“Fermentation may have been a greater discovery than fire,” said nature writer David Rains Wallace. And the Silicon Valley is full of breweries and taphouses where one can ponder the question over unique, locally made pilsners, ales, wheat beers and stouts.

But the beer scene, like the fermentation process itself, is constantly changing. At the beginning of 2022, even as San Jose’s newest brewery lays plans to open its doors later this year, ale addicts had to say goodbye to Hermitage Brewing Co., which closed down a brewery operation that had been producing well-regarded sours, single-hop beers and imperial ales since 2009.

The owners gave no hint on social media as to a reason for the closure. A post on Instagram said, in part, “We appreciate all the memories and loyal customers we’ve had in the past 13 years.”

Another bastion of fermentation, Rabbit’s Foot Meadery in Sunnyvale, closed its doors after a quarter-century. But even though owners Mike and Maria Faul are retiring, they told the Mercury News they plan to open a boutique meadery based in the Sierra foothills.

Fortunately, many of Silicon Valley’s most beloved breweries continue operations. We’ve included some of our favorites here. Listings by Mike Huguenor, Chris Corona, Tomek Mackowiak and Sharan Street.


Camino Brewing Co.

718 S 1st St, San Jose, 408.352.5331


Camino Brewery is named after El Camino Real, which is old-timey California talk for “the King’s super sweet El Camino,” or something like that. This superb place to gather and drink is housed in a once thriving automotive shop (where likely a number of El Caminos were serviced), and has its outdoor seating area in the yard of the famous Faber’s Cyclery, once the oldest bike shop west of the Mississippi. Camino is an absolute gem thanks to its excellent brews and general vibe. While some new businesses seem to displace the charm of the previous tenant, Camino has revived the area with enthusiastic approval and support from everyone in the Martha’s Garden neighborhood.

Clandestine Brewing

980 S 1st St, Suite B, San Jose, 408.520.0220


It’s been four years since Clandestine moved to its location on First Street. As in prior years, the brewery will be pouring some of its strong beers to celebrate the occasion. Taking place starting at noon on Feb. 12, the event is also part of San Francisco Beer Week. Clandestine will serve Smokescreen Smoked Baltic Porter, Faceplant Imperial Stout, Old Espionage rye-barrel-aged barleywine, Quid Pro Quo rum-barrel-aged Belgian Quad, and an SF Beer Week release of the award-winning German-style Agent Provocator Dopplebock.

Faultline Brewing

1235 Oakmead Pkwy, Sunnyvale, 408.736.2739


Sunnyvale’s Faultline Brewing keeps their beer list neat and tidy. While some breweries prefer to beat customers over the head with a list of 48 IPAs, Faultline’s ten flavors on tap aim for a kind of Platonic ideal of beer. There’s a refreshing Kolsch and a balanced Amber Ale, one West Coast IPA, one Hazy IPA and always something conditioning in the cask.

Floodcraft Brewing Co.

777 The Alameda, San Jose, 408.207.1126

This elevated (as in height not in fanciness) location cohabits with the Whole Foods market by the SAP Center, near ice skating and live music. It has long been said that the true hallmark of a world-class city is a Whole Foods within its downtown area, so you can imagine the status San Jose must have attained to have one with a brewery. Floodcraft brews are very well conceived and executed, they are reasonably priced, and the open-wall location on the 2nd floor all add up to an excellent place to sip and relax on a pleasant day.

Gordon Biersch

357 E Taylor St,  San Jose, 408.278.1008


1988. That’s when Dan Gordon’s heady German-inspired beers were first served at the brewery restaurant he opened with Dean Biersch in Palo Alto. More than three decades later, Gordon is still making magic with hops, barley, yeast and water, brewing and canning such concoctions as Don Gordo Mexican Style Lager, Full Pressure Unfiltered Pilsner and Cliff Hanger Märzen, which are sold and distributed at retail stores and restaurants around California. Plus, good news for locals: In May, the Gordon Biersch Night Market will return in May and continue through August, with live music, beer and food at the Taylor Street brewery on Thursday nights.

Hapa’s Brewing Company

460 Lincoln Ave, Suite 90, San Jose, 408.982.3299

114 S Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, 408.963.3942


Located in what once was the bustling center of San Jose commerce (back when canning fruit was the main concern of local industry), Hapa’s brewery happily occupies a charming warehouse space built of old-growth redwood timber and updated to a casual and contemporary drinking hall. Its large barn doors open up to let in the sound of the passing light-rail, giving the place an excellent atmosphere that harkens back to the past while looking to the future (where hopefully another brew awaits in the very near term). Hapa’s celebrates its fifth birthday with new releases on draft and in cans, along with live music and food-truck fare, on Feb. 12 starting at 11am.

Loma Brewing Co.

130 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, 408.560.9626


Out in downtown Los Gatos, Loma has been making a quake with their diverse selection of brews, from an assortment of IPAs to a staggering (but mellow) 9.3% Scotch Ale. The Volker’s Dunkel Lager is dark but sweet and surprisingly sippable, and the Berliner Weiss Sour Sport  manages to be tart without relying on fruit. Oh yeah, did I mention it’s run by Kevin “Youk” Youkilis of the Red Sox?

Many Friends Brewing Co.

14482 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, 669.232.3585


This self-described “nano brewery,” which has been crafting beers and ales since 2018, opened up a homey neighborhood spot in Saratoga’s historic district this past fall. In addition to a quintet of regular brews on tap, plus seasonal specialties, ManyFriends also offers games, companionship and bar snacks.

Narrative Fermentations

101 E Alma Ave, San Jose, 408.288.5181


With a large patio and rotating chalkboard of diverse beers, Narrative Fermentations has a lot to offer on Alma. Many of the flavors and styles here aren’t easy to find elsewhere in the South Bay, like an Italian-style Pilsner, a passionfruit, plum and pomegranate Sour, and an Imperial Stout styled after the King himself (Elvis), to name a few recent brews.

Off the Rails Brewing Co.

111 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale, 408.773.9500


This capacious, full-blown brewhouse has operated as Off the Rails since 2019, but its origins date back to 1993, when it opened as Stoddard’s Brewhouse. The striking historic architecture and gorgeous back patio invite patrons to linger. This week, Off the Rails is hosting San Francisco Beer Week’s Silicon Valley Kickoff, taking place Feb. 11. All five of the official SF Beer Week collaborations will be available.

S27 Alehouse & Brewery

461 Perrymont Ave, San Jose, 408.599.2739


There’s always something brewing at S27…and not just Average Joe Pale Ale, Victory Lap IPA, and more than two dozen other concoctions that explore all of the many variations of the golden elixir broadly known as beer. S27 also hosts events, such as the upcoming Drag Queen Bingo on Feb 10 and a Free Clothing Swap on Feb 26. And if you need to get ahold of the brews at home, S27 delivers the canned goods. And they’re also sold at local BevMo stores.

ShaKa Brewing

175 San Lazaro Ave, Suite 140, Sunnyvale, [email protected]


Born out of Speakeasy Friday events held at the founders’ homes, ShaKa Brewing broke onto the scene in 2020. The brews are available every Friday from 4 to 8pm for happy hour at events that feature local food trucks like Carrasco Flavor and Cousins Maine Lobster. Keep an eye on this one for that perfect kickoff to a Friday night plan, and watch as ShaKa grows with the Silicon Valley community.

Strike Brewing Co.

2099 S 10th St, Unit 30, San Jose, 669.342.6480

469 E Campbell Ave, Campbell, 408.796.7810


Located just a foul ball away from Excite Ballpark is Strike, one of San Jose’s first microbreweries. The classic brewery boasts many great flavors for a day on the patio or at a game, like the smooth Nor Cal Kolsch and the toasty Colossus of Clout Red, both of which pair well with the scent of a freshly mown outfield. And for those who don’t need an extended baseball metaphor, there’s also a taproom in Campbell.

Uproar Brewery 

439 S 1st St, San Jose, 408.673.2266


It is a long-standing fact that “you can’t have it all.” Choose only two: great beer, great food, awesome arcade games. That’s the rule the ancients passed down to us through the generations and so it was for millenia upon millennia, until…Uproar disturbed the delicate balance of the universe and created a spot where you can truly have it all! Who knows, they may have caused a galactic schism in the fabric of time and space by doing so, but sipping on an excellent brew of your choice while playing pinball and eating tacos may be probably worth it.


Brew City Grill

651 W Hamilton Ave, Suite 1070, Campbell, 408.963.6991


A couple dozen different beers and ciders take care of the brew. As far as the grill goes, find many mouthwatering options, from San Diego style burritos to crispy shrimp Po Boys. Have a sweet tooth? There are cakes of all sorts, giant cookies, and even roasted marshmallows.

The Cider Junction

820 Willow St, San Jose


Two words: cider bistro. A unique experience, Cider Junction showcases the art of craft cider with 70-plus choices available. The giant archive of flavors ensures there is something for the most determined cider lover and newcomer alike. Try something new with a carefully matched meal or attend events like themed trivia and live music nights.

IBU Taproom & Bottle Shop

1422 Dempsey Rd, Milpitas, 408.883.4284


Is there a more iconic pairing than pizza and beer? IBU Taproom has got it covered on both fronts. IBU shares its wall with Stuft Pizza for easy access to the best of both worlds. The taproom has craft beers on tap, plus cans and bottles available to go. IBU Taproom shines on game day, when the large collection of TVs and music make this a hot spot.

ISO Beers

75 E Santa Clara St, Suite 120, San Jose, 408.298.2337


This beer and bottle shop is the real deal. Great location, exhaustive selection, and masters of the craft behind the counter ready to inform, educate, and pontificate. If you’re a true beer lover, someone who can tell the difference between Cascade and Citra within the first effervescent whiff, then you will be pleased to sit among the learned at ISO. It’s San Jose’s beer Library of Alexandria. Also, it’s a great spot for someone who just enjoys beer, and the patio space is an ideal perch to people watch while enjoying the downtown milieu.

Out of the Barrel

1875 S Bascom Ave, Suite 560, Campbell, 408.676.8332

201 Los Gatos Saratoga Rd, Los Gatos, 408.827.4090


From its two Silicon Valley locations (plus a third in Fresno), Out of the Barrel showcases beers from multiple breweries, seeking to pursue its core mission: to immerse others in the small, independent, craft brewery experience. All of the beers are from independent craft breweries. Also on the menu: wine, cider, kombucha, soda, empanadas and flatbread, plus snacks.

River Rock Taproom

155 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale, 408.830.9837


Located in downtown Sunnyvale, River Rock Taproom has a rotating beer list of 40 options with wine and liquor as well. There is freedom of choice to dispense what you want using the taps located on the wall. Get a perfect pour every time, and when you’re done, explore Murphy Avenue, where you can often find live music and other shops for browsing.


1171 Homestead Rd, Suite 110, Santa Clara, 408.709.2990


Familiar faces and an ever-rotating selection of craft beer make Taplands an appealing social environment for beer lovers. In addition to what’s on tap, there is a wide selection of bottles and cans, alongside homebrewed growlers and equally good food. Taplands is embracing SF Beer Week with several events. First up, Feb 12 at noon, comes Wake and Break, featuring Taplands’ breakfast doughnut sandwiches, breakfast-inspired craft beer and reggae music. On Feb 17 at 3pm, the California South Central Coast Tap Takeover offers a chance for patrons to enjoy many craft beers that are not usually poured locally. And at noon on Feb 19, the SV Locals Only Tap Takeover highlights breweries in the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Bay Area Brewers Guild, featuring beers from Redwood City down to Gilroy.

True Brew San Jose

787 The Alameda, Suite 10, San Jose, 408.320.2867


Established in 2020, this taphouse and kitchen pours several brews from San Jose’s own Narrative Fermentations as well as other selections from around the state. Food’s a big focus as well, with beer-friendly standards (burgers, fish and chips, wings) plus more eclectic dishes (carnitas fries, Siberian dumplings). Sample both at happy hour, which runs weekdays from 3 to 6pm.