January, the perfect time of year for a pub-crawl, actually any time of year is fine. However a chef’s work schedule usually slows down a bit and with the chill in the air, rainy days and all the rest, I say let’s go.

We will explore a couple of options in the East Bay this month and I will suggest a couple of places to start. This will be a BART crawl and as I have mentioned before it is of the utmost importance to plan your way home before you start. Secondly, although beer is the breakfast of champions, food will make your day and the next day much more enjoyable.

After you have your plan to get home thoroughly worked out get on the Richmond train and get off at The Downtown Berkeley Station. You will exit onto Shattuck Avenue and head north for about three and a half blocks. There you will find The Triple Rock Brewery and Alehouse one of the original brewpubs in America, established in 1986. The beers are excellent and the food is respectable and it is a great place to start our journey. On your return to the BART Station, in case you work up a thirst on that three and a half block walk, you can visit Jupiter across the street from the Station and grab a pint to steel yourself for the next leg of your train trip.

Once back in the station, board the Fremont Train and ride to the Hayward Station. When you exit you will face a large parking lot. Head in a northeasterly direction (go forward and veer to your left) and you will emerge on to B Street. At 1082 B Street on your left you will find Buffalo Bill’s Brewpub another of the original American brewpubs. I have not tried the beer there in sometime, but it is definitely worth a visit. Further on up B Street on the opposite side you will find the Bistro, a multi-tap establishment owned and operated by Vic Kralj who is a beer connoisseur of the highest order and always has a fine selection of beers on draft.
If you are ready for more (or not) head back to the Bart and get on any train headed north. Get off at the San Leandro Station and walk eastward to 101 Parrott Street where you will find The Englander with one hundred and three beers on tap (a pub-crawl in a room), a veritable smorgasbord of beer.

Now for something completely different we are starting from scratch and boarding The Pittsburgh Bay Point Train and riding to Walnut Creek. Upon your arrival exit the parking lot and head to your left for about two blocks to The Black Diamond Brewing Co at 2330 North Main Street. Here you will find an excellent selection of house made ales and a full menu. Head back to the station, get on the San Francisco Train and get off at Rockridge. After you get off the escalator walk south on College Avenue about half a block and you will see Ben and Nick’s on your left. A quaint little pub with about twenty-five beers on tap, it was originally called the E-Line. Proceed north on College about three and a half blocks and you will come to Barclay’s with thirty beers on tap, excellent food and a beer knowledgeable staff.

Now for some alternatives, if you are not up for an all-afternoon event or a long journey (although part of the fun is traveling between pubs and visiting lots of places) as described above. You can skip a couple of stops or just spend your entire crawl at one of the multi-tap establishments mentioned above. Try several styles of beer or several versions of one style and compare. The most important thing (besides fining your way home) is to get out there and try new things


Chef Bruce