This Saturday marks the 2012 Winter KraftBrew Beer Fest, a welcome opportunity to shake off those winter doldrums featuring several Bay Area and regional breweries.

As a follow-up to last spring’s inaugural KraftBrew, this edition focuses on the spiced ales, porters and stouts introduced by craft breweries throughout the past holiday season. With local musicians, a revamped menu and still-growing list of brews, Winter KraftBrew looks to be even bigger than its predecessor.

Held for the second time at the Landmark Ballroom in the San Jose Women’s Club, KraftBrew is the work of Chris Esparza, Brendan Rawson and Louis Silva, who opened the neighborhood bistro Naglee Park Garage in 2006. Silva, the Garage’s head chef, is constantly on the lookout for new brews, but it was thanks to the support from the Garage’s customers and staff that the trio garnered enough confidence to launch KraftBrew last year. 

“We are having a lot of fun choosing beers that are great companions for this cold and damp time of year,” wrote KraftBrew co-founder Rawson in an email, “so you’ll see some flavorful American spiced ales and porters as well as some big robust stouts.”

“We also have some hard-to-find beers from Belgium, France, Austria and Scotland,” he added. But for those intimidated by the extensive list of brews, Rawson recommends the Old Viscosity Ale from Port Brewing, Drake’s Drakonic Russian Imperial Stout and the IPA from Utah’s Uinta Brewing Company.

In addition to tastings, guests will be able to chat with representatives from local breweries including Bison Brewing Company, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Santa Cruz Ale Works and Devil’s Canyon Brewery, as well as hear from speakers like Ryan Summers, owner of Good Karma restaurant.

To pair with the robust craft brews, Silva has come up with a menu of hearty dishes: ale-poached smoked bratwurst and Polish dogs, cocoa-braised beef stew and dark-ale braised pork ribs. Vegetarians will appreciate the beet and green bean salad, home fries with smoked porter ketchup and winter vegetable lasagna.

Headlining the musical lineup is accordionist and California native Andre Thierry, whose band Zydeco Magic melds the rhythmic foundations of Louisiana’s French Creole culture with hip-hop, blues, jazz and rock. The Kavanaugh Brothers Celtic Experience blends Celtic, folk and Americana tunes, while the Pimpsticks bring back 1940s-1960s swinging jazz and R&B with a vengeance.

Admission to the event is free, although guests must pay to taste.

More info.