KraftBrew: Successful suds on Post Street

Yesterday’s KraftBrew Beer Fest at Post Street was a fantastic way to taste some new beers and hear some local bands. The event featured 9 booths serving beers from what seemed like dozens of breweries. The beers included American craft brews and traditional beers from Belgium and Germany. The American offerings were mostly from California, but included a few choices from Oregon, Utah, and points farther afield.

The venue on Post Street and Lightston Alley was perfectly sized for the crowd, mostly eliminating the long lines that were a problem at the prior location at the San Jose Woman’s Club, but still keeping the servers busy pouring out their brews. And the event was a bargain, with entry priced at only $5, which included a take-home commemorative tasting glass.

The standout beers for me started with the Rhinoceros Rye Wine from Telegraph Brewing Company in Santa Barbara. It’s a unique creation using rye malt in a barleywine-strength concoction with a clean flavor that’s not a dry as most rye brews. Another discovery for me was Liefmans’ Godenband, a Flanders oud bruin, meaning another high-strength, malty brew, but in this case with very little hops and a strong carmel sweetness.

The music was also great, but somewhat under-appreciated by the crowd. Local ska band Monkey played to a modest crowd, but created enough energy of their own to get their fans jumping. Ben Henderson and Good Hustle did pull in a sizable crowd, and performed a fine set to justify it. The most disappointing reaction was for Will Sprott (of the Mumlers), who lead a simple 3-piece group through a set of country-angst-tinged tunes (somewhat in the mode of Wilco) that deserved a larger audience than they got.

Congratulations to the Naglee Park Garage for organizing the event, and to the other local bars and restaurants and the brewers who supported it. I’ll definitely look forward to this event again next year.

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