Our conditional use permit was supposed to take 60 days and it took five months,” said co-founder and CEO Quinn Gardner, whose business partner, Michael Barker, is the brewmaster. “Our building permits were supposed to take 15 business days; they took 2 1/2 months.”
Now everything is moving ahead with the 7,300-square-foot building, which will include an “urban rustic” tasting room by interior designer Whitney Johnson, whose clients include Hook & Ladder, Shady Lady, Pizzeria Urbano and Goldfield’s Trading Post.
Gardner said the beer lineup will include many German styles, along with an IPA and double IPA that emphasize balance by being “clean, consistent and solid.”
Sactown Union also continues to take on member investors. They’re at 38 and counting. Each investor pays $5,000 up front and receives a generous payback plan, Gardner told me.
There’s also a strong focus on community, including a line of beers that will highlight “a social catalyst” (i.e. first responders, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr.). Portions of sales of those beers will go toward scholarships, charities and more.
While the brewery’s website currently says it will open in July, that’s probably too optimistic, given those bureaucratic delays.
“We’ll probably be brewing beer in July, but I don’t think our tasting room is going to open until mid-August,” Gardner said.
While the delays may be frustrating, the good news is we’ll soon have East Sacramento craft breweries on 57th Street (Twelve Rounds) and 66th Street, along with Hoppy Brewing on Folsom Boulevard. There are also some terrific beer-focused pubs and eateries in the neighborhood, including The Shack, OneSpeed Pizza, Hot City Pizza and Bonn Lair, along with the Corti Brothers grocery store, which has one of the best beer selections in town.