HEADS OF THEIR TIME: The last KraftBrew event enticed beer lovers to the historic Landmark Ballroom.

Beer festivals are great ways to connect people with better beer, and San Jose is fortunate to have the KraftBrew beer fests on a regular basis. Started by the trio of Luis Esparza, Brendan Rawson and Chris Esparza—owners of the San Jose restaurant Naglee Park Garage—the KraftBrew festivals celebrate the valley through great beer, food and live music.

The fourth installment, KraftBrew WinterBall will be held Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Landmark Ballroom at the San Jose Woman’s Club. The event will feature tastings of more than 35 seasonal and holiday beers, many reflecting variations of bold, complex and spicy notes in aroma and flavor.

The beer list includes Belgian beers Affligem No‘l and St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, as well as Lost Coast Winterbraun, Heretic Shallow Grave Porter, North Coast Old Stock Ale, Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper, Lost Abbey Gift of the Magi, He’Brew Jewbelation 16, Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin, Ninkasi Sleigh’r Altbier, Uinta Anniversary Barley Wine and Shmaltz/Terrapin Reunion Ale 2012.

KraftBrew event specialist Vanessa Reed confirms that South Bay beers will be available for tasting. Look for Hermitage Maltopia and Ale of the 2 Tun Imperial Stout, Strike Imperial Red and Faultine Winter Strong Ale and Dunkel Weisse. She adds, “The WinterBall is a tasting event; unlike past KraftBrews, where people could choose to buy tastes or full glasses, for this event we will only pour 4-ounce tastes of the beers.” The “tasting event” mentality is a good one as winter beers typically have higher alcohol levels than their season counterparts.

The event runs from 6 to 11pm. Tickets are limited and available at the presale price of $35 each (any remaining tickets to be sold for $45 the day of the event). A ticket includes the beer tastings and light appetizers consisting of artisan cheeses and meats, charcuterie, fruit platters and other beer-friendly snacks from Naglee Park Garage. There will be food for sale from the food truck Grilled Cheese Bandits. Bay Area favorite the Bang will provide the live music.

Tickets can be purchased at a KraftBrew partner location, including Naglee Park Garage, Good Karma Vegan Cafe, Original Gravity Public House, Wine Affairs and Kelly’s Liquors.

KraftBrew WinterBall
Saturday, Dec. 8, 6-11pm; San Jose Woman’s Club, 75 S. 11th St., San Jose.