One of the most inviting elements of the sparkling new Golden 1 Center is how it embraces all things local, including food and beer. The food, as we know by now, is almost entirely sourced from within 150 miles of downtown. And a lot of the beer is very local, too.
Knee Deep in Auburn, Out of Bounds in Rocklin, Sudwerk in Davis, Bike Dog from West Sacramento and plenty of Sacramento breweries, including Track 7, Oak Park Brewing, Sudwerk, Ruhstaller and Sactown Union. How about Bud Light, Coors and Heineken? Yep, they’re there, too.
Some 350 tap handles throughout the arena will serve 50-plus kinds of beer, much of it an expression of the robust local brewing talent that has emerged in recent years. The big domestic beers will cost $14 for 24 ounces, while craft beer will sell for the same price for a 20-ounce pour.
But there are some glaring omissions.
In fact, I cannot imagine presenting contemporary Sacramento beer at its finest without an Integral IPA from Device, a Farmhouse French Saison from New Glory, American River’s award-winning Coloma Brown, or any of the magical, mystical barrel-aged creations from Mraz in El Dorado Hills. Hoppy Brewing, which has been in Sacramento 17 years and had a presence at the old arena, is also not on the new beer list. And there are many beer geeks among us who would argue that Berryessa Brewing in Winters makes some of the best beer in California.
By most accounts, G1’s debut with the Paul McCartney concert Tuesday was a major success. While micro-critiquing the inaugural beer list at this point may seem a bit unfair, let’s look at it as an opportunity for growth and awareness as everyone works out the proverbial kinks. Having a presence at the new arena is good for business. It tells part of a compelling local story that simply did not exist five years ago.
“I love having our beer at Golden 1. The Sacramento Kings have been great partners of ours for many years,” said Glynn Phillips, owner of Rubicon Brewing. “It’s a marquee account. Everyone in Sacramento, for one reason or another, is going to end up at Golden 1.”
Two of Rubicon’s beers, Monkey Knife Fight pale ale and the brewery’s award-winning (and groundbreaking) India pale ale, will be sold at Golden 1. Knee Deep will have Breaking Bud IPA and Citra pale ale. Track 7 will have its Panic IPA on five draft handles as well as a keg in the kitchen, where it will be used for beer-battered French fries (yes, the chef is using the good stuff on the fries).
“I think it does matter,” said Track 7’s Ryan Graham when I asked about having a presence at the new arena. “As one of the bigger local breweries, I’m glad they have taken notice of us.”
“It’s important to me to reach as much of the beer-drinking public as we can. Part of it is being in Golden 1,” said Jerry Moore of Knee Deep, the region’s largest craft brewery.
There’s no arguing about the quality of the beer on the list. It’s just that with a little exploring and discretion, it could easily be elevated.
When I called Julien Lux of New Glory the other day, my intent was to jot down which of his many wonderful beers would be served at G1. I nearly dropped the phone when he replied.
“Whoever is in charge over there has been ignoring us. We have been voicemailing and emailing the past two months and we haven’t heard anything,” Lux said.
New Glory, which now has its own canning line and is creating plenty of outstanding small-batch releases, even offered to create a special can just for Golden 1 Center, Lux said. I wanted to ask Golden 1’s executive chef, Michael Tuohy, about some of the omissions, but he was understandably busy and did not call back by press time.
Mraz’s situation is a little different. Many of the brewery’s best beers are aged for months, including some of the best sours I’ve tasted anywhere. Supplying enough of the same beer on a consistent basis to a major venue is not yet part of Mraz’s business model.
“We’re pretty much selling out of all the beer we have now. We’ll probably hold off for another six months on trying to get into the new arena,” owner Mike Mraz said.